Basic water and hygiene supplies have been described as lacking in parts of South Africa during the country's COVID-19 lockdown, which is currently planned to extend to 30 April. Angry residents in the Eastern Cape told Sowetan Live that on 12 April "we heard that they [health workers] were coming and we decided to set dogs on them and also threw stones at them because they didn't come with sanitisers or water so that we can wash our hands regularly as required".
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Chile has become the first country in Latin America to submit its updated climate action commitment (Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC) as required by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, under which every country agreed to prepare and communicate an updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) every five years to reflect progress toward its highest possible ambition. So far, seven nations have submitted updated NDCs.
The World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research non-profit organization, has called for immediate implementation of solutions to increase water supplies and access for the most vulnerable, to address the spread of coronavirus throughout the world.
An 8 April blog emphasises that nearly 1 billion people live in conditions that frequent handwashing is difficult or impossible, saying that governments must “take steps to not only expand water access now to control COVID-19, but to create resilient communities by addressing the root problems of water insecurity...what’s also needed to foster resilience to disease outbreaks and other disasters is better water management".
Actions by China have been described as compounding a 2019 Mekong River drought that had severe impacts on livelihoods in downstream nations. China is accused in an April 2020 US government-funded study of restricting water flow from 11 upstream dams, affecting approximately 60 million people live in the Lower Mekong where agriculture and fishing are the principal sources of support. Ordinarily, seasonal drought in China eventually becomes a seasonal drought in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, while abundant water in China causes floods in the Mekong basin, as water is released from dams.
Water is expected to return to Greater Tripoli and many parts of Libya's Western region within the next two days, Tripoli's Central Municipality announced 14 April. Water has been cut off since a 6 April armed attack on the Shwerif pumping station when valves controlling flows of the country's Great Man Made River Project were disconnected, hitting supply to over 2 million inhabitants.
While there is no single United Nations entity dedicated exclusively to water issues, over 30 UN organisations carry out water and sanitation programmes, reflecting the fact that water issues run through all of the UN’s main focus areas.
UN-Water, which coordinates the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues, has brought together water and sanitation-related information from UN-Water Members and Partners in the light of the coronavirus global emergency to ensure the most up-to-date information, resources and guidance as they become available.
It has collected and curates water and sanitation-related information from Members and Partners in an up-to-date overview of information, resources and guidance with respect to COVID-19 which will be adjusted as new information is available - LINKED HERE.
East, Horn And Great Lakes Region Of Africa
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has confirmed its new measures to increase capacity to prevent, treat and limit the potential spread of COVID-19 in refugee settlements in the East, Horn and Great Lakes region of Africa. Living in crowded conditions, without adequate access to water and sanitation facilities, and with precarious livelihoods and food security, refugees in the region are particularly vulnerable to the virus, both in refugee camps and in urban areas.
The conversation makes reference to the film and musical presentation Water and Peace at the Heart of the "Festival à Sahel Ouvert" which sheds a local, philosophical and cultural light on the challenges of water in the Sahel LINKED HERE
The COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on quantity and quality of weather observations and forecasts around the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Large parts of the global observation system are fully automated but crucial maintenance functions may be delayed, causing a gap in the ability to gather information.
A 60-day submission period, commencing 6 April, for the new Water ChangeMaker Awards, opened this week. The new awards, targeted to those who have shaped water decisions that have helped to build climate resilience, is an initiative of about 20 partner organisations, convened by the Global Water Partnership (GWP).
Global maps of dry/wet conditions developed by NASA researchers have been made avavilable, and are now accessible online through the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has cancelled its World Water Week scheduled for 23-28 August 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.
After monitoring the spread of COVID-19, the institute’s Board came to the conclusion that holding such a major event “would pose a critical threat to the health of visitors and result in an unacceptable risk of spreading the disease.” The annual World Water Week attracts over 500 co-convening organisations and 4,000 participants from more than 130 countries.
The Water, Peace and Security Partnership (WPS), a coalition which develops tools and services that help identify water-related security and conflict risks, has described how “a perfect storm of poverty, growing natural resource scarcity, and pandemic may lead to the collapse of already fragile states", while severely impacting many others.
A 1 April statement from the partnership examines how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic adds another threat-multiplier to the “explosive mix of conflict and instability drivers that many individual countries and the world as a whole are facing”, identifying sectors that will be affected and putting some context around specific issues and specific countries.
The 28 March overflow of a Molybdenum mine tailings dam in China's north east Heilongjiang Province has been curtailed, after the second highest level of environmental emergency response in China had been triggered, but contaminated water has been detected up to 110 km downstream, environmental authorities in the province said 1 April.
A senior government environmental team was sent to the site to guide local officials in the management of the incident, and no casualties have been reported.
Following protests, The National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA) appears to have backed down on a plan to divert water to the United States under terms of a 1944 bi-lateral treaty. The company tweeted 26 March that it had taken the decision to stop the additional water diversion from the La Boquilla dam in the nothern Chihuahua State due to farmers’ rejection of the move.
The CEO Water Mandate platform has announced a new industry-driven, CEO-led Water Resilience Coalition. Endorsing companies of the CEO Water Mandate (currently over 150) commit to action across six key elements and report annually on progress.
Working with CEO Water Mandate, the new Water Resilience Coalition, corporates AB InBev, Diageo, Dow Inc., Ecolab, Gap Inc., Microsoft, PVH Corp, The Coca-Cola Company, Heineken, Levi Strauss & Co., and Woolworths, have now pledged a new commitment to collective action and issued a call to action for other companies to join them.
South Korea has expressed concern about a new draft plan from Japan to release contaminated Fukushima water from its disabled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.
The country’s Office for Government Policy Coordination said March 26 that Japan should ensure that its plan does not affect the health and safety of South Koreans or the maritime ecosystem, while the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said that it “cannot support the Japanese government discharging contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the sea without discussions with neighbouring countries”.
Turkish-backed armed forces cut off the water supply of up to 460,000 Syrians in March, exacerbating a perilous humanitarian situation in the East of the country. Much of the population is already in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with international aid and virus testing unavailable.
Dutch government researchers have found traces of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in samples from sewage treatment plants at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Trace elements have also been detected in wastewater samples near the village of Kaatsheuvel, where the country’s first COVID-19 patient lives, and in Tilburg.
The Chinese Ministry of Water Resources is developing a series of approximately 100 water conservation projects worth over $140 Billion USD over a period of three years. The majority of the projects have already been in the planning stages but construction is being accelerated at this time to offset the economic impact of coronavirus, Shi Chunzian, head of project planning told Chinese state media last week.
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