Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get toilet,solar light free if you build houses in 6 months:World Bank Offer To Kosi Flood Beneficiaries

Santosh Singh
The Indian Express Group

The World Bank has offered to Kosi flood relief beneficiaries an incentive that is expected to put the reconstruction process on fast track: rebuild your houses in six months and get toilets and solar lights worth Rs 7,300 free of cost.

The offer stands for 1,00,00 beneficiaries under the $259 million Bihar Kosi Recovery Project started in collaboration with Bihar government recently. World Bank president Robert B Zoellick was in Patna last month to sign the agreement with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Bihar’s share in the project is $39 million.

Over 30,000 people have already got Rs 30,000 each as first installment in their bank accounts. The second installment of Rs 20,000 each will be released after construction is completed till lintel level.

A house owner, though free to engage mason and workers of his choice, will have to build the house on at least 215 sqft area under the project.

As the house model is designed by disaster management experts who have worked in Bhuj and tsunami reconstruction, the owner has to choose from three models — bamboo wall with an attic, brick wall with an attic and brick wall with Reinforced Concrete Construction roof. A owner must avoid using jute, iron wires or nylon to tie knots but has to use zippers that can last 25 years. Only three-year-old bamboo can be used for such houses.

Non-compliance of the World Bank specifications would mean disqualification for incentives or even withholding of the second installment.

State coordinator with Owner Driven Reconstruction Collaborative, a network of reconstruction agencies helping the government in the Kosi project, Sanjay Pandey, told The Indian Express: “Each house will get Rs 2,300 for a toilet and Rs 5,000 for solar lighting only if the house is constructed within six months as per our specifications. Masons, social workers and engineers will also get incentives for house construction within six months.”

Pandey said while the toilet and solar lighting incentives have got listed beneficiaries from Madhepura, Supaul and Saharasa scramble at respective block offices to complete formalities, there is a sense of urgency among engineers, masons and social workers too.

An engineer can get Rs 100 per house incentive for a maximum 1,000 houses. A mason, who will supervise the construction, will get Rs 150 per house for maximum 100 houses and a social worker can get Rs 50 for maximum 500 houses construction within six months.

Pandey said over 50 per cent of the 100,000 beneficiaries were from below the poverty line. Madhepura district where 11 of 13 blocks were flooded in 2008 has maximum number of beneficiaries. Besides housing, 90 bridges and 290 km of rural roads would also be constructed under the project.

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India for regional cooperation to tackle natural disasters

Colombo, (PTI) : India said it supports initiatives to facilitate regional cooperation in confronting the challenges posed by natural disasters.

"The South Asia Region in particular, is extremely vulnerable to these natural calamities which have frequently struck our region with ferocity. The loss in terms of lives and assets and deprivation and dislocation suffered by the people is enormous," Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Kumar said.

Kumar was speaking at the opening session of the 3rd Asian regional conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) here.

The conference, which was opened by the Sri Lankan Prime Minister D M Jayaratne, aims to discuss issues on "Climate Change and Natural Disasters", "Poverty Alleviation" and "Mother and Child" which have been identified as top priority issues of the region.

"India whole-heartedly supports initiatives to facilitate regional cooperation in confronting the challenges posed by natural disasters and we are ever keen to share our expertise and experience in the field with our neighbours," Kumar said, referring to SAARC Disaster Management Centre established in New Delhi 2006.

She said that periodic exchanges of views among parliamentarians facilitate closer scrutiny of political, social and cultural issues.

Kumar said "we stand ready to provide whatever additional assistance is required", referring to devastation caused in floods in Sri Lanka twice within a month which affected more than one million persons on both occasions respectively.

India was one of the first countries to respond to Sri Lanka''s call for assistance in early January when the first wave of floods hit the eastern province of the country.

On poverty alleviation, she said that the "poverty is the most daunting challenge facing us today".

The overall achievements towards poverty eradication have been slow and uneven despite global commitments to reduce the poverty, she said.

