The Stream, October 21, 2020: A Landslide Caused By Excessive Flooding Kills 20 In Vietnam


  • A landslide in Vietnam leaves at least 20 military personnel dead.
  • A new report finds France’s largest dairy producer guilty of multiple environmental and public health violations.
  • Almost 80 percent of U.S. homes tested in a new study have concentrations of lead in their drinking water.
  • An invasive mosquito species is evolving and could cause an outbreak in rural and urban areas of eastern Africa.

King tides on the U.S. East Coast are causing more devastation than ever due to rising sea levels.

“At 75 percent of these East and Gulf Coast locations, [flooding is] now accelerating on an annual basis. That’s a very important notion to understand. And once infrastructure becomes compromised, once [those impacts are noticed], the change is going to be quick rather than a slow process.” – William Sweet, an oceanographer with NOAA specializing in sea-level rise and flooding issues. A rise in sea levels has caused once harmless king tides, or extremely high tides based on the orbit of the sun and moon, to wreak havoc on the United States East Coast, The Washington Post reports. King tide flooding was widespread along East Coast shorelines for the first half of this week, despite moderate weather. Rising sea levels have caused a surge in action-tier flooding.

In context: For Honolulu, Rising Seas Deliver Flood Risks Three Ways


2020 Election: Water Decisions Pepper State and Local Ballots

The main event on November 3 is the presidential contest, Trump v. Biden.

The outcome of that race will influence the direction of national water policy.

Down the ballot there is action of a different sort. A hodgepodge of constitutional amendments and ballot measures seek to move water policy at the state and local level.

In Case You Missed It:

In Pakistan, Pandemic Derails Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Work – Government focus on Covid comes at the expense of other public health projects.

HotSpots H2O: Honduran Mine Protestor Shot and Killed, Others Continue to Await Trial – A man who protested against a mining development in Honduras was shot and killed inside his home last week. Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo was one of 32 people from the community of El Guapinol charged with criminal offenses for protesting an open-pit iron oxide mine that the community claims threatens its land and water supply.

New Report Exposes Widespread Environmental Pollution From France’s Largest Dairy Producer

A year-long investigation by the French media organization Disclose uncovered a number of environmental and public health concerns at the country’s largest dairy producer, Lactalis. Among the findings of the report was evidence of intense, widespread environmental pollution, including the dumping of industrial waste into nearby rivers. Since 2010, the report found, 38 Lactalis plants have violated environmental laws. Violations include deliberate pollution of watercourses and “incidents of negligence that resulted in the destruction of fauna and flora.”

In an interview with the Guardian, co-editor-in-chief of Disclose Geoffrey Livolsi said, “The information we have been able to gather reveals a huge environmental pollution scandal.” The Guardian reports that Disclose’s findings has renewed calls for tightening up existing environmental regulations in France and implementing new, stronger environmental protections.



A new study that tested the homes of 800 families across the United States found that 79 percent of the homes had detectable levels of lead in their water supply. Lead, a potent neurotoxin, is especially harmful in infants. The report, from the nonprofit Healthy Babies Bright Futures, found that formula-fed infants face the highest risks if fed with tap water and Black babies and babies in low-income homes are most likely to be exposed to lead in formula. The report urges parents to test their water for lead and install a filter if necessary.


Heavy rain and flooding in Vietnam caused a major landslide on Sunday which has killed at least 20 military personnel as of Monday, The New York Times reports. Ha Ngoc Duong, the vice chairman of the Huong Phung Commune, said that mudslides are likely to continue and hamper search-and-rescue missions. The landslide came only days after another landslide killed 13 people in neighboring Thua Thien Hue. Vietnam has been experiencing unprecedented flooding and rainfall—which has cost the country $520,000 so far— since early October.


An invasive species of mosquito could bring malaria to some of Africa’s urban areas, reports The Conversation. The Anopheles stephensi mosquito was first reported in Africa in 2013 and is quickly moving across the eastern region of the continent. The species typically breed in rural water habitats like puddles, footprints and animal prints along ponds and irrigated farmland. Urban areas are not off limits for the species, as they can flourish in places such as plastic or cement containers that hold water. Challenges to controlling an outbreak include a lack of resources and developing resistance to insecticides used against the species. Experts suggest environmental management and eco-friendly biopesticides are needed to stop the spread of Anopheles stephensi.

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