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Posted Sun Nov 1 2009: from New York Times:
Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen
Even as drought kills off Yemen's crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.... Meanwhile, the market price of water has quadrupled in the past four years, pushing more and more people to drill illegally into rapidly receding aquifers. "It is a collapse with social, economic and environmental aspects," said Abdul Rahman al-Eryani, Yemen's minister of water and environment. "We are reaching a point where we don't even know if the interventions we are proposing will save the situation." Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long.
[Read more stories about: aquifers depletion, water issues, economic myopia]

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'Doc Jim says:
You'll pry my qat from my cold, emaciated hands.

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