Malawi facing hunger

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Floods in early 2015 were the worst in living memory in Malawi, washing away homes and food stocks, and ruining fertile land. Photo: UNDP/Arjan van de Merwe

Malawi facing worst food crisis in decade, requires $81 million in relief aid – UN agency

More than 2.8 million people will face hunger in the coming months in the worst food crisis in a decade in Malawi, where a staggering four out of every 10 children suffer from stunting, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today.

“People in some affected districts have already started selling their livestock to make ends meet,” WFP said in a press release. “Women are also engaging in more firewood and charcoal selling, which degrades the environment and further aggravates the fragile climate.”

“The agency said more than 2.8 million people will face hunger in the coming months following severe floods and drought that ruined this year’s harvest.

“The floods early this year were the worst in living memory in Malawi, washing away homes and food stocks, and ruining fertile land,” it said. “Some crops managed to withstand the floods only to succumb to intense dry spells in the following months, making survival even more difficult for the most vulnerable.”

“Since the end of last year, WFP has provided relief assistance to avert hunger in households hit by poor rainfall during the 2013/14 growing season and the floods in early 2015. This operation has reached more than one million vulnerable people.

Read the full story: UN News Centre

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National flood and runoff assessment

 

 

A new analysis and approach to watershed management

Watershed scientists offer national flood and runoff assessment

Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Summary: The first continent-wide, multi-factor analysis of climate and land cover effects on watersheds in the United States, published today, provides a broad new assessment of runoff, flooding and storm water management options for use by such professionals as land use and town planners and water quality managers.

The first continent-wide, multi-factor analysis of climate and land cover effects on watersheds in the United States, published today, provides a broad new assessment of runoff, flooding and storm water management options for use by such professionals as land use and town planners and water quality managers.

Watershed scientist Timothy Randhir and his doctoral student Paul Ekness in the department of environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hope their new multivariate simulation and statistical models at the watershed system level will give managers some practical ideas on new incentives to get developers to include water quality, green infrastructure and conservation plans in their projects. They also want to encourage a new awareness of the need for cities and towns to cooperate when considering new development.

The study quantifies the connections between land use and climate, that is temperature and precipitation, to the runoff process and flooding in a watershed system at a larger scale than was available before. Details appear today in an early online edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.

Read the full story: Science Daily

El Niño flooding in Burkina Faso

 

TREE AID statement on the flooding in Burkina Faso

There is currently severe flooding in parts of Burkina Faso, attributed to the El Niño weather system. El Niño has caused a delayed onset of the rainy season and now unseasonably heavy rains.

This flooding has already affected over 20,000 people and demolished 3,700 homes. It is likely that this extreme weather will affect food production and harvests. 

John Moffett, CEO of TREE AID, said: “Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our staff and partners, with whom we are in daily contact. TREE AID projects located in Burkina Faso are continuing, led by our dedicated network of field workers and have not been affected by the flooding.”TREE AID’s largest African office is based in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, where the worst flooding is being experienced.

See the text and map: Tree Aid

Releasing massive amounts of the Colorado River from dams

Photo credit: Treehugger

CC BY 2.0 Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr

Why are they flooding the Grand Canyon?

by Melissa Breyer
Science / Conservation

The U.S. Department of the Interior has taken to releasing massive amounts of the Colorado River from dams, here’s why.

The Colorado River should reach the sea, that’s what it wants to do. It wants to start in the Rocky Mountains and wind its way 1,450 miles along the Arizona-California border into the Mexican delta, irrigating farmland and nourishing loads of wildlife and flora along the way before emptying itself into the Gulf of California. That’s what it did up until 1998. But then, gradually, ouch.

The mighty Colorado continues to take top honors in American Rivers’ annual rankingof America’s most endangered rivers. The conservation groups notes, “A century of water management policies and practices that have promoted wasteful water use have put the river at a critical crossroads.” Demand on the river’s water simply exceeds its supply, to the point that it no longer reaches the sea. Instead, it dribbles into nothingness somewhere in the desert of the Southwest.

As Jonathan Waterman wrote in The New York Times:

Now dozens of animal species are endangered; the culture of the native Cocopah (the People of the River) has been devastated; the fishing industry, once sustained by shrimp and other creatures that depend on a mixture of seawater and freshwater, has withered.

The river’s sad story began in 1922 with the Colorado River Compact, an agreement among seven western states to divvy up its bounty. Mexico was allotted 10 percent of the flow. Almost a century later and a study by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation finds that the entire river and its tributaries are siphoned off to meet the needs of 40 million Americans living in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Along with hydrating 5.5 million acres of land, it also helps power much of the electricity that comes from hydro-power plants.

Did I say ouch? Ouch.

