YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Record levels of water from Michigan rivers flow into Lakes Michigan and Huron.
- Sudanese citizens are left defenseless as flooding and ethnic violence is met with low relief funding.
- A new study finds that a fifth of countries globally are at risk for ecosystem collapse.
- A tropical depression in the Mekong region displaces thousands.
Hurricane Delta destroys homes and livelihoods, but not hope, in Louisiana.
“We fought all night long trying to keep things intact. And with God’s help we made it.” – Milton Wesley, who braved Hurricane Delta in their Lake Charles home. Parts of Louisiana are in shambles after back-to-back hurricanes hit the state, but residents aren’t giving up hope, reports the AP. Hurricane Laura, which hit Louisiana in late August, is being blamed for the deaths of 32 Louisianans. Gov. John Bel Edwards said Hurricane Delta, which struck last week, has put 850 people in shelters throughout the state. Amid widespread devastation, residents have found the silver lining. Many said damage to their homes wasn’t as bad as they anticipated, while others focused on rallying their community in hopes to rebuild what was lost.
THE LATEST WATERNEWS FROM CIRCLE OF BLUE
Lack of Utility Data Obscures Customer Water Debt Problems
More than one in five Baltimore residents meets the federal definition of poverty, and the city’s water rates have more than doubled in the last decade. Its aging sewer system is proving costly, undergoing $1.6 billion in federally mandated repairs. For large metro areas, the Queen City also has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, which is a risk factor for pipe leaks.
Together, it is a recipe for residents having high and unaffordable water bills and an indicator that many households might be in debt to the water department. But how many? It is hard to say.
In Case You Missed It:
HotSpots H2O: Fires in the World’s Largest Wetlands Decimate Wildlife and Livelihoods – The Pantanal wetlands are on fire. Since early this year, nearly a fifth of the Brazilian ecosystem, over 14,000 square miles, has burned in wildfires just south of the Amazon rainforest.
What’s Up With Water – October 12, 2020 – This week’s episode looks at Hurricane Delta’s impact on the Louisiana coast, an objection to a government proposal to release radioactive water into the sea from the Japanese fishing industry and teachers in Zimbabwe who have gone on strike and are demanding clean water and sanitizer in schools.
Violence and Flooding Leaves Sudanese Vulnerable Year Round
Amid ethnic violence, unprecedented flooding has once again forced thousands of families in Sudan from their homes, reports Reuters. Since July, relentless rainfall that has been attributed to climate change has forced almost 370,000 people from their homes. As the rainy season comes to a close, Sudanese citizens will face another battle: ethnic violence as a result of a five-year civil war, both of which leaves entire communities without food, shelter and water.
The floods have left over 10 million people in the country at risk of contracting water-borne diseases, according to a new report from the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Funding for relief in Sudan is critically low and inflation in the country has caused a shortage of basic necessities and increased prices of locally sourced supplies. Healthcare costs have also skyrocketed in a nation that suffers from chronic disease outbreaks, including Covid-19 and polio, leaving citizens defenseless from all angles.
TODAY’S TOP STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
A new study from the Swiss Re Institute shows that ecosystems in 39, or one fifth, of countries around the world are ask risk of collapse due to a decline in biodiversity. The study is based on Institute’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) Index, which ranks countries based on 10 key ecosystem services, including the water security, water quality, coastal protection and erosion control. The insights from the index, Swiss Re said, highlight the significance of conservation for a healthy economy. According to the report, 55 percent of the global GDP is dependent on a high-functioning biodiversity and some of the world’s most prominent economies in South Asia, Europe and the United States are at risk for a severe decline in BES.
Water levels on the Tittabawassee River at Midland equaled about three years’ worth of water in 2020, a spike that correlates with a flood in May caused by a broken dam. Heavy precipitation has caused several Michigan rivers to pump unparalleled levels of water into Lakes Michigan and Huron this year, MLive reports. Unprecedentedly high water levels in rivers throughout the state have contributed to record water levels in the Great Lakes the past few years, though water levels this year “shattered” previous records.
ON THE RADAR
Heavy rainfall in the Mekong region has flooded entire villages and displaced thousands ahead of a tropical depression, reports Al Jazeera. Entire families in Cambodia have been forced to evacuate and two have been reported dead, while in Vietnam five people have died and eight are still missing. Officials across the region are scrambling to understand the impact of the inundation so far, warning that the situation will likely get worse as the rain continues.
Jane is a Communications Associate for Circle of Blue. She writes The Stream and has covered domestic and international water issues for Circle of Blue. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time outdoors.