Sunday, March 11, 2007

Floods in Bolivia

The unprecedented heavy rains that have been pouring onto Bolivia as part of El Niño have caused major rivers to burst their banks and left dozens dead and tens of thousands of people severely effected by flooding / homeless. On top of this large amounts of crops and cattle have been destroyed which will have drastic repercussions later in the year.

The governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, Spain, Japan, Italy, US, Argentina, France and Chile have reportedly responded with aid including doctors, helicopters, temporary shelters and food although in a country like Bolivia with its endemic poverty these humanitarian gestures will fall sadly short.

President Evo Morales has stated that "There are countries who, in an excessive, uncontrolled manner, have implemented industrialisation policies and this has affected the planet and is ... destroying the environment and it is the poor countries that have to bear the brunt of it." Many of the poorest countries in the world are going to be the first to bear the brunt of climate change despite being the nations least responsible for green house gas emissions.

Whilst Channel Four mucks around with programmes that pretend these problems are some kind of elaborate hoax real people on the other side of the world are killed, rendered homeless or destitute. I mean, even the US government with all their vested interests not to do so now accept climate change as a reality... doesn't that tell these people something?


Anonymous said...

Can you show me a scientific correlation between combustible emissions and the El Nino weather phenomenon, specifically the weather fronts that are dropping rain in Bolivia? Are the yearly monsoons in India also caused by global warming?

Bolivia Rising said...

Over at Bolivia Rising we also have an article on the floods in Bolivia

Jim Jay said...

Well anon (why are these sorts of comments always anonymous...) I don't know what a combustible emission is.

There are plenty of places you can read about climate change so I'm not going to bother talking about that, however, there has been quite a wide ranging discussion lately about the connection between climate change and El Niño and it's sister phenomenon El Niña which have become notably more frequent and more ferocious since the 80's.

This is possibly the worst natural disaster in Bolivia's history. It's not a normal event contained within normal cycles however the rain dropping on Bolivia *is* part of the El Niño effect, but in an intensified form.

Scientists have been monitoring the temperatures of the oceans and have noted that the surface temperature is rising which makes these naturally occuring phenomenon more intense and destructive, as I'm sure New Orleans can testify.

El Niño itself is an effect of the warming of the oceans although no one has yet really proved why it happens. However, what is clear is that the warming of the ocean surface combined with the naturally occuring El Niño warming has created a tendency for El Niño to occur more often and with a greater impact.