The Stream, April 28: Ethiopia Drought Imperils 7.7 Million People

The Global Rundown

More than 7 million people are now facing food insecurity due to a deep drought in Ethiopia. An attack on a major oil pipeline in Colombia contaminated a water source for thousands of people. If global sea levels rise at an “extreme” rate that is unlikely, but possible, they could displace millions of people in the United States. The Philippines will ban new open-pit mines in the latest pollution-fighting effort by the country’s environment minister. A proposed coal mine in New South Wales could disrupt groundwater supplies for nearly 75 years. The state of Michigan could begin closing public water distribution points in Flint next month.

“I’m in total disagreement [with closing any sites]. There’s areas in the 5th Ward that are poverty stricken (and) Ward 5 is one of the hardest hit wards when it comes to lead.” –Wantwaz Davis, 5th Ward councilman in Flint, Michigan, referring to a settlement over the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis that allows the state government to begin closing bottled water distribution sites for affected residents starting May 1. The state said it will not close any sites yet because enough people still use them, but it could shut down all sites by September. (MLive)

By The Numbers

7.7 million people Number who need food aid in Ethiopia as water shortages continue to plague the Amhara, Oromiya, and SNNP regions, an increase of two million since the beginning of the year. Reuters

31 attacks Number inflicted so far this year on the Cano-Limon Covenas oil pipeline, the second largest in Colombia. The latest attack triggered an oil spill that has contaminated a water source for 3,500 people in Norte de Santander province. Reuters

$120 million Estimated amount the New South Wales government would earn from the proposed Hume Coal mine project over its 19-year operating life. The mine could draw down groundwater levels in the area by two to 80 meters, with the aquifer taking 73 years to recover. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Under an “extreme” scenario, rising sea levels could inundate a land area home to 12 million Americans and worth $2 trillion in property value by the end of the century, according to a new analysis based on a technical report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. New York City would have the largest number of people affected, followed by Miami, according to the analysis. Climate Central

On The Radar

The Philippines is banning all new open-pit mines to reduce environmental pollution, according to the country’s environment secretary, Regina Lopez. Lopez is already under fire for her efforts to stem water pollution from the nickel mining industry by calling for the closure of nearly two dozen mines. Reuters

In context: Gina Lopez, Philippine environment secretary, pursues watershed protection, but clear goals to enforce pollution laws jeopardize her job.