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The South Asia Women’s Resilience Index

WRI_600x480South Asian countries largely fail to consider the rights of women to be included in their disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience-building efforts, finds a new index published by The Economist Intelligence Unit. This is despite women being more adversely affected by disasters (an estimated four times as many women as men died in India and Sri Lanka in the 2004 tsunami, for instance) and despite numerous examples of their capacity to lead such efforts (there are some 3m women’s self-help groups registered in India alone)…


What Chile quake can teach us this winter

This winter’s unexpected brutal snowstorms and deep freeze across the country caught us unprepared. Thursday’s storm is just the latest to snarl commutes and lead to questions about whether we are ready to deal with even mild disasters. It is not the weather; it is us. Parts of our country are simply ill-prepared for anything other than normal operations. Tough weather is nothing compared with what could hit us tomorrow…


India’s ‘smart cities’ would be stupid without disaster strategy

After Cyclone Hudhud pounded India’s southern port city of Visakhapatnam last October, snapping bridges, swamping farmland and wrecking fishing boats, many breathed a sigh of relief. The lives of tens of thousands of residents had been spared as a result of a well-rehearsed mass evacuation to shelters – a lesson learned from long experience with floods, sea surges and strong winds from storms whipped up in the Bay of Bengal. But as the city of 2 million people, commonly known as Vizag, gears up to become one of India’s first “smart cities”, officials admit much more must be done to help it cope with increasingly extreme weather – a challenge being recognised in many fast-growing metropolises worldwide…


Thailand tests floating homes to tackle annual floods

Nestled among hundreds of identical white and brown two-storey homes crammed in this neighbourhood for factory workers is a house with a trick — one not immediately apparent from its green-painted drywall and grey shade panels. Hidden under the house and its wraparound porch are steel pontoons filled with Styrofoam. These can lift the structure three metres off the ground if this area, two hours north of Bangkok, floods as it did in 2011 when two-thirds of the country was inundated, affecting a fifth of its 67 million people. The 2.8 million baht ($86,000) amphibious house in Ban Sang village is one way architects, developers and governments around the world are brainstorming solutions as climate change brews storms, floods and rising sea levels that threaten communities in low-lying coastal cities…



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