Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Upper Amazon: February 21, 2012

The Upper Amazon: February 21, 2012

            The following is a brief word from Foster Brown, the WHRC’s staff member and decades-long resident of Rio Branco in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon Basin. He offers a glimpse into the future of climatic disruption’s ramifications. GMW

Here in the southwestern Amazon we are undergoing floods of historic proportions.   Already more than five thousand displaced persons are living in public shelters.  The flooding in the Peruvian border town of Inapari extended more than an kilometer from the normal banks,  a flood exceeding all previous floods in living or recounted memories.   I had the strange experience of cruising up main street in a civil defense boat, watching our wake lap against shopping windows.

We are anticipating that the flood crest of the Acre River should peak today in Rio Branco, which is already at the second highest level in 40 years.    My job has been to help implant a early warning system for flooding; the system  worked but needs improvements.   However, since everyone in the region has been hit with the metaphorical two-by-four to get our attention,  my guess is that we will have a better system working shortly, just in time for the fires of the dry season.

About 200 Haitians in Inapari have suffered a double whammy of being barred from entering Brasil and then flooded out of their temporary refuge in a Catholic church.  I  have met several who manage one meal a day, if they are lucky."

            It is becoming virtually impossible to write realistically, or to report honestly, the details of  systematic global disruption now underway without appearing to be slipping into hyperbole. The statement below on “Adaptation” for instance  was rejected recently by Bruce Alberts, Editor of Science, as “unbalanced”. One wonders what “balance” might be and just how objective perspectives are even at Science.GMW

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