Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nepal facing hunger as climate changes

Binaj Gurubacharya (AP)

Boudhanath Buddhist temple complex featuring Buddha's Eyes, Katmandu, Nepal.
The Himalayas used to be covered in thick snow that remained year around.

Due to global warming, the environment is detiorating. This photo shows actual conditions on a trek in the Himalayan foothills, Dunge Valley.

KATMANDU, Nepal — Millions of people in Nepal face severe food shortages because global climate change has disrupted weather patterns and slashed crop yields in the Himalayan nation, an international aid agency warned Friday.

Changing weather patterns have dramatically affected crop production in Nepal, leaving farmers unable to properly feed themselves and pushing them into debt, Oxfam International said in a report released in Katmandu. The British aid agency described the situation as "deeply worrying."

Nepalese beggar eats donated food at roadside temple in Katmandu on 8/26/09. Large pockets of extreme poverty and hunger persist in Asia, where the global downturn makes it more difficult to achieve U.N. goals to reduce poverty. Nepal is the worst off with 55.1 percent of its population surviving on less than $1.25 a day (AP/Binod Joshi).

"Communities told us crop production is roughly half that of previous years... Last year many could only grow enough (food) for one month's consumption," said Oxfam's Wayne Gum, adding that less precipitation has been forecast this winter, which will make the situation worse. More extreme temperatures, drier winters, and delays in summer monsoons have all compounded the situation, the report said.

Boys play with a soccer ball on ground overgrown with weeds as Monsoon clouds hover over, Kathmandu, 8/27/09 (AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe).

More than 3.4 million people in Nepal are estimated to require food assistance, and food stocks in farming communities will last only a few months, it warned. Oxfam said Nepal will likely suffer more frequent droughts because of climate change. River levels will decline due to the reduced rainfall and glacial retreat, making it harder to irrigate crops and provide water for livestock. More>>

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