The Stream, March 14: A Week After Deadly Flooding, Malawi Faces Tropical Cyclone Threat

The Global Rundown

A week after flood waters killed at least 56 people, Malawi braces for a tropical cyclone. A slow-rising flood deluges homes in the Mississippi Delta. Looters take food, water, and other items as Venezuela’s nationwide power outage continues. Malaysia puts bauxite mining projects on hold to conduct environmental studies. Researchers rush to understand the environmental impacts of urban wildfire damage in California and beyond.

“In an urban fire you’re dealing with contaminants that don’t go away – arsenic, heavy metals, copper, lead, transformer fluid, brake fluid, fire retardant.” –Maurice Pitesky, a veterinarian at U.C. Davis who is studying the eggs of chickens that were exposed to smoke or ash following wildfires in California. The state has witnessed a wave of worsening wildfires in recent years, including the 2018 Camp Fire, which engulfed the town of Paradise. Wildfire damage to urban areas is becoming more common, but its long-term impacts on water, air, and soil are poorly understood. Reuters

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By The Numbers

56 Latest death toll from flooding in Malawi. As the country reels from the deadly deluge, another threat is looming, with Tropical Cyclone Idai expected to make landfall on Thursday in nearby Mozambique. Forecasters say the storm will bring heavy rains and winds to southern Malawi. Reuters

500,000 acres Land that will be covered by a slow-building flood in the Mississippi Delta. The flooding is a result of levees along the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, which are in place to prevent even worse flooding–but haven’t spared the homes of dozens of families in Sharkey County. The flooding is expected to continue building, inch-by-inch, in coming weeks. Associated Press

Science, Studies, And Reports

In 2016, Malaysia halted bauxite mining operations after unregulated operations contaminated water sources in the eastern state of Pahang. The moratorium is set to expire at the end of March, but the Malaysian government says mining won’t be allowed to start until miners conduct environmental impact studies. Reuters

On The Radar

Venezuela is sinking into further turmoil as a nationwide blackout continues. Widespread looting of food, water, vehicles, computers, and other items has been reported, hampering relief efforts. China has offered “assistance and technical support” to help restore power in the country. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro alleges that the blackout is due to meddling by the United States. Al Jazeera

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