The Stream, January 10: U.S. Spends a Record $306bn on Natural Disasters in 2017

The Global Rundown

The United States spends a record-high amount on natural disasters in 2017. The Democratic Republic of Congo attempts to contain a rapidly-spreading cholera epidemic. Rising ocean temperatures could devastate the marine food web, scientists warn. A study finds that U.S. rivers and streams are getting progressively saltier. Torrential rains trigger flooding, mudslides, and freeway closures in Southern California.

“Cholera is preventable, it can be cured. We don’t need this type of crisis.” –Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, IFRC’s Africa director, in reference to the cholera epidemic spreading throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo. The waterborne disease broke out in July, but has begun to spread more quickly in recent weeks. Reuters

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

2018 Preview: What Not to Ignore About Water Infrastructure  Communities need to invest in and maintain water systems.

Cape Town’s “Day Zero” Approaches – Local authorities estimate that taps will be turned off by April 29, 2018.

By The Numbers

13 Number of people killed by flooding and mudslides in Southern California. Heavy rains have caused freeway closures and have left at least 25 people injured. Los Angeles Times

$306 billion Cost of the damages brought on by natural disasters in the U.S. in 2017. The majority of the damage was caused by hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, and drought. The total surpassed the previous record of $215 billion in 2005. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Many rivers and streams across the United States are becoming saltier, according to new research. Researchers attribute the increase of salt to certain fertilizers, mining waste, and the use of salt on winter roads. The Washington Post

On The Radar

Scientists have warned that rising ocean temperatures could lead to a collapse of the marine food web. Warming waters restrict energy flows between species in the marine ecosystem, reducing food availability for bigger animals such as fish. Reuters