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Indonesia Worries about Climate Change

Climate News: Indonesia
Jakarta, Feb 25 (Prensa Latina) Indonesia is currently running the risk of losing 2,000 small islands by 2030, due to a sea-level increase, caused by the climate change, a study by this country´s Environment Ministry warned.
The warning emerged from a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to which the water levels will rise from three to 11 inches within 23 years.
In that case, the high tide will flood the Indonesian lowest islands, Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar predicted.
The minister warned that the agriculture in his country ha been affected by changes in the climate pattern, and the temperatures have risen. He also predicted a longest rainy season.
This country suffered serious floods in December that caused dozens of deaths, and thousands of people in the island of Sumatra had to be evacuated.


THAILAND - drought is likely to hit rubber and rice output. At least 28 of 76 provinces, mostly in the north and northeast, have been hit by an UNUSUALLY long and dry cool season - normally November to January - and are expected to face an extra-hot hot season - normally February to April - when it finally starts. "The cool season has lasted longer than expected." The cool season's persistence to the end of February has already hit the $4-billion-a-year natural rubber industry, as less latex flows from rubber trees during periods of little or no rainfall.

THAILAND - This dry season will be two or three months longer than usual, posing a high risk of drought where irrigation systems are lacking, according to the Royal Irrigation Department. Fifteen provinces are now in the initial stages of drought. 21 per cent of villages (15,698 villages) located in 40 of the country's 76 provinces are facing the problem. The delay of rain during the last wet season had been caused by the El Nino phenomenon and the unseasonable downpours earlier in January have stopped. The rainy season normally runs from July to October, peaking in August. No water for farming is available, and crops on more than 1,000 rai are wasting away. Severe drought has ruined 67,290 rai of farmland and affected nearly 500,000 residents in the four lower northern provinces.
SOUTH AFRICA - Reservoirs running dry in heat wave - The sizzling heat wave is not letting go just yet and, to make matters worse, some of the city's reservoirs are running dry. The hottest February day in Pretoria was measured in 1984 on February 15, when the mercury hit 36.8ºC. They came pretty close to breaking that record this week with a high of 36ºC recorded on Wednesday.

CHINA faces a higher risk of natural disasters including floods and drought this year, according to the Water Resources Vice-Minister, who told local authorities to prepare for torrential floods, typhoons and continued drought. Major Chinese rivers, including the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers, have not seen big floods for several years, with their water levels dropping in 2006. This signals a higher risk of heavy floods this year. Meanwhile, there has been inadequate rainfall in Yangtze River areas since August last year. The river's water level has dropped about 40 percent on average. Two of the biggest lakes along the river, Dongting Lake and Poyang Lake, were 60 percent and 10 percent lower than their average level. Inadequate rainfall has also plagued most of the northern part of the country. Coupled with the higher-than-usual temperatures in these areas, drought has already hit several places, some of which do not have a sufficient supply of drinking water for herds, according to the vice-minister. The country has seen more uneven distribution of rainfall in recent years. The "UNUSUAL winter" - warm, dry, with almost no snow - is likely to result in heavy sandstorms in Beijing during the spring of 2007. That will be "even more severe than what happened last year." In the spring of 2006, Beijing was hit by 17 sandstorms. Beijing had an UNUSUALLY low snowfall this winter, and the temperature was unseasonably high. Beijing experienced its HIGHEST AVERAGE TEMPERATURE IN 55 YEARS last year. Temperatures are predicted to be even higher this year. "The greenhouse effect will easily lead to weather extremes, which may result in droughts worse than our imagination." Beijing in 2006 suffered its eighth consecutive year of drought. The total annual rainfall last year was 448 millimeters, 137 millimeters less than the city's recorded average.
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