The oil spill caused by a lost tanker in the Red Sea may disrupt running water access for eight million people and contaminate water accessed by two million people. The rotting ranker can destroy the fishing stock of Yemen within three weeks.
The latest modelling suggests that the oil will spread well beyond Yemen and affect Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Djibouti. The previous modelling was done within a week of the spill. The new study is predicting environmental havocs a lot worse. Negotiations are underway to offload the barrels, reported The Guardian.
The FSO Safer was abandoned in 2017 and has 1.1m barrels of crude oil on board. It has been deteriorating by the month. The Houthi rebels, the UN-recognised government of Yemen, and the UN have been discussing solutions. But, UN officials have been unable to secure guarantees the vessel will be maintained.
The new modelling anticipates that the spill may lead to the closure of the Red Sea ports of Hodeidah and Salif within two weeks. This will disrupt the delivery of 200,000 tonnes of fuel for Yemen. Fuel prices may be hiked by 80% in the country due to shortage.
Eight million Yemenis will be deprived of running water due to the absence of fuel. And two million people will lose access to water due to pollution. 5.7 million to 8.4 million people will need food assistance depending on whether the oil spill reaches the southern ports of Yemen.
Half of the oil is expected to evaporate on the sea within 24 hours. People with cardiovascular and respiratory complications are at risk of air pollution from the spill. The rest of it will reach Yemen's western coastline within 10 days and southern ports within three weeks reported The Guardian.
Red Sea coral reefs known for their unique resilience to seawater warming will also be threatened.
The modelling is published in the journal Nature Sustainability.