The Stream, February 8: Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake Leaves 40,000 Homes Without Water in Taiwan

The Global Rundown

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocks Hualien, Taiwan, leaving 40,000 homes without water. Thousands of residents in Jakarta, Indonesia, are forced to evacuate after the release of floodwaters from an upstream reservoir. Scientists confirm that the 2014-2015 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, Michigan, was caused by low chlorine levels in the municipal water system. Torrential monsoon rains strand motorists in Queensland, Australia. Over 2,500 chemical sites are located in flood-prone areas throughout the United States.

“More often than not, these are facilities are on the water for a reason. So how do we make sure that there are protections in place? That’s the big question.” –Jeanne Herb, an environmental policy expert at Rutgers University, in reference to thousands of sites throughout the U.S. that handle toxic chemicals. An analysis of federal floodplain and industrial data shows that more than 2,500 chemical sites lie in flood-prone areas across the country, a growing concern as sea levels rise and heavy rainfall becomes more frequent. The New York Times

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By The Numbers

6,500 Number of people who have been displaced by flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia. Authorities were forced to release water from an upstream reservoir earlier in the week, leading to waist-deep water in some areas of the city. Reuters

16 Number of sites in Australia that have experienced record-high rainfall during the current monsoon season. In the past few days, at least four people in Queensland and the Northern Territory have been rescued after flood waters partially submerged their vehicles. Al Jazeera

Science, Studies, And Reports

Scientists have confirmed that the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, Michigan, was caused by low chlorine levels in the municipal water system. When the city began drawing its water from the Flint River in 2014, chlorine levels dropped and cases of Legionnaires’ disease spiked. Although the Flint water crisis and the Legionnaires’ outbreak happened simultaneously, researchers have been unsure how the two events were connected up until this point. NPR

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of the Flint water crisis.

On The Radar

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Hualien, Taiwan, just before midnight on Tuesday, February 6, leaving six people dead and over 200 injured. The earthquake buckled roads and demolished infrastructure throughout the city, leaving 40,000 homes without water. Aftershocks with a magnitude of at least 5.0 could continue to hit the island over the next two weeks. Channel NewsAsia