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FILE - The dried, cracked bed of the Qaraoun artificial lake is seen in West Bekaa, Lebanon, Sept. 19, 2014. VOA

Arab states are facing a water supply emergency, with per capita resources expected to fall by 50 percent by 2050, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday.

The Middle East and North Africa have suffered more than any other region from water scarcity and desertification, problems being complicated by climate change, FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva told a meeting of Arab states in Cairo.


In response, they needed to modernize irrigation techniques and coordinate water management strategies as a matter of urgency.

The per capita share of fresh water availability in the region is just 10 percent of the world average, according to the FAO. Agriculture consumes more than 85 percent of available resources.


FILE – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General Jose Graziano da Silva speaks during a news conference in Maiduguri, Nigeria, April 7, 2017. VOA

“This is really an emergency problem now,” Graziano da Silva told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the conference.

The meeting, attended by around 20 states, was the first of its kind at which ministers of both water and agriculture were present, an effort to improve coordination between different branches of government that have often failed to work together.

“It’s unbelievable that this region does not have good governance on water management and land management,” Graziano da Silva told Reuters.

“[In Egypt], they have 32 ministers. Most probably of those 32 ministers, 30 ministers deal with water — water is a problem for them. And they don’t have ways to coordinate very efficiently.”

Egypt says it has already started working to improve ministerial coordination, for example by reducing rice cultivation to conserve water.


In response, they needed to modernize irrigation techniques and coordinate water management strategies as a matter of urgency. VOA

Graziano da Silva said he visited agricultural areas in Egypt’s Nile Delta where farmers were still employing inundation techniques used for centuries to irrigate their land.

ALSO READ: Experts Call Next UN Food Chief Must Tackle Rising Hunger and Climate Change Threats

“This is a waste of water. We need to move urgently to drip irrigation and other techniques that save water,” he added.

Water scarcity was also displacing rural populations and increasing the region’s dependence on cheap, highly processed food imports that were contributing to rising rates of obesity, he told the conference. (VOA)


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The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.

NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.

The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.

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The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).

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Pakistan has failed miserably to protect Hindus, their interests.

A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.

According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.

Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.

Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.

The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".

But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.

A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.

Also Read: Hindu Woman Axed To Death In Pakistan

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