Nearly 110,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported in war-hit Yemen since the beginning of January, including 190 related deaths, the UN said on Monday.
The UN office for humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said children under the age of five make up nearly a third of 108,889 cases which were reported between January 1 and March 17.
OCHA said the spike, which comes two years after Yemen suffered its worst cholera outbreak, was concentrated in six governorates including in the Red Sea port of Hodeida and the Sanaa province home to the capital.
Early rains could be blamed for the recent increase in suspected cholera cases, it said.
“The situation is exacerbated by poor maintenance of sewage disposal systems in many of the affected districts, the use of contaminated water for irrigation, and population movements,” OCHA added.
The waterborne disease is endemic to Yemen, which witnessed the worst cholera outbreak in its modern history in 2017.
More than one million suspected cases were reported within an eight-month period that year. More than 2,500 people died of the infection between April and December 2017.
Yemen’s brutal conflict, which pits Iran-linked rebels against a regional pro-government alliance led by Saudi Arabia, has left some 10,000 people dead since 2015 and pushed millions to the brink of famine.
The war has created the perfect environment for cholera to thrive, as civilians across the country lack access to clean water and health care.
An asteroid described as a “pile of rubble” is rich in hydrated minerals that could help solve the mystery of how Earth got its water, scientists said Tuesday.
The Ryugu asteroid, around 300 million kilometres (185 million miles) from Earth, is estimated to be between 100 million and one billion years old.
It appears to have broken off from a parent body, according to observations from a Japanese probe that landed on the space rock.
Kohei Kitazato, from The University of Aizu in Fukushima, told AFP that images taken by the Hayabusa2 craft showed that hydrated minerals — which contain traces of water in their crystal structure — were “ubiquitous” on Ryugu’s surface.
“Asteroids like Ryugu are considered as a potential source of Earth’s water, so we are expecting that our results and the future analysis of Ryugu samples would provide new insights about the origin of Earth’s water,” he said.
Several previous studies suggested that meteorites or similar extraterrestrial bodies from our Solar System’s asteroid belt may have been responsible for bringing water to Earth.
Scans of the rock, which is shaped like a spinning top roughly 3.2 kilometres around its equator — about a 45-minute stroll — showed its interior to be highly porous.
The team behind several studies of the asteroid published in the journal Science said this suggested it had lost moisture over time.
“Our preferred scenario suggests that Ryugu’s parent body once had much more water in the beginning and subsequently lost a large fraction of it,” said Sheji Sugita, one of the studies’ authors.
He said Ryugu’s parent body was roughly 4.6 billion years old — dating from the very earliest days of our Solar System.
In February, officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the Hayabusa2 probe touched down on Ryugu, fired a bullet into its surface and collected the dust before blasting back to its holding position.
Hayabusa2, which is about the size of a large fridge, travelled for three and a half years to reach the space rock.
Next month it will fire an “impactor” to blast out material from beneath Ryugu’s surface, allowing the collection of “fresh” materials unexposed to millenia of wind and radiation.
Greenland’s melting ice, which causes sea levels to rise, disappeared four times faster in 2013 than in 2003 and is noticeable across the Arctic island, not just on glaciers, researchers warned on Tuesday.
“While 111 cubic kilometres of ice disappeared per year in 2003, 10 years later this figure had almost quadrupled to 428 cubic kilometres,” the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Space Lab said in a statement.
Its researchers contributed to a study on changes to Greenland’s ice sheet, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“These are notable and surprising changes we are seeing in the ice melt pattern,” DTU professor Shfaqat Abbas Khan said.
Until now, most of Greenland’s ice melt was observed on the ice cap, predominantly on the glaciers in the island’s northwest and southeast.
But most of the ice loss from 2003 to 2013 was from Greenland’s southwest region, which is largely devoid of large glaciers.
Michael Bevis, a professor at Ohio State University and lead author of the PNAS paper, said the ice now appeared to be melting from the surface mass, “melting inland from the coastline.”
