By now, the tale has become almost mundane: first the rains remain elusive, refusing to quench the parched earth. Then, without warning, they fall in such torrents that they leave scores dead, hundreds injured, and thousands homeless, plus a heavy bill in accrued damages.
Waters have receded in Serbia after the worst flooding the country has seen in 120 years, and something new has surfaced, apart from devastated fields and property – censorship of the internet.
Unusually heavy rainfall, climate change, deforestation and two dams across the border in Brazil were cited by sources who spoke to IPS as the causes of the heaviest flooding in Bolivia’s Amazon region since records have been kept.
Caribbean countries, struggling to emerge from a slump in exports and falling tourist arrivals brought on by the worldwide economic crisis that began five years ago, have one more thing to worry about in 2014.
Ralph Gonsalves fought to hold back tears as he shared how his cousin was killed the night before Christmas.
Gulam Rasul, chief meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department, was sure early this month that the second leg of the annual monsoon due in the latter half of the month was going to be bad. “Normally it peaks towards late August,” Rasul told IPS.
Life for a widow with young children in Sri Lanka’s poor agrarian areas can be harsh. Families in remote areas like Anuradhapura in the North Central Province barely eke out a living through paddy cultivation or through vegetable and other crops planted in cleared jungle shrub - Chena cultivation as it is called.
Over a month after flash floods in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in north India left 1,000 dead and 6,000 missing, the government has yet to release a full agricultural impact assessment, sparking fears about the extent of damage to the region’s farmland.
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.
The Monetary Board of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank, tasked with keeping the island’s economy on an even keel, does not only keep tabs on exchange rates, gold prices and inflation – it also has an eye on a less obvious indicator of economic stability: water levels in the country’s main reservoirs.
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.
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.
Mauritius may be one of the best-prepared countries in the world when it comes to cyclones, but recent heavy rains and flooding due to climate change have brought the country’s readiness for coping with increased rainfall into question.
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.
Killer heat waves, floods and storms are increasingly caused by climate change, new research reveals.