Protecting Rivers, Reducing Climate Vulnerability

Climate change is bringing more extreme floods and droughts. Floodplains, marshes, dunes, reefs and mangrove forests - often referred to as green infrastructure or bioshields - are vital to making our societies more climate resilient in the face of extreme weather events. Large dams built today not only weaken the climate resilience of riverine ecosystems, but are themselves highly vulnerable to a changing climate.

Ethiopia's Floods & Dams: A response to Spiked

Spiked and others are calling attention to the heavy floods in Ethiopia which now threaten 270,000 people. Regional authorities and humanitarian partners including World Vision, CARE, Food for the Hungry International (FHI), Save the Children-UK, Concern, OCHA, WFP UNICEF and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society are among those involved in flood relief efforts. Supporting these humanitarian agencies supports the urgent needs of Ethiopia's flood victims in this time of crisis.  Ethiopia's boom and bust rain cycles are notorious for their role in Ethiopia's extreme poverty. But dams a

A Flood of Dam Safety Problems

The latest dam burst in northeast Brazil
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
From September 2010 World Rivers Review The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan provides a terrifying warning of how global warming is changing the hydrological cycle. Almost every month seems to bring unprecedented rainstorms and floods somewhere across the world, and their severity and frequency seems to be rapidly worsening. These floods pose a major threat to the world's dams, and to the many millions of people who live below them. Here we report on a few of the worst examples of dam-induced flooding in recent months. Brazil Northeast Brazil - better known for severe drought - was hit by d

World Rivers Review: Focus on Rivers, Water and Climate - September 2010

Risky Business in the Face of Climate Change Catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, dam breaks around the world, and drought-caused blackouts in Africa provide ample warning of how global warming is changing the hydrological cycle. This special issue on rivers, water and climate examines the risks associated with building dams at a time when we can't predict either high or low flows. Get the full story on what these challenges mean for dam safety, river-based communities, energy production, and the environment – and the solutions that can help us survive. Download the September 2010 issue Downs

Indus River Flood: The Fate of Squatter Settlements & Adjacent Villages

Affected people with their houses plunged under the flood waters
Friday, August 20, 2010
Affected people with their houses plunged under the flood waters Shahid Ali Panhwer Only a few days ago, in the wake of the severe deluge upstream of Kotri Barrage, children swimming and women sponging down clothes on a partially dry passage of the Indus River (Sindhu Daryah) downstream, close to Sehrish Nagar embankment, doled out the delusion that the flood, which had flattened the upper parts of the country and engulfed vast stretches of the province's upstream areas, inflicting huge losses in terms of life and property, was centuries away from their lands. They used to live in a squatter

Understanding the Flood Disaster at Taunsa Barrage

Friday, August 20, 2010
Rivers [said 6th century BC Taoist engineer Chia Jang] were like the mouths of infants - if one tried to stop them up they only yelled the louder or were suffocated.- Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, 1971 The devastating floods in Pakistan have once again ignited public debate on the necessity of new water reservoirs in the country. The proponents of Kalabagh Dam, including some prominent politicians, TV anchorpersons, and Punjab water engineers, hold that if Kalabagh Dam had been built, we would not be facing the present disaster wreaked upon millions of people in the Indus

Floods in Pakistan: Lend a Hand and Learn a Lesson

Exodus in Punjab.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Exodus in Punjab. Action Aid The floods that are currently ravaging Pakistan have created a human tragedy beyond imagination. At least 1,600 people have lost their lives, 20 million people have been affected, and 4 million people have been left homeless. Many families have lost their whole existence – their homes, fields, crops and cattle – overnight, with no safety net to fall back on. The floods have also washed away schools, health centers, roads and bridges. Pakistan's civil society and international aid agencies are doing their utmost to bring relief to the victims of this traged

Devastating Floods Linked to Dam Bursts in Northeast Brazil

Dam burst on  Mundaú River, Rio Largo town, in the state of Alagoas
This is a guest blog by Amazon Program Intern Lilian Alves and Amazon Program Director Brent Millikan. Dam burst on Mundaú River, Rio Largo town, in the state of Alagoas Leo Caldas/Revista Veja The Northeast of Brazil is well-known for its periodic episodes of severe drought that cause particular hardship for those already suffering from extreme poverty, especially in the region's backlands (sertão). Last month, however, the Northeast was hit by devastating floods, where over fifty people were killed and an estimated 150,000 were left homeless. The center of the tragedy has been the

Flood Disasters Highlight Urgent Need for "Green Infrastructure"

Ecological stormwater Management in Portland, Oregon
Ecological stormwater Management in Portland, Oregon La-Citta-Vita @ Flickr Bad news about climate disasters has been coming so depressingly thick and fast of late that major catastrophes are now going almost unnoticed by the US media. The states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in south India just suffered some of their worst flooding on record. Around 280 people were killed, a quarter of a million homes destroyed, and millions of acres of crops ruined. The region is now threatened with serious food shortages. Yet despite being an obsessive consumer of printed and electronic news, I only fou

Not-So-Muddy Waters Put Millions at Risk

Muddy waters of the Tekeze River, Ethiopia
More evidence that dams really are a dirty business Muddy waters of the Tekeze River, Ethiopia The world could see an epidemic of “Hurricane Katrina” destruction from storms if dam builders persist in bottling up more rivers. Most of the world’s major river deltas are sinking, thanks in large part to dams withholding land-building sediments, a new scientific study reveals. The authors estimate that the subsidence is increasing flood risk for half a billion people. Hundreds of scientists from dozens of federal labs and universities around the US were involved in the study, which


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