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USAID and DOD Ongoing Cooperation on Flood Relief in Bosnia and Herzegovina

2014 floods in Doboj, Bosnia, May 2014. Photo by, Dalibor Platenik - Dali

2014 floods in Doboj, Bosnia, May 2014. Photo by, Dalibor Platenik – Dali

In May of 2014, catastrophic floods hit Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), as well as Serbia and parts of Croatia. As of May 28, the floods were reported to have left 33 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Crops, livestock and landmines were swept away, leading to significant economic and financial losses (estimated losses of 1.3 billion euros in Bosnia alone). At the time, we wrote about the flooding event as a possible opportunity to build better relations and resiliency throughout the region. This November, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have reported out on their ongoing cooperation with the relief effort:  (more…)

Flood Relief in Kashmir: An Opportunity for Conflict Transformation?

Kashmir_mapThe worst flooding in decades has wreaked havoc in Kashmir, the disputed region between Pakistan and India, and one of the world’s most heavily militarized boarders. To date hundreds have lost their lives to the floods and landslides and thousands more remain stranded awaiting assistance. Responding to the flood is a top priority for both nations. Pakistani and Indian troops are diverting some of their attention away from on-going hostilities in order to focus on flood recovery.

However, the political realities outside the bounds of the flood waters will likely limit the extent of the goodwill shared between the nation’s leaders, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who have both offered flood relief assistance to their counterparts. (more…)

Balkan floods: an opportunity amid destruction?

Bosnia_floodsMay_2014139_lrgAfter persistent rainstorms from mid-April to mid-May, massive floods hit the economically struggling Balkan nations of Serbia and Bosnia (and to a lesser extent, Croatia). Those floods that occurred after heavy rainfall from May 14-15 have been described as “the worst in 120 years.” As of May 28, the floods were reported to have left 33 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, and swept away crops, livestock and landmines, leading to significant economic and financial losses (estimated losses of 1.3 billion euros in Bosnia alone). And according to researchers, these extreme weather events are likely to plague the region more and more in the future, as a result of a changing climate. But in responding to the disaster, and in building resilience to future events like it, there may be an opportunity to resolve long-standing tensions. (more…)

The Center for Climate and Security: Our thoughts on climate change

513px-NASA-global-warming-map-1970-79-to-2000-09The UK-based public policy news service, The Information Daily, reached out to us to see if we would like to comment on the changing climate.  You can read what we had to say here, or copied below.  The points made in this article echo the first blog article we wrote for the Center: An Unprecedented Risk Needs an Unprecedented Response. (more…)

A Flood of Flood Reports: A global list of recent events

Mandakini-left-bank-broken-bridge-rudraprayag-sangam-gIn the past few weeks, we’ve noticed an unusual number of articles about significant flood events that are occurring, or have recently occurred, around the world.  Though it is far too soon to determine whether or not these floods are associated with climate change, projections for global rainfall variability suggest that more extreme and unpredictable flooding is likely in our future. The first step in preparing for such a future is recognizing and calling attention to these extreme events, and their real human security implications. Such reports are easily lost in the shuffle of the daily news cycle, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list below. (more…)

Autumn and Winter of Discontent: A Picture of Extreme Weather Over the Past Few Months

2012_Atlantic_hurricane_season_summary_mapFollowing a summer of unusually extreme weather, October, November and December of 2012 has also given the world an unnerving snapshot of what might be the new normal in a climate-changing world. Though it is still too early to draw explicit connections between these past months’ devastating extreme weather events, and climate change, recent observations and projections suggest that increases in the frequency and intensity of such events – droughts, floods, storms – are all but assured. A chronological snapshot of some of the extreme weather events in the past few months gives a sobering sense of what sort of risks we may expect in the future. Hopefully, this difficult season will spur new and robust policies for prevention, preparation and adaptation.

October 1: As highlighted in WRI’s extreme weather timeline: “Super-Typhoon Jelawat becomes the third consecutive Western Pacific cyclone to reach super-typhoon status this year, after Bolaven in August and Sanba in September. “Super typhoon” is a term for a tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of at least 150 miles per hour, the equivalent of a strong Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. All three storms made landfall over Japan and affected the Korean Peninsula with heavy rain and floods. The Western Pacific hasn’t seen three consecutive super typhoons since 1997; it also occurred in 1954, 1957, 1958, and 1963.”

October 17-18: Persistent drought conditions in the western United States, coupled with high winds, created a “large dust storm across Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming, closing major highways.” Experts believe that two-three more years of drought could lead to “Dust Bowl conditions” in the farming belt.

October 22 – November 3: Hurricane Sandy started off the coast of Nicaragua and dissipated over western Pennsylvania. The storm claimed at least 71 lives in Haiti, around 129 lives in the United States alone, and has thus far been blamed for around $62 billion in damage to housing, business and infrastructure. These estimates may indeed be conservative, and the true cost of the storm may not be fully realized until all repairs, relocations and infrastructure improvements are completed.

October 23 – October 30:
Tropical storm Son-Tinh began off the coast of the southeastern Philippines, raged over Vietnam, and ended in southern China. The storm ravaged all three countries, killing at least 35 people, and causing major flooding throughout the region. According to Xinhua New Agency (as quoted by Bloomberg), the storm also did serious damage to agricultural production, and displaced a large number of people living in low-lying areas: “About 19,361 hectares of rice and 70,932 hectares of other crops were submerged by floodwaters as yesterday morning, according to the Vietnamese statement. The storm blew off the roofs of 47,400 homes. In Hainan [China], 10,900 hectares of crops were damaged, 716 houses destroyed and 126,000 people were relocated from low-lying areas, Xinhua said.”

October 26: According to IRIN, unexpected heavy rains in Somalia led to significant devastation and displacement: “More than 3,000 to 4,000 families in nine villages of Togdheer Region displaced by heavy rains last Friday [26 October ] need immediate assistance,” Abdo Aayir Osman, the governor of Togdheer Region, told IRIN by telephone from the regional capital Burao. He added that at least three people had died after their homes flooded…The floodwaters have also damaged foodstuffs in stores in Qori-Lugud District and areas such as Daba-Qabad, Tallo Buuro, Bali-Alanle and Gubato. Some 7,000 to 9,000 heads of livestock drowned, Osman said.”
(more…)

New Research: Global Flood Hotspots, and Climate Resilience

Cherai_kerala

Photo by Challiyan

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) have launched a project “focused on identifying the global flood hotspots for climate mitigation studies and mapping flood risks areas using satellite remote-sensing datasets.” An interesting, though not necessarily surprising, set of findings from the research: (more…)