Drought affects 90 percent of Argentina

November 2nd, 2009 - 8:04 am ICT by IANS  

Buenos Aires, Nov 2 (EFE) About 90 percent of Argentinian territory is affected by the current drought, although the situation is aggravated in certain provinces by the spread of forest fires, figures released Sunday by officials said.
The most serious situation is in the central province of La Pampa and in Buenos Aires and Cordoba in the north-central region, where thousands of families are facing temperatures exceeding 30 degreec Celsiusand are getting along as best they can with the lack of water.

Some cities, like the tourist destination of Villa Carlos Paz in Cordoba, decided to ration drinking water, a move that complicates the normal functioning of those areas and affects a number of productive sectors, including agriculture.

In the northern province of Tucuman, where rivers and dikes are at levels less than 50 percent of their normal average, residents have been waiting for it to rain for seven months and in San Luis in the northwest, no rain has fallen since last February.

To that situation must be added the forest fires that have been raging in recent days in the provinces of Cordoba, San Luis and Catamarca, in the northwest.

Firefighters in Cordoba, meanwhile, this weekend are trying to put out several blazes in mountainous areas, and the San Luis electrical system was put on emergency alert due to the fires and the heavy winds in several parts of the province, officials said.

In Catamarca, more than 500 hectares (1,250 acres) were destroyed on the weekend by fires, fed by strong winds, this circumstance making the work of firefighting teams difficult.

“Around 90 percent of Argentina is already suffering, with different intensity, from the drought,” South American Climatological Lab director Juan Minetti told the Clarin newspaper.

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