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Time to wake up to disaster prevention, Asia

Abhas Jha's picture
A power substation in Yingxhou, Sichuan Province was almost totally destroyed in the magnitude 7.9 Sichuan-Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

The statistics are startling. 75% of global flood mortality risk is concentrated in only three Asian countries: Bangladesh, China and India. 85 % of deaths from tropical cyclones are in just two Asian countries: Bangladesh and India. Indeed, Bangladesh alone accounts for over three-quarters of people dying from tropical cyclones. 85% of global earthquake risk is concentrated in only 12% of the earth’s surface—a large part of it in Asia. In 2009, six of the ten countries with the highest mortality rates and GDP losses from natural disasters were in Asia.  82% of all lives lost in disasters since 1997, are in Asian countries.

Private consumption in East Asia is not too low

Ivailo Izvorski's picture

According to many commentators, setting the global economy on a right path these days must include a sharp increase in private consumption in East Asia.   Consumption, these analysts argue, is very low across the region, and levels nearer those in advanced economies are more appropriate.

This does not seem right.  Consider the following points:

Electrifying Laos: The Movie

Alfredo Baño Leal's picture

The history of the power sector in Lao PDR is relatively new. 15 years ago, Laos counted with just a couple of large hydropower plants, and a meager 16% of the households throughout the country counted with electricity access, mostly concentrated in Vientiane, the capital city, and few provincial towns such as Luang Prabang and Savannakett.

Infrastructures needed an urgent push to help the economy start up and reduce the extreme poverty rates of the population. During the beginning of the 90’s, several donors including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) began different infrastructure development programs, including roads, water supply and electrification.

Solomon Islanders enjoying cheaper calls as competition is increased in telecommunications

Alison Ofotalau's picture

Competition in the telecommunications sector in Solomon Islands has officially arrived. bemobile held its launching ceremony on  Aug 31, making it the first competitor to Solomon Telekom (known as “Our Telekom”) effectively ending the previous monopoly. This is the result of the Government’s policy of reforming the telecoms market in Solomon Islands including promoting competition, developing a new legal framework, and setting up a new regulator, the Telecommunications Commission of Solomon Islands (TCSI).

Helping Rural Clinics Work in Solomon Islands

Hamish Wyatt's picture
Hayleen Dusaru is the Moli clinic's registered nurse

I recently spent almost a week calf deep in mud, shooting around islands, and speaking to beneficiaries and community helpers of the Solomon Islands Rural Development Program (RDP). The trip was an illuminating and uplifting opportunity to get out into rural areas and meet the people that are experiencing the direct benefits of one of the World Bank’s most dynamic projects within Solomon Islands.

Terms like ‘bottom up approach’ and ‘grass roots focus’ are catch-cries that are often heard but not always followed within development projects. However, spending some time in villages that are controlling the funds and direction of infrastructure projects and seeing clear and sometimes astounding benefits from them reinforces the principle that this program is not offering simple lip-service or superficial checklists of community involvement. This is really what community direction of projects looks like. (The Country Manager in Solomon Islands, Edith Bowles, has blogged about this  program before, read her views on its agricultural aspects and on the effects of the islands’ remoteness.)

Farewell

Tony Whitten's picture

It is part of World Bank tradition that, just before retiring, a staff member sends a short email to his/her colleagues to express how much they have enjoyed the challenges of working here, the partnerships they have had in their focus countries, and - most of all - the camaraderie of their committed, dedicated, hard-working co-workers. All this could be perceived as trite, but the feelings are absolutely genuine – as I am now finding.

Water: A source of death and life

Jaehyang So's picture

With the recent MDG summit in New York, I think it’s a good time to stop and take a look at the big water and sanitation picture. We know the numbers of people without access are daunting: 2.5 billion with no sanitation, 887 million without access to safe water. But more and more people are indeed gaining access. Since 1990, 1.6 billion have gained access to safe water. The world will likely even reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) set in 2015 to halve the number of people without access to clean water, according to the UN.

This is no small feat, and the world should take a moment to celebrate this success, and learn from challenges encountered along the way so that we continue beyond 2015 until everyone can access clean water and sanitation.

Retreating in Mongolia

Tony Whitten's picture

Retreat: A withdrawal for prayer and study and meditation; the going backward or receding from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant; a place affording peace, quiet, privacy, or security. Some of the ‘retreats’ I’ve been to during my time at the World Bank could also be described as ‘very long and tedious meetings in windowless hotel basements’ not far from the office. But thankfully the one which 46 members of the Mongolia Country Team attended recently in Mongolia was very different. 

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