Natural disasters

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There were no fatalities from Hurricane Patricia, which was downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall in Mexico. Tomas Bravo/Reuters

Did El Niño give Hurricane Patricia more kick?

Research shows that El Niño creates conditions for a certain type of hurricane – and offers clues as to how climate change can affect the severity of hurricanes.
Evacuees gather at a rescue centre after this month’s floods in the Philippines. But for many women the danger doesn’t end here. EPA/Francis R. Malasig/AAP

Worldwide, climate change is worse news for women

Climate change isn't gender-neutral. The effects are likely to hit the world's poorest women hardest of all, because they are more likely to lack the resources to escape natural disasters or disease.
One of tens of thousands of homes and buildings blown over across Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam in March 2015. AAP Image/ Kris Paras

Rebuilding a safer and stronger Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam

One of the most hotly debated questions in Vanuatu has been about how communities can rebuild so that they are safer and more resilient to future cyclones. That's not as simple as you might think.
There are more resilient ways to build in vulnerable areas. Resilient Collective Housing', New Jersey Institute of Technology College of Architecture and Design studio project by Taryn Wefer and Naomi Patel. Instructors: Keith Krumwiede and Martina Decker

We need to change how and where we build to be ready for a future of more extreme weather

The climate is changing. Development patterns that have hardly served us well in the past certainly won't serve us well in the future. Now is the time to adapt.
Would giving disaster victims cash, rather than just supplies, help them get back on their feet faster? Reuters

Gifts of cash may be best way to rebuild lives of disaster victims

When disaster strikes, billions of dollars are spent on food and supplies, with little accounting of whether relief groups bought the right things or what impact they had.
With many people in need of shelter and schools only now re-opening, Nepal is not yet ready to restart the lucrative tourism industry that will help its recovery. EPA/Narendra Shrestha

What can tourists do to help, not hinder, Nepal’s quake recovery?

While some operators have prematurely suggested it's safe for tourists to return, Nepal's recovery from the earthquake has barely begun. In the longer term, though, tourism will be vital to this process.
The road to recovery is a long one for Nepal, which goes beyond the immediate priority of disaster relief. Diego Azubel/AAP

Quake recovery can leverage change of lasting benefit to Nepal

Politics in Nepal will hinder relief and recovery efforts following the earthquake and its aftershocks. But look at it the other way around. Could the disaster help to resolve political problems?
Earthquake survivor Krishna Kumari Khadka, 24, is rescued by the French, Israeli and Norwegian rescue teams from a collapsed building six days after the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal April 30 2015. Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Take care: challenges medical relief teams face after disaster

People working in this field often view themselves with a "person-of-steel" mentality – placing themselves in peril by ignoring their own needs.

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