When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Droughts international
Droughts international
Patrick Randall

With the state of California now in its fourth year of what is classified as a "mega-drought," Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency and Hollywood stars are getting shamed over their abundant water consumption.

But there are less notable corners of the earth going dry as well, as droughts are increasing in number and in strength worldwide. Though many factors can contribute to any one drought, most scientists blame the effects of global warming for dry seasons growing longer in many parts of the world, as the Global Drought Information System shows.

Here are five current drought-affected areas from around the world:

CALIFORNIA

A combination of lack of rain, climate change, high-pressure systems over the Pacific Ocean and fewer clouds have devastated crops and caused water shortages throughout the Golden State. While Texas was recently struggling with floods, Californians were asked to cut their consumption, leaving swimming pools and golf courses unusable and Hollywood's greenest lawns turning yellow.

U.S. lawmakers granted California a $687 million drought-assistance package last year designed to provide water to communities and upgrade distribution systems and treatment plants. But more than half the sum — at least $340 million — remains unspent.

Although state officials have defended the slow pace as a way to ensure money is being well-spent, Gov. Jerry Brown has stressed urgency. MyNewsLa quoted him as saying that the state could face "fires, disease and all sorts of things we don't ordinarily have to deal with" in the next 10 to 20 years if action isn't taken soon.

A day later, he appeared more reassuring when he said the state could overcome the drought by using technology and adapting to a "more elegant" way of living. He compared the situation to a spaceship: "In a spaceship you reuse everything," he said. "Well, we're in space and we have to find a way to reuse, and with enough science and enough funding we'll get it done."

Forbes explains that more nuclear power could be a solution for the state and its almost 40 million residents, because it uses no fresh water and can even produce more through desalination. It's a solution that some businesses, such as car washes, which are booming with the household water restrictions, might prefer go ignored.

Front pages: The Desert Sun, The Orange County Register, The Sacramento Bee, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle

BRAZIL

In Brazil, the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais are enduring their worst drought in 80 years. Water cutoffs began in February, after the rain season fell short. President Dilma Rousseff's government has taken a series of measures to limit the drought's impact.

Near the city of Belo Horizonte, record rainfalls were reported in May, more than three times the average. "But it's not a lot of rain," meteorologist Heriberto dos Anjos told Estado de Minas. In the southern part of the state, last year's drought seems to have affected coffee plants, with beans appearing smaller than usual, threatening to force prices up.

In São Paulo, there has been discussion about rationing water. But the state's Gov. Geraldo Alckmin recently ruled it out. Financial newspaper Valor reports that plans to build a system that can transfer water from one reservoir to another are running late and won't be completed until 2017.

Keep reading... Show less
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Dead And Disappeared: A Village Emerges From 72 Days Of Russian Occupation

Russian forces have been pushed out of the area around Kharkiv. Villages that were occupied for two months are free once more — but utterly destroyed. And thousands of people have disappeared without a trace.

Kharkiv and the surrounding villages faced weeks of constant Russian shelling.

Alfred Hackensberger

TSYKRUNY — Andriy Kluchikov uses a walking stick, but is otherwise fairly sprightly for a 94-year-old. Under his black wool hat, Kluchikov seems fearless as he surveys his hometown in northeastern Ukraine. “The missiles don't scare me,” he says with a smile. “I have slept in my own bed every night and never went down into the basement.”

As for the two-meter-wide bomb crater that has appeared in his garden, between the vegetable patch and the greenhouse with its shattered plastic roof, Kluchikov almost seems proud. “No one can intimidate me,” he says. “Not even the Russians.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the early days of the war, in February, Russian artillery almost completely destroyed this village of Tsyrkuny, near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. Only a few houses, including his own, were left undamaged. Shortly afterwards, Russian troops marched into the village and occupied it for 72 days. It was not until early this week that the Ukrainian army was able to liberate Tsyrkuny and many other areas to the north of the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

It is the Ukrainians’ most successful counter-offensive so far. They are thought to have pushed the invading troops back almost to the Russian border. “The offensive is gaining momentum,” according to the independent American thinktank Institute for the Study of War. “It has forced Russian troops on the defensive and has successfully alleviated artillery pressure on Kharkiv City.”

In the modern city of Kharkiv, home to around 1.5 million residents, the relief has been palpable over the last few days. Restaurants and cafes have reopened. People are walking and riding bikes in the parks, and couples are strolling hand in hand, enjoying the warm spring sunshine. You can still hear the artillery, but it is now many miles away.

Keep reading... Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch Video Show less
MOST READ