That means that in the southwestern part of Greenland, growing rivers of water are streaming into the ocean.
“We knew we had one big problem with increasing rates of ice discharge by some large outlet glaciers,” Bevis said.
“But now we recognise a second serious problem: Increasingly, large amounts of ice mass are going to leave as meltwater, as rivers that flow into the sea.”
He warned this would have major implications, causing additional sea level rise.
“We are watching the ice sheet hit a tipping point,” he said, which would condemn the entire giant ice block to melting over a time scale of hundreds, or several thousand, years.
The Greenland ice sheet — up to three kilometres thick — contains enough frozen water to raise global sea levels some six metres (yards).
The melting ice observed in the study is caused by rising land temperatures, and in part, the fact that the ice comes into contact with waters that are increasingly warmer.
“As the atmosphere’s temperature gradually rises, we will immediately notice an acceleration of the ice melt,” Khan said.
While the amount varies from region to region, sea levels rose worldwide by an average of 20 centimetres (about eight inches) in the 20th century. They are currently rising by about 3.3 millimetres per year.
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared a state of emergency on the nation’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector.
He explained that the declaration became imperative to reduce the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, which has caused preventable deaths.
The President stated this while inaugurating the National Action Plan for Revitalisation of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at State House Conference Centre in Abuja on Thursday.
He directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs.
President Buhari said, “The Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) targets (6.1 & 6.2) for WASH are even more demanding as they require WASH services to be provided in adequate quantity and quality on premises at affordable prices.”
“This cannot be achieved if we continue with ‘a business as usual’ approach. It is on this premise that I fully endorse the decision taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in April this year to declare ‘a State of Emergency on our WASH Sector,” he added.
President Buhari said statistics on open defecation, access to piped water services and sanitation in the country was disturbing.
He, however, warned that henceforth, the Federal Government support to state governments would be based on their commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan in their respective states and to end open defecation by 2025.
“Access to piped water services which was 32 per cent in 1990 has declined to seven per cent in 2015; access to improved sanitation has also decreased from 38 per cent in 1990 to 29 per cent in 2015,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his media adviser, Mr Femi Adesina.
He added, “Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25 per cent of our population are practicing open defecation.”
“WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46 per cent of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70 per cent of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27 per cent in 2015, which is far below the 0.70 per cent at the West African regional level.”
The occasion was attended by representatives of various state governments and development partners.
President Buhari also seized the opportunity to reiterate that the provision of potable water supply, adequate sanitation and hygiene were primarily the responsibilities of state and local governments.
“However, these are not being given the required attention judging from the high prevalence of water-borne diseases that are being reported in different parts of the country,” he said.
“We cannot and will not continue to allow these preventable occurrences to decimate our population.”
The President told the gathering that he was aware that Nigeria did not meet the MDG targets for Water Supply and Sanitation that ended in 2015.
“I call on all state governments to complement this effort by according the sector similar recognition to enable us to work together to achieve the SDG targets for WASH by 2030,” he said.
At the Federal level, President Buhari pledged that his administration would continue to place priority on infrastructure development, including those of water supply, sanitation and hygiene services towards ensuring a better life for Nigerians.
According to him, this is being demonstrated through faithful implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) – which is the present administration’s blueprint for infrastructure and economic development.
“From the inception of this administration, we have demonstrated a serious commitment to the development of the Water Sector by preserving the Ministry of Water Resources and subsequently approving the 15-year roadmap developed for the sector,” the President revealed.
He added, ”The transformation being witnessed in the sector since then is highly commendable. I have no doubt that the ongoing initiatives, including the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) in the Ministry, will take the water sector to improved performance and supply, thereby meeting the national aspirations as well as the SDGs.”
Imagine you could quench your thirst with water that doesn’t originate from a river, spring or lake but comes directly out of the blue sky, from the air that surrounds you.
