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article imageFloods and droughts hit Amazon again

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By Sukhdeep Chhabra     May 26, 2009 in Environment
Hit by floods, the most severe in decades, 376000 people are left homeless and many killed. It is time we realize what is happening to the planet because of us and what we can do to prevent it.
The world’s largest rainforest is under threat yet again. The Amazon basin, drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries has been hit by heavy flooding. Although a common factor in the tropical wilderness, this year the water level rose higher and stayed longer than it has in decades, leaving fruit trees entirely submerged. The communities suffered an unusual drought only four years ago that ruined crops and left mounds of river fish flapping and rotting in the mud, reports AP.
Global Warming is suspected to be the prime cause for the climatic fluctuations that have been hitting Amazon with increasing frequency lately.
Climatologists suggest being prepared for more extreme weather in the years ahead. And because of its expanse, it greatly affects rainfall all over the world. We, as a world have stake in the well being of Amazon.
Carlos Nobre, a climatologist with Brazil's National Institute for Space Research said:
“It's important to note that it's likely that these types of record-breaking climate events will become more and more frequent in the near future, so we all have to brace for more extreme climate in the near future: It's not for the next generation."
While the Amazon basin suffers from heavy flooding, southern Brazilian states far from the Amazon are being plagued by extended drought, caused by La Nina — a periodic cooling of waters in the Pacific Ocean. And La Nina alternates with El Nino, a heating up of Pacific waters that is blamed for catastrophic forest fires plaguing the Amazon in recent years.
As a result of the drought, international commodity prices like soy have gone up. Also, shipments of iron-ore have been affected adversely because of the shutting down of a key export railway for a week due to flooding. Brazil’s government has approved of $440 million in emergency funding in response to the floods and the drought. It is also helping the riverbank dwellers and by providing them with lumber seized from illegal Amazon loggers.
The rising waters are also dangerous for the exotic wildlife present in the area and can precariously lead to trouble for many endangered species.
Flooded Amazon
Flooded Amazon
Paul Williams
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So far, the flood has killed 44 people and left 376,000 homeless. The natives are not sure if it is global warming. But we do know that disturbing the last remaining original rainforest, continuously, desperate to avail fertile lands for agriculture which leads to felling of scores of trees everyday and the burgeoning population of the Amazonia are more than just minor factors that are contributing to the devastation of the largest stronghold of nature on earth.
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