COLOMBO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Warm April weather is nothing new in Sri Lanka. Over generations, Sri Lankans have become accustomed to temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius during this month, when the sun moves directly overhead. They also know from experience that the baking heat will soon be eased by the arrival of the monsoon in May. But this once-predictable cycle is changing. Weather experts, government officials, farmers and ordinary people seem unsure as to what the monsoon season is likely to bring this year. http://www.trust.org/item/20140424080217-ofdz5/?source=hptop
YANGON, Myanmar (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Experts warn that in the midst of its boom, Myanmar must build resiliently, with an eye on the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.
Since political and economic reforms were begun in November 2011 by the government of President Thein Sein, capital inflows have led to new offices, hotels and apartment complexes sprouting in the country’s largest city.
Elsewhere, new economic zones are being opened up, such as the Thilawa Industrial Zone near Yangon and the Dawei Special Economic Zone to the south, near the border with Thailand.
COLOMBO, 4 April 2014 (IRIN) – Sri Lanka has had six months of drought and could face severe crop losses and electricity shortages if the coming monsoon is as weak as forecasts predict, experts say.
“The situation is really, really bad,” said Ranjith Punyawardena, chief climatologist at the Department of Agriculture. “Already there are harvest losses and more are anticipated.”
According to Punyawardena, 5 percent (280,000 tons) of the 2014 rice harvest has already been lost due to the ongoing drought, which stretches back to November 2013. With 200,000 hectares of rice fields (20 percent of the annual cultivated total) planted during the secondary harvesting season already lost, experts say the losses from the drought could be exacerbated by the forecasted weak southwest monsoon, due in May. http://www.irinnews.org/report/99884/drought-begins-to-bite-in-sri-lanka
YANGON, Myanmar (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It is still home to some of the most pristine forests in Southeast Asia. But forest experts warn that Myanmar is fast losing its woodlands due to a combination of commercial logging, agricultural expansion and firewood harvesting. According to the UN-REDD Programme, at least half of Myammar’s land of 667,000 square kilometres is still covered in forest. But the country also has suffered an alarmingly high rate of deforestation. The UN–REDD Programme estimates that in the 15 years between 1990 and 2005, the country lost 18 percent of its forests, and the deforestation rate may have since increased.The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), looking at a somewhat longer period, estimates that Myanmar lost more than half of its dense forest cover between 1990 and 2010, with the area covered by forest falling from 45 percent to around 20 percent. http://www.trust.org/item/20140326124321-kpqdz/?source=hptop
COLOMBO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The recent appointment of a new head for Indonesia’s fledgling REDD+ Agency, tasked with reducing climate-changing emissions from deforestation, is expected to accelerate tree planting and other efforts to protect forests in the Southeast Asian nation, as well as raising more funds for this work. http://www.trust.org/item/20140108104601-gxicv/
Experts in Sri Lanka fear that despite the increased frequency of extreme dry seasons, the country still lacks measures to ease the impact on vital sectors like agriculture, energy and water resources. Ranjith Punyawardena, chief climatologist at the Department of Agriculture, said that this year’s main paddy rice harvest was likely to shrink by 7-10 percent due to the shortage of rainfall. – http://www.trust.org/item/20140214194424-vmupo/?source=hptop
TOKYO, 9 December 2013 (IRIN) – Relief will be more easily and quickly available, and the economic fallout much more manageable, if governments project and plan fiscally for potential natural disasters and their human and economic toll well in advance, experts say.
The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) has calculated that since 2000, economies have lost as much as US$2.5 trillion due to natural hazards. In 2011 Thailand lost around 5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to floods, and Japan lost some 4 percent of its GDP to the earthquake and tsunami.
TOKYO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It is often said that people in the poorest countries suffer most from climate hazards and the effects of a warming world. Now we have the data to prove it.
Between January 1980 and July 2013, climate-related disasters caused 2.52 million deaths around the globe. Of the total, a disproportionately high number of deaths – 1.28 million or 51 percent – were recorded in the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs), according to a recent briefing paper from the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). – http://www.trust.org/item/20131206094547-fy6ma/?source=hptop