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
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
The 2013 South Asian Monsoon has left a trail of death and destruction from the southern coast o fSri Lanka, through Uttarakhand, India into Pakistan. Experts say that real time data and information sharing among the affected countries could reduce the dangers posed by the rains. – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/08/when-disaster-rains-talk/
There is a dire need inSri Lankafor an effective early warning system and building of public awareness on extreme weather events’ related alerts and warnings. The early warning mechanism that was set up after the 2004 tsunami is focused on issuing tsunami warnings and experts warn that erratic monsoon and frequent extreme weather events dictate similar attention should be paid to other natural hazards.http://www.irinnews.org/report/98346/need-for-better-storm-warnings-in-sri-lanka
Early warning lags in Sri Lanka have proved fatal twice in the last 20 months for fishing communities along the south and western coasts. Twice, in November 2011 and June 2013, shallow water fishermen found themselves battling for their lives when the seas turned nasty suddenly. Like one survivor described, when the waves rose up and the sea howled like a deranged monster. The latest tragedy at least has made the government take note and may be some good will come about. – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/in-sri-lanka-the-tempest-comes-unannounced/
KATHMANDU, May 16 2013 (IPS) – With a combined population of over 1.7 billion, which includes some of the world’s poorest but also a sizeable middle class with a growing spending capacity, South Asia is a policymaker’s nightmare. The region’s urban population is set to double by 2030, with India alone adding 90 million city dwellers to its metropolises since 2000. Over 75 percent of South Asia’s residents live in rural areas, with agriculture accounting for 60 percent of the labour force, according to recent statistics released by the World Bank.
South Asia has always been a climatic hot spot. According to Pramod Aggarwal, South Asia principal researcher and regional programme leader for agriculture and food security for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), over 70 percent of the region is prone to drought, 12 percent to floods and eight percent to cyclones.