Speaking on the other major issue addressed by the conference, "Mother and Child" , Kumar said that "between now and 2015, we will provide technical assistance to other countries, share our experience and will support the creation of a platform for global knowledge management to oversee the dissemination of best practices."
India is committed to spending over USD 3.5 billion each year on health services especially those aimed at women''s and children''s health.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Food security and livelihoods hit in flood-affected east SriLanka

Food security and livelihoods hit in flood-affected east SriLanka : Media Reports

Food security and livelihoods have been severely hit in Sri Lanka, specialists say, after heavy rains caused widespreadflooding and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes, left 43 people dead, and damaged or destroyed close to 30,000 homes.

According to the UN, agricultural production is the main source of livelihood in the affected area and this season's rice harvest has been badly damaged, leading to increased food insecurity.

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates about 500,000 residents are food-insecure.

In the worst affected districts of Ampara, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee in Eastern Province, heavy rains between 8 and 12 January left more than 101,171 hectares of paddy fields damaged, of which more than 81,000ha suffered moderate to severe damage, initial estimates suggest.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates a loss of about 450,000 tons or US$120 million.

"The potential loss has been calculated to be in the region of 15.5 percent," Calvin Piggott, FAO's senior northern recovery coordinator in Sri Lanka, told IRIN.

The flooding, some of the worst in 100 years, came just two months before fields were to be harvested for the Maha - the principal growing season in the island nation. More than 607,000ha are cultivated during this time, with over one-fifth of that in the four districts hit by the floods.

Fields destroyed

In some towns such as Manampitiya, along the border between Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts, hundreds of hectares were affected.

Here, water hyacinth - regarded as the world's worst water weed - was washed into the fields with the flood waters, covering 81ha of paddy land in one stretch, Manhina Banda, the government agriculture officer for the area, said.

"You can't do anything but wait for the weed to die. Taking it out will be a colossal expenditure," he said.

Elsewhere, when the paddy was under water for two to three days, the harvest was either destroyed or will be woefully low.

"The paddy can look fine, but if it was under water for over a day there will be no harvest," farmer Sarath Weerasinghe from Kirimitiya, an interior village in the Polonnaruwa district, explained.

Weerasinghe is typical of many small-time paddy cultivators in Sri Lanka who depend on rice as their primary source of income. He cultivated 1.2ha, spending around $600 per 0.4ha, and hoped to make about $1,000 per 0.4ha from the harvest.

Weerasinghe financed the cultivation from a small loan obtained from a local businessman. He has no insurance and no way of recouping his losses unless he receives direct assistance.

Livestock losses

But rice farmers are not the only ones reeling; other small crops have suffered losses, though estimates have yet to be finalized.

"There will be multiple effects felt right across the country," Seenithamby Manoharan, a senior rural development specialist with the World Bank Sri Lanka office, told IRIN, warning that in addition to the losses suffered by farmers, there were likely to be price rises when the harvest fell short of expectations.

Since the rains began at the end of 2010, the Economic Centre in central Dambulla, the country's main bulk vegetable distribution centre, has recorded price increases of more than 80 percent, the UN said.

Another area of heavy losses is likely to be livestock. In Verugal, a village in the Trincomalee District with 12,000 people, the loss of livestock was over 10,000, Ponnambalam Thanesveran, the divisional secretary for the village, said. So far no figures have been established for the total loss of livestock due to the flooding.

The FAO is conducting a detailed study of the flood damage, Piggott said, with initial assistance likely to begin in the next three weeks targeting the most vulnerable.

The government has held talks with the World Bank on how to assist the famers, but so far there has been no concrete assistance targeting the destroyed crops or livestock. In most areas, local officials were gathering information last week to be sent to government authorities in the capital Colombo.

"Something has to be done fast, some of these people have lost their only means of income," Thanesveran said.

On 20 January, the UN and its partners launched a $51 million appeal to assist more than one million people over the next six months. Of this, $22 million is designated for food security, agriculture and livelihoods.

The appeal is expected to be revised within the next month to reflect needs as the situation changes and assessments are made available.

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World Bank to Support Bihar Government to Rebuild Flood Affected Areas

World Bank to Support Bihar Government’s Initiative to Rebuild Flood-Affected Areas with $ 220 Million.

The World Bank signaled its intention to increase support to the Government of Bihar (GoB) over the next few years, with part of the funds dedicated to help reconstruction efforts after devastation caused by the worst flooding in India in 50 years.

