March 23, 2015 | 0 comments

As the cleanup begins following the worst cyclone to hit Vanuatu in recent history, fears are growing among the population here about how the Pacific nation—lying 2,236 miles east of Australia—will recover and entice foreign visitors so crucial to the local economy to return. An exotic destination cherished by divers and adventure seekers, the archipelago faces a long path of rebuilding from two days of devastation wrought by Cyclone Pam’s 250-kilometer-per-hour (155mph) winds. The death toll from the storm has been reduced to 17 from earlier reports of 24, far smaller than similar-sized Pacific storms, such as last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 6,000 people in the Philippines. But the infrastructure damage has been overwhelming:

March 23, 2015 | 0 comments

For years, the UAE has been among countries with the highest per capita water consumption in the world, according to the UN Environment Programme. The UAE placed third in this global ranking in 2013. This means that an average UAE resident consumes about 550 litres of water a day. This is more than three times the world average per capita consumption. As the UAE marks World Water Day on Sunday, Gulf News looks into the real risk of water scarcity over the next 15 years and beyond:

March 19, 2015 | 0 comments
March 16, 2015 | 0 comments

Aid is beginning to arrive in Vanuatu after the Pacific island nation was hit by a cyclone which President Baldwin Lonsdale described as a "monster". Air force planes arrived with supplies from Australia and New Zealand, and other countries have pledged to help. Aerial images of the capital Port Vila show many houses completely flattened. A communications blackout means little is known about conditions beyond the capital but a pilot saw similar devastation in outlying islands. His voice breaking, President Lonsdale told the BBC that Cyclone Pam had destroyed most buildings in Port Vila, including schools and clinics.
A state of emergency has been declared in the tiny state of 267,000 people, spread over 65 islands. More form BBC News:

March 16, 2015 | 0 comments

From the Huffington Post: The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is now entering its third year. Despite the deployment of a new United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2014, violence continues. In recent weeks armed groups have targeted humanitarian workers and resurgent sectarian violence has led civil society actors to warn of the possibility of genocidal violence.

In the midst of this deteriorating security environment, a massive humanitarian crisis continues to develop. More than 2.7 million civilians are in need of humanitarian assistance; almost 1 million have been internally or externally displaced from the fighting. The situation in CAR has been declared by the UN as a "Level 3 Emergency" -- a rating it currently shares with Syria, South Sudan and Iraq.

Children are the hardest hit by this crisis. The Central African Republic already has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Damaged infrastructure and interrupted government services have had a devastating impact on youth health and education. Declining rates of vaccination contribute to resurgent rates of polio and measles. The threat of cholera or other waterborne illnesses have climbed due to the severely limited access to clean water and proper sanitation. The lasting impact on the youngest generation of CAR is yet to be realized. More at