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1/31/2008

Nigeria: Tackling the Worsening Weather

Nigeria, Africa
For residents of Zamfara State and in fact the North West geo-political zone of the country, the past few weeks have brought about SOME OF THE MOST DIFFICULT WEATHER CONDITIONS SEEN IN RECENT YEARS. The dry season, known in this part of the world as Harmattan, has been in ITS WORST FORM IN LIVING MEMORY, bringing socio-economic activities to a halt. Harmattan is a dry and dusty West African trade wind that blows south from Sahara into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March. When the Harmattan blows hard, it can push dust and sand all the way to South America. The harmattan haze is blowing across the North in an UNUSUAL manner. At its worst, the Harmattan comes with three harsh conditions: dust, wind, and cold. No meaningful activity can be carried out during this wind. Experts have ascribed the harsh form of Harmattan experienced in recent years to Global Warming. Things changed in 1990, when experts were worried that for a long time, there was no trace of Harmattan during its normal season. The erratic weather then was caused by "a very deep low pressure area centered on Europe and North America, which persisted between October and December 1990. In the last two decades, it has become UNUSUAL to have the type of Harmattan currently being experienced in the south. "All of us wake up late these days because the weather is so harsh. In the morning, the strength of the wind is so much that you feel as if your roof will be blown off. Honestly I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE and we are barely managing to cope." "Two years ago (2006), it had gotten worse, we thought it will subside, but last year, it was something else, this year again, we have seen it go worse than the previous years."
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