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Madagascar Has 1.1 Million People on Brink of Famine Due to a Prolonged Drought, UN Says

Drought Emergency Alert_2

About 1.1 million people in the southern part of Madagascar face food insecurity as a prolonged drought and a sandstorm bring subsistence farming to a standstill, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

Without rains since December 2019, an increasing number of people are being pushed into famine. The 14,000 people currently in that situation could double by September, Volantiana Raharinaivo, a communications officer for the Antananarivo-based FAO office, said in a phone interview.

The three regions threatened by famine are Anosy, Androy and Atsimo-Andrefana, an area almost the size of New York State. Agriculture, livestock breeding and fishing are the most common activities in the area, which is prone to droughts and suffers from inadequate health and education services.

Courtesy of bloomberg.com

https://tinyurl.com/22mf4kat

California faces worst drought in decades: ‘Economic disaster’

Drought Emergency Alert_2

After two consecutive dry years, the California drought is back.

How bad is it?

“This is the worst drought since 1977,” said Ernest Conant, the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s California regional director.

California melon farmer Joe Del Bosque called it “an economic disaster.”

“We can’t plant crops, we have no jobs, and there will be no food coming from this field this year,” he said.

Pictures and numbers tell the story. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 93% of California and the Southwest are in an extreme or exceptional drought, meaning mandatory cutbacks are not far away.

Two years ago, the figure was 3%. By the end of August, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration expects a persistent drought to extend to 13 Western states. Drought is a measure of precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and available water.

“I can see how bad it’s getting,” said Sean Black of Utah. “Just from the lakes that we’ve been going to and the stories that we’ve seen about how the low water level is. And for the shortage we have of snow. I know it’s going to be a tough year.”

More than 90% of Utah is suffering from drought. Nevada is worse at 95%, the worst in two decades. In neighboring California, there are mandatory cutbacks coming in Santa Clara County, no campfires or grilling in Lake Tahoe and officials near the Oregon border warned they could lose 88% of young Chinook salmon because of low stream levels and rising water temperatures.

In an effort to protect wildlife and protect water supplies for drinking, federal and state officials reduced water deliveries to farmers to near zero. In the Central Valley, fields lie fallow and farmers are dismantling orchards.

Courtesy of news.yahoo.com

https://tinyurl.com/mkm395ck

Taiwan faces worst water shortage in 56 years: Sun Moon Lake turns into moonscape

Sun Moon Lake, an iconic tourist spot in Taiwan is turning into barren wasteland as the island is experiencing its worst water shortage crisis in 56 years due to months of scant rainfall and a lack of typhoons making landfall last year.

As the largest natural freshwater lake on the island, the water level of the lake has plunged by 12 meters, hitting a record low with some parts of the lake drying up completely. Netizens have been drawn to the drastically altered landscape, posting photos with densely bold cracks seen on the lakebed, with captions such as “Sailing on Land” and the “Sun Mook Lake Prairie.”

The management department of the lake has closed the park since April 1 due to safety concerns.

This is the worst drought Taiwan is facing in half a century and the reservoirs in central and southern Taiwan have nearly bottomed out. If the current drought continues, major water supply reservoirs in the island will only have enough water to last two more months, according to Taiwan officials.

On March 15, Taiwannews.com reported that the Zengwen Reservoir in Chiayi County was down to just 15.3 percent of its capacity, Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli had plummeted to 13.7 percent, and Techi Reservoir in Deji Reservoir in Taichung was down to just 8.2 percent.

If Plum Rains are unable to replenish reservoirs in central Taiwan, a red alert will have to be issued in May, according to local reports.

Local newspapers reported that large water buckets are selling out and due to water-saving measures, many people have rushed to buy waterless clothes, clothes that can go weeks without being washed. Meanwhile, beauty salons and restaurants have said they simply can’t get enough water to meet their business needs as water trucks in the region are busy transporting industrial water to big tech companies that consume large amounts of water.

The island has stepped up nationwide water restrictions and some areas of Taichung, Miaoli, and Changhua have been subjected to a suspension of water supply two days per week on a rotational basis, affecting about one million people.

In response, Tsai Ing-wen, the regional leader of Taiwan, has called on residents to conserve water and set up an emergency response center to deal with the water shortage. But she was criticized for ignoring the warning of meteorologists who alerted the authority months ago that the island would face severe water shortage in the spring.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is also under attack due to their approaches to drought alleviation. For example, the irrigation department joined with a famous temple to pray to Mazu, the sea goddess, for rainfall. And the economic affairs ministry allowed companies to drill emergency wells in a technology hub to increase their water supply.

Both of the methods were criticized as “unscientific” as some warned the drilling could cause land subsidence or damage manufacturing equipment in the park and some doubted that groundwater levels are likely lower than usual due to the drought.

Courtesy of shine.cn

https://tinyurl.com/rk5swekn

Nearly 75% of country snow-covered after massive winter storm in the USA

Nearly 75% of country snow-covered after massive winter storm

Nearly three-quarters of the U.S. is snow-covered, and there’s still more than a month to go before spring. Data from the National Weather Service shows only three states are without snow: Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Several states that don’t usually see much snow are nearly covered. Southern states, like Texas and Oklahoma, have been especially hit hard this winter, with record-breaking cold, snow, ice and widespread power outages.

Photo Couresty Of wpxi.com

Courtesy of wpxi.com

https://tinyurl.com/2jm7lcvn

Large parts of London without water as major outage hits ‘multiple postcodes’

Water Outage Alert

Large parts of London have been left without water as major outage hits across ‘multiple postcodes’.

