Sri Lanka’s electricity rates were hiked effective May. The revision is already forcing high-end domestic users to look at a much more environmental friendly alternative, solar. However experts say it is too early to predict whether the rate hike will influence mass movement to solar. Of the over 5m households connected to the national grid, only 3% are considered even border-line high-end users. My file for the Thomson Reuters Foundation – http://www.trust.org/item/20130612114146-mfayx/?source=hptop
A joint survey by the WFP and Sri Lanka government found that 31 percent of households affected by floods in early 2013 are severely food-insecure, while 44 percent of households are borderline food-insecure. Sixty-eight percent of total household expenditure is allocated to food. According to the World Bank, if a household spends more than 65 percent of its expenditure on food, the vulnerability to food insecurity is very high.Thirteen percent of flood-affected households were identified as having poor food consumption levels, and a third covered by the survey were found to have borderline food consumption scores. Currently, 41 percent of flood-affected households are adopting high and negative coping mechanisms such as skipping meals and limiting meal portions, eating less-preferred food, pawning assets and borrowing cash. This, the report says, indicates that households have had little time to recover after the drought, and that their food and livelihood security is becoming increasingly parlous. – http://lmd.lk/2013/06/01/climate-change-3/
After suffering flash-flooding and ensuing damages, Sri Lanka is now taking at least some measures to meet the challenges thrown up by an erratic Monsoon. Experts say, it is just as well and more needs to be done. My report for IPS – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/the-sri-lankan-monsoon-better-prepared-than-sorry/
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.
“Climate stress has always been normal (here); climate change will make things worse,” he said. Experts like Aggarwal say that the region needs to collaborate on research, agriculture and importantly, water management to be better prepared for rapidly varying climate patterns – http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/05/south-asia-in-search-of-coordinated-climate-policy/
Millions affected, tens of thousands displaced, damages in billions of dollars – Sri Lanka is facing the brunt of changing climate cycles. Extreme weather events are becoming ordinary, but still authorities are not geared to tackle them and make sure the affected are not left helpless. There is always the chance that the victims could be in for double jeopardy, as 2012 showed. http://www.irinnews.org/Report/98008/Beating-wild-weather-in-Sri-Lanka
As Asia’s mega cities grow and grow, so does the traffic. In the Sri Lankan capital commuters set aside 3hrs to travel 10km into the city and back. But experts say that more and more are opting for private commute if they can afford, because public transport is unsafe, unreliable and sometimes as one commuter told me is akin to travelling in a public restroom. The traffic is not only a drain on energy, but a major emission factor.
The solution according to experts is to shift to bus rapid transport, that hopefully will not
smell bad. http://www.trust.org/item/20130502133603-5dxn2/