The Stream, May 25: Millions Still Face Hunger In Ethiopia

The Global Rundown

Rainfall across Ethiopia has not erased hunger for millions of people, and food insecurity could actually deepen over the next several months. Rising sea levels are expected to put more pressure on the National Flood Insurance Program in the United States, which is already billions of dollars in debt. The number of lawsuits that aim to spur action on climate change are increasing around the world. A new map chronicles how ice cover has changed at Glacier National Park in Montana. A new study with ramifications for urban water conservation found that trees lose much less water than lawns.

“I’ve been going there since 1991 and remember having to choose carefully how to climb up onto the glacier. It was 20 to 30 feet high at the edge. Now it comes only up to your shins.” –Daniel Fagre, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, commenting on the decline of the popular Grinnell glacier in Montana’s Glacier National Park. This graphic maps changes in the park’s glaciers over the past 50 years. (The New York Times)

By The Numbers

$25 billion Amount the National Flood Insurance Program owes the U.S. Treasury after paying for damages caused by Hurricane Sandy and other coastal disasters. With many coastal communities still highly vulnerable to floods, sea level rise is set to put even more financial pressure on the program. Yale Environment 360

654 legal cases Number filed in the United States to force officials to take action on climate change, the most of any country in the world. A new study, however, found that climate change cases are increasing globally. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Trees lose much less water than lawns during summer heat and drought, making them a better bet for conserving urban water resources, according to a study by researchers at the University of Utah. Their study found that lawns in Los Angeles accounted for 70 percent of the water lost through evapotranspiration, compared to 30 percent lost from trees. National Science Foundation

On The Radar

Levels of hunger just one step below famine will affect herders in Ethiopia over the next three months, despite rainfall that has started to ease a severe drought, according to early warning networks. More than 7 million people in Ethiopia currently need food aid, and that number is also expected to grow. Reuters

In context: Ethiopia hunger reaches emergency levels.