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MERS’s best friend is ignorance, so it’s time to wise up
16 June 2015 (IRIN ), The full story of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is yet to be told. Would South Korea now be in the grip of one of the disease’s largest ever outbreaks if more had been done sooner to unravel its mysteries?
Building food security in Ethiopia
18 July 2014 (IRIN ), Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), set up in 2005, aims to make fully food secure the millions of people still dependent on food aid, provide support to the vulnerable to prevent the depletion of livestock, and create productive assets at community level. But nearly a decade on and over US$3 billion spent, how successful has it been?
The race to adapt
1 July 2014 (IRIN ), Momina Ali is a teenager in one of the toughest and hottest places on earth - Ethiopia’s Afar region where average annual temperatures hover around 35 degrees Celsius. Increasingly intermittent rainfall in her village, Anderkelo, means that every three or four days Momina takes a day off school to search for water. In future the chances are that Momina’s treks for water could take even longer, depending on how rising temperatures affect the rains around her village and hence its water table.
A fresh start for climate change refugees
12 June 2014 (IRIN ), Firmly attached to her home region and long used to the harshness of her living conditions, Amina Aliyu would probably not see herself as a potential “climate change refugee”. But there is a strong probability that in 10 or 15 years the place where she lives will no longer be fit for human habitation and migration to another region, or even another country, will be the only option.
Do we care enough about sexual violence?
25 March 2014 (IRIN ), Two years ago global attention was focused on the spontaneous protests led by ordinary people in the Indian capital, New Delhi, after the gruesome gang-rape and murder of a physiotherapy student.
All weather is local - getting the forecasting right for farmers
25 February 2014 (IRIN ), With the lean season reaching its peak, many villages in Zimbabwe have already exhausted their staple grain reserves. The most recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report projects that at least two million people, out of a population of 13 million, will be without sufficient food until the end of March. But had they had access to high-quality rain forecasts for their areas, communities could have better prepared for the period between harvests, experts say.
Will fleeing home be the last resort as the climate changes?
14 January 2014 (IRIN ), Salustiano Albert has lived in Palau, an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean comprising over 500 islands, for more than three decades. Part of his family home, where three generations live, used to be flooded regularly by the tides, but in the past few years his entire house has been inundated. They survive by selling steamed sticky cakes made from taro root cooked with coconut, and have been dipping into their limited savings to repair the damage. Relocating is not an option. “This is my home,” he says firmly. "We just cope… and carry on."
The climate loss and damage mechanism: whys and why nots?
28 November 2013 (IRIN ), For poor countries “loss and damage” incurred as a result of a changing climate - with citizens being forced to relocate, give up on their land, cultural identity and their right to human dignity - are crucial issues.
What is at stake in Warsaw so far
19 November 2013 (IRIN ), Poor countries have thrown down the gauntlet as the UN climate talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered their final week, when government ministers take over the negotiations in Poland.
Subsidies and GM crops back on food policy menu
9 April 2013 (IRIN ), Food has become expensive and seems set to stay that way, so growing more of it has become both a necessity and an attractive investment. But the trend has also put contentious issues like agricultural subsidies and genetically modified (GM) crops on the menu once again.
Despite hype, insurance not key to resilience for farmers
5 March 2013 (IRIN ), In most developing countries, farmers risk losing their crops and livestock to droughts or floods, and the recent intensity of these climatic shocks has been record-setting. As the losses from these events mount, the developing world has been turning to the experiences of the richer nations in transferring risk through mechanisms like insurance.
Giving communities a voice in resilience
5 March 2013 (IRIN ), Contrary to popular belief, most rural communities facing recurrent climate shocks learn to adapt, using their own resources and knowledge. Yet many international aid programmes have outside “experts” craft interventions without the involvement of those they seek to help.
Understanding resilience
4 March 2013 (IRIN ), No one working in the aid community in recent years could have avoided the buzzword “resilience” - but what does the term mean practically, and how has it helped shape action on the ground?
Getting food aid right
1 March 2013 (IRIN ), Despite early warning information about the Horn of Africa’s impending drought crisis in 2011, humanitarian responses were slow to mobilize, leading to tens of thousands of deaths in the region and famine in parts of Somalia.
Five food issues to watch out for
15 February 2013 (IRIN ), Who or what do you blame when the price of maize seems to keep going through the roof? If you did not mention fuel subsidies, then you need to read this list of emerging food issues in Africa.
GLOBAL: Lessons in urbanizing from BRICS
10 January 2013 (IRIN ), In another four decades, urban residents will account for 66 percent of the population in developing countries, says the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
The urban challenge for refugees
9 January 2013 (IRIN ), Sequestering refugees in rural camps is no longer the norm: The most recent estimates indicate that almost half of refugees flock to urban areas and just one third to rural camps, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). But while agencies are adjusting their approaches, they are still struggling to match their response with their policies.
CLIMATE CHANGE: In the twilight zone
11 December 2012 (IRIN ), Covering the UN climate change talks is, in many ways, a surreal experience. This year’s talks - the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - were held in Doha’s futuristic Qatar National Convention Centre. The front of the centre is propped up by structures shaped like huge tree trunks, and the inside is bathed in an eerie blue and green light, with a giant spider guarding the main foyer. The fact that you are always deprived of sleep during the marathon talks lends to the sense of otherworldliness.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Migration not always a way to adapt
28 November 2012 (IRIN ), As the impact of climate change unfolds, many have predicted forbidding scenarios of millions of impoverished people flooding into often affluent countries. Yet a ground-breaking study released on 28 November reveals a more nuanced relationship between climate variability and migration, which could provide insight into how events might transpire in the coming years.
ETHIOPIA-SOMALIA: The cost of being a good neighbour
12 November 2012 (IRIN ), Ethiopians would like to continue to be good Samaritans to the hundreds of thousands seeking refuge from drought and conflict in neighbouring Somalia, but massive camps in fragile environments have sparked concern among both the government and the people sharing space with the refugees.

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