Iran:Worst drought it has suffered for 30 yearsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
UN calls for Iran drought aid
Water supplies have been affected in most rural areas
A senior United Nations official in Iran has said that the country needs international assistance to cope with the most devastating drought it has suffered for 30 years.
The official, Francesco Bastagli, was speaking ahead of a meeting in Geneva this week in which the UN will urge donor countries to provide water tankers and other help to save agriculture and livestock.
Iran's second largest lake has shrunk so much it has become two lakes
The drought, arising from two consecutive years of little or no rainfall, has affected half of Iran's 62 million people.
A UN report on the drought says the Iranian Government has responded with a great effort but its capabilities and resources were being overwhelmed by the enormous scale of the disaster.
"The situation is indeed serious and there is a role for the international community to play," said Mr Bastagli, the UN's resident co-ordinator, at a news conference in Tehran.
"The UN is keen to address this need," he added.
The Italian Government has already pledged $2m in aid and another $380,000 is being promised by the European Union.
Drought in Iran 18 out of 28 provinces affected
2.8 million tonnes of wheat destroyed
800,000 animals dead from malnutrition
70% of rural water supplies disrupted
One of the most urgent needs, according to the UN, is for thousands of mobile and stationary water tankers for rural communities, where people and livestock are at risk.
It says Iran also needs one million tonnes of emergency barley feed for livestock and 28 tonnes of vitamin and mineral feed.
According to the UN report, 2.8 million tonnes of wheat crops and 280,000 tonnes of barley have been destroyed and an estimated 800,000 heads of livestock have died of malnutrition and thirst.
Iran has already been forced to import additional food supplies. An Iranian official said rainfall this year was less than 140mm, far below the average of 260mm.
Eighteen of the country's 28 provinces and 37 million people have been affected by the drought.
The environmental legacy could last for years
Several big lakes have dried up in the eastern and southern parts of the country and water flow in 70% of rural areas has been disrupted.
Lake Bakhtegan, in Fars province, has been very badly hit. The second largest lake in Iran, it has shrunk so much that it is now divided into two parts.
The UN report said water shortages could trigger migration by over 60% of the rural population.
Losses from the drought have been estimated at more than $3.4bn.
Experts have also warned that Iran's could face an influx of people fleeing similar conditions in Afghanistan in search of water and pasture.
The BBC correspondent in Tehran said that even if the most immediate ravages of the drought are mitigated, the long-term effects on agriculture, livestock and the environment are bound to be felt for years to come.
Water shortages - compounded by abnormally high temperatures this year - have been afflicting many other Middle Eastern nations, including Iraq and Jordan.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), August 22, 2000
Friday, 2 June, 2000
As Meir Ben Meir, Israel's Water Commissioner prepared for retirement, he painted a gloomy picture of possible conflict over water between Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan and Syria.
"At the moment, I project the scarcity of water within 5 years," he says.
"I can promise that if there is not sufficient water in our region, if there is scarcity of water, if people remain thirsty for water, then we shall doubtless face war."
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 22, 2000.
Maybe we will have to swap them the Great Lakes for their oil?
Remember this post: Several US companies have already laid claim to Canada's water under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and they have threatened legal action through the World Trade Organization if their plans are blocked.
-- K (email@example.com), August 23, 2000.