The Stream, December 27: Protection of Indigenous Land, Water, Cited in Guatemala Silver Mine Shutdown

The Global Rundown

A conflict flares in Guatemala over a silver mining project, which indigenous communities fear will hurt their water supply. Heavy rains hamper relief efforts in tsunami-hit Indonesia. As dry conditions grip the United States, farmers turn to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor. Sand dams in Somalia boost water supply and provide a long-term climate change solution. Two officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality plead no contest to misdemeanor charges related to the Flint water crisis.

“It’s something we view as a threat and an invasion.” –Aleisar Arana, member of the Xinca indigenous group in Guatemala, in reference to the country’s mining industry. Last year, Guatemalan judges abruptly shut down the Escobal Silver Mine, citing the need to consult nearby Xinca indigenous communities about the project. The mine has not reopened amid concerns about how it will impact ancestral land for indigenous people and water resources. Reuters

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By The Numbers

21,000 People on the Indonesian island of Java who evacuated to higher ground after a volcanic explosion caused a tsunami last weekend. Aid workers are attempting to deliver food, water, medicine, and other necessities to evacuees, but heavy rains are undermining the attempt. Reuters

260,000 Somalis who died during the country’s 2011 famine. In hopes of avoiding a similar disaster, the UN Development Programme is helping to build sand dams across the country. The dams can harvest water above and below ground, and could serve as a sustainable solution to future droughts. UN News

Science, Studies, And Reports

As dry conditions persist across parts of the United States, farmers say they are becoming more attuned to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a map that tracks weekly changes in the nation’s drought. In addition to providing farmers and water planners with a snapshot of drought conditions, the monitor is also used to by the federal government to calculate aid for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. NPR

On The Radar

Michael Prysby and Stephen Busch, two officials at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges related to the Flint water crisis on Wednesday. The men have also agreed to testify against other defendants connected to the 2014 debacle. Detroit Free Press

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

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