UN Reports on Extreme Weather and Climate Events


This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

This summer, heavy rains and flooding have caused more than five hundred deaths in South Asia. More than ten million people have been forced from their homes. Huge amounts of cropland, animals and property have been destroyed. Officials and aid groups say a public health crisis threatens about thirty million people throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The World Meteorological Organization says the rain in South Asia is just one of many extreme weather events this year. The United Nations agency announced last week that January and April were the warmest months on record worldwide. The discovery appears to support environmental changes confirmed by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February. The group said that it was more than ninety percent sure that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from human activities have been the main cause of global warming.

The World Meteorological Organization also noted extreme weather in other areas. It said heavy rains in China in June affected more than thirteen million people. In February, Mozambique had the worst flooding in six years. It said record-breaking heat was reported in southeastern Europe and central Russia earlier this year. A full report on weather in two thousand seven will be released at the end of the year.

The UN weather agency says it is working with its partners to establish an early warning system for climate extremes. It is also creating a long-term observation system to study the effects of climate change.

One such effect could be a lack of food and the risk of hunger in developing countries. The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned last week that climate change might hurt food production in warm southern areas of the world. Jacques Diouf spoke in India. He said that crops will likely decrease in seasonally dry countries as average world temperatures rise. However, he said small temperature increases could increase crops in most industrialized nations.

Mister Diouf called for an intense scientific effort to develop crops that will grow in future weather conditions. He said one example is genetically changed crops that will grow in extreme temperatures, dry conditions or poor soil.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss. I'm Shep O'Neal.