Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In Africa, People and Wildlife Compete for Water

We tend to see the spreading freshwater crisis as a human problem.  Not enough water for agriculture.   Not enough clean water for drinking and cooking.  Not enough water for bathing and sanitation.   Yet, when we're short of water, every creature is short of water, and wildlife will compete with us as they must for whatever is to be had.

Asia faces its own climate change problem - too much water.    A report from the Asian Development Bank warns that nations in the region must prepare for waves of internal migration of masses displaced by sea level rise, inundation, floods and desertification.

..the report says most migration in the region will be within national boundaries, and primarily from rural to urban areas. The movement, the bulk of which will involve poor people, is likely to be influenced by social, political and economic changes as well as climate pressures, the report’s authors said.
In addition, the events most likely to propel millions to leave their homes permanently will be gradual environmental changes such as desertification and sea-level rise rather than sudden disasters, said Bart W. Edes, director of ADB's division on poverty reduction, gender and social development.

“Although the extreme weather events capture the attention of people, it’s the slow onset, where eventually you can no longer grow crops in the area or you can no longer live along the coast because the coast has moved inland, that will drive people away more permanently,” he told AlertNet.

Another country at risk from large scale internal migration from sea level rise, storm surges and lowlands inundation and the uninhabitability of populated desert regions is the United States itself.

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