The Stream, March 2: California Residents Urged to Evacuate As Powerful Storms Bring Risk of Mudslides

The Global Rundown

Thousands of California residents are encouraged to evacuate as torrential rains heighten the risk of mudslides. Intense drought in South Africa’s Western Cape is expected to cut agricultural output by 20 percent. Sri Lanka begins constructing a system of pumps and canals to help alleviate severe flooding in the capital Colombo. The death toll from Papua New Guinea’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, which demolished villages and infrastructure, continues to rise. Fighting in Syria threatens the water supplies of residents in Afrin.

“Were they to be damaged it would deprive at least 200,000 people of water.” –Iolanda Jaquemet, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, in reference a dam and water treatment facility near Afrin, Syria. Fighting between Turkish forces and the Kurdish YPG militia is in close proximity to the dam and water treatment area, raising concern that Afrin’s water supply will be disrupted. Reuters

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By The Numbers

$45 million Amount of damage that Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo suffers every year due to floods and heavy rains. A $320 million flood-protection project in underway in the city, and includes the construction of three pumping stations, two rainwater tunnels, and a major diversion canal. Reuters

31 Death toll from Papua New Guinea’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent landslides. The quake devastated entire villages and disrupted water, power, and other utilities across the island. NPR

Science, Studies, And Reports

The latest agricultural report from South Africa’s Western Cape predicts that 20 percent of crops will be lost this year due to drought. The province’s wheat, apple, grape, and pear crops are among the hardest-hit. The New York Times

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of Cape Town.

On The Radar

Tens of thousands of residents near Santa Barbara, California are being urged to evacuate as torrential rains increase the risk of mudslides. Rainfall rates of up to 13 millimeters–the threshold for triggering a debris flow–are expected in the state’s foothills and mountains, many of which have no vegetation due to recent wildfires. The severe storms come amid an abnormally dry winter. Al Jazeera