The Stream, April 17: First Humanitarian Aid Shipment of Water, Medicine, Reaches Venezuela

The Global Rundown

The first batch of Red Cross humanitarian aid reaches crisis-stricken Venezuela. A key railway in the Australian Outback is set to reopen after sustaining flood damages earlier this year. Kenya’s meteorological department warns that water and food scarcity loom amid a failing rainy season. Severe rainstorms continue to lash Afghanistan. Residents slowly return to fire-ravaged Paradise, California, despite a lack of running water.

“It’s kind of up to the homeowner. It’s on them to figure it out.” –Kyla Awalt, a resident of Paradise, California, which was largely destroyed six months ago by the deadly Camp Fire. Residents are slowly returning to homes that survived the blaze, but they remain cut off from water amid fears that the city’s water system is contaminated with benzene and other pollutants. For the time being, many returning residents have purchased water tanks that must be refilled every few weeks. NPR

In context: Severe Drinking Water Contamination Surfaces After Brutal Camp Fire.

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By The Numbers

5,000 liters Distilled water that was included in the first shipment of Red Cross aid into Venezuela. The country has been in turmoil since January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido challenged the re-election of President Nicolas Maduro. Since then, Maduro has blocked aid from entering the country, until brokering an agreement last week with the Red Cross. The aid shipment also included 14 power generators and three surgery equipment kits meant to serve up to 30,000 people. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O: Worst-Ever Power Outage Deepens Venezuela Water Insecurity.

16 Provinces in Afghanistan, out of 34, that were hit by torrential rains earlier this week. The formerly drought-stricken country has been hammered with heavy rains and flash flooding for weeks. The deluges have killed more than 100 people, and destroyed homes in Kabul and beyond.

In context: HotSpots H2O: Reversing a Drought Pattern, Afghanistan Struck by Deadly Floods.

Science, Studies, and Reports

The Kenyan meteorological department reemphasized the likelihood of food and water shortages as the March-May “long rains season” falters. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, created by the U.S. Agency for International Development, theorizes that the failed rainy season is due to disruption by Cyclone Idai, which struck nearby Mozambique on March 14. Reuters

On the Radar

In February, heavy flooding damaged the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) Mount Isa rail line in Queensland, Australia, a key route for transporting zinc and lead across the Australian Outback. Queensland’s transport minister said the the railway is slated to reopen on April 29. Reuters

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