The move came after meetings between World Bank Group President, Robert B. Zoellick and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other senior government officials during a visit to the state in second week of January 2011. As a first step, the two witnessed the signing of the new agreement for the Bihar Kosi Recovery Project, worth $220 million, which aims to support flood recovery efforts, reduce risks from flooding, and boost emergency responses in the event of future disasters.

The Bihar Kosi Recovery Project is the first in a series of proposed new projects for the state, likely to provide about $1 billion in increased support to Bihar over the next few years. Subject to approval from the Bank's Board of Executive Directors, future projects will focus on agriculture, roads as well as flood management and disaster preparedness.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, "An extraordinary momentum has led to significant developments in several key sectors in the state, but a lot remains to be done. A large portion of the state's rural population remains vulnerable to floods each year. The World Bank and the Government of Bihar are keen to build on our strong partnership developed over the past five years. We welcome an expanded engagement with the Bank on disaster management, as well as in other key areas of economic development."

"The floods exacted a terrible toll on the people of Bihar and two years on, despite vigorous relief efforts, many people remain in temporary shelters, unable to earn a living, isolated by the destruction of roads and bridges," said Zoellick.

"With a large proportion of people vulnerable to flooding each year, this project marks the start of a new phase in our relations with Bihar, to help meet the state's longer term need for comprehensive disaster management," he added.

The 2008 floods in the Kosi basin affected about 3.3 million people in five districts of Bihar. About one million people were evacuated and about 460,000 people were given temporary shelter in relief camps. Thousands of families dependant on farming lost land due to siltation, with massive damage to housing and infrastructure. An already vulnerable rural population lost whatever little they owned, falling even deeper into poverty.

The new project aims to help Bihar's flood-affected people by supporting the reconstruction of about 100,000 houses, and the rebuilding of 90 bridges and 290 kilometers of rural roads. Of the total cost of $259 million, Government of Bihar would contribute $39 million for the project. The cost per house will be Rs. 55000 ($1200) with an additional cost of Rs. 2300 ($50) for a toilet and Rs. 5000 ($110) for solar powered lighting. In cases where beneficiaries do not own land, the Government of Bihar will provide additional assistance of Rs. 5000 ($110) for the people to buy the land.

"Natural calamities cause immense economic and human losses. The Government of India has always extended support and help to the affected states in the hour of need. World Bank help was taken for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the areas affected by the Gujarat earthquake and by the Tsunami. The Government of Bihar has been undertaking extensive reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts after the Kosi floods, but the focus is now on mainstreaming disaster risk management into the development strategy of the state," said Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

World Bank, IFC and Bihar

The World Bank's support to Bihar began in the mid-2000s and has since expanded with financing infrastructure development and initiatives to generate income for people.

The World Bank is also assisting the Government of Bihar with technical assistance through a grant from DFID, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, for the Bihar Flood Management Implementation Support Project–II, which seeks to strengthen the institutional framework for flood management and to improve flood warning and preparedness for people living in the affected areas of Bihar

Bihar is also a priority state for the World Bank Group's private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

"Our comprehensive interventions to promote inclusive, clean and sustainable growth in the state by supporting private sector companies like Husk Power Systems and Applied Solar have helped promote innovative models to provide affordable and environment-friendly power to reach off-grid villages in Bihar and expand access," said IFC South Asia Director, Thomas Davenport.

IFC's work with the Bihar Government also includes the design and implementation of a tax reform program to save cost, time and enhance ease of paying taxes for small and large businesses and to introduce reforms in the maize and poultry sectors to generate investments.

"Government of India has been encouraging IFC to expand its involvement in Low Income States as well as in the field of renewable energy," said Rajamony. "We hope that innovative models such as Husk Power Systems, can be emulated in different parts of the country. Although IFC normally works with private sector companies, we attach significant importance to the advisory services they are providing the Government of Bihar on various projects with private sector."

At today's ceremony, documents were signed by Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India; Vijoy Prakash, Principal Secretary Planning, Government of Bihar; and Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director, India.

At the signing, Zagha said, "We are happy to assist the Government of Bihar in its reconstruction efforts, bringing the lessons learned from past experience to our efforts, and helping the state develop a comprehensive disaster management program in the longer term. To reduce future risks, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of this flood-prone state to manage floods and improve its ability to respond effectively in emergency situations."

