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Major drought in Amazon rainforest
A boat navigates through a section of the Amazon River suffering from low water levels.
The worst drought in more than 40 years is damaging the world's biggest rainforest, plaguing the Amazon basin with wildfires, sickening river dwellers with tainted drinking water, and killing fish by the millions as streams dry up.
"What's awful for us is that all these fish have died and when the water returns there will be barely any more," Donisvaldo Mendonca da Silva, a 33-year-old fisherman, said.
Nearby, scores of piranhas shook in spasms in two inches of water -- what was left of the once flowing Parana de Manaquiri river, an Amazon tributary. Thousands of rotting fish lined the its dry banks.
The governor of Amazonas, a state the size of Alaska, has declared 16 municipalities in crisis as the two-month-long drought strands river dwellers who cannot find food or sell crops.
Originally posted by loam
Sometimes we miss the slow and silent disasters...
Earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, melting polar ice cap, potential pandemic... It's been one hell of a year...
That is one ominous list!
[edit on 11-10-2005 by loam]
Amazon Drought Ending, Yet Sickness Looms
The Amazon basin's worst drought in more than 40 years is ending as rainfall returns to normal, though officials fear diseases will spread as rising rivers stir up muck from stagnant pools of contaminated water.
Many river dwellers in the world's largest rainforest are hungry, having lost crops in the drought. Stocks of fish, a dietary staple, may not recover for months in smaller tributaries that dried up, killing millions of fish.
"Now grave illnesses like hepatitis will come. We need to take medicine and food to people," said Franz Marinho de Alcantara, head of the emergency response efforts in the state of Amazonas, an area as big as Alaska.
His teams will use army boats to deliver 150,000 food baskets during the next several weeks to isolated communities living in the region's labyrinth of rivers.
The planned deliveries have been doubled because even though the rains have returned, it will take weeks for the enormous hydrologic system stretching across six states to fill up after some three months of drought...
The Amazon River was one of her more important lungs...