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Cascading Disasters in the Mediterranean: Storm in Lampedusa

800px-Boat_People_at_Sicily_in_the_Mediterranean_SeaLast Friday the Mediterranean areas around Southern Italy experienced a rare “Medicane” event of tropical storm-like conditions. Jeff Master’s explains the science behind these rare weather events, and the likelihood of seeing more of them under a changing climate.

Storms of this nature are just one more stress to the small Italian island that is also a main point of entry to the European Union for migrants and refugees from places like Syria and Eritrea. The voyage from point of origin to the shores of Europe and Italy is no cruise (more…)

Lebanon on the brink of a resource crisis?

LebanonCampsSyrianBorderThis is a guest post by Joanne Lucas

Now that summer is on its way, Lebanon is bracing itself for a severe drought that will negatively impact food and water security. A few factors combined will likely create severe problems this summer, as temperatures start to rise. First, Lebanon has had a record dry winter. As the country relies on wet winters for most of its precipitation, this is a real problem. The average precipitation from December to March is around 812 mm, while this season only 413 mm has fallen, almost half of the average. Not only has the rain stayed away, but a significant influx of Syrian refugees into the country is increasing demand for water and food. There are now over a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which equals one quarter of the resident population (specifically, there are 220 Syrian refugees for every 1,000 Lebanese residents). (more…)

Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?

City skyline from a coastal defense breakwater in Alexandria, EgyptIn a new post titled “Spring Thaw: What Role Did Climate Change and Natural Resource Scarcity Play in the Arab Spring?” the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Schuyler Null and Maria Preble have done an admirable job of reviewing both our report with the Stimson Center and the Center for American Progress, “The Arab Spring and Climate Change,” and E3G’s “Underpinning the MENA Democratic Transition.” From their summary: (more…)

Yemen: The Problems We’re Not Hearing About

Yemen is plagued by massive security problems. It is a hub for domestic and international Islamist terrorism, housing some of al Qaeda’s most experienced and determined operatives, is currently the host of an intense drone-strike campaign by the United States, is passing through a volatile governmental transition (the UN Security Council issued a resolution yesterday threatening sanctions and calling for the cessation of hostilities from armed groups), and according to Nancy Lindborg at USAID, currently counts more than 550,000 internally displaced peoples. (more…)

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