Resource Security Watch No. 17

Related Categories: Democracy and Governance; International Economics and Trade; Science and Technology; Turkey; India; Africa; Afghanistan; South Asia; Southeast Asia

The Indian state of Kerala has put 1,407 people under quarantine in their own homes following an outbreak of the Nipah virus. A district medical officer stated that 18 people were infected in the first wave of the disease, with 16 of those cases becoming fatal. The 1,407 under quarantine had all come in contact with the 18 infected patients in one way or another. Residents are being urged to monitor themselves for potential signs of infection, and to contact health officials immediately if they demonstrate any such symptoms. Nipah is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted from animals to humans, and causes a variety of illnesses, from acute respiratory infection to encephalitis. (The News Minute, June 1, 2018)

The World Bank has released a study indicating that rising global temperatures will hit South Asian nations particularly hard, worsening living conditions for up to 800 million people in the region. The study considered Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka in its assessment. Concentrated on day-to-day weather, the study indicated that - without remedial measures - rising temperatures would intensify hardships associated with poverty. In cities, increased temperatures are predicted to decrease labor productivity and weaken public health. In rural areas, rising temperatures will hit low-income farmers hard, reducing their productivity and crop yields. (New York Times, June 28, 2018)

Turkey has stopped filling the Ilisu Dam at the request of Iraq — at least for the time being. The concrete dam, located in southeastern Turkey, has been criticized for environmental and historical reasons, as it would create water shortages in Iraq, as well as submerge a 12,000 year-old town. A key part of Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Project, the dam originally lost investors over a failure to meet international environmental standards and insufficient cultural heritage protections. However, local banks have provided capital that has allowed construction to continue. (Reuters, June 7, 2018)

A new study recently published in the journal Science indicates that up to 20 percent of agricultural food plants are consumed by insect pests. As global temperatures rise, this number could become even higher. Higher temperatures speed up insect metabolism and reproduction cycles, causing additional problems to crop yields. According to the study, for every two degrees Fahrenheit the global average rises, the amount of wheat, corn, and rice lost will increase by 10 to 25 percent, placing added stress on global food stores. (New York Times, August 30, 2018)

Quick action on the part of authorities has helped to contain the most recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While health experts do not yet want to say the outbreak is contained, the two treatment centers established to combat the disease are now less than half full. Armed groups are still preventing some remote towns from being visited, which means that authorities don't have data on certain regions. Experts are also still concerned with the possibility of a repeat of the 2014 West African outbreak, where the outbreak seemed to be contained only to be followed infections in three capital cities, which killed more than 11,000 people. Medical advances have proved to be successful when dealing with outbreaks; new antiviral drugs and cocktails of antibodies are being used, as are new ways to mitigate risks for medical personnel. (New York Times, September 2, 2018)