When the Asian tsunami washed over several Indian Ocean Rim countries on Boxing Day 2004, it left a trail of destruction in its wake, including a death toll that touched 230,000.
The worst floods in the history of Paraguay have forced 300,000 people to flee their homes. Asunción, the most affected area, and other urban and rural areas were flooded by the rain-swollen Paraguay and Paraná rivers, foreshadowing what might happen when the El Niño phenomenon kicks in.
Fifteen-year-old Nasreen Jehan, a student in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, proudly flaunts a yellow and red beaded bracelet encircling her wrist. This humble accessory, she tells IPS, is her most treasured possession.
Speaking of the widespread sanitation crisis, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson was quick to produce staggering numbers: of the world's seven billion people, about six billion have mobile phones but only about 4.5 billion have access to toilets.
Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -development targets agreed upon by the international community, whose 2015 deadline is approaching fast - MDG 7 has proven a particular challenge, especially for sprawling, populous countries like India.
For far too many households in Burkina Faso, going to the toilet means heading for the bush. The Burkinabè government has launched a new campaign to change this, calling on prominent personalities as both sponsors and champions.