Jasmine Rice in the Weeping Plain: successful adaptation to climate change

October 9, 2009
Lured by its wonderful title, I’ve just been reading a new briefing about some successful adaptation work in Northeast Thailand. Here’s a summary: In 2007, farmers in Yasothorn Province, north-east Thailand, experienced the longest dry spell during a rainy season in decades. Yasothorn, one of the 10 poorest provinces in the country, is part of the ‘Weeping Plain’ named after

Up to our knees in Climate Change in Bangladesh

August 26, 2009
Wading through tidal salt water pouring across a rapidly eroding road in an area of the coast that had never previously seen anything on this scale, climate change has never seemed so immediate. In May, Cyclone Aila breached the embankments and produced a humanitarian disaster, killing hundreds and affecting some 5 million Bangladeshis. Three months on, 300,000 are still homeless and

What has climate change done to the seasons?

July 7, 2009
Yesterday, Oxfam published Suffering the Science, a powerful synthesis of the science and the human havoc that climate change is already wreaking. The thing that caught my eye was ‘What Happened to the Seasons?’, an input paper by my colleagues Steve Jennings and John Magrath bringing together evidence from 15 countries on how seasons are changing and the impact on

28 days later: the human face of climate change and natural disaster in Bangladesh

June 10, 2009
On 27 April Mostafa Rokonuzzaman, a young farmer from the village of Tepakhali in south-western Bangladesh, spoke in one of the first public hearings on the impacts of climate change – the hearings revealed a litany of seasonal disruption, including extreme heat, failed rains and warmer winters, all with impacts on their rainfed crops and winter vegetables, notably the salination

The human impact of climate change – 300,000 deaths per year, 2 in 3 of us already affected

June 5, 2009
A new report pulls together the current evidence on the current and projected human impact of climate change. It’s not pleasant reading. Headline numbers: Every year climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead. This will rise to roughly half a million in 20 years. 325 million people are seriously affected, and economic losses amount to US$125 billion, more than the

Natural disasters will hurt 50% more people by 2015. Why? Climate Change + Inequality

April 21, 2009
There has been some striking progress in reducing the death toll from natural disasters in recent decades. While Cyclone Sidr killed around 3,000 people in Bangladesh in 2007, similar or weaker storms killed 100 times that number in 1972 and 45 times more people in 1991, largely because governments and local communities have since taken action to reduce risk.

What happens when you give people money (rather than food or blankets) after a natural disaster? Some evidence from Zambia

March 11, 2009
When disaster strikes in the shape of floods or droughts, aid agencies traditionally ship in food and blankets, often over great distances. But increasingly, people are trying out a novel alternative – give people envelopes full of cash and let them buy what they need. I’ve just been reading an evaluation of two such exercises in response to floods in

A Billion Hungry People – remember the food price crisis?

January 26, 2009
Read this paragraph: ‘Despite the recent creation of a United Nations High Level Task Force, there is still little coordination or collaboration among UN organisations, the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donors. There is no functioning global mechanism to ensure coordination and policy coherence of the various actors, thus adding complexity to the response effort and reducing efficiency,

Cuba beats USA again, this time on child welfare

December 10, 2008