Many of the birds, which come from several species, had broken wings and bruising on the outside of their bodies -- injuries consistent with getting trapped in fishing nets, Britos said. He said bird deaths from fishing nets occur every year, but never at this level. In a typical year, about 15 to 20 dead birds are found, Britos said. One hypothesis for the increase this year involves climate. As Chilean weather gets colder this time of year, migrating birds that would normally travel north for warmth are instead lingering to feast on an influx of anchovies and sardines that had fled the coast of Peru in search of cooler waters. Earlier this week, Peruvian authorities say warm waters off that country's coast are to blame for the deaths of more than 5,000 marine birds. The Peruvian National Center for the Study of El Nino said that since February, the Peruvian coast has had an abundance of warm water as a result of marine currents throughout the world's oceans. The warm water has altered the marine ecosystem, it said.WATCH: 7300 Birds Found Mysteriously Dead in Chile and Peru.
The warm water has led fish such as anchovies and other species that live in surface waters to migrate to deeper water toward the south. As a result, pelicans and other birds that feed from the surface of the water died of starvation. "If these oceanographic conditions persist, it is likely that its impact will spread to other areas of the (Peruvian) coast even during the fall, which could make the numbers increase and affect other marine species," the report stated. The Peruvian ministry of environment said seafood is still safe to eat, and encouraged everyone to continue to support local fishermen, according to state-run Andina news agency. Officials in Peru continue to search for the cause of death of almost 900 dolphins since the beginning of the year. The health ministry is awaiting final results from molecular analysis looking for the morbillivirus, which previously has been linked to dolphin deaths. The Chilean agriculture and livestock ministry and staff from Britos' center have called for a meeting with fishermen for Monday. They are asking fishermen to try to save trapped birds before closing their nets. Britos said he worries that until Monday, the number of dead birds could rise significantly. - CNN.
The natural disaster on Thursday has affected 36,000 people in Minxian county, Gansu province, forcing the area to be evacuated of 2,183 local residents. Roads were blocked, houses collapsed, and farmland was destroyed by the extreme weather, according to state and local disaster relief agencies. Minxian’s civil affairs bureau put the number of injured locals at 40 in its mid-Friday’s casualty report. The stormy weather lasted only an hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., but wreaked havoc in 17 of the county’s 18 townships and villages, it said. In the worst-hit areas, precipitation measured nearly 70 mm.
Hail and torrential rain cut power supplies in six townships, damaged homes, several hospitals and schools as well as 7,374 hectares of cropland and disrupted traffic on two interprovincial highways, the county authorities added. Minxian is a mountainous county in Dingxi city, with a population of 450,000. It is 150 km from Zhouqu county, where a rain-triggered mudslide killed more than 1,500 people in August 2010. Thursday’s rain also triggered floods in two other counties in Dingxi, parts of Longnan city, and Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture where Zhouqu is located, but no casualties were immediately reported. The national flood control and drought relief headquarters on Friday issued fresh warnings to northwestern provinces, urging them to step up weather monitoring and flood prevention efforts. - The China Times.