Read the full article: Treehugger

Increased desertification of unstable areas

Photo credit: Trade Arabia

Climate change ‘may worsen instability in ME’

Climate change could aggravate existing instability in the Middle East, a diplomat has warned.
French Ambassador to Bahrain Bernard Regnauld-Fabre said rising sea levels and increased desertification posed serious security concerns, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

One of the reasons was the potential displacement of large populations, which might have to relocate to escape flooding.

However, he added that renewable energy could hold the key to a more peaceful Middle East.

“In Egypt, an increase of 50cm, or almost 20 inches, in the sea level would cause millions of people to flee the Nile Delta, with security consequences for the entire region,” he explained.

“Increased desertification of unstable areas, such as the Sahel (in Africa), would foster the growth of criminal networks and armed terrorist groups, which are already thriving there.

“Similarly, climate disruption would exacerbate the threats that are currently concentrated in regions from Niger to the Arabian Gulf.”

Read the full article: Trade Arabia

Floodwater used to grow herbs in Dakar (Senegal)

Photo credit: TRUST

Emilie Faye stands near a floodwater retention basin in Pikine, a suburb of the Senegalese capital Dakar. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

Dakar women grow herb business from floodwater

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Author: Kathryn M. Werntz

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/uoGxrDeyT_g

Though the coastal cities of Senegal are situated on the fierce Atlantic Ocean, it is floods from heavy rains they struggle with, rather than rising tides.

Inondation à Pikine -  http://www.noorinfo.com/photo/art/default/4613661-6906052.jpg?v=1344867640
Inondation à Pikine – http://www.noorinfo.com/photo/art/default/4613661-6906052.jpg?v=1344867640

A common solution is to pump floodwaters into the ocean. But one innovative project is trying to capture the water instead, for use in gardening during water-short periods of the year.

Pikine, les Parcelles assainies et Guédiawaye, les trois villes de la banlieue dakaroise, bénéficieront, très prochainement, d’un programme spécial de lutte contre la pauvreté. - http://www.seneweb.com/news/artimages/news/pikine.jpg
Pikine, les Parcelles assainies et Guédiawaye, les trois villes de la banlieue dakaroise, bénéficieront, très prochainement, d’un programme spécial de lutte contre la pauvreté. – http://www.seneweb.com/news/artimages/news/pikine.jpg

In Pikine, a suburb of Senegal’s capital Dakar, the “Live with Water” project captures floodwater in large sandy basins, around which cash crop gardens of mint and basil provide an income for local residents.

Using the basins, floods that once wiped out houses, strained the local economy and heightened the risk of disease have been converted into a new stock of fresh water for a West African community that is dusty and dry much of the year.

“Before, one had to accept that houses here flood. But this project opened our eyes to see there is a solution,” said Emilie Faye, a local leader who has been instrumental in the project.

Faye points to the seat of her couch, indicating the flood level in years past. The wall and ceiling of her home are discoloured and peeling due to secondary damage from humidity.

CATCHING RAINWATER

The redirected floodwaters serve a multitude of purposes. The surface drainage system leads water into an underground canal which empties into a natural filtration system. Water then flows through a series of basins, creating a reservoir and a green space in the middle of a crowded, dusty suburb.

The basins, a burgeoning ecosystem of their own, are now populated with medicinal plants, fish and herons.

 

Read the full article: TRUST

Climate change projects for a sustainable solution

Photo credit: Google

Farmers in Sierra Leone

Effects of Climate Change in Sierra Leone

Climate change refers to an increase in average global temperatures. Natural events and human activities such as deforestation, increasing population pressure, intensive agricultural land use, overgrazing, bush burning, extraction of fuel wood and other biotic resources are believed to be contributing to an increase in average global temperatures. This is caused primarily by increases in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

Sierra Leone is experiencing adverse climate conditions with negative impacts on the welfare of millions of Sierra Leoneans. Flooding during the raining season, off season rains and dry spells have sent growing seasons out of orbit; on a country dependent on a rain fed agriculture. Alarm bells are ringing. Lakes are drying up. There is reduction in river flow. The water table is at its lowest ebb. The red flag is up. No one is talking. The warnings are being dismissed. It’s been business as usual.

The result is fewer water supplies for use in agriculture, hydro power generation and other domestic purposes. The main suspect for all this havoc is climate change. This has been confirmed following release of the 4th IPCC Assessment report. Africa will be worst hit by the effects of climate change. Sierra Leone not exempted.

The agricultural sector contributes about 47.9% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and agriculture is the largest employer of labour with 80% of the population working in the sector. The dominant role of agriculture makes it obvious that even minor climate deteriorations can cause devastating socioeconomic consequences.

Read the full article: allAfrica