What sounds like a science fiction movie is already a reality, and it is potentially for everyone.
The new technology, developed by Watergen, an Israel-based tech company, is currently being showcased in Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi. And this is how the air-to-water magic happening inside the machine works: The atmospheric water generator takes in ambient air through a filter, and cools at its dew point, extracting water through condensation.
The water is then purified, mineralized, and is ready and safe to drink.
Drinking water for homes, buildings and whole villages
Watergen’s medium scale generator GEN-350 can produce an average of 600 litres of clean drinking water per day. It comes with a built-in reservoir and a water treatment system.
In Vietnam, with its high air humidity, the machine can extract even more water, says Watergen’s President Michael Mirilashvili: “Here in Vietnam, in the three locations where we tested the technology, it performed even better than we expected.”
A large-scale unit can extract up to 5000 litres per day. It is designed to provide water to approximately 2500 people per day, and it can be installed on a rooftop and connected directly to the building’s water grid.
A small generator, GENNY, can provide drinking water for homes and offices, it generates 25 to 30 litres per day. The machines only need electric infrastructure to operate and can be installed anywhere.
Watergen wants to take its technology even further: “Our scientists already developed the technology that implements the Watergen core technology inside cars, buses, trains and all kinds of transportation”, Mirilashvili says.
The running vehicle will generate the power for the atmospheric water generator, to provide drinking water on the go anywhere at any time.
Mirilashvili also points out that the use of atmospheric water generators could drastically reduce plastic waste.
Access to safe water during droughts
In Vietnam, a country still suffering from water shortages and poor water quality, the demand for clean water solutions is increasing, says Ambassador of Israel to Vietnam, Nadav Eshcar: “Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by global warming, suffering from droughts in the South and Central region in recent times. In Israel, we already have solutions, which we are introducing here”.
Watergen’s generator has already been in use in numerous countries around the globe, in India, the United States, Latin America, China, Russia and several African countries, to name a few. It is also being listed as one of the Technology Pioneers in 2018 by World Economic Forum.
The water generator presented at the event “Israel in the heart of Hanoi” is a gift from Watergen to the Hanoi People’s Committee. It will be on display in Ly Thai To square in the city centre for a month, allowing Hanoi’s citizens to take a sip from the sky.
The exhibition coincides with a celebration of 25 years in diplomatic relations between Israel and Vietnam.
The Enugu State Government has assured residents of the state of its commitment to restore the damaged electric poles and cables that supply power to the water scheme at Oji River.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Supply, Mrs Felicia Ikpeama, made this known during the inspection of the damaged electric poles and cables destroyed by dangote cement trailer at Oji river.
According to her, power is the major challenge delaying water supply in the state. She further urged those affected to exercise patience as the state’s electricity distribution company had commenced the installation of poles and cables at the area.
The SSA explained that the state government had since September begun a N165m worth of repair on the water facilities, while stressing that there were more plans to capture more areas in the scheme
Ahead of the 2017 international year of water cooperation, members of the Civil Society Organisation in Imo state, have organized a workshop aimed at raising awareness for increased cooperation to tackle the challenges facing water management and its distribution.
The event which was held in Owerri the Imo state capital with the theme “The human right to water and sanitation” was organized by the center for peace across borders(CEPAB) with major members of the civil society groups in attendance.
Speaking with newsmen after the workshop, the team leader of the group Ambassador Clinton Ezeigwe, said the advocacy workshop was in line with water action month that will be celebrated across the world, during the World Water Day.
He stated that by declaring a particular day to focus on water, the United Nations (UN) hopes to highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify burning issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national/international legal frameworks, and the linkages with sustainable development goals.
He said “March 22nd will be the world water say and among the things we will be calling for is the increase of water budget to 2%. We have been working hard to get the state government to listen and implement this goal.
