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An environmental, economic, and humanitarian disaster threatens the Red Sea. This stretch of water that separates Asia and Africa is threatened by an environmental ticking time bomb. 

 

An oil tanker carrying 1.14 million barrels of oil has been abandoned for five years, since the beginning of Yemen’s civil war. After abandonment in 2015, the ship has suffered several problems, including structural deterioration and water ingress into the engine rooms. The Yemeni rebels, the Houthis, who control this area do not have the capacity to care for or maintain it, so this is becoming increasingly alarming, especially for the 1.5 million or so people who make their living from fishing in this area. If the spill occurs between July and September, it is considered that 100% of Yemen’s fishing activities will be affected. In addition, such a spill could be destructive to wildlife. A Yemeni environmental group, Holm Akhdar, estimates that the Red Sea and its inhabitants will not recover for at least 30 years. An alarming situation considering the quantity of rare species present (dolphin, shark, turtle, coral, …), not to mention the economic repercussions it would have. 

 

The situation is now in the hands of the United Nations. The United Nations Environment Programme states that preventing such eventualities is the only option. 

 

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