The Stream, September 12: In Afghanistan, Drought Displaces More People than Conflict, UN Finds

The Global Rundown

A United Nations report finds that more people in Afghanistan have been displaced this year by drought than by conflict. The “water mafia” in Karachi, Pakistan, continues to control the city’s water distribution despite reforms. Waterways run dry and wildfires blaze amid one of Utah’s driest summers on record. More than 1 million people are ordered to evacuate along the North Carolina coast ahead of Hurricane Florence. Water storage levels in reservoirs across India are above 10-year averages. The Swiss government continues to airlift water to cows in the country’s parched mountains.

“We would have really had problems without those water deliveries.” –Mireille Pittet, a dairy farmer, in reference to ongoing efforts by the Swiss army to airlift water to cows grazing in the country’s mountains. Swiss farmers have brought their herds to graze in high mountain pastures during the summertime for centuries, but abnormally dry conditions have left cows without enough water to drink this summer. The water deliveries began earlier this summer. NPR

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By The Numbers

221,000 acres Land that has burned this year in Utah, making it the worst wildfire season since 2012. The intense season, which is expected to last for another month, is largely a result of the state’s abnormally hot, dry summer. The drought has also drained waterways, hurt wildlife populations, and disrupted agricultural water deliveries. The Salt Lake Tribune

$150 Monthly cost of clean water in Karachi, Pakistan. For those who can afford it, this water is supplied by the city’s “water tanker mafia,” which siphons off and sells Karachi’s water. In an attempt to subdue the mafia, the government has offered incentives for the mafia to provide water legally, provided they sell half of the water at designated locations and at government prices.Still, many of the city’s poorer residents are forced to buy polluted water, or go without. NPR

In context: Karachi’s Water Supply Curtailed by Theft and Mismanagement.

Science, Studies, And Reports

A new report by the United Nations finds that 275,000 people have been displaced by drought in Afghanistan this year, compared to 52,000 who have been forced from their homes by conflict. Much of the displacement is due to failed harvests. In total, the UN warns that more than two million people in the country face difficulties due to water shortages. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O, April 2: Spotlight on Afghanistan.

On The Radar

Hurricane Florence is gaining strength as it nears the U.S. East Coast, registering maximum sustained winds of up to 140 miles per hour. The storm is expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Thursday, near the South Carolina border. More than one million people have been ordered to evacuate from coastal areas. Reuters

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

The collective water storage level in 91 of India’s major reservoirs has reached 73 percent, up from 69 percent the week before. The water storage for this week is 114 percent of the average of the past 10 years. The Times of India

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