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« on: July 18, 2007, 12:33:39 pm »


 By RODRIQUE NGOWI, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jul 17, 7:03 PM ET

BOSTON - Scientists have discovered the underground remnants of an ancient lake in Sudan's arid Darfur region, offering hope of tapping a precious resource and easing water scarcity, which experts say is the root of much of the unrest in the region.
The researchers hope to drill at least 1,000 wells in the dusty territory and pump the long-hidden water to ease tensions among communities living there and strengthen efforts to restore peace in Darfur.

Decades of scarce water and other resources have stoked low-intensity local conflicts that eventually led to a devastating civil war.

The four-year conflict has killed more than 200,000 people, displaced more than 2.5 million others and sparked a regional humanitarian crisis after feeding instability in neighboring Chad and Central African Republic.

"Much of the unrest in Darfur and the misery is due to water shortages," said geologist Farouk El-Baz, director of the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing, which led the effort that discovered the massive lake in northern Darfur using radar data from space.

Displaced women queueing up at a water point in Abu Shouk camp, in Sudan's northern Darfur.

"There have been two long episodes of drought during the past 20 years, each lasting for about seven years," the scientist said, adding that the drought aggravated tensions between Darfur's ethnic African tribesmen and nomadic Arabs.

Water pumped from the underground reservoir measuring as large as the state of Massachusetts could help ease tensions in Darfur, El-Baz said. The wells could enable Darfur's nomadic Arabs to maintain their lifestyle, sedentary communities to flourish and irrigation to kick-start agriculture activities that may feed trade and economic growth, he said during a telephone interview.

El-Baz, a veteran of NASA's Apollo lunar exploration program, has pioneered the study of desert landscapes using satellite images.

Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the U.N. Mission in Sudan, said she could not comment because she had not read a report on the discovery and was not sure how soon the water could be exploited.

The water reservoir lies underneath a former highland lake whose features are covered by wind-blown sand, researchers said. The ancient lake occupied an area of 11,873 square miles, about the size of Lake Erie, and would have contained approximately 977 square miles of water when full.

Scientists plan to identify the best location for drilling the initial batch of wells. The government of neighboring Egypt has pledged to drill the first 20 wells, and the U.N. Mission in Sudan also plans to drill several more for use by its peacekeeping forces, the university said.

The Darfur conflict began in February 2003, when African tribesmen took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-led Khartoum government. The government is accused of arming militiamen as a counterinsurgency tactic, which it denies, and the militiamen are blamed for widespread rapes and killings of Darfur civilians.

In March, the State Department issued a report calling the campaign by the Sudanese military and its proxy militias against Darfur rebel groups genocide a term the United Nations has refrained from applying to Darfur.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 12:49:13 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2007, 12:51:32 pm »


The waterfountain JET D'EAU, or Water Jet, is illuminated in red to symbolize the ongoing bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur Region,
on The International Justice Day in Geneva, Switzerland, late Tuesday evening, July 17, 2007.

Campaigners and the City Authorities wanted to remind the world of the need to find a solution to a conflict that International
experts say has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.

AP Photo/Keystone
Martial Trezzini
« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 01:06:11 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2007, 09:10:10 am »


Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:44PM EDT
BOSTON (Reuters) - A newly found imprint of a vast, ancient underground lake in Sudan's Darfur could restore peace to the region by providing a potential water source to an area ravaged by drought, a U.S. geologist says.

"What most people don't really know is that the war, the instability, in Darfur is all based on the lack of water," said Farouk el-Baz, director of Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing.

The potential water deposits were found with radar that allowed researchers to see inside the depths of the desert sands. The images, el-Baz said, uncovered a "megalake" of 19,110 square miles -- three times the size of Lebanon.
A young girl looks through the barb wire fencing of the African Union Mission in war-torn Darfur. She is ushered away by a peacekeeping soldier on guard outside the camp.

International experts estimate 200,000 people have died in four years of ****, killing and disease in Darfur, violence the United States calls genocide. Sudan rejects that term and puts the death toll at 9,000.

Widespread environmental problems are a root cause of Sudan's violence, the U.N. Development Program said in a report last month, noting that deserts had spread southwards by an average of 62 miles over the past four decades.

Many refugees from Darfur settled in regions that were once the domain of nomads, straining water resources and sowing conflict between farmers and nomads, said el-Baz.

"So now, if you find water for the farmers ... in addition to that for the nomads ... for agricultural production, to feed them, to give them grain, then you resolve the problem completely," he told Reuters in an interview.

His initiative, called 1,000 Wells for Darfur, has gained the support of the Egyptian government, which has pledged to start building an initial 20 wells.

El-Baz, who expects groundwater deposits below the surface can be drilled for water, hopes for backing from other regional governments and has urged non-governmental organizations to get involved.  Continued...
« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 09:25:45 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2007, 09:12:19 am »


"As we began to look into this, we realized we were dealing with a vast low area, a depression. And then we began to look at the details of the depression and we actually found the terraces, meaning the edges of the lake, way up on the nearby mountains," he said.

"That's why we call it a megalake, because it is an incredibly large lake. It is the size of the state of Massachusetts, or Lake Erie."

Researchers said the ancient lake would have contained about 607 cubic miles of water when full during past humid climate phases.

"One thing is certain, much of the lake's water would have seeped through the sandstone substrate to accumulate as groundwater," el-Baz said in a report.

El-Baz, who worked on NASA's Apollo program as a supervisor of lunar science planning, conducted similar research in Egypt that led to the construction of 500 wells in an arid region of his native country.

That project helped irrigate up to 150,000 acres (60,700 hectares) of farmland where wheat and other crops are grown.

"As proven earlier in southwest Egypt, just northeast of Darfur, a similar former lake is underlain by vast amounts of groundwater," he said.

Reuters 2007.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 09:15:03 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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