The Stream, December 31: Hunger Risk For Millions As El Nino Continues

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Droughts and floods linked to El Nino threaten millions of people globally with hunger, straining humanitarian aid systems. Millions of people in the United States were still under flood warnings Wednesday, while water shortages in Colombia forced the president to issue a red alert. Saudi Arabia, stung by low oil prices, released a budget outlining cuts to public water and fuel subsidies. Snowpack measurements in California confirmed good news for the drought-hit state. Work to improve safe water access in Laos is also reducing the risk to residents from unexploded ordinance.

“The effects of the strongest El Niño in several decades are set to put the world’s humanitarian system under an unprecedented level of strain in 2016 as it already struggles to cope with the fallout from conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere.”–International aid agency Oxfam, in a briefing paper warning that nearly 39 million people globally are at risk of going hungry in the next six months. Droughts and floods linked to El Nino have created food shortages in places like eastern Africa and Central America. (Guardian)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

108 percent of average Water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack in December. Officials from California’s Department of Water Resources measured the snowpack for the first time this winter on Wednesday. The Sacramento Bee

12.1 million people Number in the United States living in areas under flood warnings on Wednesday, most of them in the Midwest. CNN Wire Service

900 people Estimated number killed by unexploded ordinance in Laos over the past 15 years. People living in communities without safe water access are vulnerable to the bombs when they go to collect water or water livestock. ICRC


Science, Studies, And Reports

A state budget released by Saudi Arabia this week includes cuts to subsidy programs for water, electricity, and fuel — major steps that “will be game-changers in the Gulf,” according to political experts. Saudi Arabia is hurting from low oil prices. Reuters

On the Radar

On The Radar

Low water levels in the Magdalena and Cauca rivers prompted Colombia’s president to issue a red alert Wednesday. Water rationing measures are in place in one-fifth of the country’s cities and will likely be expanded due to low rainfall, while energy rationing could also occur because of Colombia’s reliance on hydropower. Reuters

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