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¡Aguas!

27 April 2011

Guatemala

On Tuesday, Alvaro Colom’s government declared a nationwide “nutritional risk alert” to avoid a food crisis in the country’s poorest areas. The goal of issuing an alert is to prevent an “emergency.”  The country’s “dry corridor” and southern coastal communities (heavy rains) are the areas that have been most affected by extreme weather.

According to the UN, 49% of Guatemalan children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. Guatemala has the highest percentage in all Latin America and the fourth highest rate in the world. Unsurprisingly, chronic malnutrition approaches 70% in indigenous communities.

Central American Politics (21 April 2011)

Mexico

On Sunday, deputies and pundits said that the war over water rights had already begun and pointed out that if governments fail to act in the short term, this war will entail dire economic, social and environmental consequences for Mexico.

The president of the Special Commission of the Lerma-Chapala-Santiago Basin, National Action Party (PAN) Deputy César Madrigal Díaz, said that every single region of the country was experiencing scarcity of this vital resource, as evidenced by decreasing water levels in the nation’s rivers..

He noted that water pollution in human settlements near water bodies had added to the problem, as well as agriculture, commercial and industrial activities that are not duly certified. “These people use polluted water for irrigation or industrial purposes,” he said.

The war over water usage is a reality the country is currently going through, said Avelino Méndez Rangel, Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) Deputy. He urged the government to create programs that generate sustainability of the resource.

“This is a matter of preserving life,” he noted…

Victor Mayan, The (Mexico City) News

Peru

Ica, 25/04/2011 (CNR): The model region of Ica, with the highest accumulated GDP growth in all Peru over the last five years, has achieved its significant GDP growth by having a strong presence in the export market thanks to its good quality soils and hours of sunshine which achieves good production levels for its main activity, that of agriculture. …

However, this apparent economic growth is not reflected in the quality of life of the region’s population. According to data provided by the Ica Regional Health Authority, Ica has the third largest number of cases in Peru of tuberculosis and has seen an increase in the number of cases in children under five years old, from 44.9% in 2009 to 53.8% in 2010, according to ENDES.

Added to these official data are other indications that generate a poor quality of life, such as the numbers of abandoned children and numbers of children of working mothers. Above all, a latent risk for regional development and economic growth and sustainability for the lifestyle of Ica residents is the scarcity of water.

CNR (Peru), translation by Inca Kola News (25 April 2011)

And back in the U.S.A.:

I attended a hearing at the House Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere yesterday where Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela and USAID Assistant Administrator Mark Feierstein testified about budgetary issues.

After the testimony, the first question was asked by the chairman of the subcommittee, Rep Connie Mack. After making the administration repeat its priorities in the hemisphere (security, democracy, prosperity), he asked why $100 million in taxpayer dollars are being spent on the Global Climate Change initiative in the hemisphere. He indicated that the money doesn’t fall under the three priorities and that given the current violence in Mexico and Central America, spending this money on climate change hurt the administration’s focus on security.

Bloggings by Boz (14 April 2011)

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