Two stories separated by the five years that have elapsed since producing the first edition of this book: a period through which we move from a drought-stricken Ethiopia to a flooded Sudan, whose own refugees search for a safe haven, perhaps in a neighbouring state. Drought and flood can bring famine and both are ecologically linked: desertification and flash flooding are the twin results of farming practices that remove trees and allow top-soil erosion. Yet these human disasters are as much to do with complex social and economic processes as they are with environmental management. The scale of these disasters seems to get worse as time passes: in September 1988, 75 per cent of the entire country of Bangladesh was under water, with 25 million homeless. Future tragedies on a bigger scale are likely, perhaps most particularly in Latin America.
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