Although the 2002 Ceasefire Has Not Been Formally Abrogated, Sri Lanka is Sliding into an Undeclared Low-Intensity War

Hardliners on the Sinhala side believe that a short war could overwhelm the Tamil Tigers and force them into a settlement. Observers worry that the Colombo government may overplay its hand. Despite brinkmanship on both sides, neither of the protagonists can afford a return to full-scale hostilities.

Aceh Elections Likely to be Held in August 2006

The Indonesian government is confident that gubernatorial elections for Aceh can be held in August, and it has begun registering the estimated 2.6 million eligible voters among Aceh’s population of about 4 million.

With in Sri Lanka violence rising, April 2006 was the bloodiest month since the 2002 ceasefire was signed

The international Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission says 191 people, mostly civilians were killed. Distrust between the government and the LTTE is now at its worst in four years. There are now routine skirmishes near the line that divides the two sides.

Human Rights a Critical Aspect of Cementing Peace in Aceh

The question whether a Human Rights Court for Aceh should have the power to judge abuses committed before the 2005 peace agreement was signed remains controversial, but is a critical element of cementing the 2005 peace agreement.

In Hurricane Season, Expanding Coastal Population is Ticking Time Bomb

Hurricane Katrina In a statement released July 25, ten climate experts called on the U.S. government and industry leaders to address the dangers associated with the rising concentration of people and development in hurricane-prone regions.

Underdevelopment and Poverty in Africa Need to be Countered to Reduce Disaster Vulnerability

The UN special humanitarian envoy for the Horn of Africa, Kjell Magne Bondevik, has urged governments and aid agencies to address the issues of underdevelopment and poverty, which exacerbate people’s vulnerability during natural disasters, such as the prolonged drought that has destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people in eastern Africa.

Some 40,000 Sri Lankan Wells, Each Serving Several Families, Were Destroyed or Contaminated by the Tsunami

Scientists from the United States, Sri Lanka, and Denmark found that the tsunami poured large quantities of seawater and other contaminants into the wells as well as into the aquifers. Efforts to restore wells have sometimes been counterproductive because excessive pumping may have allowed more seawater to enter the aquifers from below and caused many wells to collapse.

United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund Disburses $32 Million for the World's Most Under-funded Emergencies

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said the beneficiaries of the CERF funds would be Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, as well as the African states of Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, the Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Global Warming May Trigger Greater Seismic Activity

The melting of glaciers driven by global warming portends a seismically turbulent future. When glaciers melt, the massive weight on the Earth's crust is reduced, and the crust “bounces” back in what scientists call an "isostatic rebound.” This process can reactivate faults, increase seismic activity, and lift pressure on magma chambers that feed volcanoes.

Three Meetings in June 2006 Underscore UN Efforts to Improve Early Warning and Mitigation of Natural Disasters

The UN brought together 130 international experts from 20 countries in a Bangkok, Thailand, workshop to help set up a tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean, in a bid to avoid a reply of the December 2004 tsunami. Presumably, many of the more than 200,000 people who perished could have been saved had they received advance warning of the incoming waves.
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