The Stream, August 1: Drought and Lack of Rain Force Sahel Families to Leave

Frequent droughts and unsteady rainfall are pushing families out of the Sahel, a new report from Refugees International says. Most of the region’s 100 million inhabitants rely on seasonal rainfall to rejuvenate farmland and produce feed for their herds, however in recent years an acute shortage of water has drained savings and forced families to move elsewhere.

Namibia has declared a state of emergency in response to ongoing drought this year, which now has left 109,000 children and breastfeeding mothers at risk of severe malnutrition, Bloomberg News reported. International help has failed to meet the aid that is needed, and as much as $US 7.4 million is still required to relieve those affected.

In a time of changing monsoon patterns, Sri Lanka considers restoring water reservoirs built between 300 and 400 B.C. across the country to functioning capacity, helping farmers adapt to fluctuating water supply, Integrated Regional Information Networks reported. The government estimated in 2004 that undertaking such a project would cost $US 20 million to make the tanks functional, however doing so would also help reduce flood damage and stabilize rice prices.

Great Lakes
5 Gyres Institute researchers have discovered large quantities of plastic pellets, similar to those used in beauty products, in Great Lakes waters, Reuters reported. The group has approached companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble with their findings, and the two consumer product giants have noted plans to phase the beads out by 2017.

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