The Stream, February 26: WHO Warns Syria Is Ripe for Cholera Disaster

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Lack of safe drinking water is increasing the risk for a cholera outbreak in Syria, and a drought is decreasing copper output in Chile. A study in England finds a link between fluoridated water and hypothyroidism, and a study by United Nations University says cutting out corruption and subsidies will help meet water and sanitation goals. 20 manatees were rescued from a storm drain in Florida.

“Going into the warmer season, what we are particularly concerned about … is cholera, this is our main fear, but so far we haven’t seen it. But quite clearly the situation is going much more critical. Water has been used for political dividends and has been turned off to certain areas and that leads people to drink water from unsafe areas.” — Dr. Elizabeth Hoff, WHO representative, on poor sanitation conditions in Syria. (Reuters)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

2 percentDrought-inflicted decrease in output at Chile’s largest copper mine, Escondida. Copper mining is a water-intensive process, and a drought in Chile, the world’s lead copper producer, is enough to pare down what was an expected surplus this year. Reuters

20 – Number of manatees rescued from a storm drain in Florida on Tuesday morning. The manatees had swum up the pipe in search of warmer waters. Reuters


Science, Studies, And Reports

A study conducted in England shows that communities with fluoridated water have a 9 percent greater incidence of under-active thyroids. Scientists are divided over the implications, with some agreeing the study necessitates more assessment on the impacts of fluoride, and others reiterating that “correlation does not equal causation”, and citing the lack of study data on actual fluoride exposure. Newsweek

A report released by United Nations University says that ending corruption in the water sector and removing “harmful and unproductive” subsidies (including those for the petroleum, gas and coal industries) are key to ensuring water security. Ousting of corruption and subsides would free up resources that could be used to improve infrastructure and meet water and sanitation goals, the report says. Reuters Africa

On the Radar

On The Radar

On Tuesday, the WHO warned that Syria is at risk for a cholera outbreak due to unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation conditions. The war-ravaged country has already seen a surge in hepatitis A and and typhoid. Reuters

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