The Middle East is rapidly running out of water, as aquifers are drained and deep wells run dry. The problem is exacerbated dramatically in places like Yemen, where war and conflict flourish. Toxic trash is posing a looming threat to the health of the people in the country’s ancient capital of Sanaa, home to a UNESCO World Heritage site. The toxic waste, in the form of residue from munitions and garbage, invariably accumulates and contaminates what water remains. According to the Reuters news agency, “a colossal pile of waste” outside the city is leeching toxic waste into the city’s diminishing water supply.” Reuters notes that the city is expected to be the first capital to consume all of its water.

Waterborne diseases are the inevitable outcome as the tragedies play out, creating a vicious cycle that further destabilizes the social, political and military situations as well as the actual environment. The human consequence is dire for Yemen. Large-scale epidemics could occur in the coming months. The new year is likely to see the situation deteriorate further, also likely adding to the refugee crisis that is still at play, but not being covered adequately by a press that seems to have lost interest.

According to the United Nations, nearly 19 million of Yemen’s 28 million people are in need of some sort of humanitarian aid because of a near-total blockade of the country’s ports and ongoing fighting that have devastated the economy and left residents disease-stricken and hungry. READ MORE