quarta-feira, outubro 12, 2005

Amazonas - O Rumo Perdido

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O Rio Parana de Manaquiri - parece que desapareceu!
It looks like the Rio Parana de Manaquiri has disappeared entirely!

Check the Comments for a news update from Reuters.
Olha nos comentários por details.

Desaparecido - Manu Chao

me llaman el desaparecido
que cuando llega ya se ha ido
volando vengo, volando voy
deprisa deprisa a rumbo perdido
cuando me buscan nunca estoy
cuando me encuentran yo no soy
el que esta enfrente porque ya
me fui corriendo mas alla

me dicen el desparecido
fantasma que nunca esta
me dicen el desagradecido
pero esa no es la verdad
yo llevo en el cuerpo un dolor
que no me deja respirar
llevo en el cuerpo una condena
que siempre me echa a caminar

me llaman el desaparecido
que cuando llega ya se ha ido
volando vengo, volando voy
deprise deprise a rumbo perdido

yo llevo en el cuerpo un motor
que nunca deja de rolar
yo llevo en el alma un camino
destinado a nunca llegar

me llaman el desaparecido
cuando llega ya se ha ido
volando vengo, volando voy
deprisa deprisa a rumbo perdido

perdido en el siglo...
siglo veinte...
rumbo al veinti uno

Posted outubro 15, 2005 3:22 PM by Blogger David Wilson /  

Well, I found Manaquiri, 100 miles west of Manaus. No sign of the Rio Parana de Manaquiri anywhere though, at least not on any of the maps I found. I can't put links into Comments, but here is the Reuters Link in text format:


An interesting note - there appears to be no link to this story from the Reuters site, you have to know it is there and search for it by the author's name ... why is that I wonder?

Amazon rainforest suffers worst drought in decades
Terry Wade/Reuters, Mon Oct 10, 2005 12:03 PM ET

MANAQUIRI, Brazil (Reuters) - The worst drought in more than 40 years is damaging the world's biggest rainforest, plaguing the Amazon basin with wildfires, sickening river dwellers with tainted drinking water, and killing fish by the millions as streams dry up.

"What's awful for us is that all these fish have died and when the water returns there will be barely any more," Donisvaldo Mendonca da Silva, a 33-year-old fisherman, said.

Nearby, scores of piranhas shook in spasms in two inches of water -- what was left of the once flowing Parana de Manaquiri river, an Amazon tributary. Thousands of rotting fish lined the its dry banks.

The governor of Amazonas, a state the size of Alaska, has declared 16 municipalities in crisis as the two-month-long drought strands river dwellers who cannot find food or sell crops.

Some scientists blame higher ocean temperatures stemming from global warming, which have also been linked to a recent string of unusually deadly hurricanes in the United States and Central America.

Rising air in the north Atlantic, which fuels storms, may have caused air above the Amazon to descend and prevented cloud formations and rainfall, according to some scientists.

"If the warming of the north Atlantic is the smoking gun, it really shows how the world is changing," said Dan Nepstadt, an ecologist from the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Institute, funded by the U.S. government and private grants.

"The Amazon is a canary in a coal mine for the earth. As we enter a warming trend we are in uncertain territory," he said.

Deforestation may also have contributed to the drought because cutting down trees cuts moisture in the air, increasing sunlight penetration onto land.

Other scientists say severe droughts were normal and occurred in cycles before global warming started.


In the main river port of Manaus, dozens of boats lay stranded in the cracked dirt of the riverbank after the water level receded. Pontoons of floating docks sit exposed on dry land. People drive cars where only months ago they swam.

An hour from where it joins the Rio Negro to form the Amazon River, the Rio Solimoes is so low that kilometers (miles) of exposed riverbank have turned into dunes as winds whip up thick sandstorms. Vultures feed on carrion.

Another major Amazon tributary, Rio Madeira, is so dry that cargo ships carrying diesel from Manaus cannot reach the capital of Rondonia state without scraping the bottom. Instead, fuel used to run power plants has to be hauled in by truck thousands of kilometers (miles) from southern Brazil.

Dry winds and low rainfall have left the rainforest more susceptible to fires that farmers routinely start to clear their pastures.

In normal dry seasons, rains arrive often enough to put out blazes that escape from farms and spread to the forest. This year, the forest is catching fire and staying aflame.

In Acre state, some 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of forest have burned since the drought started and thick black smoke has on occasion shut down airports.

"It's illegal to burn but everyone around here does it. I do it to get rid of insects and cobras and to create fresh grass for my cows," a man who would only identify himself as Calixto said while using bundles of green leaves to smother flames and control fires near a highway.


