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Climate change causing food shortages in Nepal

Global climate change and its effects on crop production threaten the food supply of millions of people in Nepal, an international aid agency warned Friday.

Global climate change and its effects on crop production threaten the food supply of millions of people in Nepal, an international aid agency warned Friday.

Nepal will likely suffer more frequent droughts because of climate change, Oxfam International said in a report released in Kathmandu. River levels will decline due to the reduced rainfall and glacial retreat, making it harder to irrigate crops and provide water for livestock.

"The predicted impacts of climate change will heighten existing vulnerabilities, inequalities and exposure to hazards," the report said.

More than 3.4 million people in Nepal are estimated to require food assistance, and food stocks in farming communities will last only a few months, it warned.

Meanwhile, environmental activists from China and India gathered in Beijing on Friday, saying the rapid meltdown of glaciers in the Himalayas threatens the water supply for two billion people.

With 100 days before the climate change summit in Copenhagen, Greenpeace, unveiled 100 melting ice sculptures of children to symbolize the "disappearing future" of the people in Asia.

The melting sculptures were made from Himalayan glacier water from the source of Yangtse, Yellow and Ganges rivers, Greenpeace said.

Denmark conference critical

"A climate tipping point is unfolding in the Himalayas. The rapid melting of glaciers caused by global warming is jeopardizing the water supply for 1.3 billion Asians who live in the watershed of the seven great rivers that originate in the region," the environmental organization said on its website.

"If we cannot stop runaway climate change, babies born today — at this moment — will face a very different reality when they grow up, where water availability would be a serious problem."

Vinuta Gopal, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said politicians who will meet in Denmark will have a duty to reach a substantial agreement because the water supply for two billion people is vanishing.

"Unless world leaders take personal responsibility at Copenhagen to ensure we have a strong deal, we are consigning the planet to catastrophic climate change," Gopal said.

But both China and India have refused to accept binding emission-reduction targets to sacrifice their economic development, arguing that developed countries were able to pollute for years.

With files from The Associated Press

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