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Iranian security forces quash more protests in Tabriz, Oroumiyeh

Iranian security forces quash more protests in Tabriz, Oroumiyeh
Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian security forces descended on demonstrations against the drying of Lake Oroumiyeh in Tabriz and Oroumiyeh in northwestern Iran on Saturday, making numerous arrests.

Lake Urmia (Orumieh) is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea. It is the largest lake inside Iran, and the third salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km square (2,000 mile square).

News outlets linked to ethnic and human rights activists as well as eyewitness reports indicate that security forces were on alert in various Azerbaijan cities in Iran and confronted the crowds with tear gas and batons.

According to HRANA (the Human Rights Activists News Agency), dozens of people were arrested. Some reports indicate that police used plastic bullets, which led to several injuries among protesters.

The Fars semi-official news agency confirmed the unrest but wrote that the demonstrators were rallied by “ethnic” groups, adding that the demonstrators numbered only about 50 people.

Photos: Lake Orumieh Grappling with Death

The Islamic Republic does not let independent and international media cover social and political protests; therefore, it is not possible to confirm details of the published reports.

Protesters maintain that government policies and mismanagement at the local level are the main causes of the rapid decline in the water levels of Lake Oroumiyeh.

Parliament recently voted down a plan to redirect water from the Aras River to Lake Oroumiyeh, which has led to a new wave of protests by environmental and Azerbaijani activists.

Protests in OrumiehAftermath of protests in the northwestern city of Orumieh (Urmia) on August 27.

Nile River row: Could it turn violent? | Africa News blog

Nile River row: Could it turn violent?

Jul 7, 2010 08:59 EDT


The giggles started when the seventh journalist in a row said that his question was for Egypt’s water and irrigation minister, Mohamed Nasreddin Allam.

The non-Egyptian media gave him a bit of a hammering at last week’s talks in Addis Ababa for the nine countries that the Nile passes through.

Allam bared his teeth when a Kenyan journalist accused him of hiding behind “colonial-era treaties” giving his country the brunt of the river’s vital waters whether that hurt the poorer upstream countries or not.

“You obviously don’t know enough about this subject to be asking questions about it,” he snapped before later apologising to her with a kiss on the cheek.

Five of the nine Nile countries — Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya — last month signed a deal to share the water that is a crucial resource for all of them. But Egypt and Sudan, who are entitled to most of the water and can veto upstream dams under a 1929 British-brokered agreement, refused.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi have not signed yet either and analysts are divided on whether they will or not. Six Nile countries must sign the agreement for it to have any power but Egypt says even that wouldn’t change its mind. The five signatories — some of the world’s poorest countries — have left the agreement open for debating and possible signing for up to a year.

Tensions were clearly still running high after two days of negotiations in Addis and despite grinning around the table and constantly referring to each other as “my brother”, the ministers always seemed in danger of breaking into bickering.

When the Sudanese water minister said his country was freezing cooperation with the Nile Basin Initiative — the name given to the ten-year effort to agree on how to manage the river — Ethiopia’s water minister loudly protested to the media that his Sudanese colleague had not revealed that during their private meetings.

Highlighting the seriousness of the issue, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abul Naga, arrived in Addis Ababaon Wednesday to again meet Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

It’s no surprise that the spat is getting a lot of press in both Ethiopia and Egypt.

“Egypt is a gift of the Nile,” people like to say in a country that worshipped the river as a God in ancient times. “If Egypt is a gift of the Nile, then the Nile is a gift of Ethiopia,” Ethiopians shoot back with growing confidence.

And they have a point. More than 85 percent of the waters originate in Ethiopia, which relies on foreign aid for survival and sees hydropower dams as a potential cash cow and central to its plans to become one of Africa’s only power exporters.

But Egypt is not for turning. Almost totally dependent on the Nile for its agricultural output (a third of its economy) and already worried about climate change, it is determined to hold onto its 55.5 billion cubic metres of water a year, a seemingly unfair share of the Nile’s total flow of 84 billion cubic metres.

The Egyptians point out that they don’t benefit from rains like the upstream countries. Everybody, it seems, has valid points. Nobody is budging. Now some regional analysts are even saying the row could turn into the world’s first major water war and similar thoughts are being expressed in cafes from Cairo all the way upriver to Dar es Salaam.

So what next? The nine countries are due to meet again in Nairobi sometime between September and November. But where is the way forward? Who will blink first? And who really should? Could this bickering turn violent?

تالاب انزلی رو به نابودی است | RFI.

تالاب انزلی رو به نابودی است

نوشتۀ آرش ادیب زاده

به دنبال تخریب بیش از پیش محیط زیست ایران در سال های اخیر، بسیاری از اماکن پر اهمیت زیست محیطی در معرض نابودی قرار دارند . در این میان تالاب انزلی، یکی از مهمترین زیستگاه های پرندگان و آبزیان ایران به دلیل بی توجهی مسئولان و ورود بی رویۀ فاضل آب شهری، مواد شیمیایی و فاضل آب کارخانه ها و سموم کشاورزی به آن در خطر نابودی قرار دارد.

