Evaluating the existence and extent of droughts is not an easy task. Not only are droughts "slow-onset" events that creep into the physical, environmental, and social systems of a region, they also have effects that span numerous sectors of a society. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), as recently described by Dr. Michael Hayes from the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) during a recent presentation at the World Bank, provides an example for other nations as they consider how to effectively manage this difficult endeavor of characterizing drought risks and impacts.
Kerala is a beautiful state in South India, home to about 34 million people, many of whom share my pride as a Keralite. Of all the states in India, Kerala scores the highest on the human development index, has one of the highest literacy rates in India (around 95%), a low Infant Mortality Rate, gender ratio in favor of the female population, stunning landscapes (highlands, mid-lands, low-lands), and a booming tourism industry. It is God’s own country, as the promoters of tourism industry has named it.
Open defecation – going outside without using a toilet or latrine – is one of the most important threats to child health and human capital, period; ending it must be a policy priority.