Project Details:

The project has five key components:

· Owner Driven Housing Reconstruction - To reconstruct the damaged houses of about 100,000 households using an owner driven reconstruction model.

· Reconstruction of Roads and Bridges – To restore connectivity by reconstructing damaged roads and bridges. About 2.2 million people are expected to benefit from the construction of about 90 bridges and culverts on the state highway and major district roads, as well as from the reconstruction of about 290 km of rural roads.

· Strengthening Flood Management Capacity – To strengthen Bihar's capacity for overall flood forecasting and the management of flood-erosion.

· Livelihood Restoration and Enhancement - To help build social and financial capital, and restore and expand the livelihood opportunities of the affected people.

· Improving Emergency Response Capacity – To provide contingency funding for works, goods and services required to respond in case of future calamities.

The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's fund for the poorest, which is providing an interest-free loan with 35 years maturity and a 10-year grace period.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hunger and despair in Sri Lanka

Posted: Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Life improved for Pakyarani's family when the war ended, but then the floods came and washed away their hopes.

Pakyarani and her four children have returned to their flood-damaged home in a remote village, but with their crops destroyed they have no way of affording food or repaying their debts
Recent flooding in eastern Sri Lanka destroyed thousands of homes, devastated the rice crop and drowned thousands of livestock. A million people, 40 per cent of them children, are at risk of serious hunger as a result. Some of the worst-affected areas were only just recovering from decades of conflict and the tsunami when the floods hit, and the people who live there are facing their third humanitarian emergency in less than 10 years.

Among those at risk of the impending food crisis is Pakyarani, a 32-year-old farmer's wife and mother of four. She lives with her family in a remote village in Batticaloa, one of the districts most affected by the floods. She tells her story:

"I live with my husband, Ravicandran, and my four children: Ravikumar is 13, Nivedika is eight, Rujanika is six and Mohana is two.

We own a paddy field and that is the main source of income for our family. My husband also works as a brick-maker and sometimes as a daily labourer. For many years our village was caught up in the war and we often had to run from shelling and hide in the ditch for safety. Once, during the shelling, my husband fell and broke his leg. We were not able to get proper treatment and he has not been able to work properly since.

After the war ended, things got better for us. We were able to start growing crops and we bought two cows. Although some people in our village moved into brick houses, we didn't. We stayed in our two-roomed clay hut until earlier this month, when the floods came.

The rain started on January 6. It didn't stop for days - there was thunder and lightning, and the wind was blowing extremely hard. I was sure there would be a cyclone. Eventually we were warned that the rivers and lakes were about to burst their banks. We were afraid that we would be caught in the flood, so we decided to leave.

First we moved to a brick house nearby, which was empty. We thought we would be safe there, but before we could move our things, the flood water started to rise and we decided to leave the area. It just wasn't safe.

We took the children and headed for the school, where people whose homes had been flooded were staying. As we ran, I heard an enormous crash and when I turned, I saw that one wall of our house had collapsed. It fell on the exact spot where we usually sleep.

We were given dry rations at the school and we stayed for a few days. Then, on the 14th, the rain stopped. It didn't take long before we were asked to leave; they wanted to prepare the school for lessons again. We had nowhere to go so we returned to what was left of our home. As we left, we were given a bag of rice - a couple of kilos - but it's not enough to feed my family.

All the rice in our field has been ruined by the floods. It will be May before we can sow new rice seeds, and July before we can harvest. We have no savings to buy food, let alone to repair our house. It's not safe to live like this; the area is full of snakes, and if my children get bitten we have no transport to take them to the nearest hospital, which is 10 kilometres away.

I hope that my husband will be able to earn some money. We really need it. Before the floods, I'd taken loans to help with our farming, but now our crops have been destroyed, I have no way of repaying them. At the moment we are only eating one meal a day. We really need help to survive."

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Cost Of Natural Disasters $109 Billion In 2010

Natural disasters caused $109 billion in economic damage last year, three times more than in 2009, with Chile and China bearing most of the cost, the United Nations said Monday.

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile in February cost $30 billion. Landslides and floods last summer in China caused $18 billion in losses, data compiled by the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) showed.

