YUNXI TOWN, Yantang County, China—More than three years after a devastating earthquake hit Sichuan Province, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim toured four reconstruction sites, including stops that looked at road construction, a maternal and child health center, and an economic development zone.
After talking to several villagers in Yunxi's town square, during which Kim asked residents about the earthquake and its aftermath, Kim gives his impressions from the trip in the video below.
A while back, I wrote about some amazing Oxfam women I met in East Africa. Here’s another, this time from the Philippines.
Lan (real name Lilian, but Filipinos never use real names) is one of those quiet but effective (and very determined, and maybe not so quiet….) women that abound in development work. She was formerly our country director in the Philippines, but has now moved to head up a project on ASEAN (more on that below). She is also yet another Oxfam woman with a remarkable story. In 1988, as a 28 year old Communist Party activist in the Philippines civil war, her own Party denounced and arrested her on trumped-up charges of being involved in an intra-Party assassination. They held her for 6 months in the mountains, blindfolded and handcuffed in a cage. She and the other prisoners were tortured physically, mentally and emotionally. At least she avoided the fate of prisoners in other camps, who were forced to play ‘eeny meeny miny mo’, with the loser taken out, killed, and their blood smeared over the remaining prisoners.
The tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, didn’t only leave behind wreckage and corpses. It also left behind the PLTD Apung 1, a power-generating barge that was docked in Banda Aceh’s Ulee Lheue port when the disaster struck. It might have pumped out electricity for a few more decades, easing electricity shortages throughout Indonesia, before heading to the scrap heap.
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Instead, it was lifted by the tsunami and deposited several kilometers inland, smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. When I first arrived in Banda Aceh in 2006, people were living in houses right next to it. A makeshift road worked its way around the massive obstacle. A box sat on a chair nearby, with a hand-written sign asking for donations for tsunami victims. The question we all had was: What on earth are they going to do with it?
|The devastation from the Sichuan earthquake was immense; the recovery, impressive.|
Four years ago on May 12, 2008, the world was stunned by the news of an 8-magnitude massive earthquake that struck Wenchuan of Sichuan Province and affected, in total, ten provinces in Southwestern Ch
In June 2009 Samoa was the set for the popular TV program Survivor. It was a fantastic choice. It is one of those picture-perfect places–shady palms, trees dripping with fruit, blossoming hibiscus, all framed by powder sand beaches. It is a vastly understated paradise.
A few months later, the country was once again centre stage. This time for something utterly distressing and heart-breaking as the country embarked on the harrowing search for real life survivors after they were struck by a powerful tsunami on 29 September 2009.
Galu afi means “wave of fire” and is the traditional Samoan word used to describe a tsunami. It describes the force that gains momentum as the wave generates and the sheer destruction that it brings to bear. That is what happened here.
The Japanese phrase “Shikata ga nai (仕方がない) -loosely translated as "it can't be helped" -captures the essence of the resilience and sense of duty towards one’s community that the Japanese people displayed in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
Floods are the most frequent among all natural disasters. In 2010 alone, 178 million people globally were affected by floods. More than 90 % of the global population exposed to floods lives in Asia.
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The number just kept getting bigger and bigger. At first it was a staggering 13,000. The next day, over 25,000. And then, 58,000. By the end of the week, on January 1st, 2005, the death toll of the Asian Tsunami had reached 122,000. Yet the number kept climbing, and nobody knew when it would stop.
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|Photo courtesy of ianmyles through a Creative Commons license|
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Like the massive earthquake in Japan earlier this year, the floods in Thailand are again exposing the vulnerabilities of fragmented global supply chains.
Last month, a team of economists from the World Bank’s International Trade Department encountered some flooding side-effects during a visit to the Indonesian production site for ECCO, a Danish company that manufactures footwear. In order to transfer production to the factory in Indonesia, the workers needed the specific shoe molds used in the Thai factory. But there was a problem: The Thai factory was under three meters of water.
|ภาพภ่ายโดย iamyles ผ่านการใช้ลิขสิทธิ์จากครีเอทีฟคอมมอนส์|
เมื่อเดือนที่แล้ว ทีมนักเศรษฐศาสตร์จากแผนกการค้าระหว่างประเทศ (International Trade Department) ของธนาคารโลกได้พบเห็นปัญหาบางประการอันเป็นผลข้างเคียงจากภาวะน้ำท่วมดังกล่าวในระหว่างการเยือนโรงงานผลิตรองเท้าที่ประเทศอินโดนีเซียของบริษัทเอ็คโคจากเดนมาร์ก ในการที่จะย้ายการผลิตไปยังโรงงานที่อินโดนีเซียนั้น คนงานจำเป็นต้องใช้แม่พิมพ์รองเท้าแบบเฉพาะที่ใช้ในโรงงานที่ประเทศไทย แต่ปัญหาคือ โรงงานไทยกำลังจมอยู่ใต้น้ำระดับสามเมตร
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In September this year I visited a number of communities in Yogyakarta, in Java, Indonesia, who were rebuilding their lives and homes after experiencing a series of natural disasters. The reconstruction process which I saw is perhaps in example of post-disaster community participation at their best.
It’s been an unusually severe rainy season in some parts of Lao PDR, with several typhoons passing over after making landfall in
Disaster management 2.0: scalable human connections fired by high technology
Scalability, virtual communities and Web 2.0 have changed the world of disaster response. The most successful and disruptive inventions of modern times owe much of their success to scalability. Although people always had the ability to read books, it was only with the invention of the printing press that it became possible for millions of people to do so. Web 2.0 and social media make the ability to connect with people scalable. Scalable human connections combined with open source software and platforms, and unprecedented computing power, results in human-machine synergy also being scaled up. This human-machine synergy results in disruptive technology innovations. Such disruptive innovations have most recently been seen in the area of humanitarian support to disaster and conflict affected countries. USB drives were an innovation that disrupted the market for floppy disks. Although they are not likely to go the way of the floppy disk, the world of traditional disaster relief organizations with proprietary systems, closed data sets and bureaucracy have been up-ended by the disruptive human-machine synergies of Web 2.0 and crowd-sourced humanitarian volunteer organizations.