Northern Hemisphere Drought   click here to watch video                                      download word file here

Sunken ships, prehistoric stones and ghost villages are amongst the many things that have appeared in the dried-up beds of rivers and lakes because of a devastating drought that’s hit parts of Europe, North America and Asia. We find out what’s happening and how people are being affected.

 

Sunken ships in Serbia, 'ghost gardens' in England, a 7000 year old Stonehenge in Spain, and an unexploded World War Two bomb in Italy! These are just a few of the weird and wonderful things that have appeared across Europe and the UK lately, but it's not some strange mystery, or even the work of clever archaeologists. It's because of a serious drought drying up lakes and rivers.

Record breaking heatwaves, and a serious lack of rain have lead to the worst droughts some countries have ever seen! You can see some pretty creepy evidence in Germany where so called 'hunger stones' have appeared, marking the water levels from past droughts dating back decades. And just like those past droughts, this one is devastating.

It's killing off fish, cattle and crops which is already causing food shortages. There have been big wildfires, like these ones in France where people had to be evacuated. And the low water levels are causing some big problems for ships, which can't get through carrying important goods. There are also serious worries about a shortage of clean water. In some villages in France and small towns in England, taps literally ran dry.

BRITISH RESIDENT: Everyone expects running water. If you don't have running water it makes you question all the most basic sort of complexities of life, and that's what it's been like in the last few weeks.

Other parts of the world are also struggling with a really bad drought. Like more than 70 per cent of the US where this river revealed 113 million year old dinosaur footprints, parts of Central and South America, Africa and China too where ancient buddha statues re-appeared. Here, parts of the world's third biggest river, the Yangtze, is turning to puddles.

While droughts like this do happen naturally, experts say this could end up being the worst drought humans have seen for 500 years, and they're warning that if the world doesn't act quickly on climate change we could be seeing these conditions go on longer and happen more often in the future.

Dr Laurence Wainwright, Lecturer at University of Oxford We have to ask the question whether some of these regions are going to be even habitable in 50 or 100 years and I truly call on politicians around the world to look at this, the last couple of months and the severity of these weather events and the impacts that are having on people. It's time to get moving.

Some reckon we also need to get better at conserving our most precious resource.

NURIA HERNANDEZ-MORA, NEW WATER CULTURE FOUNDATION CO-FOUNDER: Water is scarce and that we have to use it wisely, and we have to think very well about how to use it in a context where there will be less available in years to come.

Many countries have brought in water restrictions to try to conserve as much as possible and where people need drinking water it's being trucked in to help. And as for these treasures from the past? Well, it's been amazing to see them, but most people are hoping they'll disappear underwater again soon.

 

Explain the meaning of each of the following words or phrases as they are used in the passage. Then write a short simple sentence using the word.

 

Prehistoric__________________________________________________________________

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Devastating_________________________________________________________________

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Complexities________________________________________________________________

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Puddles____________________________________________________________________

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Drought____________________________________________________________________

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Habitable___________________________________________________________________

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Scarce_____________________________________________________________________

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Context____________________________________________________________________

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Write a paragraph that summarises the text.  Your title _____________________________

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