The Stream, March 18, 2020: England Experiences Above-Average Flooding and Drought in 2019

The Global Rundown

In 2019, England experienced some of the worst drought and flooding in recent times, a new study finds. Homeowners in Queensland, Australia, rebuild in areas where floods struck a year ago. Venezuela, where soap, water, and medical supplies are scarce, calls for a nationwide quarantine as the country’s coronavirus caseload rises. A year after Cyclone Idai, many displaced people in Zimbabwe still lack basic resources. Morocco cuts central bank interest rates after drought devastates economic growth. 

“If their daily work is already difficult because of a lack of water, electricity and basic items, with coronavirus the risk is exponential. The truth is that the Venezuelan state does not have the capacity to respond to this pandemic.” –Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s opposition leader, in reference to the impending spread of the coronavirus in Venezuela, where basics like soap and running water are scarce. The number of cases in the country was at 33 as of Tuesday, prompting President Nicolas Maduro to call for a nationwide quarantine. Reuters 

In context: HotSpots H2O: Venezuela, Where Hospitals and Homes Lack Soap and Water, Announces First Coronavirus Cases.

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HotSpots H2O: Venezuela, Where Hospitals and Homes Lack Soap and Water, Announces First Coronavirus Cases — For years, Venezuela’s healthcare system has veered toward collapse. Water, medicine, protective equipment, and other essentials have been in short supply. As the country reports its first coronavirus cases, experts fear the nation could be an ideal breeding ground for the disease. 

By The Numbers

2.6 million People in Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe who were affected by Cyclone Idai last March. A year later, many displaced people are still living in tents, and large portions of infrastructure have yet to be replaced. Zimbabwe and Mozambique are especially behind on repairs to public services. Al Jazeera

2.3 percent Amount that the Moroccan economy is expected to grow in 2020, down from a previous forecast of 3.8 percent. Drought in Morocco prompted cuts to the country’s projected cereal output, and the economy is now under added strain from the coronavirus. The country’s central bank slashed its benchmark interest rate to 2 percent on Tuesday in hopes of protecting economic activity. Reuters 

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new study by a group of conservation charities found that 2019 was one of the worst years for both drought and flooding in England in recent times. The country experienced a total of 5,600 flood warnings last year, more than anytime in the last 15 years aside from 2012. Groundwater levels were also below-average in 25 areas in 2019, the highest number on record. The Guardian 

On the Radar

A year ago, severe flooding deluged parts of Queensland, Australia, causing heavy damage to many homes. Now, homeowners are rebuilding or moving into new homes in the same area, but insurance companies, who suffered A$1.24 billion ($820 million) in losses after last year’s floods, are reluctant to offer coverage. One resident reported that his insurance premium had risen 350 percent as insurers reevaluate their policies for at-risk areas. Reuters 

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