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Droughts and floods: the climate crisis is a water crisis

28 November 2023 • 4:00 – 5:00 pm CET

This event will explore the intersection of droughts and floods within the broader context of the climate crisis, emphasizing the critical role of water. The discussions aim to shed light on effective strategies for safeguarding the water-related rights of marginalized communities facing the impacts of climate change.

Join us for a groundbreaking webinar that delves into the global challenges of floods and droughts, exploring four critical topics that underscore the urgency of action. We’ll unravel the aftermath of the devastating collapse of two dams in Libya, revealing the predicted and preventable risks associated with ageing and obsolete dams worldwide. As we examine the broader issue of neglected dams, particularly in India, China, and the United States, where numerous structures are on the brink of obsolescence, we’ll explore the crucial need for proactive removal and repair, especially in the face of escalating climate-related threats.

The webinar will also feature minority activists engaged in safeguarding the Teesta River, a sacred waterway for Sikkim’s Indigenous Lepcha people, from the impending impact of a proposed hydropower dam. Amid legal challenges and claims of an improperly conducted social impact assessment, Mayalmit Lepcha and the local community, especially women from the Dzongu region, are driving a powerful campaign to preserve the last free-flowing stretch of the river. Their story underscores the essential role of women in the ongoing fight against hydropower developments, emphasising the need to enhance their self-confidence for effective leadership.

Additionally, Salman Khairalla, an environmental activist from Iraq, will share his transformative journey since 2006, highlighting the pivotal moment in 2009 when he witnessed a buffalo’s death in the Iraqi Marshes due to water pollution and scarcity. Salman’s dedication led to the founding of Humat Dijlah (Tigris River Protectors), a movement aimed at protecting the Iraqi Marshes and advocating for environmental rights. Despite facing challenges and threats, Salman emphasises the importance of raising awareness about water issues and preserving Iraq’s abundant water resources, aligning with his dream of inspiring the next generation through environmental activism.

To complete this enlightening discussion, we’ll address the urgent situation in Somalia, where unusually heavy seasonal rains, intensified by El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole, are affecting over 1.6 million people. With floods described as a “once-in-a-century event” and the risk of destroying vast farmland, we’ll explore the heightened humanitarian needs in a region that recently emerged from a severe drought.

The meeting will happen just before the COP28 and our speakers will come up with recommendations.

This webinar is one of the series of webinars co-organized by International Rivers and Minority Rights Group on the topic of WATER. In October we have already discussed the connection between water and conflicts, this time we focus on ‘floods and droughts’, at the beginning of 2024 we will meet to talk about water and pollution and in February about water and governance. Stay informed!


  • Mayalmit Lepcha, Indigenous leader, India
  • Salman Khairalla, Humat Dijlah Association, Iraq
  • Claire Thomas, Co-Executive Director, Minority Rights Group (with a focus on Somalia)
  • Josh Klemm, Co-Director, International Rivers, USA/Global

The event will be moderated by Anna Alboth, Europe Media Officer at Minority Rights Group.


Where? On Zoom

When? On 28 November, 4.00 to 5.15 pm CET

Watch the event recording