“We will use the opportunity to also call on the state government to stop wasting water especially in the course of road construction in the state, the water pipelines are broken and water is wasting away instead of getting to the people it is meant for” he said.
Ezeigwe expressed disappointment that in the 21st century, and the rural communities were yet to have access to portable water.
“We also want the government to ensure water gets to the people in the rural areas, schools and health centres in rural areas are suffering a lot as a result of unavailability of water the government attend to the needs of the people”.
The residents of Otodo-Gbame in Lekki area of Lagos State have decried the demolition of houses and destruction of properties in their locality.
Dwellers in the fishing community on Friday alleged that the State Government commenced demolition, while ignoring a subsisting court injunction which had stopped the forceful eviction of residents.
They expressed shock at the process, claiming they were not served notice of demolition by government.
Amnesty International also condemned the eviction which it described as ‘chaotic and dangerous’ for the resident of the community.
The Organisation in a statement alleged that the inhabitants “are being forcibly evicted and their homes destroyed by bulldozers as security services used tear gas and live bullets to clear the area”.
Brutal And Illegal Act
Amnesty International’s Nigeria Researcher, Morayo Adebayo, who said Military and Police personnel were out in full force, stated that there were four bulldozers ripping through the settlement.
“This brutal and illegal act flies in the face of human dignity as well as a High Court ruling that prohibited the eviction taking place and instructed the authorities to instead seek a settlement with the affected communities.
“The Lagos State Government should ensure that the families who have been rendered homeless this morning are given emergency relief including adequate shelter, water, food and any medical care they may require,” Adebayo said.
According to Amnesty International, a resident of Otodo-Gbame, Julius Oladele, who witnessed the eviction along with his wife and two children, said: “Almost all the houses in the community have been demolished, the only ones left are those on the water.
“They did not allow anyone to take their properties. They are chasing people away. My own house was destroyed this morning before I could rush back from work”.
The Human Rights body has called for an immediate end to the ongoing eviction and for the authorities to respect the court ruling which prohibits them from carrying out forced evictions in waterfront communities.
The organisation said it has been documenting forced evictions in Lagos State for over 10 years, stating that “these evictions are carried out without adequate prior consultation, adequate notice, and compensation or alternative accommodation”.
Governor Ayodele Fayose has commissioned the one kilometre dual carriage road and street light projects initiated by his administration in Ikole and Omuo towns in Ekiti State.
The commissioning was part of activities to commemorate the second year anniversary of the Fayose-led administration in the state.
While switching on the street lights, Governor Fayose assured the people of the state of his commitment to providing the required basic social amenities such as water, good roads and electricity among others.
He vowed not to relent in his quest to ensure all-round development in the southwest state.
The people of Ikole and Omuo local government areas of the state could not hold their joy when the Governor and his entourage arrived the towns in the early hours of Thursday.
Some residents of the towns, Mr Olufemi Daramola and Mrs Oyin Adegboye, commended the Governor for fulfilling his promise.
They also urged him to sustain the tempo of development in the state.
Over 4,000 residents of the Makurdi metropolis in Benue State, lacking potable water are seeking government’s intervention.
Some of the residents in the state’s capital city, who spoke with Channels Television, said the last time they had access to potable water was 10 years ago.
But the State government said it had secured additional $2.5 million World Bank grant to address this challenge.
The administration of the former Governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam, has spent over five billion Naira between 2007 and 2015, but unable to deliver water to many homes.
In the midst of the challenge, resident’s only source of water is said to be contaminated.
Residents complained that butchers at the Wurukum abattoir dispose animal waste right into the river, a situation that environmentalist described as unhealthy for a major water source.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Water Board said they were not unaware of the unhealthy activities from the upstream. The board said it had always ensured strict compliance to water treatment due to contamination issues.
The water board authority promised the residents that all the challenges would soon be a thing of the past.
To help meet the water needs, the administration of Governor Ortom has taken steps in the replacement of some of the rusted and busted pipes laid in 1978.