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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

21 March 2011

Asia Update #21: Snow Melt continues in Afghanistan

Snow continues to melt in Afghanistan. Meanwhile temperatures are soaring across south Asia, and despite some relief, the drought in southern China continues. Not much unusual going on currently in either the Middle East or in Indonesia.

There has been a lot of flooding over the past few weeks in Afghanistan as temperatures continue to rise and the snow pack melts. As happens every year, there have been fatalities associated with the annual melt and flood. Everything I have seen is showing that there was enough snow beforehand to support a good agricultural season nationwide, although the melting did take place rather quickly. This may have strained an already poor infrastructure that attempts to catch and use the melt water for irrigation purposes.

As temperatures have risen across Afghanistan, much of Asia has warmed up. In South Asia, this is the beginning of summer. Temperatures are starting to edge towards the 45oC (over 113oF). These kinds of temperatures will continue until the monsoon starts.

Here is a map from the Government of India, showing the advance of the monsoon. Note that this means that there are still at least three months before the heat will be broken, by the rains. Areas of Pakistan will not see relief from the heat until late July at the earliest.

Despite receiving some good rainfall last week, southern China remains in a season-long drought. This continues to threaten global food prices as China is a major supplier of the worldwide demand for wheat. The failure of the crop will significantly restrict the amount of wheat on the world market and prices are set to rise.

Heavy rains continue to pound Philippines, causing flooding. The worst of the flooding has stayed away from Manila, and Luzon. Seasonal rains continue to surge northward on the mainland bringing early season rain to Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In the Middle East, a seasonable dry week across most areas. Some light rain is possible next week in Turkey and Syria.

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