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
How early warning technology protects Nepali villagers from sudden floods.
The early warning system gives villagers 5-8 minutes’ notice of a flood – just enough time to save themselves.
Five flood sensors are positioned near the Nepal-China Friendship Bridge, about 6 km upstream from the power station.
If the water in the river reaches a dangerous level, the sensors activate sirens placed at four locations, including one at the power plant. The sirens warn the communities to flee to higher ground. Residents use their mobile phones to warn other villages further downstream.
According to authorities, a glacial lake outburst flood takes about five minutes to travel from the Nepal-China Friendship Bridge to the plant and lives can be saved if people respond to the alarm immediately.
The Himalayas, the youngest mountain range in the world, are known for their landslides and earthquakes. In recent years these natural hazards have been exacerbated by reckless development activity and the impact of global warming on the Indian sub-continent, which has seen an unpredictable monsoon and a rise in extreme events. Some say it is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. In fact the disaster has already happened — in mid-June in India, during the peak tourist and pilgrimage season – flood waters and landslides ripped through the Indian Himalayan state of Uttarakhand causing widespread devastation.
As India surveys the aftermath of the tragedy, there is introspection of what kind of development the country should take to ensure that development does not come at the cost of the environment and human lives.
Long-term interventions are essential to stem deteriorating food security among victims of frequent extreme weather events in Sri Lanka, experts warn.
In the last 20 months, parts of Sri Lanka have been hit by a severe drought and two bouts of floods that experts at the World Food Programme (WFP) and the government say have worsened the food security of victims.
SRINAGAR, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Devastating flooding in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand in June, caused in part by the collapse of a glacier-fed lake, has raised worries in other Himalaya regions could be at risk of similar tragedies, experts say.
In southern Kashmir, in particular, a number of glacial lakes in the upper reaches of the famous tourist resort of Pahalgam could be vulnerable to collapse if the region faces extreme rainfall or earthquakes, scientists say.
“The Uttarakhand tragedy has rung alarm bells for the entire Himalayan belt, considering its fragile ecology and environment. Since we are the part of the same fragile Himalayan belt, any extreme meteorological event could create havoc here as well,” Mohammad Sultan, head of the department of geography and regional development at Kashmir University, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Chenab is poised to become one of the more dam-congested rivers in India, with the government planning to generate around 15,000 megawatts of electricity through 60 hydropower projects in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh…