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Posted Sat Nov 20 2010: from Guardian:
Severe weather warning: Peru as canary
For the indigenous Quechua people like Flores Choque, who have farmed Peru's highlands since the 15th century, the warning signs are already very real. Their farming calendar, dictated by the weather, has traditionally given their lives a steady rhythm. But in the last few years uncharacteristic and unpredictable weather - flooding, frosts, hail, intense heat and drought - has bombarded it. Crops have continually failed and Save the Children research reports production in some areas has fallen as much as 44 percent since 2007, with animal mortality rising from 20 percent to 48 percent. Water supply has diminished and the health and livelihoods of thousands been jeopardised.... "The people are becoming poorer and malnutrition is increasing," Apaza Maita stresses. "Children don't have defences and their health is suffering. They've always had respiratory problems but now they're much worse. For the first time we have cases of bronchitis."... Kallpa is also encouraging farmers to use natural fertilisers rather than chemicals. Hardy native potatoes are being planted again instead of the white potatoes previously grown for export, as well as crops such as tarwi, a bean that, though tasteless, bursts with nutrition.... "It's all connected with the weather and melting glaciers. Four years ago a small river near here ran at eight litres per second. This year it's four litres per second. Now there isn't enough water for the community."
[Read more stories about: weather extremes, food crisis, drought, lived experience, melting glaciers]

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