The Stream, October 21: Drought-Hit Madagascar Faces Emergency Levels Of Hunger

The Global Rundown

Food security conditions have deteriorated to emergency levels in Madagascar, putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk, aid organizations warned. Brazil charged more than a dozen individuals with homicide in the Samarco dam collapse case. A new report quantified the number of premature deaths in Africa caused by polluted water and air. Typhoon Haima hit the Philippines this week, triggering floods and displacing thousands of people. The United Nations reached an agreement to adopt the New Urban Agenda to guide global urbanization. The inspector general of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criticized the lack of urgency in responding to the Flint water crisis.

“These situations should generate a greater sense of urgency.” –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of the Inspector General, writing in a report about the handling of the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The EPA was among the numerous local, state, and federal agencies blamed for a slow and inadequate response to the city’s unsafe water. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

850,000 people Number facing hunger due to a drought in Madagascar, where food security conditions have reached “emergency” levels — one level lower than famine. The regional director of the World Food Programme described the situation as “people living on the very brink.” Reuters

54 years Maximum prison sentences faced by 21 individuals charged with “qualified homicide” over the collapse of a tailings dam at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil last year. The disaster killed 19 people. Reuters

90,000 people Number evacuated as Typhoon Haima, a category 5 storm, hit the Philippines and caused flooding and landslides. The typhoon flooded 37 towns in Pampanga province alone as rain fell on ground already saturated by an earlier storm. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Unsafe water in Africa is leading to an estimated 542,000 premature deaths each year, according to a report released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. That total is less than the number of early deaths caused by the continent’s air pollution, but more than the number caused by malnutrition or poor sanitation, the report found. Guardian

On The Radar

The United Nations agreed Thursday to adopt the New Urban Agenda, a set of guidelines to address the social and environmental challenges associated with global urbanization. Critics of the agreement, however, said it does not include a concrete plan to provide services including clean water, food, and sanitation to informal settlements, where 3 billion people are expected to live by 2030. Reuters