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How to build back better after a hurricane... and before the next

Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back…


Confronting climate change as an accelerator of crisis

As the UN and partners respond to humanitarian crises, an important focus is to ensure contribution to and complementarity with longer-term solutions that address the root causes of fragility.  


Climate action to tackle hurricanes

“To deny climate change is to deny a truth we have just lived.” With these words, delivered at the UN General Assembly on 23 September, the Prime Minister of Dominica alluded to the situation in his…  


A changing climate throws water out of balance in Asia and the Pacific

Every morning I jump on the Chao Phraya Express Boat to get to work. It’s a short trip, but on yet another sultry morning in Bangkok, it’s nice to feel the breeze as we slice through the muddy waters…  


Opportunity in tragedy: A reflection on the Ecuador earthquake

I took this picture in Muisne, one of the most beautiful towns in Ecuador, my home country. Muisne is in the Province of Esmeraldas, in the northwest of the country and is, I feel, home to our best…  


Resilient people and institutions: Ecuador’s post-earthquake challenge

No one is really prepared for an emergency until they’ve had to live through one. And the 16 April earthquake in Ecuador put us to the test. With the drawdown in the humanitarian response phase that…  


Why we can hope for better crisis response in 2017

Despite the horror of 2016, in Syria, Yemen, Lake Chad Basin and many other areas, I remain hopeful that the international community will deliver on its big promises to change the way it works.…  



How can we 'fix' disaster recovery?

Deficient recovery is imperiling sustainable development, and leaving millions of the most vulnerable behind. The link between poverty and disasters is becoming clearer – new research shows that…  


Why prepare for disaster recovery?

When mega-hurricane Katrina hit the US twelve years ago, I remember staring in amazement at my TV screen. I couldn’t understand why the country seemed so unprepared to deal with the catastrophe and…  


Protecting the rights of people affected by disasters

In the past few weeks we have witnessed the devastating consequences of intense rains and landslides in Peru, affecting thousands of people. In counterpoint to the tragedy, the situation has also…  


Oceans of data, islands of databases

I am currently in the Solomon Islands, on my second mission in the Pacific Islands this year, and I am now certain that I will be back in Papua New Guinea in less than a month. Since Cyclone Pam in…  


A year after the Ecuador earthquake, we still have work to do

It only took 40 seconds to unleash decades of pent up vulnerability in Ecuador. Substandard buildings, additional stories built unofficially, shoddy building materials—they all took their toll on 16…  


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