Although Haiti's January 12 earthquake was the deadliest event of 2010, killing 316,000 people according to the government in Port-au-Prince, its economic toll was $8 billion. The July-August floods in Pakistan cost $9.5 billion.

Margareta Wahlstrom, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for disaster risk reduction, said fast-developing countries were facing increasing price tags from natural disasters.

"The accumulated wealth that is affected by disaster events is growing," she told a news briefing in Geneva, where most of the U.N.'s emergency and aid operations are based.

Cities are particularly vulnerable to big economic losses when poorly-maintained infrastructure is rattled by earthquakes or exposed to big storms, Wahlstrom said.

"With more extreme weather events, and more earthquakes in urban areas, the state of repair or disrepair in urban areas is really critical," she said.


The most populous cities on earthquake fault lines include Mexico City, New York, Mumbai, Delhi, Shanghai, Kolkata, Jakarta and Tokyo, according to the U.N.'s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

Many people also live in parts of urban areas vulnerable to landslides and floods, which are anticipated to occur more often as a result of climate change, Wahlstrom said, also warning of rising risks from "silent events" like droughts.

Of the 373 disasters recorded last year, 22 were in China, 16 were in India and 14 were in the Philippines, CRED said.

The storms, earthquakes, heatwaves and cold snaps affected 207 million people and killed 296,800, according to the data, which does not incorporate an increase of Haiti's death toll announced earlier this month by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

The global toll estimates that 55,736 people died from a summer heatwave in Russia which led to crop failures and helped drive up food prices.

It also says 2,968 people were killed in an April earthquake in China and 1,985 died from the Pakistani floods.

The 2009 economic price tag of $34.9 billion was unusually low because of the lack of a major weather or climate event in the period, which nonetheless saw floods and typhoons in Asia and an earthquake in Indonesia.

A major earthquake in China in 2008 caused $86 billion in damage, bringing that year's economic toll to approximately $200 billion. In 2005, the hurricanes that struck the southern United States drove up the global disaster toll to nearly $250 billion.

The economic cost estimates are based on data from national authorities as well as insurance companies including Swiss Re, Munich Re and Lloyd's. CRED is part of the University of Louvain in Belgium and maintains a database of international disasters for the United Nations.


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Natural Disaster Contributed to Price Rise Could Spark Unrest

High and volatile prices for key commodities, including food products, could spark unrest in poor countries, warned the heads of the WTO and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday.

Rising food prices “are now stoking global inflation, not to mention political unrest of proportions that we could have seldom imagined” said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, speaking at the opening of a two-day conference on commodities in Geneva this week.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi echoed his comments, telling delegates that a predictable supply of commodities is needed “to address the acute problems of food and energy security, especially in environments of extreme poverty with the potential for social and political unrest.”

While neither Supachai or Lamy explicitly mentioned the political upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East, tension around food prices and unemployment may have been a factor that helped trigger protests.

Supachai cautioned that growing numbers of young people in the developing world “will not easily withstand” future price rises, especially given the lack of social protection in many countries, and “what has so far been a jobless recovery” from the recession.

Demand: Propelled by growth

Supachai told delegates that copper prices had risen 35 percent since the summer, while gold, sugar, and cotton were all at 30 year highs. The FAO´s agricultural commodity index had recently touched just one point below its maximum level reached in 2008, Supachai noted, “clearly signaling that the 2010-11 price hikes are similar in magnitude to 2008″.

Lamy predicted that prices for most commodities would continue to rise in 2011, as global GDP growth of 4 percent bolsters demand. Over 70 percent of the growth would come from commodity-intensive emerging markets, he said, with China, India and Latin America playing a major role.

“The ascent in prices is likely to be most pronounced for crude oil, due to contracting global inventories, copper, gold, corn, and soybeans” said Lamy. “Droughts and biofuels in several parts of the world have tightened the supply of corn and soy, together with much higher Asian demand for the latter”.

Natural gas, zinc and cattle would see the least pronounced price rises, Lamy said, with higher grain prices having slowed demand for live cattle.

Supachai argued that that the rise in commodity prices was likely to continue. “The historical trend is towards increasing demand, especially in high growth areas in the developing world”, he observed. Commodity producers could benefit from the increased demand, he said, if resource rents were properly managed.

