Pick of the year 2010

On this last day of 2010, IRIN asks: When the end comes, where will you get your last meal? In addition to covering the perennial natural disasters that rip through Asia annually, IRIN reported in 2010 on doomsday food vaults designed to protect biodiversity from disaster. Read on to find one near you.



This year, IRIN took a step back from tracking storm deaths, destruction and preparation to ask: Just how do all these different storms that batter the region every year get named?



When a volcano erupts - as did Mt Merapi in October in Indonesia killing hundreds and displacing hundreds of thousands - how do officials delineate a danger zone



And instead of investing in storm-safe houses which, left untended, will inevitably decay, is there a better way for governments to get people to safer ground - and keep them there? The government in Bangladesh, working with aid agencies, found a simple answer that seems to be working: ask the community



From storms and tsunamis over to - snakebites. IRIN looked at this neglected health problem which kills an estimated five million worldwide (mostly in Asia) every year - more than twice the number who died from AIDS last year. 



Turn toilets into coveted status symbols and reach some of the more than two billion people - again, mostly in Asia - who are still without toilets. One Singaporean entrepreneur is tackling the hygiene problem from a new angle: social franchising of toilet construction.



While a market solution may be within reach to reduce open defecation, officials in Indonesia are still puzzling over how to end female genital mutilation, outlawed for four years, but still unregulated and gaining in popularity.



The country is also struggling with how to unchain its mentally ill. With scarce resources devoted to treating mental illness, health workers in Indonesia have chained at least 15,000 patients labelled “aggressive”.



Our analytical reporting included an examination of the Red Shirts’ movement in Thailand, which leaders portrayed as rural poor rising up against an aristocratic establishment.



We went to Bangladesh and to Thailand to get Burmese refugee and migrant reactions to a November election in their home country that had no international observers and was boycotted by the main opposition party.



IRIN also tackled the question of “how to make peace” in ongoing coverage of post-conflict peace-building in the region.



In Sri Lanka, the government defended a reconciliation commission against NGO charges of impartiality and inefficacy, while Nepal’s peace process gets a grade of “fragile, but not dead” from analysts.



In the Philippines, “peace dividends” are gingerly taking root - through rice planting - in the southern part of the country, Mindanao, after decades of separatist fighting and years of stalled peace deals.



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