Less wetlands, worse flooding in India


This video says about itself:

Wildlife and adventure sports in India! Watch Sarus Cranes at sunrise in an Uttar Pradesh wetland (soon to be ruined by an airport!), elephants in a chaur grassland at Corbett National Park, Gir lions or Asiatic lions in Gujarat, White-eyed Buzzard Eagle with nictitating membrane over eye, hard ground barasingha sparring in Kanha National Park during the mating season, Short-toed eagle doing the samba while stationary mid-air, Python molurus at Bharatpur or Keoladeo ghana Sanctuary in Rajasthan, helicopter skiing in Himachal Pradesh, jumaring over a crevasse in Himachal, Axis deer or Chital in Corbett or the erstwhile Hailey National Park, leopard or panther, para sailing at Billing and Solang Nala / nullah, white water river rafting on the ganga / Ganges, tip top ice climbing on an ice wall in the Himalaya with ice axes and crampons, elephants fighting in a grassland during the mating season, fox crossing the Zanskar river in Jammu and Kashmir state of India, ice bridge in Padum / Padam, Zanskar, Paradise Flycatcher feeding young chicks at nest on a kathal or jackfruit tree, Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in Arunachal Pradesh’s thick rain forest, Jungle Cat at Ramganga river, Uttarakhand, water skiing on Dal Lake in Kashmir, India, with house boats in the background, Rhino chasing other rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis, in Kaziranga National Parj, Assam, tiger cub coming to mother at Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, peacock displaying, Indian peafowl, Pavo cristatus, Himalayan Pied Woodpecker expelling wood chips from its recently excavated nesthole, Black shouldered / winged Kite at Panna National Park, climbers with Bhagirathi peaks in background on the Gangotri glacier national park, Uttarakhand, India.

Less wetlands, worse hurricane and flooding disasters in New Orleans, USA.

And from Wildlife Extra:

Bombay Natural History Society blames poor land management for extent of Kashmir floods

Following the recent flooding disaster in the Kashmir region of India, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) have gone on the record saying that the loss of wetlands in the Kashmir valley has directly impacted the catastrophe, making conditions worse than they otherwise would be.

They state that in the past 30 years, nearly 50 per cent of the wetlands in the Kashmir Valley have been severely damaged, and highlight the reduced areas of Dal Lake and Wular Lake as having a detrimental effect on important drainage for the valley. Dal Lake currently covers half the area of its earlier spread, while Wular Lake and marshes now cover just 2,400, after previously spanning a total of 20,200 hectares. They cite that the encroachment upon the shallow portions of the wetland by the Forest Department for plantation of willow trees has significantly reduced the size of Wular Lake over the years.

In addition, the organisation blames commercial activities on the severe loss of wetland habitat. These wetlands, they argue, acted as a sponge when they were well preserved, but have since been neglected in recent years. As such, BNHS stress the need for a Wetland Conservation Act.

Commenting on the recent flooding, Dr Asad Rahmani, Director at BNHS, says: “The disastrous damage caused to life and property could have been minimised if the large number of wetlands that once existed in the Valley, had been preserved. Wetlands act as a sponge that retains excess water. Wular Lake is a classical example”.

Again, hundreds of refugees from wars drown in Mediterranean


This video says about itself:

Syrian refugees left to die at sea

23 October 2013

Footage has emerged of the rescue of hundreds of Syrian refugees who say they were left to drown in the Mediterranean off the coast of Malta. Survivors said they were rescued off the Maltese coast after their boat was shot and sunk by Libya traffickers after an argument about payment earlier this month. Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull has more.

From the Daily Telegraph in Britain:

Up to 700 migrants drown in Mediterranean as people smugglers accused of deliberately capsizing boat

More than 650 migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean in two separate incidents, with humanitarian organisations calling for “legal avenues” to be opened up to enable refugees to reach Europe safely

Dutch NOS TV, quoting Libyan authorities, says 800 people dead.

By Nick Squires, Rome

4:46PM BST 15 Sep 2014

Up to 500 migrants were feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean after people smugglers deliberately rammed their boat, it was announced on Monday, as a second disaster claimed as many as 160 lives off the coast of Libya.

In the first tragedy, survivors of the sinking told officials from the International Organisation for Migration that around 500 people had been on a boat sailing from the coast of Egypt towards Malta last week and that most had drowned at sea.

The horrific story, which if confirmed would rank as the worst disaster in the Mediterranean for years, was recounted by two Palestinians who spent more than a day floating in the water before being picked up by a Panama-flagged merchant vessel about 300 miles off Malta.

They were brought to the port of Pozzallo in Sicily at the weekend, where they told their story to IoM officials.

Nine other survivors were rescued by Greek and Maltese rescue vessels.

The two Palestinians, believed to be fleeing Gaza, said the boat, packed with refugees and migrants from Syria, the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Egypt, set sail from the Egyptian coast on Sept 6.

The large group included small children and unaccompanied minors.

When the people traffickers in charge of the crossing ordered their human cargo to transfer to another, smaller boat in the middle of the sea, they refused.

A furious argument broke out and the traffickers in the smaller vessel allegedly rammed the migrants’ boat, forcing it to capsize.

“If this story, which the police are investigating, is confirmed, it would be the worst shipwreck in recent years. It is particularly grave, in that it seems to have been not an accident but mass murder, perpetrated by criminals without scruples or any respect for human life,” IOM said in a statement.

Among the hundreds of migrants who drowned was a young Egyptian boy who had hoped to earn enough money in Europe to pay for his father’s heart operation, the Palestinians said.

He clung to a life buoy along with one of the Palestinians but, suffering from exposure and hypothermia, was unable to hold on and slipped beneath the water.

In the second tragedy, more than 160 African migrants were feared dead on Monday after an overloaded boat heading for Italy capsized off the coast of Libya.

Libyan officials recovered dozens of bodies, including those of women and children, from the sea off the coast of Tajoura, to the east of the capital, Tripoli.

Just 36 people had been rescued, officials said, although the search effort was continuing.

The boat was believed to have been packed with more than 200 migrants who had paid people traffickers thousands of pounds to take them to Italy.

The two shipwrecks were the latest in a series of similar tragedies in the Mediterranean.

The wars in Iraq and Syria, poverty and unrest in the Horn of Africa and West Africa, and chaos in Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi has spurred a massive exodus of refugees towards Europe.

Since 1988, more than 20,000 adults and children have lost their lives trying to reach Europe by sea, according to Fortress Europe, a website that tracks the fatalities.

Enticed by the prospect of making tens of thousands of pounds from each crossing, people smugglers were putting migrants in increasingly “decrepit and overcrowded boats, causing directly or indirectly the death of thousands of people,” the IOM said.

The organisation called on the international community to identify, catch and punish the traffickers, while at the same time depriving them of their livelihood by opening up “legal avenues” for people fleeing war and persecution to enter Europe.

The actress Angelina Jolie, who is a special envoy for the United Nations’ refugee agency, also urged the international community to “wake up to the scale of the crisis.”

“There is a direct link between the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere and the rise in deaths at sea in the Mediterranean,” she said.

“We have to understand what drives people to take the fearful step of risking their children’s lives on crowded, unsafe vessels. It is the overwhelming desire to find refuge,” she said.

Mediterranean shipwrecks leave over 700 refugees dead, many fleeing Mideast wars: here.

100 children among migrants ‘deliberately drowned’ in Mediterranean: here.