Supply: Floods, fire, drought, and biofuels

Natural disasters had contributed to the tightness of supply, speakers at the conference acknowledged. Last year “major weather events, from floods in Pakistan to fires in Russia and drought in other areas of the world” had affected the prices of commodities such as wheat and cotton, Supachai said.

Lamy noted that corn and soy supply had been affected by drought as well, with biofuel policies an additional factor affecting the growth in demand.

“It is still open to speculation whether such events are related to climate change”, said Supachai, “but the balance of evidence points to the increasing impact of climatic changes on agriculture”.

Hunger rising

David Nabarro, who was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as a special representative on food security and nutrition, also echoed Lamy and Supachai’s concerns. During previous price spikes in 2008, a 30 to 50 increase in the food bill of the poorest one billion people “led to some very, very difficult choices”, Nabarro said, noting that small children and pregnant women had been hit particularly hard by the shocks.

Supachai underscored that the poorest communities were most at risk from sudden price changes. “Volatility has huge negative impacts on vulnerable groups, such as low-income households in developing countries, for whom food expenditure can account for up to 80 per cent of household budgets”, he warned.

More than one hundred million people are believed to have been pushed into hunger as a result of the 2008 price spikes. “These are people whose voices are not generally heard”, Nabarro noted, “but some of them did decide that this was just too much to bear, and in more than 32 countries we had riots by people who just could not cope with these food price rises”.

The current food price situation is therefore “not just an issue of hunger and nutrition, it’s also an issue of security,” he argued.

Debate on role of commodity markets

The magnitudes of recent price volatility “point to speculative distortions” which can complicate the management of commodities production and trade, Supachai told the meeting. The “financialisation” of agricultural commodities, and the activities of certain commodity funds that “seek to manipulate prices” also played a role, he said.

However, other participants at the forum argued that speculation had played little, if any role, in contributing to recent price spikes. “There is little evidence that speculators have been the underlying cause” of dramatic corn and wheat price increases in the last six months, said Brian Durkin, managing director and chief executive officer of CME Group, a Chicago-based operator of derivatives and futures exchanges.

At the instigation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the G-20 group of leading economies is expected to highlight food price volatility in a series of summits throughout this year. France is reportedly keen to tackle speculation of commodity markets as part of this initiative.

Although Lamy made no mention of the relationship between price volatility and speculation in his remarks, he recently told a meeting of agriculture ministers that there was no consensus on how policy-makers should best respond.

Trade: Export restrictions and price volatility

Instead, said Lamy, governments should look at whether trade policies such as export restrictions have exacerbated shortages of commodities, especially for food. These measures “were the single most important reason for the 2007-08 price explosion on the rice market”, said Lamy, who also identified Russian and Ukrainian wheat bans as having made an important contribution to the 2010-11 price rise for cereals.

Lamy acknowledged that “there is an imbalance in the WTO rule-book between the stringency of the rules for imports and their laxity for exports”, even though export restrictions “could actually starve” net-food-importing countries. He suggested that the WTO’s ongoing Doha Round of trade talks provided countries with “a window” for tackling agricultural export taxes and export restrictions.

More broadly, Lamy suggested that a Doha deal would “oil the wheels of international trade in commodities, giving the developing world its fair share of the market”. Warning participants that “volatility is at its worst in tight and closed markets”, he emphasised that a Doha deal was an opportunity to reduce the developed world’s remaining tariff peaks, such as those on rice; an opportunity to reduce tariffs in emerging economies; and to cut developed country farm subsidies for products such as cotton. “These subsidies crowd out the developing world from international markets, and prevent it from fairly competing,” Lamy said.

Lamy also told the gathering that climate-induced pressures on resources would make a new global deal even more important. “Droughts, and other natural catastrophes, should not deprive parts of the globe from food,” he said.

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Rs 30-cr plan for flood prevention in Capital

Taking a lesson from the Lalita Park building collapse which claimed 70 lives and injured around 100 people in east Delhi, the Delhi Government’s Flood and Irrigation Department has come out with Rs 30-crore proposal on flood prevention measures in the Capital.

A presentation on experiences of 2010 flood in Delhi and its preventive measures was made before Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday.

