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from The Great Debate UK:

Britain’s floods: How do we pay the £14 billion bill?

-- Nikolas Scherer is researcher at the Hertie School of Governance and Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS. The opinions expressed are his own.--

In some parts of the United Kingdom, the recent floods are the worst on record. Since December 2013, over 5,800 homes have been flooded in England alone. The cost to the UK economy had been estimated at as much as £14 billion, from damage, lost business and general economic slowdown. Whatever the exact figures, the bill will be immense.

At some point, the government has to consider where to get the money from.

There may be lessons to be learned here from a recent trend in the developing world, which has been to use climate insurance, or more technically speaking, index insurance instruments, to hedge against adverse weather events.

In contrast to traditional insurance, the payout is predetermined and depends ultimately on the realisation of a specific weather event – for example a certain wind-speed measured at a particular weather station for a given period of time – and not on the ex-post assessment of a loss adjuster. Pay-outs can be made very quickly and allow a quick influx of capital on a state’s balance sheet: money with which the government can begin the rebuilding process.

from The Human Impact:

Rebuilding healthcare, healing survivors in typhoon-hit central Philippines

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Haiyan, the strongest storm on record, destroyed many healthcare centres. Our correspondent visited the typhoon-affected areas almost three months later to see how aid agencies like ICRC have been filling the gap.

AUTHOR/PHOTOGRAPHER: Thin Lei Win

For many children in the Philippines who don’t have access to a playground, the roadside is a good alternative. Inevitably, this leads to accidents.

from Environment Forum:

Disasterology 2: hard questions for Breezy Point homeowners a year after Sandy

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For survivors of Superstorm Sandy in the U.S. Northeast, the Sendai tsunami in Japan and the massive earthquake in Chengdu, China, the scars of disaster are still palpable. I’m part of a group of journalists brought together by the East-West Center in Hawaii to see how the people and environments hit by these catastrophes are faring, one year,  two years and five years later. We began our tour on Sept. 29. Here are the other posts in the series:

Breezy Point, Queens, New York:

from Environment Forum:

Disasterology: Storm warnings that work — a lesson from Sandy

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For survivors of Superstorm Sandy in the U.S. Northeast, the Sendai tsunami in Japan and the massive earthquake in Chengdu, China, the scars of disaster are still palpable. I’m part of a group of journalists brought together by the East-West Center in Hawaii to see how the people and environments hit by these catastrophes are faring, one year,  two years and five years later. We began our tour on Sept. 29. Here are the other posts in the series:

Even big storm warnings must get personal if they're going to do any good. Few people know that better than Jason Tuell, director of the Eastern Region of the U.S. National Weather Service, which includes nearly all of the swath that last year's storm Sandy cut when it came ashore last October.

from The Great Debate UK:

How social media can play a major role in disaster forecasting and recovery

--Julian Hunt is Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology and the Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre. Joy Pereira is Deputy Director of SEADPRI, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. The opinions expressed are their own.--

The UN Climate Change Summit in Qatar will be negotiating levels of funding for adaptation against climate change. Social media, which can reduce impacts of disasters through community involvement and improved real-time management, must receive effective and rapid use of such funds.

from The Great Debate UK:

Strong storms could be even more dangerous in future

--Lord Hunt is a Visiting professor at Delft University, and former Director-General of the UK Met Office. The opinions expressed are his own.--

Sandy has been called, by some, the ‘perfect storm’ and the storm of the century’.  But there are reasons to believe that strong storms could be even more dangerous in the future.

from Photographers' Blog:

An extreme year

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2012 is the year of extremes in northern Brazil. Two regions of the country's vast north suffered their worst natural disasters in recorded history, but they were opposite disasters, with floods in the Amazon and drought in the northeast. Reuters photographers Ricardo Moraes and Bruno Kelly covered both stories. Their contrasting accounts follow:

Ricardo Moraes writes from northeastern Bahia State:

People suffering without water but full of hope, was what I found in the state of Bahia, facing its worst drought in half a century.

from Photographers' Blog:

Strength born of calamity

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By Swoan Parker

Everything was in its place. Knick-knacks of varying shapes perfectly lined the dresser as the dearly loved treasures from a literally broken home.  Aline Deispeines’ concrete home was destroyed in the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 12, 2010.  Her new home, spotlessly kept, was a tent. Her life, like that of so many who survived the calamity, was changed forever.  She, like so many other Haitians, had lost her home, her loved ones, her business, and all feeling of security for her future.


I came to know Aline, 44 and a single mother to daughter Tina, 13, and adopted daughter Herby, 24, after hearing about OFEDA, the Organization of Dedicated Women in Action.  OFEDA is a grassroots organization of women in support of women. It is run by Aline, who against incredible odds formed the group just weeks after the quake. OFEDA, I would later learn, is a symbol of strength, hope and endurance.

from The Great Debate UK:

Pakistan floods show Asia’s vulnerability to climate change

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By Lord Julian Hunt and Professor J. Srinivasan. The opinions expressed are their own.

It is more than a year since the devastating July and August 2010 floods in Pakistan that affected about 20 million people and killed an estimated 2,000. Many believe that the disaster was partially fuelled by global warming, and that there is a real danger that Pakistan, and the Indian subcontinent in general, could become the focus of much more regular catastrophic flooding.

from Gregg Easterbrook:

What’s causing the tornado tsunami

“Tornadoes are currently on a frightening upswing.” That could have been written yesterday -- but was written 12 years ago, by your columnist, in the November 8, 1999 issue of The New Republic.

The onslaught of tornadoes is not some sudden, unexpected bolt out of the blue. I wrote about tornadoes a dozen years ago because 1998 and 1999 were terrible years for tornadoes. Now three of the last 12 years have been terrible for tornadoes, and the 1950-2010 trend isn’t so great either.

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