Untold thousands dead and thousands more stranded or missing - these are the latest figures from various reports on the devastation caused by flash floods in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
When 45-year-old Kaswati joined an income-generating project in her village in Indonesia’s West Java province in 1999, all she hoped to do was supplement her family’s income at a time of erratic harvests.
Since food and water are so closely interlinked, there is a lingering fear based on the assumption, if there is no water, there will be no food.
“I would never have believed it possible to get a bumper rice harvest during the drought season,” 43-year-old Mohammad Shajahan Ali, a farmer hailing from the village of Magtapur in Bangladesh’s northern Chapainawabganj district, told IPS.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has long warned that a quarter of the world’s farmland is “highly degraded".
The overcast sky is a sign that it might rain, and Happy Shongwe, a smallholder farmer from rural Maphungwane in eastern Swaziland, is not exactly happy.
It was another Monday afternoon in the remote Thai village of Baan Dong when an incoming text message lit up the black, dust-covered Nokia phone belonging to Eiem Sompeng.
Fahima Begum rises each morning at dawn and walks two kilometres to a small pond, the nearest source of fresh water. On her way she passes the rusty old hand-pumped tube well that used to supply water to her village in Bangladesh’s arid Barind region until the water table here dropped out of reach.
Staring out at his golden wheat field with satisfaction, 50-year old Alamgir Akbar says with a sigh of relief: "We've had a good crop this season.”
With a combined population of over 1.7 billion, which includes some of the world’s poorest but also a sizeable middle class with a growing spending capacity, South Asia is a policymaker’s nightmare.
Almost 260,000 people, half of them young children, died of hunger during the last famine in Somalia, according to a U.N. report that admits the world body should have done more to prevent the tragedy.
In drought-plagued Antigua, where water and energy top the list of most precious resources, one campaign is encouraging islanders to conserve both of these commodities.
The Beitbridge area in southern Zimbabwe was hit by serious flooding earlier this year. Those affected are still trying to get back on their feet.
Scientists gathered in Geneva for the first High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy (HMNDP) in over 30 years have identified data collection and sharing as some of the main challenges to effective prevention of drought. Clear goals and strong political will are vital to building policies at the national level, they say.
In a country of 1.2 billion people, the threat of drought takes on epic proportions.
Over a period of two centuries (between 1801 and 2002), India experienced 42 severe droughts, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation. One of these, in 1979, cut food grain production by 20 percent; another, in 1987, damaged 58.6 million hectares of cultivated land, affecting 285 million people.