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International

The Cord Weekly wednesday, February 4, 2009

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Drought, ice storms and heat waves causing global death and destruction Argentina, the United States and Australia are just a few of the locations that have been hit with outrageous weather conditions Henji Milius Staff Writer

Argentinian drought Argentina, one of the world’s major exporters of beef, soybeans and corn, has recorded one of its worst droughts last Saturday. Rainfall was below normal and temperatures were high from October to March of last year. A ranch farmer from Stroeder, Hilda Schneider, has lost 500 cows due to the lack of food. She told the Associated Press (AP) that the situation is so precarious that her only means of survival is to save the animals that are left. Liliana Nunez of the National Weather Service told the AP that the country is in its worst condition since 1971. She pointed out that ocean temperatures in the Southern Atlantic have heated wind currents, which led to fewer cold and wet Pacific fronts from building rain clouds. Wheat production dropped more than 44 percent for 2008-2009, projected the Agricultural Secretariat, while corn dropped to 27 percent. An estimated $5 billion will be lost in the farming sector and $4.3 billion in tax revenues. This agricultural ordeal has put strains on President Cristina Fernandez to reduce taxes on exports on which the country relies to sustain its economy.

Ice storms in the USA A deadly ice storm put five US states out of power last week. The storm that started in the Midwest has killed at least 42 people in Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, West

Virginia and Ohio. More than 536,000 businesses and homes in Kentucky were without power − similar to the 600,000 who were out of power last year from Hurricane Ike. Many of the related deaths were due to traffic accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. Thousands of people were asked to leave their homes and go to shelters or motels to keep themselves warm and receive food rations. Crittenden County Judge-Executive Fred Brown told the AP, “We’re asking people to pack a suitcase and head south … because we can’t service everybody in our shelter.” Doris Hemingway, 78, and her husband Bill did just that. After spending three days inside her Leitchfield mobile home, Hemingway reflected on the situation, saying, “I’d pray awhile and I’d cry awhile. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen.” Local officials, under tremendous pressure, said there was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). President Barack Obama issued a federal emergency on Friday. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said crews were doing all they can to bring power back, while the American Red Cross and FEMA were trying their best to control the situation.

Australian heat wave Also last week, BBC news reported heat waves crossing the southern part of Australia. Temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) have caused at least 22 sudden deaths in Adelaide on Friday. These extreme temperatures have caused death, destruction and

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COLD AS ICE - Extreme weather conditions hit the American Midwest, leaving thousands without power. disruption. Most of the deceased were elderly people who may have been struggling with the increasing heat. These sudden deaths are still under investigation to see whether or not they were related in any measure to heat, but strokes and heart attacks could have been part

of the problem. Also, wildfires have destroyed ten homes near a rural town called Boolarra. Power outages and disruption of the transportation system have been linked to the “baking temperatures” during the three days the heat waves have circulated

in Melbourne. Some traffic lights were not functioning properly, train services had been stopped because rail lines were too hot and the explosion of a substation put more than 300,000 homes out of power.


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