October 2, 2022

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Droughts around the world are putting people’s lives at risk, and the economy is experiencing shock after shock. Warning from experts

Drought in many regions of the world is both a cause and an effect of the extremely hot summer. “Higher temperatures dry out the landscape, which dries out the atmosphere and warms the air. This vicious circle is difficult to break,” experts say.

People’s lives are in danger, the economy is suffering shock after shock, and the fires in Europe this summer consumed an area eight times larger than the metropolis of New York. The figure is 56% higher than the previous record set in 2017 and double the annual average calculated for the period 2006-2021.

What the decline of China’s Yangtze River has revealed

An all-time low in China’s Yangtze River has revealed a submerged island and a trio of 600-year-old Buddhist statues.

A church has surfaced from the San Roman River, Spain

The San Roman de Sau river in Spain has dried up to such an extent that a very old church has partially surfaced. Tourists come to see the wonder, and the authorities have restricted the flow.

Closer to us, the suffering of the Danube exposed more than 20 German warships sunk during the Second World War near the port city of Prahovo in Serbia. They had tons of ammunition and explosives on board. Stretched out on the river bed, some still have broken towers and masts.

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Coal deposits, surfaced in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, one of the effects of the drought is the coming to light of some coal deposits for emergencies, which were located on the banks of the Danube, near the village of Kovacica.

Kircho Kirilov, resident of Kovacica village:If they sit in the sun for 4-5 days, these coals turn to gunpowder. The Danube has never been like this! Not you ships, not you fish“.

In Novi Sad, in Serbia, you can take walks through the middle of the Danube

Ksenija Pavkov, TV N1 reporter:If it wasn’t for the drought, I would have been in the middle of the river now, but the water receded and a kilometer long sand island appeared“.

In Tarragona, mussel growers report huge losses

And in Kosovo, all the rivers and lakes dried up this summer. The impact on agriculture, livestock and seafood is devastating.

In Tarragona, mussel growers report losses of millions of euros. There are 74 mussel farms here, and most of them died this year. Only the clams escaped, being able to withstand high temperatures. Also in Spain, near Seville, those who grow flowers are desperate.

Local:I have 3,000 square meters of greenhouses and I received 600,000 liters of water, although I would have needed two million liters. I lost the whole crop“.

Hence the orders at maximum levels for desalination plants, both for drinking water and for irrigation.

Dr Vikki Thompson, climatologist, University of Bristol:We may have unusually warm weather in winter as well, which would have massive impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, animals“.

Utterly discouraged by the extension of the restrictions are those who navigate the Rhine, one of Europe’s most important transport routes, for coal, oil and grain.

Barge Master Dennis Karmers: We usually carry 2,000 tons, but we reduced the load to 400. If we were to load 450 tons, we risk getting stuck“.

State of emergency in the US

There is also a state of emergency in the United States, where more and more areas in Nevada, Arizona and California are banned from watering their lawns and washing their cars.

Michael Cohen, Pacific Institute:The Colorado River is in its 23rd consecutive year of drought“.

In California, several celebrities such as the Kardashian sisters and Sylvester Stallone have been issued warnings for flouting water restrictions in the affluent suburbs of Los Angeles, known for their lush green lawns and giant swimming pools.

Actor Sylvester Stallone’s Hidden Hills residence exceeded its quota for the month of June by 870,000 liters, which is 533% more than the maximum limit. Those who break the law are initially fined hundreds of dollars, but repeat offenders risk having their water drastically reduced. In fact, more and more Southern Californians are replacing their lawns with artificial turf, rocks and more drought-resistant plants.

Dr Laurence Wainwright, Departmental Lecturer, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford: “I highly doubt that California will be livable in 75-100 years.”

If watering the lawn can be passed off as fads, Africa, on the other hand, is on the edge of the precipice. Already 22 million Africans suffer from hunger.

David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme:There is a high probability that famine will be decreed in Africa, because we are facing nothing more than a perfect storm, it is like a tsunami on top of another tsunami, because we have a combination of drought and lack of money“.

Dr Laurence Wainwright, Departmental Lecturer, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford:Necessity is the mother of innovation, and human history proves that we are good at finding solutions. It’s time to act, to take the climate crisis seriously, to be proactive rather than reactive“.

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