The Stream, May 27, 2021: Chinese Officials Warn of Major Flooding Again This Summer


  • Seventy-one rivers in China exceed warning levels and officials expect big floods in the coming months.
  • Water infrastructure in Gaza remains impaired following a cease-fire agreement with Israel.
  • Drought in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state is hurting the production of Indigenous farmers.

In northeast India, one of the world’s smallest ethnic groups is confronting environmental problems that they trace to mining operations across the border in Bhutan.

“The mining in Bhutan has been making life difficult for us but no one seems to be bothered. The natural streams that once remained full of water have died. We have to depend on a lone active stream inside the forest for our daily water needs. But it also fails to fulfill our requirements during the extreme summers.” — Reshma Toto, a 22-year-old who is a member of one of the world’s smallest ethnic groups, the Toto. The Third Pole reports that streams in the village of Totopara, in the Indian state of West Bengal, have gone dry. Villagers blame the loss on quarries and stone crushing operations upstream, in Bhutan. Many residents now pipe water from the forest stream, or walk three to four kilometers to gather water from wells.


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Drought Cuts Farm Output in Mexico’s Chihuahua State

Production of corn, beans, potatoes, and forage sorghum fell by 90 percent in districts of southern Chihuahua state, El Heraldo de Chihuahua reports. Most of the farmers in the districts are Indigenous, who grow crops for subsistence. The drought has become a key issue in the state governor’s race. The election is scheduled for June 6.



People in Gaza — one-fifth of the population — who do not have regular access to a clean drinking water supply, according to the aid group Oxfam. Water and electric systems in the coastal enclave were damaged during 11 days of Israeli airstrikes earlier this month. A cease-fire agreement on May 20 paused the barrage.


Officials at China’s Ministry of Water Resources warned of the potential for major flooding again this summer, especially in the central and southern regions. Reuters reports that 71 rivers have exceeded warning levels and the Yangtze through the city of Wuhan is more than two meters above normal. Last year, heavy rainfall in the Yangtze basin triggered widespread flooding, which is expected to worsen in the region along with the buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

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