Thames Water reported specialists were working to “get things up and running as quickly as possible” after many homes residents experienced low pressure or no water.

The water company said affected areas included E6, E7, E10, E11, E12, E13, E15, E16, E20.

Twitter users shared their frustrations being left without water.

Journalist Jessica Elgot wrote: “East London currently has no running water, exactly what I’d expect from 2020 at this stage​.”

News reporter Alexander Smith wrote: “Not wanting to add more competition to this unending news cycle but there is a rather large water outage in east London.

“Thoughts and prayers with Thames Water’s social media person.”

Thames Water added in a statement that it was “really sorry” for the issue and that it was doing “all we can to get the issue resolved”.

It added: “We know this has happened at a difficult time.”

Some of those affected said the issue had been ongoing for a number of hours.

Zainab Ayed said: “Hurry up please I have a big family and we’re all needing a wash after going out to school work etc

“All of us need to go to the toilet Do wudu and stuff We can’t anymore and you’re telling us to wait Please send water bottles at the very least.”

Courtesy of mirror.co.uk

https://tinyurl.com/yxjxzhtl

Disaster declared due to extreme drought in Aroostook County, Maine, USA #Drought #AroostookCounty #Maine #USA

Drought Emergency Alert_2

The federal government has declared Aroostook County a “drought disaster” area as the region faces a prolonged dry spell.

This summer was one of the driest on record for The County — which has been placed under a severe drought status known as D2 — brought on by low soil moisture, lack of rainfall, drying vegetation and low stream flows.

The designation is given to areas experiencing severe droughts for eight consecutive weeks or a higher level drought intensity value for any period of time. Water levels in Aroostook and Penobscot rivers reached an all-time low earlier this year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The only other drought in Maine as severe as this was nearly 20 years ago — from 2001 to 2002.

“We have over 150 years of records at [the Penobscot water monitoring] location,” Nick Stasulis, the geological survey’s data section chief, told The Houlton Pioneer Times earlier this month. “So certainly that is a significant data set when you’re looking at the historical perspective.”

Due to the severe drought conditions, farmers in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties are eligible for emergency assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

Farmers have eight months from the date of a disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans from the USDA. The Farm Service Agency considers the extent of production losses on the farm and the operator’s security and repayment ability in reviewing emergency loan applications.

These emergency loans can be used to restore or replace “essential property,” pay off production costs accrued during the disaster year, cover family living expenses, reorganize farming operations and refinance debts, the agency said.

Other services such as the Livestock Forage Program, Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, the Emergency Conservation Program and the Non-insurable Crop Assistance Program are also available to farmers in counties in a severe drought.

Farmers in need of hay for their livestock can use the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Hay Directory, too.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry also encourages farmers to plan for future droughts by upgrading their water supplies and improving soil. Farmers should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District or local Natural Resources Conservation Service for help with soil health practices.

Courtesy of bangordailynews.com

https://tinyurl.com/y59r456g

Extreme drought triggers water crisis in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia #Drought #EastNusaTenggara #Indonesia

Drought Emergency Alert_2

Five villages in Rote Ndao regency in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) are suffering from clean water shortages as a result of extreme drought. Deskiel Haning of the Rote Ndao Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) said the five villages were Holulai, Nentenaen, Meoain, Lifuleo and Pukuafu. They had experienced extreme drought for more than 60 days. “The water crisis has been ongoing since July,” he said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com. The agency has been regularly distributing clean water to residents of the five villages in order to mitigate the water scarcity.

Authorities also urged villagers to only use clean water for drinking and bathing. “The clean water comes from tanks owned by the Rote Ndao BPBD and [an unidentified] third party,” said Deskiel. Several other villages in the regency have also requested Rote Ndao administration’s assistance in providing clean water. Deskiel went on to say that authorities were trying to fulfill those requests as soon as possible.

Courtesy of thejakartapost.com

https://tinyurl.com/y5la7fvn

Majorca suffers severe damage after ‘golf ball’ hail and tornado sweep island #Hailstorm #Tornado #Majorca #Spain

Tornado Alert

A violent storm and tornado have swept across Majorca, leaving a trail of destruction across the tourist hotspot in its wake.

Giant hailstones measuring up to two centimetres pelted down on the island mid-morning, bringing down hundreds of trees and causing power outages, after the storm arrived in the town of Banyalbufar on Saturday, August 29.

The damage was of such high magnitude it left Banyalbufar’s council considering whether to declare a “disaster area”.

The mayor, Mateu Ferra, expressed his concerns, saying the landscape “will take years to recover”.

He added that while there were no serious injuries, many residents “are going to need help”.

Several witnesses captured and shared footage of the storm on social media.

Some mentioned that hail the size of golf balls fell from the sky.

Motorists said strong gusts of wind had caused pine trees to fall and block the roads, preventing them from advancing.

A couple of elderly people and their daughter had to be rescued after after a fallen pine tree left them trapped inside their home, according to the Civil Guard.

Majorca firefighters, Civil Guard teams with Special Mountain Intervention Rescue Groups went to the disaster area and are still working to quantify the extent of the damage, a process which Ferra claims will be “endless”.

Hundreds of people have been left with no fresh water, according to the Majorca Daily Bulletin.

Community manager of electric company Endesa, Magdalena Frau, says staff have been working non-stop since noon on Saturday to restore electricity supplies through alternative routes.

The company has been forced to install temporary generators in the area. but locals still remain without Internet service and telephone coverage.

Frau explained it could take some time for normal services to resume due to the damage caused to the lines.

Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk

https://tinyurl.com/y2emz9fw