The Stream, May 19: Kenya Floods Add Misery For Drought-Affected Herders

The Global Rundown

Floods in Kenya have killed thousands of cattle, harming herders who also lost livestock to the country’s severe drought. Officials in Indonesia say efforts to restore water to peatlands will dampen the smoke pollution caused by annual forest fires this year. Even small increases in global sea levels could have significant effects on coastal flooding, according to new research. A river-linking project in India cleared another hurdle after gaining approval from the Forest Advisory Committee. Outbreaks of cryptosporidium appear to be increasing in U.S. swimming pools, a government report found.

“With the preparation the government is making, the re-wetting activities, I would say there should be no more haze going to the neighbors. Fire will still happen, smoke will come out, but it can be put out immediately, so it shouldn’t create the trans-boundary haze.” –Nazir Foead, head of Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency, offering assurances that Southeast Asia should not suffer from smoke and haze pollution caused by annual forest fires in Indonesia. The agency has restored water to 200,000 hectares of drained peatlands, and hopes to prevent fires by restoring 2 million hectares by 2020. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

25,000 people Number displaced by flash floods in Kenya this month. The floodwaters also killed nearly 9,000 cattle, causing further hardship for herders already reeling from drought. Reuters

In context: Kenya’s drought worsens in the wake of below-average rainfall.

32 outbreaks of cryptosporidium, a parasite that can cause diarrhea and nausea, were recorded in U.S. swimming pools last year, double the number recorded in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Washington Post

Science, Studies, And Reports

A 20-centimeter rise in global sea levels would put coastlines around the world at twice the risk of floods, according to research led by scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago. An even smaller increase — just 2.5 centimeters — would double the risk of coastal floods for low-latitude regions. Guardian

On The Radar

India’s Forest Advisory Committee has approved the Ken-Betwa river-linking project, which would join the Ken river to the Betwa river basin via a 231-kilometer canal. The project is opposed by environmentalists, who worry it will stress the rivers and displace thousands of people. Reuters