Natural disasters have become a fact of life for millions around the world, and the future forecast is only getting worse.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced a new 10-year global plan to support country efforts to reduce the risk of disasters that kill people and destroy livelihoods. The plan was unveiled at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
which ended on Mar. 18.
About six months after a massive tsunami slammed the island nation of Sri Lanka on Dec. 26, 2004, large plumes of smoke could be frequently seen snaking skywards from the beach near the village of Sainathimaruthu, just east of Kalmunai town, about 300 km from the capital, Colombo.
Ten years have now passed, but Raghu Raja, a 27-year-old fisherman from the coastal village of Nemmeli in southern India’s Kanchipuram district, still clearly remembers the day he escaped the tsunami.
People covered their bodies with mud to protest against government ineptitude and abandonment; others lighted paper lanterns and candles and released white doves and balloons to remember the dead, offer thanks and pray for more strength to move on; while many trooped to a vast grave site with white crosses to lay flowers for those who died, and to cry one more time.
Relief work done by emergency responders during natural disasters may inadvertently exacerbate problems caused by climate change and lead to further disasters, recent reports suggest.
The northeastern Indian state of Assam is no stranger to devastating floods. Located just south of the eastern Himalayas, the lush, 30,000-square-km region comprises the Brahmaputra and Barak river valleys, and is accustomed to annual bouts of rain that swell the mighty rivers and spill over into villages and towns, inundating agricultural lands and washing homes, possessions and livestock away.
As the United Nations gears up to launch its newest set of poverty-reduction targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, the words ‘sustainable development’ have been on the lips of policymakers the world over.
In the weeks since the South Korean ferry Sewol sank—taking with it the lives of over 300 passengers, the vast majority of them high school students — the country continues to be wracked by a palpable mix of grief, guilt, and outrage.
May and November bring the most vicious cyclones to the Bay of Bengal rim countries in Southeast Asia.
The rise in natural disasters in the Caribbean due to climate change has led to increased suffering for both men and women, much of it as a consequence of socially constructed roles based on gender, experts say.
Over 580 bodies have so far been found. Hundreds more will likely never turn up. Survivors say they are suspended in a kind of nightmare, either haunted by memories of their brush with death or desperate for news of loved ones. At least 3,000 are reported to be missing.
It was several hours before dawn when Afthas Niflal, a young fisherman in southern Sri Lanka, felt the sea start to rumble beneath him.
As a survivor of Japan’s deadliest tsunami in living memory, Shun Ito dedicates his mornings to evoking stories of heroism that helped to save lives in this port town that was decimated on that fateful March afternoon two years ago.
Nepal now ranks 11th
on a list of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, yet it remains one of the least disaster-prepared nations globally.