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Climate Change

Informality and Disaster Vulnerability

Ashna Mathema's picture

Unlike the more developed nations where catastrophes typically happen when a major disaster strikes, in the developing countries, even small disasters result in disproportionate loss of life and property. Apart from the increased frequency of these events resulting from climate change, there is also an escalated risk associated with an urbanizing world: urban areas in developing country cities are commonly characterized by high population densities, old and deteriorated infrastructure, poor environmental conditions, concentrated poverty in informal settlements and slums, unplanned and often unregulated growth,  and inadequately prepared local institutions, which makes them especially vulnerable. (Photo by Lecercle)

A commonly cited problem attributed to much disaster-related damage in developing countries is the use of inappropriate building codes, poor zoning by-laws, and more generally, the lack of enforceability of the same. This is particularly the case for earthquakes, because unlike other types of natural disasters, casualties and fatalities from earthquakes are associated almost entirely with collapse or failure of manmade structures. The saying “earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do” is as true today as it was when it was first coined.

Hence, the importance of these regulations—and more importantly, their enforceability—cannot be over-stated. But what of those households for whom these regulations do not apply?

New Look, better blog!

Aaron Leonard's picture

You may have noticed we received a face lift.  Well, it’s not just the DM Blog, it’s the entire World Bank (WB) Blog Community.  WB blogs are going to soon all be part of the World Bank Blog “Planet” (fitting name, don’t you think?)  Blogs.worldbank.org is a planet site that aggregates content from all the WB blogs into one space.  This will make it easier to find and subscribe to more content on the topics that interest you the most.  I was just looking at the new planet and found this post on Innovative Adaptation by Rosina Bierbaum – a great topic considering the focus of the DM this year. 

I’d like your feedback on all of this.  What do you think about the new DM Blog?  Anything you like in particular?  What would make it better? What about the planet site? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

- Aaron

Conflict, Displacement, and pro-poor Adaptation

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

Migration is the default adaptation strategy of the poor.

Rising sea levels, more frequent flooding, and droughts could displace millions of people by the middle of the century. And if the predictions of sharply declining agricultural productivity come true, farmers will to an increasing extent abandon rural areas in search of new livelihoods.  

Calling all proposals - DM 2009 Grant Competition on Climate Adaptation Launched!

Aaron Leonard's picture

The global 2009 Development Marketplace competition is now open! This year the DM aims to find and support innovative approaches and technologies that help us to prepare for and respond to the immediate and potential impacts of climate change. We have already begun accepting applications. For more details visit our website at www.developmentmarketplace.org. The submission period closes May 18, 2009.

This is a great opportunity to find support for your idea in Climate Adaptation. For the first time, we have also opened a special window for Indigenous Peoples – to promote Indigenous Peoples communities’ and organizations’ development of innovative ways to conserve agriculture, land, water and soil management practices. Apply now and spread the word!

Are we prepared? The case of the disappearing fish

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

"Spectacular achievements are always preceded by unspectacular preparation." (Roger Staubach)

Warming of the oceans is one of the best known facts about global climate change. Ocean warming is already happening and is not subject to great uncertainty of predictions as far as I understand. So, is the world prepared to deal with warmer waters?

Disaster Risk Management and Climate Adaptation (part 2)

Abhas Jha's picture

Part 2 of 2.

I work on disaster risk management in East Asia and the Pacific. This is a region which faces increased disaster risk associated with climatic hazards, particularly from rising sea-levels, exposure to floods, droughts and tropical cyclones. Some scientists claim that for some islands in the Pacific it may already be too late. Adaptation may mean moving out to another country. The major challenge that we face is to shift the focus of attention and resources from post-disaster reconstruction to pre-disaster risk reduction and to integrate the disaster and climate change adaptation agendas across different levels and sectors of governance and the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders.

Disaster Risk Management and Climate Adaptation

Abhas Jha's picture

I grew up in a small town in India-Patna-beside one of the mightiest river systems in the world, the Ganges. It is hard to describe the sacred place that the river has in Indian daily life. From sprinkling the holy water on a new born baby to putting a few drops into the mouth of someone about to die to dissolving the ashes of the dead into her deep embrace, the Ganges is like a mother to most Indians (literally she is often referred to as Ganga Maiya or Mother Ganges). But she can be a tough disciplinarian as well. Growing up next to her teaches you a profound respect for nature and the havoc she can cause. Patna is the capital of the state of Bihar which is one of the poorest states in India. One of the primary reasons for the poverty of the state is the almost annual havoc caused by the flooding of the Ganges and her tributaries in which thousands of lives and billions of rupees are lost. I remember as a little boy waking up in fear late one night  hearing government jeeps warning everyone to get out of the way-the river was about to break over its embankments and flood the town.

Business Plan Competition to Promote Biogas Development

Aaron Leonard's picture

The Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG) is sponsoring a business plan competition to promote biogas development in Northern Haiti. The winning proposal can win up to US$50,000 in grants and early-stage financing. The DEADLINE is THIS FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2009. For more information, click here or visit the AIDG website at www.aidg.org.

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