September 3, 2010

Peruvian Amazon At Its Lowest In 40 Years

Peruvian authorities recently reported that the Amazon river is at its lowest level in over 40 years, causing trouble for regions that depend on its waters for transportation.

Officials in Loreto province said on Tuesday the river in the northeast city of Iquitos fell to 347.67 feet above sea level, which is 1.6 feet lower than it was in 2005. 

The draining river has brought economic havoc in some areas of Peru that depend on the world's biggest river for shipping.

Regions civil defense chief Roberto Falcon told AFP News that at least six boats became stranded for lack of river flow over the last three weeks, while several shipping companies have been forced to suspend service.

Officials said that river trips between Iquitos and other Amazon towns that normally take about 12 to 15 days now last twice as long.

The national meteorological service said the level drop has been caused by a lack of rain and high temperatures in the region.

The Amazon is the second-longest river in the world, but discharges more water at its mouth than any other.

The river also drains more territory than any other, including Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Venezuela before running across Brazil and into the Atlantic.