The Stream, July 10: Dire Outlook For Drought-Hit Horn of Africa

The Global Rundown

A severe drought in East Africa will continue to stress food security across the region through next year, with Somalia still at risk of famine. Drought conditions in Portugal and Spain have cut grain harvests and forced officials to consider water restrictions. Swings between record droughts and floods are putting increasing pressure on water systems in the United States. Poor drainage is being cited as a key contributor to extensive flooding in Lagos, Nigeria. Floods in Japan claimed more lives over the weekend, and heavy rains could continue.

“We might be wandering into an area where history might be a bystander. That gets a little scary because history’s here to provide context.” –Mike Anderson, the state climatologist for California, commenting on record-setting droughts – followed by record-setting floods – that in recent years have afflicted his state, Texas, and the Mississippi River Basin. (Bloomberg)

By The Numbers

18 people Number killed on Japan’s Kyushu island as floods and landslides continued through the weekend. The heavy rainfall also damaged rail infrastructure, forced evacuations, and is expected to continue. The Japan Times

50 percent Reduction in wheat and barley harvests in Spain’s grain-growing region of Castilla y León due to a severe drought. Drought conditions are also hurting neighboring Portugal, where 80 percent of the country is affected. Guardian ; Associated Press

Science, Studies, And Reports

Drought conditions in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are expected to perpetuate a “major food security emergency” through 2018, according to a report released by the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET). The agency said rainfall levels over the past year had been the lowest or near-lowest in 36 years for many areas across the Horn of Africa, and warned that acute malnutrition is already at critical levels. FEWSNET

In context: Ethiopia hunger reaches emergency levels.

On The Radar

Damaging floods hit Lagos over the weekend, affecting the city’s business district. The severity of the floods has been blamed in part on poor drainage caused by trash-clogged gutters and illegal construction in Nigeria’s largest city. Quartz