The presentation said that subsoil water level has improved considerably due to recharge of groundwater aquifer and structures along river embankments should be designed considering subsoil water condition post-2010 flood.

After the presentation, Flood and Irrigation Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan said that the department will bring a Cabinet proposal pertaining to flood preventive measures. The presentation further suggested that no drainage pipes on Ring Road should be connected to river and Yamuna Bazar wall needs to be raised by counter forts and grouting that would cost ` 1 crore.

According to presentation, to protect Tibetan Monastery and market from flood, wall should be constructed on river side which would cost Rs 10 crore. Some inlets on river Yamuna need to be remodeled or modified. This would also cost Rs 1.50 crore. "The gaps along Ring Road between Wazirabad and Old Railway Bridge plugged by placing earth filled bags mainly at Boat club and Qudesia Ghat. It was also observed that at some places river water entered through the drainage pipes along Ring Road between Boat Club and Qudesia Ghat. The Most vulnerable point between Wazirabad and Okhla was old wall near Yamuna Bazar and wall was temporarily strengthened by placing counter forts of earth filled bags," the presentation said. There are also needs to modify drainage system of DTC depot as laying pipes across the embankment by cutting not permissible.

Officials of Flood and Irrigation department said that they have also proposed to strengthen the marginal pusta bund road on the river embankment. Officials said that it was felt that pumps of adequate capacity were not available in market and during the flood; it was hired from private firms working in PWD and DJB.

On flood preventive measures, it has suggested that regular cleaning by removal of floating material and garbage dumped along the banks of drains that pass through thickly populated areas need to be done and fleet of pumps/motor boats/capacity of pumping stations need to be augmented keeping in view the experiences of 2010 flood and rains.

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RedR India training on Community based disaster risk management

t has been accepted widely that efforts to reduce disaster risks must be systematically integrated into policies, plans and programmes for sustainable development and poverty reduction, good governance and supported through a multitude of stakeholder partnerships. The experience shows that integration of disaster management in the development driven from the top has not been very effective. Ideas and examples should come from the communities and should feed in to the national policies and plans. The purpose should be to evolve a ‘community owned’ strategy to reduce disaster risk. Building resilient communities that establish such ownership is a complex task. Landmark guidance in reducing the disaster risks has been provided through specific gaps identified by the Yokohama Strategy, viz; (a) Governance: organizational, legal and policy frameworks; (b) Risk identification, assessment, monitoring and early warning; (c) Knowledge management and education; (d) Reducing underlying risk factors; (e) Preparedness for effective response and recovery.

Aim of the training: By the end of the course participants should be able to:  Describe the linkages between disasters & development and concepts of hazard, Risk, and vulnerability assessment.  Describe the basic concepts of underlying CBDP and its relation and distinction between hazard, disaster and emergency.  Explain key DRR measures i.e. preparedness, mitigation and prevention.  Explain tools like CVA, risk register and link it with risk reduction.

Course Outline: This training will be delivered following the community based disaster risk management framework. This approach basically looks at the possibilities to minimize vulnerabilities and disaster risks in a society to prevent or mitigate the adverse impacts of hazards. These set of activities are within the broad context of sustainable development which will be covered during the initial part of the course. The purpose is to clarify the basic concept of CBDRM and examine the new practices. The next part of the training will cover the essential tools for implementing the various stages in CBDRM and looks at strengthening community participation in the risk reduction process. The participants will be able to apply the tools and methodologies of CBDRM in the field and the presentations will be made on the data collected. CBDRM Assessment and Planning is a core part of this training. Concepts such as governance structure for DRR, risk reduction policies, mainstreaming DRR, culture of preparedness, policy development and advocacy will also be dealt in the training course.

Course Fees: If you wish to attend any of the RedR India training courses, please complete the application form and return it with a cheque or Demand draft made out for the correct amount to the RedR office. Full Course Fee: INR 18000 or $ 400 per person This is the actual cost of RedR courses, and is for participants with institutional support and all others who can afford it. Reduced Course Fee: INR 14000 or $ 320 per person This is for all participants without institutional support. Applicants who cannot afford the reduced fee can still apply but should contact the training department ( to discuss their situation or mail Sneha Krishnan (Training Officer) at For more information about RedR visit, You can also write to us at