Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Half million Syrians flee drought

Tafline Laylin in Green Prophet: Nearly half a million people have abandoned an area in Eastern Syria near the Euphrates River that has shriveled under a five year drought. Fierce temperatures and dwindling rainfall, as well as corruption and mismanagement of existing water resources, has led to what Trade Arabia calls the largest internal migration of people since Britain and France “carved the country out of the Ottoman empire in 1920.”

Those that stayed behind must scrape life out of ruined croplands and filthy water – since most of the choice supplies have been diverted to well-connected farm owners. Others irrigate crops with water usurped from illegal wells, but that’s not enough to provide for everyone. Thousands of people are receiving aid from the World Food Program, while others have been relegated to slums.

In the 1980′s, the region that used to belong to the ancient Inezi tribe received 189mm rainfall annually. During the nineties that fell to 163mm and has plummeted to 152mm in the last decade. Meanwhile, thispast summer, Syria experienced 46 consecutive days of temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius, according to Trade Arabia. Only 15% of livestock remain, and locals are unable to till their own land for food.

“Environment Minister Kawkab al-Dayeh told a water conference in Damascus last month pollution had played a role in the deterioration of 59 percent of total agricultural land, with raw sewage being widely used for irrigation,” AT reports….

Hauran near Izra', Syria, shot by Bertramz, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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