The Stream, December 21, 2021: Typhoon Kills Hundreds in the Philippines


  • Typhoon Rai batters the Philippines.
  • Heavy rains flood the capital city of Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in Iraq.
  • Emergency services evacuate more than 20,000 people after flooding in Malaysia.
  • Heavy rain and snow in the American West this week could relieve the burden of drought in the region.

An environmental commission criticizes a recently drafted environmental impact statement in Wisconsin.

“There really needs to be a thorough description of the risks posed by putting this pipeline around the reservation… and Enbridge does not have a great history with spills.” – John Coleman, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife commission’s environmental section leader. A drafted environmental impact statement on the reroute of Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline from the Wisconsin Department of National Resources is incomplete and flawed, according to an intertribal agency. The rerouted pipeline would run through Ashland and Iron counties in Wisconsin after the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa sued Enbridge in 2019 to remove the pipeline from their reservation. The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission said the draft doesn’t contain enough data on the effects an oil would have on downstream waters, including Lake Superior, nor does it assess compliance with the Bad River tribe’s water quality standards.

  • Why It Matters: In Michigan, Indigenous communities have long contested Line 5, but only recently has the state addressed this. In November of 2020, Gov. Whitmer revoked the easement that allows the pipelines to operate and ordered Enbridge to halt oil transport. Cited in the revocation, for the first time in the history of Line 5, Michigan’s administration officially acknowledged nearly 200-year-old Indigenous Chippewa and Ottawa treaty rights as one of the reasons to shut down the pipeline project and protect Great Lakes ecology and fisheries.


In Case You Missed It:

HotSpots H2O: 100,00 Displaced as Water Scarcity Ignites Ethnic Clashes in Cameroon – Climate change has made rainfall in the Sahel more variable, straining Cameroon’s agriculture industry and sparking ethnic tensions.

What’s Up With Water—December 20, 2021 – This week’s episode covers ongoing drought in Iraq, an investigation into an oil and gas exploration company in southwest Africa, and the annual meeting of Colorado River Basin leaders.

Typhoon Hits Philippines, Kills Hundreds and Displaces 400,000

Super Typhoon Rai has killed at least 375 people in the Philippines, according to police. The storm hit the island nation on Thursday with winds of about 195 kmh (120 mph), displacing around 400,000 people. Relief organizations say many areas have been cut off from aid with “no power, no communications, very little water.”


12 PEOPLE   

Heavy rains flooded Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, late last week, killing at least 12 people late last week. Provincial Governor Omid Khoshnaw said on Sunday that the floods also caused 21 billion dinars ($15 million) in losses throughout 15 neighborhoods in the city.

21,000 PEOPLE

Torrential rain in seven Malaysian states caused severe flooding on Sunday, Reuters reports. Emergency services, along with civilian volunteers rescued and evacuated around 21,000 people from flooded homes and vehicles. Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters that a typical month’s worth of rainfall had fallen on Sunday alone.


Heavy rain and snow is forecast this week for much of the Western United States, which could prove crucial for water resources in the drought-plagued region. Meteorologists predict between 5 and 10 feet of snow throughout the Sierra Nevada, which will lead to greater runoff from the snowmelt in the spring and could reduce drought conditions next summer.

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