UN Warns about Inequity Behind Levees in the United States

Ethnic minorities and poor communities in the U.S. are unequally exposed to the risk of levee failure under climate change, warns a new UN assessment.  

HAMILTON, OntarioSept. 11, 2023PRLog — Millions of Americans rely on aging levees for flood protection, but not everyone is equally at risk. A new United Nations University report highlights concerning disparities in socially vulnerable and underserved communities situated behind the United States’ levee system.

Throughout history, people worldwide built levees to shield their communities from floods. In the United States, these levees, initially constructed by farmers and settlers to safeguard their land, now serve as the backbone of the nation’s flood management system.

Approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population depends on these aging levees for flood protection. Unfortunately, many of these structures were built without rigorous standards and now average 57 years of age. This outdated infrastructure endangers millions of Americans, as seen in the recent breach of the Pajaro Levee in California in March 2023.

In 2005, 50 levees and flood walls in Louisiana failed, resulting in one of the costliest U.S. floods, impacting 134,000 households and causing around 1,400 fatalities. Flooding costs the U.S. $32 billion annually, expected to rise to $40 billion by 2050. Sea-level rise and more frequent and intense floods and hurricanes threaten the nation’s inadequate flood protection, putting lives and assets in peril.

The recent study by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), also known as the UN Water Think Tank, reveals the injustice implications of deteriorating U.S. levees for disadvantaged population groups. By comparing those behind levees to those in non-leveed areas, researchers found that historically underserved and vulnerable communities are concentrated behind levees.

The report shows that racial and ethnic minorities, impoverished households, disabled individuals, and those without high school diplomas are overrepresented in leveed communities. They are at greater risk from floods and climate change due to limited capacity to cope with hazards.

Disadvantaged communities are overrepresented behind levees in 43 states. The most notable disparities are observed among Hispanic populations, individuals with limited education, those living in poverty, Native Americans, Asians, and Black communities. “We must appreciate different vulnerability levels across population groups and help more those who are in need of greater help”  said Farshid Vahedifard, UNU-INWEH’s Resilient and Equitable Infrastructure Lead, who led the investigation.

The United Nations report calls for addressing socio-economic and demographic disparities in flood management and climate adaptation. It emphasizes prioritizing vulnerable groups in future strategies, incorporating environmental justice principles into decision-making.

While the study focuses on the U.S., it underscores the global nature of the issue, highlighting justice and equity gaps in water management and climate adaptation in advanced economies. “This study just revealed the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a constructive step toward building a just and inclusive future for all”, said Kaveh Madani, the Director of UNU-INWEH.

Download the study at:

Media Contact
United Nations University Institute for Water,
Environment and Health
Maryam Mottalebi

Eco Pest Control Warns Brisbane Homeowners of Increased Rodent Populations

 Queensland and New South Wales see a record mouse plague in rural and urban areas.

Eco Pest Control Brisbane along with many other pest control experts, are issuing a warning to all Brisbane homeowners against the rising rodent population throughout the city.

Due to favourable climate conditions throughout Queensland and some parts of New South Wales, the number of rodents in the area and their overactive breeding have brought on issues for farmers and city dwellers alike.

According to experts at CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency, mouse plagues similar to this one happen once every ten years or so. Because of the abundance of rain after a long drought, food and shelter sources are more widely available to these pests. To add to that, mice can begin the breeding process as early as six weeks. Once they’ve birthed a litter of pups, they can get pregnant again immediately.

Although mice aren’t migratory animals, they can travel up to 100m and are found in places all over Australia. These small creatures can easily go undetected and are becoming more common in urban areas. This is likely due to a few reasons:

Established populations have more access to food and shelter.

When the weather cools, mice seek shelter inside of homes and businesses.

During the breeding season, mice are found in large numbers and new mice disperse to a widespread area.

The best way to prevent mice from infesting your home or business is to make sure doors and windows are shut, cracks in the walls are sealed, and all garbage is secured in a bin with a tight-fitting lid. Homes and businesses with a lot of clutter are also more susceptible to pest issues. It’s important to keep your space tidy to avoid this from happening.

When filling any holes in your walls or foundation, it’s best to use copper wool. Mice and rats have a habit of chewing right through foam and caulk, so copper wool is going to last you far longer.

It’s important to take preventative measures in your home as mice can cause significant property damage, health issues, and food contamination too. If you’re worried about whether or not you may have mice, here are some good indicators:

Seeing rodents in your home: This is your surefire sign that you’re dealing with a problem. If you spot one mouse, it’s likely that there’s an entire nest somewhere.

Squeaking sounds and feet running across your ceiling or in your walls: The sounds of their feet will make a distinct light tapping sound.

A pungent smell near their dwellings: Mice tend to leave a strong smell near their territory.

Dark or greasy run marks where they’ve been: A mouse’s skin secretes a greasy substance that is used to help them climb through extremely tight spaces.

Food or packaging with chew marks: Mice love getting into human food. Watch your packaging for bite marks and make sure your food is stored properly.

Nesting material in certain areas (shredded paper, old wrappers, etc.): Like birds, mice make their home as a nest. They’ll use whatever soft and cushiony material they can find.

Mouse droppings on the floor near walls: Second to actually seeing a mouse, finding small brown pellets are a solid indicator that you have mice in your home or business.

Small urine streaks on carpeting or wood floors: Mouse urine looks like a small streak on any floor.

However, sometimes all efforts will fail. Mice are sneaky creatures, so there may be instances where you need to call in an expert. Pest control companies, including Eco Pest Control, have specific practices for ridding a residence or business of mice and other rodents. The services we provide at Eco Pest Control include setting and monitoring bait traps, effective treatment, on-site inspection and post-treatment recommendations, and different packages depending on your needs.

Eco Pest Control offers a catered rodent control solution specific to your individual needs. We guarantee that after a service from us, your rodent issue will be completely eradicated and the likelihood of a return is significantly reduced. All primary consultations with us are free. We use eco-friendly practices to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Eco Pest Control has been providing pest control services for over 20 years. We’re licensed by Queensland Health and adhere to Australia’s code of practice for pest control. With our 100 % satisfaction guarantee and wide range of eco-friendly pest control plans, we’re confident that we can help you. We offer competitive pricing on all services and are available in all areas in Brisbane and New South Wales.

To schedule a consultation, call us on 07 3184 8488 today. You can also visit to our office at 16/300 Ann Street, Brisbane City, QLD 4000.

Eco Pest Control Brisbane

Edward Ellis





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