The Stream, April 4: Portugal Assembles Record Number of Firefighters After Extremely Dry Winter

The Global Rundown

Portugal assembles a record-high number of firefighters following a parched winter and sweltering temperatures. Officials warn that dams in southwestern Iran are nearly full. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes lowering fluoride levels allowed in bottled water. As cholera cases soar, Mozambique begins an official vaccination campaign in the wake of Cyclone Idai. Water ATMs spread across India.

“The water that comes is yellow and black. The trash dump emits ammonia and methane gas. It even catches fire. It burns day and night. Because of this, the groundwater is completely spoilt.” –Anil Chaurasia, an Indian NGO worker, in reference to water contamination in India. Much of the country’s groundwater is tainted, leading to a rise in bottled water use as well as “water ATMs,” where people can fill containers with purified water. Deutsche Welle

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By The Numbers

11,500 Firefighters and allied staff that are being assembled to fight wildfires in Portugal, making up the largest crew ever. Portuguese officials fear this year’s wildfire season could be especially severe after an abnormally dry winter. The crew will be deployed in July through September, the country’s peak wildfire months. The New York Times

95 percent Proportion of dams in the Iranian province of Khuzestan that are full, according to the governor. Seventy villages in the province were evacuated on Tuesday amid fears that dams will overflow. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has promised compensation to all residents impacted by the country’s recent flooding. Al Jazeera

Science, Studies, And Reports

Amid concerns about the health impacts of too much fluoride, the U.S. FDA has proposed lowering the allowable amount of fluoride in bottled water from 0.8 milligrams per liter to 0.7 milligrams per liter. Studies have shown that small amounts of the mineral can cut down on cavities and tooth decay, but too much exposure can damage gums and brain development. USA Today

On The Radar

Health workers in Mozambique have officially launched a cholera vaccination campaign as the waterborne disease spreads in cyclone-hit Beira and beyond. Beira’s water and sanitation infrastructure was heavily damaged by Cyclone Idai, which made landfall on March 14 and left 843 people dead in southeast Africa. Reuters

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