Deforestation Worsens Drought in Panama

Panama, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) Panamanians will remember for years the intense drought that is currently affecting the country, with an impact on human consumption and food security, which is accentuated in some areas due to deforestation, Agriculture Minister Jorge Arango said.

The irresponsible practice of burning stockyards causes soil degradation and salinization, which accelerates evaporation and avoids water use in agricultural production; it also becomes more difficult to get underground supply sources for the population, he added.

In this sense, National Institute of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation executive advisor Rodrigo Barragán called on the community to make a better use of water and supported Arango's opinion about the need to avoid burnings, waste mismanagement and misuse of water to improve with the situation.

El Niño weather phenomena, the main cause of the current drought in Panama, could lessen its intensity before the regular wet season in Panama between April and May, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) said.

After the prolonged drought since May last year, the usual heavy rains of Panama's spring should be back, restoring the local weather, Juan Maté, STRI operations manager told La Estrella Journal.