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5/26/2009

Amazon hit by climate chaos of floods, drought

SAO PAULO — Across the Amazon basin, river dwellers are adding new floors to their stilt houses, trying to stay above rising floodwaters that have killed 44 people and left 376,000 homeless.
Flooding is common in the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness, but this year the waters rose higher and stayed longer than they have in decades, leaving fruit trees entirely submerged. Only four years ago, the same communities suffered an unprecedented drought that ruined crops and left mounds of river fish flapping and rotting in the mud.
Experts suspect global warming may be driving wild climate swings that appear to be punishing the Amazon with increasing frequency.
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