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Northern Mexican states have been plagued by one of the most severe droughts in the nation’s history. Analysts predict extreme regional water scarcity will cause food prices to rise, and result in a large migration of residents.
According to The Associated Press, the drought is Mexico’s worst “since the government began recording rainfall 70 years ago.” The country’s National Weather Service reported that areas that normally received 21 inches of rain per year had only gotten 12 inches in 2011.
“Mexican farmers have lost 2.2 million acres of crops to dry conditions and 1.7 million farm animals have died this year from lack of water or forage, according to the nation’s Agriculture Department” (ibid.).
The Mexican government is trucking tanks with freshwater to affected areas, but after shipments arrive, the water often becomes a breeding ground for diseases.
The next rainy season—should it come—will not occur until June 2012.
“Forecasts do not signal any near-term relief, but rather more losses ahead as the winter season brings damaging frost,” Reuters stated.
In regard to the potential migration due to drought, The Christian Science Monitor reported: “A reduction in crop yields…could mean up to 6.7 million additional Mexicans will emigrate to the United States by 2080, says a study by Princeton University researchers. The authors say that a 10 percent decline in agricultural productivity would lead two percent of the Mexican population to migrate.”
Northern Mexico is just another zone of several drought-affected areas around the world. Other regions experiencing severe water deficiencies include the southern United States, France, Britain and the Horn of Africa.