Eden WatchTracking the progress of Climate Change on the Sahara
Changing Climate on the Sahara brings flooding in countries along Southern Border
Sahara November 2000 (left), September 2003 (right)
The images above show dramatic darkening, pushing northward, along the southern edge of the Sahara, the result of exceptionally heavy rains this summer. The same rains that have pushed back the desert region in the South was also responsible for the heat wave in Europe as the hot, dry air of a Sahara summer was pushed north into Europe.
Hundreds of mud brick structures in Timbuktu, a Unesco Heritage site on the Sahara, have been melted by this years torrential rains in the area, including some structures as much as 600 years old. Because Timbuktu does not have a drainage system, even more modern structures have collapsed when their foundations sunk into the muck. The Niger river is less than an inch below flood stage, and millions of people who live along its banks are being warned to move to higher ground as more heavy rains are in the forecast for the region. The Niger is currently experiencing a flow of eight times as much water as is typical for the rainy season. Flooding is taking places in countries all along the Southern borders of the Sahara region, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal, and the flooding of the Niger and exceptionally heavy rains along the border regions of the Sahara have caused flooding further south in Nigeria, which has affected close to one hundred thousand people so far, with further torrential rains in the forecast. Bomako, the capital of Mali, has been flooded, leaving about 10,000 people homeless, and thousands of others have lost crops around the region, according to the Red Cross and other agencies providing relief efforts. With more heavy rains coming, there is the possibility of further crop damage for the millions who live along the banks of the swollen rivers, should they burst their banks.
BBC reports on the disaster in timbuktu
MSNBC reports on the rising Niger river
AlertNet reports on the humanitarian crisis
links to other environmental stories...
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