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 user 2005-10-15 at 11:25:00 am Views: 59
  • #13920

    Amazon drought emergency widens

    A worsening drought in the Amazon basin has prompted Brazil to extend an emergency across the Amazonas state.

    Brazil’s military has been distributing supplies and medicine to tens
    of thousands of people stranded by the dramatic drop in water levels.

    Witnesses say rivers and lakes have dried up completely, leaving behind kilometres of sand and mud.

    Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has blamed deforestation and global warming for the drought.

    It quoted scientists as saying that the burning of forests has raised
    temperatures in the Amazon, preventing the formation of clouds.

    Brazilian government meteorologists, however, have said
    the drought is the result of unusually high temperatures in the
    Atlantic Ocean, that have also been linked to this year’s devastating

    Airlift lifeline

    A state of emergency has been declared in all 61 municipalities of
    Brazil’s Amazonas state as the drought has started affecting towns and
    cities further downstream, reports the BBC’s Tom Gibb in Sao Paolo.

    Brazil’s armed forces have been delivering water, food
    and medical supplies to communities isolated by the worst drought in
    the Amazon for decades.

    The air force has been distributing water-purifying
    chemicals to counter the threat of disease from water supplies
    contaminated by dead fish in the Amazon.

    Low river levels are preventing boats – for many the
    only means of transport – from using the Amazon safely, leaving
    communities depending on government airlifts for their survival.

    Big ships have been left stranded in the world’s
    second-largest river and millions of fish are rotting in the sun,
    witnesses say.