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Conflicts, Wars and Natural Disasters

When world events take a turn for the worse, water supplies often bear the brunt of the impact. Wars and disasters can contaminate once-reliable water sources or cut people off from them altogether.

Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis often disrupt and pollute water supplies, and spread diseases that magnify the original event’s impact many times over. They can also wreck established infrastructures, leaving countless people without the water on which they depend.

Like natural disasters, wars and other conflicts often devastate water infrastructures—which can take years to recover.

Violence and disaster uproot many people from their homes. Refugees have basic human water needs, but are often forced to congregate in areas where sources are simply unable to supply a population influx.

Without significant aid, such as the establishment of temporary distribution of water by vehicle, the victims of war and natural disasters may find living with little water a bitter legacy of an already-catastrophic event.

The history of conflicts over water resources is long and violent. Disputes over scarce water resources in arid regions or during periods of drought have resulted in deaths and destruction of water system infrastructure. While water systems are seen as military targets and used as military tools during wars, incidences of water conflicts are more and more related to acts of terrorism and disputes over development strategies.

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