By Edgardo Ayala and Claudia Ávalos
VERAPAZ, El Salvador, June 6 2012 - Amanda Menjívar is moved by the sight of the 16 sewing machines donated to help a group of local women set up a sewing centre to get over the devastating effects of the disaster caused by Hurricane Ida in the Salvadoran town of Verapaz.
"We want to earn an income to help us get over the losses we suffered from those rains," Menjívar, 26, told IPS. She is leading the project, which is just getting off the ground.
When Ida smashed through Central America in November 2009, it hit El Salvador particularly hard, leaving a death toll of 200 and causing 239 million dollars in material losses, equivalent to 1.1 percent of GDP, according to official estimates.
Verapaz, a town of 7,000 in the central department (province) of San Vicente, 56 km east of San Salvador, is a symbol of the tragedy caused by the hurricane in this impoverished country of 6.1 million people, the smallest in Central America.
The intense rainfall caused a mudslide from the slopes of the Chichontepec volcano, which buried much of the town.
A total of 355 mm of rain fell in just four hours - five times the average for the entire month of November. Local and international experts agreed at the time that the unusually heavy rainfall was an effect of climate change.
For the complete article, please see IPS.
By Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia
The world is suddenly paying attention to the oft-ignored North African country of Mali, as it is racked by its most recent in a long string of crises: a coup d’etat.
This political and constitutional crisis sits atop an already extremely vulnerable situation - a volatile mix of climate change, drought, food shortages, migration and immobility, armed insurrection and heavy weapons proliferation that threaten to plunge the country into a state of instability not unlike Somalia.
As the international community, including the UN Security Council, moves to act on this crisis, it will be important to consider all the identifiable sources of Mali’s insecurity in order to get the solutions right.
FROM MODEL TO MAYHEM?
Mali has been described by some as a benchmark country in Africa, where democracy had put down healthy roots over the past two decades. Yet on March 21, a military junta seized control of the government in Bamako, ousting the democratically-elected President Amadou Toumani Toure from power.
The rationale, according to military spokespersons, was that the government had failed to put a lid on the separatist Tuareg rebellion in the north. Soon after, on April 4, the UN Security Council issued a strongly-worded presidential statement condemning the coup, and urging military leaders to restore power to civilian control.
Since then, the coup leaders have committed to a framework agreement “for the restoration of constitutional order in Mali,” but a positive outcome remains uncertain.
For the complete article, please see AlertNet.
By Patricia Grogg
April 26, 2012 - Havanna. As a result of climate change-related extreme weather events like a rise in the sea level and increasingly intense storms alternating with drought, Caribbean island nations are facing the challenge of adopting adaptation measures that could be too costly for their budgets.
One important message from the report is that costly investments are not needed to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events; there are other ways of dealing with the impacts that do not involve major spending on infrastructure, he told IPS.
That clarification is important because funds for climate change adaptation are scarce in this region, added the expert, who is co-chair of IPCC Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
The IPCC, which was established in 1988, has published four comprehensive assessment reports reviewing the latest climate science, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its "efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
Field was in Havana to participate in a workshop held to divulge the results of the IPCC "Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation", produced as a tool for climate adaptation policy-making.
According to statistics provided in the Apr. 18-19 workshop, the rise in sea level could lead to a reduction in the size of the Caribbean islands and have a negative impact on infrastructure, including airports, roads and capital cities, which tend to be located near the coast.
More than half of the population in the region lives less than 1.5 km from the coast. Ian King, an expert from Barbados with the United Nations Development Programme Caribbean Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative (UNDP CRMI), said the first challenge is to assess the threats, in order to decide on the most suitable adaptation policies.
For the complete article please see IPS
- U.S. Military Forges Ahead with Plans to Combat Climate Change
- Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest
- Climate, Energy, and the Military - Dialogue TV With Sharon Burke, Neil Morisetti, and Geoff Dabelko
- Dialogue on Climate Change, Conflict and Effective Response
- Kenia: Number hit by floods tops 100,000