Aid agencies warn of a serious unfolding humanitarian crisis as floodwaters continue to inundate new areas of three South Asian countries, forcing millions of people to flee their homes for shelters.
Like many other fast-growing megacities, the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka faces severe water and sanitation problems, chiefly the annual flooding during monsoon season due to unplanned urbanisation, destruction of wetlands and poor city governance.
What’s the connection between weather forecasts and the mosquito-borne dengue virus? It’s not just a question for science nerds; in Sri Lanka, health officials believe answering this question could save lives.
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.
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.
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.
The monsoon in Sri Lanka is always a much-awaited event. There is something about the sight of the gathered clouds, the washed trees and the drenched landscape that stirs romance even in the most hardened of souls.
For many Sri Lankans, the effects of climate change can be summed up in one word: rainfall.