The Stream, September 12, 2019: Canada Pressures Homeowners to Move from Flood-Prone Coastal Areas

The Global Rundown

The Canadian government pressures homeowners to relocate from flood-prone coastal areas. The city of Chicago plans to set up flood barriers along Lake Michigan. Abnormally dry conditions fuel forest fires in Indonesia. Officials in Flint, Michigan, remain wary declaring that the city’s water is safe. Detailed mapping shows the extent of 2019 flooding in the Midwestern United States

“Canadians are stubbornly beginning to reconsider the wisdom of building near flood-prone areas. It’s taking government action to obligate people to make better decisions.” –Jason Thistlethwaite, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, in reference to efforts by the Canadian government to move homeowners away from vulnerable coastal areas. As opposed to rebuilding flood-hit homes, the government is offering less disaster aid and, in some cases, issuing mandatory buyouts. The New York Times

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By The Numbers

239 million liters Water bombs used to douse wildfires burning across Indonesia. More than 5,000 fire “hot spots” are raging across the country, which has experienced especially dry conditions in recent months. Some of the blazes are believed to have been started after fires were used to clear land. Reuters

400 Counties across 11 Midwestern U.S. states that sought disaster aid due to flooding this spring and summer. Detailed mapping shows the extent of the damage along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas Rivers, which affected almost 14 million people. The New York Times

In context: Historic Missouri River Flood Damages Water Infrastructure.

Science, Studies, and Reports

Despite the U.S. EPA’s guarantee that drinking water in Flint, Michigan, is safe, local officials say that these declarations are “premature” and that more testing is needed to completely verify the safety of the water. Many residents are still wary of the water, which was contaminated with lead during the city’s 2014 water crisis. PBS Frontline

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

On the Radar

High water levels in Lake Michigan are prompting Chicago, Illinois, to install hundreds of yards of flood barriers in eight different locations, the city’s Department of Transportation says. The barriers will be installed this month as Lake Michigan nears record-high water levels. NBC Chicago 

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