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World News and Prophetic Trends
Reviewing Current World Conditions In Light Of Bible Prophecy
Report-6 - Famines
Protest riots as 50 million Indians face famine
- THE Indian government yesterday stepped up relief efforts for more than 50 million people hit by persistent drought in the western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat by sending trains carrying grain and water to the worst affected areas.
But state officials said this was insufficient as thousands had left their homes over the past few weeks with the desert regions of the two states close to famine. Almost all the men in nearly 1,000 villages in the Jodhpur district of western Rajasthan have fled to other regions in search of sustenance after their crops failed for the second consecutive year and hopes of early rain receded.
They left behind their women and children, who barely survive in the barren villages without local produce or food, often having to walk 10-15 miles in the searing sun for a bucket of water. Hundreds of cows, sheep and goats, the main source of livelihood for these desert people, are dying of thirst and starvation daily and many fear that the worst is yet to come in the even hotter months of May and June when temperatures average 48C.
Local people said that even though the government had announced "food-for-work" schemes they were a long way from being implemented.
Thousands of thirsty people rioted in Gujarat's western Saurashtra and Kutch regions at the weekend, beating up policemen in an attempt to get at scarce water supplies in temperatures that soared to over 42C.
Last week, three farmers were shot dead by the police in Jamnagar district, 170 miles west of the state capital, Gandhinagar, when they blocked a road in protest against plans to divert water from a local dam to a nearby town.
Narottam Patel, the state water minister, said: "There are at least 2,000 places in Gujarat where there is not a single drop of ground-level water left."
Officials said the drought in Gujarat was the worst in more than 100 years, with 16 of its 27 districts affected, while 26 of Rajasthan's 32 districts were reeling under a merciless heatwave which even a downpour on Sunday did not alleviate. The drought has crippled the cotton and groundnut crop in Gujarat, which accounts for a quarter of India's entire output.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister, urged Indians to donate generously to a national relief fund. In a radio and television broadcast he said: "We cannot leave our brothers and sisters at the mercy of their fate or the cruelty of the vagaries of nature."
Relief efforts have been hampered by political squabbles, with the opposition Congress party accusing the government of acting too late to help the drought-affected population, already suffering from the effects of a rise in fertilizer prices and falling ground-water levels.
Ashok Ghelot, Rajasthan's Congress chief minister, accused the Hindu nationalist-led ruling coalition of not releasing enough money or food grain.
Severe Drought in Southern Pakistan Worst in 100 Years
The Thar district in southern Pakistan has been ravaged by its worst water shortage in 100 years, causing thousands of people to flee the region, villagers said. Daily temperatures have been hovering around 129 degrees here in Sindh province. Burning winds whip over the parched land. The hardest hit areas were in the southern Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, where dead animal carcasses where lay baking in the sizzling heat while vultures swarmed overhead. There has been no official death toll, but local newspapers said up to 500 people have died from diseases caused by the drought...
PRESIDENT OF KENYA SAYS 23 MILLION OF HIS COUNTRYMAN FACE HUNGER
"Kenya's president appealed to the United States and the European Union for food aid, saying 23 million Kenyans face hunger due to the lack of seasonal rain, newspapers reported Thursday. Daniel Moi announced the appeal Wednesday in a rally at his rural home near the farming town of Nakuru, 90 miles northwest of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. He did not say when he made the request or how the government reached the population figure, which equals almost 80 percent of Kenya's 29 million people. The long rains usually come from March to May, the country's main planting season. But despite overcast skies, there has been little rainfall..."
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