The Stream, October 3: Global HotSpots Edition

The Global Rundown

An analysis of 1,800 riots in sub-Saharan Africa verifies the hypothesis that drought is linked to outbreaks of unrest. The total number of cholera cases in Yemen could reach 1 million by the end of the year, according to Red Cross projections. UN Agencies and a variety of global partners join together to support water cooperation in Africa. A report by the World Resources Institute explores the growing ties between water stress, conflict, and migration. Poor sanitation poses increasing problems for Rohingya refugees who have fled conflict in Myanmar.

“In terms of access to even water, electricity, there isn’t a power grid in the main cities in Yemen. Without the ICRC and other organizations fixing (pumping stations) there wouldn’t be any running water in Sanaa.” –Alexander Faite, head of the Red Cross delegation in Yemen, in reference to country’s crippled water infrastructure. Poor sanitation and limited access to clean water are aiding the continued spread of cholera in war-torn Yemen. Suspected cases have reached 750,000, and the number could surpass one million by the end of the year. Reuters

By The Numbers

59 million litres Amount of clean water that is needed at refugee camps in Bangladesh to meet the daily needs of newly-arrived Rohingya Muslisms. The number of refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar has bypassed 500,000, creating widespread shortages of shelter, food, and water. Sanitation is also a growing problem, as daily flooding from monsoon rains leaves behind puddles of water contaminated by faecal matter. UN News Centre

Science, Studies, And Reports

After studying nearly 1,800 riots that took place over a 20-year period in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers from the University of Geneva identified a systematic link between drought and riots. The study determined that although political, economic, and social issues create tension, drought can “add fuel to flames,” increasing the risk of rioting anywhere from ten percent to fifty percent. Science Daily

A recent commentary by the World Resources Institute details how water stress is helping drive conflict and migration. The report highlights water-related instability in Syria and Africa’s Sahel region, while also discussing the potential impacts of water stress in emerging markets such as India, China, and Brazil. The commentary concludes by considering how the global community can respond to the world’s growing water crisis. WRI

On The Radar

A variety of UN agencies and global partners are coming together to endorse water cooperation in Africa. The EU and UN Environment plan to support pastoralists’ access to water along their seasonal migration routes through measures such as re-vegetating grasslands and maintaining water infrastructure. The UN and partners also hope to promote groundwater sharing in North Africa, with an emphasis on the North-West Sahara Aquifer System. IISD