HotSpots H2O, February 28: Pope Francis Warns of World War Over Water

The Global Rundown

Pope Francis warns that water scarcity may lead to world war. Pakistan initiates a major hydropower project despite an ongoing water dispute with India. Humanitarian operations are expanding in Yemen as conflict leaves thousands without shelter, food, or water. Deepening famine in South Sudan is forcing some to survive on weeds and water lilies. Violence by terrorist organization Boko Haram pushes Africa’s Lake Chad region closer to famine.   

“I ask if in this piecemeal third world war that we are living through, are we not going toward a great world war for water?” –Pope Francis in an address to participants of an international seminar on water rights. Pope Francis declared that providing worldwide access to safe drinking water is an “urgent need” and critical for the future of humanity. America Magazine

By The Numbers

100,000 Estimated number of South Sudanese facing imminent starvation amidst famine and conflict. Many have fled to swampland to escape violence, constraining them to a diet of weeds and occasional fish. Reuters

$1.5 billion Amount of aid that the United Nations claims is needed to combat the looming famine in Africa’s Lake Chad region. Although drought and chronic poverty are partly to blame, terrorist organization Boko Haram has also played a role in devastating the region by blocking access to Lake Chad, preventing farming, and displacing thousands. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

The United Nations reports that heightened conflict on the west coast of Yemen has displaced an estimated 44,000 people. Humanitarian groups have scaled up their operations in response, with water and sanitation an area of special focus. ReliefWeb

On The Radar

Pakistan is moving forward with a $2.4 billion dollar hydroelectric project despite concerns expressed by India. The project further complicates the India-Pakistan dispute over the Indus Water Treaty. Sputnik International  

In context: Learn more about the tensions surrounding the Indus Water Treaty.

What’s your water story? Join the conversation in preparation for World Water Day Live from the Vatican on March 22, 2017.