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Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore In Southern Iran

Thousands Of Dead Fish Wash Ashore In Southern Iran

ZAHEDAN — Three tons of "rotting" sardines were among thousands of dead fish from the Oman Sea that have washed onto Iran's southern coast in recent days, in and around the port of Konarak.

Local fishermen have blamed trawlers — the vast nets that sweep the sea floor in industrial fishing — and have urged authorities to investigate amid the spreading "stench in the area, the semi-official Mehr agency reported.

One fisherman told the agency that trawlers destroy "the entire sea floor" and were gradually pushing local fish stocks toward extinction. But the fisheries head for the province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Mohsen Ali Golshani, insisted that no trawler "was active in the region," and that they were not allowed to fish within eight miles of the coast anyway.

The dead fish are in any case too small for their nets, he told Mehr. He said tests so far had shown "no sign of poisoning or pollution that would have killed this amount of fish," and authorities were perplexed for now. "Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, three tons of sardines have died in this region."

Photo: Iranian boats at Konarak port — Amirhossein Nikroo

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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