HotSpots H2O, November 7: High Levels of Lead and Mercury Found in Mosul Water Supply

The Global Rundown

High levels of lead and mercury are found in the water of Mosul, Iraq, where the environment has suffered devastating effects after months of war. Twenty-six children die from diarrhea-related diseases each day in war-torn Afghanistan. As armed clashes end in Marawi City, Philippines, the ICRC sets up water distribution points to aid thousands of returning IDPs.  As flooding fills waterbodies in India, tensions rise between farmers and residents who live on the lakes. The United Nations implores Australia to restore food, water, and health services to detainees on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

“Australia’s policy of deterrence by rescuing people at sea, mistreating them and abandoning them has become a notion of cruelty.” –Babar Baloch, UNHCR spokesperson, in reference to the events unfolding on Manus Island, a detention center in Papua New Guinea where Australia is holding about 600 asylum seekers. The camp is slated to be closed but the detainees refuse to leave, fearing for their safety if they are moved. Australia consequently cut food, water, and other services to the camp, a move condemned by the United Nations. Reuters

By The Numbers

9,500 Number of children in Afghanistan killed by diarrhea each year, the equivalent of 26 a day. Instability in the country has led to poor sanitation conditions, widespread malnourishment, and limited access to safe water, allowing diarrheal disease to spread easily. UN News Centre

19 Number of oil fields that Islamic State fighters set fire to south of Mosul, Iraq, which turned surrounding areas and livestock black with soot. It is one example of the environmental destruction caused by the battle for Mosul. Toxic chemicals and other harmful waste have left high levels of lead and mercury in the city’s water. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

A report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) details efforts to provide potable water to Marawi City returnees. Fighting between Philippines government forces and IS displaced thousands and left 65 villages with low-to-medium-scale damage. As residents return, the ICRC is has set up eleven water distribution points and provided the Marawi City Water District with two generators. Relief Web

On The Radar

As monsoon rains fill waterbodies throughout Chennai, India, conflict is arising between farmers who depend on the water for irrigation, and those living on the lakes who fear flooding. In 2015, downpours led to overflowing reservoirs and flooding. Releasing water from the reservoirs too soon, however, can be a waste of crucial irrigation supplies. The Hindu