The drought has also upset daily life in communities scattered throughout the basin's labyrinth of waterways.

"We closed 40 schools and canceled the school year because there's a lack of food, transport and potable water," said Gilberto Barbosa, secretary of public administration in Manaquiri. People whose wells have dried up risk drinking river water contaminated by sewage and dead animals.

Sinking water levels have severed connections in the lattice of creeks, lakes and rivers that make up the Amazons motorboat transportation network.

Many people in Manaquiri's 25 riverine communities are now forced to walk kilometers (miles) to buy rice or medicines.

Cases of diarrhea, one of the biggest killers in the developing world, are rising in the region. Many fear stagnant water will breed malaria. In response, the state government has flown five tons of basic medicines out to distant villages.

It will be two more months before the river fills again during the rainy season. Even then, residents fear polluted water will float to the top, causing sickness and economic plight.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Manuel Tavares Silva, 39, who farms melons and corn near Manaquiri, a town 149 km (93 miles) from Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state.

Posted outubro 24, 2005 12:19 PM by Blogger David Wilson /  

update October 15:

Amazon drought emergency widens

A worsening drought in the Amazon basin has prompted Brazil to extend an emergency across the Amazonas state. Lakes such as the Anama have been drying up in the drought.

Brazil's military has been distributing supplies and medicine to tens of thousands of people stranded by the dramatic drop in water levels.

Witnesses say rivers and lakes have dried up completely, leaving behind kilometres of sand and mud.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has blamed deforestation and global warming for the drought.

It quoted scientists as saying that the burning of forests has raised temperatures in the Amazon, preventing the formation of clouds.

Brazilian government meteorologists, however, have said the drought is the result of unusually high temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, that have also been linked to this year's devastating hurricanes.

Airlift lifeline

A state of emergency has been declared in all 61 municipalities of Brazil's Amazonas state as the drought has started affecting towns and cities further downstream, reports the BBC's Tom Gibb in Sao Paolo.

Brazil's armed forces have been delivering water, food and medical supplies to communities isolated by the worst drought in the Amazon for decades.

The air force has been distributing water-purifying chemicals to counter the threat of disease from water supplies contaminated by dead fish in the Amazon.

Low river levels are preventing boats - for many the only means of transport - from using the Amazon safely, leaving communities depending on government airlifts for their survival.

Big ships have been left stranded in the world's second-largest river and millions of fish are rotting in the sun, witnesses say.

Posted outubro 24, 2005 12:39 PM by Blogger David Wilson /  

update October 20


Level of Solimões River begins to rise in Tabatinga

Thaís Brianezi - Agência Brasil

Tabatinga - The level of the Solimões River in Tabatinga (AM), on the Brazilian border with Peru and Colombia, has already begun to rise, but it will be 15 days before the city's port resumes operations, affirms Jaime Azevedo da Silva, a cargo checker for the Amazonas Navegation, Ports, and Waterways Company (SNPH). He is one of the 302 people who make daily measurements of river levels in the Amazon basin. Every three months the data are collated and tabulated by technical personnel in the Hydrology Department of the Brazilian Geological Service (still identified by the acronym CPRM, after its predecessor, the Mineral Resources Research Company). "The river rose 0.31 centimeters between Monday and Tuesday. But the depth was still 1.91 meters, around 5 meters below what is normal for this time of year," he said.

Izidoro de Araújo Maquini is a maritime and fluvial dispatcher and handles jobs for a firm in Iquitos, Peru. He phones there every day for information about the level of the Marañon River (the name of the Solimões River in its headwaters in Peru, where it is fed by the Andes thaw). "The level of the Marañon River has been rising about 5 centimeters each day for the past 12 days," he reported.

On September 16, the Tabatinga municipal administration had to close the city's floating port, which wound up on dry land. From the port area it is possible to see the gully that is currently serving as an anchorage. When it rains, according to da Silva, the mud makes it nearly impossible to load merchandise on the boats.

Nevertheless, some people continue to fish in the Solimões River, which more nearly resembles a large lake. Josué Gomes do Nascimento, who paints cars for a living, catches curimatas, a small regional fish that costs US$ 2.22 (R$ 5.00) per kilogram in local markets. "With the drought, it is easier to fish here. I catch these fish to eat, so we can save money."

Tabatinga is one of the 61 Amazonas municipalities where a state of public disaster has been declared, in consequence of the severe, prolonged drought affecting the state.

Translation: David Silberstein