در حال حاضر با در نظر گرفتن آلاینده های جاری در درون تالاب انزلی، میزان آلودگی آب این تالاب به میزان ده برابر بیشتر از بالاترین حد نصاب های قابل قبول استاندارد های جهانی افزایش پیدا کرده است.

در این میان کشورژاپن برای بازسازی و احیای تالاب انزلی 600 میلیون دلار کمک خواهد کرد و کارشناسان ژاپنی عملیات آموزشی و اجرایی احیای این تالاب را آغاز کرده اند .در این زمینه سفیر ژاپن در ایران متذکر شده است که در فرهنگ ژاپن  طبیعت و محیط زیست اهمیت ویژه ای دارد و از آنجا که تالاب انزلی اهمیتی بین المللی دارد ژاپن  برای مشارکت در احیای آن احساس مسئولیت می کند.

در ارتباط با وضعیت کنونی تالاب انزلی دکتر اسماعیل کهرم متخصص محیط زیست و استاد دانشگاه در تهران متذکر می شود که متأسفانه در ایران تمامی 252 تالاب موجود در لبۀ خشک شدن و انقراض قرار گرفته اند. حال تالاب انزلی  یکی از مهمترین تالاب های ایران است و از سوی یونسکو در چهارچوب طرح انسان و زیست کره از آن محافظت می شود. همچنین تالاب انزلی جزو تالاب های جزو کنوانسیون رامسر است، کنوانسیونی بین المللی که برای حفظ تالاب ها و پرندگان مهاجر در سال 1971 در شهر رامسر منعقد گشت و اکنون پیش از 1700 تالاب در سراسر جهان در لیست اسامی این کنوانسیون مورد حفاظت قرار گرفته اند.

دکتر اسماعیل کهرم تأکید می کند که تالاب انزلی روزی که به عضویت کنوانسیون رامسر در آمد بیش از 21 هزار هکتار وسعت داشت ولی اکنون وسعت آن به حدود 12 هزار هکتار کاهش یافته است.

پرندگان تالاب انزلي

Humanitarian Crisis as World’s Largest Refugee Camp Declared Full | Common Dreams.

Humanitarian Crisis as World’s Largest Refugee Camp Declared Full

Tens of thousands in Dadaab camp in Kenya face starvation after fleeing violence in Somalia, medical charity warns

by David Smith in Johannesburg

The biggest refugee camp in the world is full, creating a humanitarian emergency that threatens thousands of malnourished children, a medical charity has warned.

Somali refugees wait in line for food at the refugee camp in Dadaab, which Médecins sans Frontières says has exceeded its capacity. (Photograph: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters) Dadaab, a sprawling desert “city” in Kenya with a population expected to reach 450,000 by the end of the year, has run out of space, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) said.

Children who have fled war in neighbouring Somalia are left without food or shelter in dry heat of 50C (122F) and are said to be vulnerable to attack by animals.

“We’ve got nothing to build a shelter with,” Fatima, a 34-year-old refugee from Mogadishu, told MSF. “It’s very unsafe here – at night, we’re scared that wild animals will eat the children, and we’ve had threats of violence from local people who say the land is theirs. Children are even being killed by hyenas because they have no protection.”

Stranded in the barren desert of Kenya’s north-eastern province, surrounded by sand and scrubby bushes, the refugees – most of whom are women and children – arrive with no money, no food, no water and no shelter.

MSF’s report said it takes an average of 12 days for new arrivals to receive a first ration of food and 34 days to receive cooking utensils and blankets from the UN’s refugee agency, which runs the camps.

The last empty plot of land in Dadaab was allocated in August 2008. Since then, new arrivals have had to search for unoccupied space in which to build a hut. They use branches and brushwood, tied together to form domed structures which they cover with cardboard, polythene or torn fabric.

The UN announced in 2008 that it had no more room for new arrivals, but conflict and the worst drought in years have forced 44,000 Somalis to seek admittance into Dadaab since the start of this year.

Joke van Peteghem, MSF’s head of mission in Kenya, told AlertNet: “The camps are completely full. People are arriving and they do not find any space any more, meaning they don’t have access to water and other facilities.

“You get more and more people sitting outside the camp without proper protection and proper support.”

On arrival at the camp, 60% of families report illness, having walked through the desert for days. Some 40% of the children have never received vaccinations.

“People, and especially children under five, are coming in worse physical condition,” van Peteghem said. “We are observing more and more children being malnourished.

“If you take a week before they get proper food and they need healthcare, for sure the status of these children will deteriorate.”

The in-patient therapeutic feeding centre for severely malnourished children is so full that tents were initially set up in the hospital grounds. In May, a new 60-bed extension ward opened to accommodate them.

Gedi Mohammed, the director of the hospital, said: “Health indicators are now at an emergency level.”

The underfunded and overcrowded Dadaab complex consists of three camps – Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera – established 20 years ago to house up to 90,000 people. An extension to the camps lies unfinished and empty following a breakdown in negotiations between Kenya and the UN last year.

“More refugees are on their way,” Nenna Arnold, an MSF nurse, said. “We are already at bursting point, but the figures keep growing. This situation is a humanitarian emergency.”