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CBS News and CNN are reporting that because of a major drought in Zimbabwe that occurred for months, more than 2 million residents of Zimbabwe’s capital and surrounding towns were without tap water on Tuesday because city officials had to shut down the city’s main treatment plant — they do not have the money to pay for water treatment chemicals — approximately $2.7M per month. This creates a public health crisis as well because of a recent cholera outbreak, as well as an economic crisis in the nation continues to spiral downward.
Why This Matters: Can another climate refugee crisis be far behind this tragedy in Zimbabwe? And with this one there is the potential for the spread of a deadly cholera outbreak and grave illness as a result. Global leaders in New York are talking a good game, but who is able to act in the face of this actual crisis TODAY in Zimbabwe?? As Greta said, people all over the world are suffering and dying NOW because of climate change. And if you think this can’t happen here in the U.S., think again — a portion of Galveston, Texas was without water last weekend and water restrictions remain in place because Tropical Storm Imelda flooded and damaged the local water treatment plant and it will be two weeks before the plant reopens. The same kind of water treatment plant failures occurred in the floods in the upper Midwest last spring.
Zimbabwe In Dire Need of Assistance
According to CNN, Zimbabwe is “struggling to cope under the double impact of the drought and a cyclone that devastated food harvests in March. More than two million people Zimbabweans are facing starvation, the UN food agency said in a report and a third of the country’s population will need food aid by 2020, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
CBS News reports that “The capital now frequently records cases of diseases such as typhoid due to water shortages and dilapidated sewer infrastructure. Some residents are forced to get water from shallow, unsafe wells and defecate in the open.”
The leader of Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is attending the UN General Assembly has stated his “dismay” that Zimbabweans were suffering from a ‘medieval’ disease.”
A federal court on Monday put on hold President Trump’s February order that overturned agency scientists and revised federal water supply plans in California, frustrating a political promise he made to farmers in central California to lift water restrictions for the benefit of agriculture there.
Why This Matters: This decision is just a temporary hold on the Trump administration’s water grab. But the time is key for both the species at risk of extinction and for the farmers who will lose out on additional water that they would get to take out of the system for agriculture now, while there is spring runoff happening — water they can’t get back later because it is already flushed through the system.
Shocking as it may be, there are 2 million Americans living in such poverty that they lack running water, and tens of millions of others may have water in their homes but it is hardly safe to bathe in, much less drink, The Washington Post reports. These extreme conditions are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in minority communities in the deep south and Navajo Country.
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