The Stream, May 15: Turkey’s Ambitious Kanal Istanbul Threatens Water Sources, Wildlife, and Farmland

The Global Rundown

Farmers and environmentalists decry Turkey’s ambitious Kanal Istanbul plan, which aims to ease traffic on the Bosphorus Strait. The Kenyan dam that burst last week was built illegally, an initial investigation shows. Gaza’s sole fuel entry point is destroyed, jeopardizing access to water and sewage treatment. British Columbia, which was swamped by heavy rains last week, braces for another round of flooding. Thousands of Syrian evacuees are stranded near al-Bab, Aleppo with minimal access to water.

“We don’t have food, we don’t have water, we don’t have anything at all.” –Firas al-Tawil, a Syrian evacuee, in reference to the shortage of basic amenities among more than 2,000 Syrians stranded at a government checkpoint for the past week. The convoy left southern Damascus as part of an evacuation deal, but is now being denied entry into the al-Bab district of Aleppo. Al Jazeera

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By The Numbers

45 kilometers (28 miles) Length of the proposed Kanal Istanbul, an ambitious project intended to reduce maritime traffic on the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. Several critics question the need for the canal, saying it will disrupt farmland, damage the environment, and destroy two of Istanbul’s key water sources. Reuters

In context: Drought, pollution, and expansion imperil Istanbul’s best-laid water plans.

4,000 Number of people forced to evacuate their homes during heavy flooding in British Columbia, Canada last week. A heat wave is in the forecast, meaning a second round of flooding is likely as warm temperatures melt mountain snow. CBC

Science, Studies, And Reports

An initial report on the dam that burst last week in Kenya’s Rift Valley indicates that the project lacked necessary permits. The illegally-built dam was constructed on a commercial flower farm, and killed at least 45 people when it burst after weeks of heavy rain. Reuters

On The Radar

Fuel has been cut to Gaza after Palestinian protesters destroyed a fuel terminal at a border crossing with Israel. The terminal is Gaza’s only fuel entry point. In response, the United Nations is urgently calling for an alternative energy source, as dwindling fuel supplies jeopardize the territory’s ability to pump water, treat sewage, and operate hospitals. The New York Times

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