water news roundup: Rwanda memorial, Ivory Coast update + superbugs.

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Once in awhile, we recap the latest news relative to the water sector and the areas we work.
Have news to add? Leave us a comment, let us know.

Remembering the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

water news

This week, the world has looked back on the horrific 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Through memorial services and vigils, reflections in photos and historical accounts, we take a moment to remember the more than 800,000 people killed and many more displaced, orphaned or scarred by the violence.

Some use this week to recognize where oppression persists. The Mark examines where Rwanda’s citizens stand 17 years on. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon calls on the International Criminal Court to prevent further human rights violations, while violence continues to surface in Cote d’Ivoire, Bahrain, Libya and elsewhere.

But stories of hope and resilience in Rwanda emerge this week, too.

The BBC recounts the tale of Gisimba Orphanage, which sheltered (and saved) about 600 people, both Hutu and Tutsi, in the thick of violence in Kigali. Read the story here >

People of the Second Chance, a group that challenges common conceptions of failure and mistakes, shows the story of Emmanual, a man who contributed to the widespread ethnic cleansing in Rwanda.

< Watch his story.

And we haven’t seen this it yet, but our eyes are on the winner of this year’s Sundance World Cinema Audience Award for Dramatic Film — Kinyarwanda.

The film tells the story of Rwandans using mosques as hideouts during the genocide. Take a look at the trailer >

Did we miss some powerful stories about Rwanda? Hear anything this week that stood out to you? Comment with a story or link to a story here >

A standoff in Cote d’Ivoire: conflict coming to a close?

It’s been more than four months since incumbent Laurent Gbagbo lost the country’s presidential elections, but he still refuses to step down. This week, the opposition, backed by French UN troops, has laid the pressure on thick, taking over the country’s capital and evidently cornering Gbagbo in his compound’s basement.

Learn more about the current situation from the Economist here >.

And get a personal perspective from someone who worked to get Gbagbo in office in the first place here >

cote refugees

Although Gbagbo is expected to flee the country or surrender any moment now, restoring peace and safety after he’s gone won’t be easy. The last four months of violence and tension has uprooted at least 400,000 people across the country. In January, we reported our partners in Liberia were adjusting to an influx of 20,000 Ivorian refugees fleeing into Nimba County. Now, the UN estimates the total coming across the border has hit 94,000.

We work with the International Rescue Committee to build water and sanitation projects in Cote d’Ivoire. We recommend you follow them on Twitter (@theIRC) and keep up with their blog for further updates on the Ivory Coast.

Superbug found in Delhi water.

Stomach bugs are nothing new to India, but researchers recently found a new kind of “superbug” — it’s actually a genetic mutation — in Delhi’s water, one that strengthens the germs that acquire it. Basically, the NDM-1 bug makes the bacteria that cause cholera, E. coli, dysentery and other diseases resistant to antibiotic treatment.


“While the bacteria that cause cholera (Vibrio cholerae), dysentery and diarrhea (Shigella) and other diseases may be commonly found in water samples in New Delhi, the researchers were dismayed to discover bacteria with the NDM-1 gene mutation — which means that these infections may potentially be untreatable with drugs,” reports TIME.

NDM-1 circulated in the U.S., the U.K., Japan and other countries in 2008; doctors think that it wasn’t treated properly in India, so it stuck around in municipal water sources. They also say it could spread again across the globe since millions pour in and out of the India on business and vacation each year. It doesn’t help that most of Delhi lacks proper sanitation and the heavy crowds and high temperatures can quickly spread disease.


Local Heros.

From Ludlow, Ohio:
Jonathan was inspired by Kristen Bell’s birthday campaign last year that raised more than $100,000. Now, he’s following suit by giving up his 26th birthday to raise money for water.

From Pearl River, NY:
Patrick is a volunteer junky: he helped out in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, then he gave up his birthday to fund an entire water project. His local media interviewed him about his passion to help.

From Fairless Hills, Penn:
Next week, this high school is hosting “Yard Shops for Water Drops,” a yard sale to raise money for water projects.

From Austin, Texas:
Eight-year-old Ella reached her $5,000 goal with the help of family, friends and… Groupon! “It bothers me that kids my age get really sick and can die from drinking dirty water,” she says. See her campaign here >

Thanks for catching up with us. Did we miss anything? Just leave us a comment to let us know.

Previous campaign to watch: the trusty Little Black Dress. Blog Home Next campaign to watch: read a book, read a book…