I posted a web story on the IRI home page about the wonderful work of a few of our interns completed during assignments in West Africa and Central America…
Torrential rains lashed West and Central African countries this rainy season, setting off flooding and causing considerable damage. On the evening of June 26th alone, nearly 200 millimeters of rain fell on the villages of Malem Hoddar and Malem Thierigne in eastern Senegal. The ensuing flash floods killed at least one person, displaced dozens of families and destroyed hundreds of homes and livestock. As usual, the regional Red Cross office in Dakar mobilized its vast network of donors and volunteers to respond to this and other events. But this season, the organization also did something fundamentally different in its operations.
“It’s a revolution,” says Pablo Suarez, Associate Program Director at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Center. “Not only was this the first time a particular zone in West Africa used a particular forecast, it was the first time in the history of the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement that science-based information about something likely to happen was used to ask for aid,” he says.
A key player in this transformation was an IRI intern and Climate and Society masters student named Arame Tall. In early June, Tall went to work with the Disaster Management Unit of the Red Cross office for West and Central Africa (IFRC-WCAZ), based in Dakar, to find ways to incorporate forecasts and other climate information into Red Cross decision making.
Halfway across the globe, Tall’s classmates, Sarah Abdelrahim and Lisette Braman, were on a similar mission in Panama, working with forecasters at the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC).
The internships were the latest example of the ongoing, expanding partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the IRI.
Complete story on the IRI features page.
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Tony’s take-home message from today’s climate briefing: “Well, the La Niña finally died.”
The new set of forecasts show that conditions are expected to be neutral–as opposed to favoring another La Niña or an El Niño–through at least spring of next year.
I don’t have time to prep a more full report, as I’m getting ready for a reporting trip to the Philippines and Indonesia next month. However, I did want to highlight the flood data from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory that Ale Giannini showed us this afternoon. I had never heard of this valuable resource before, and certainly would have used it in my days as an infographics editor. Ale first put up a composite map of all the floods which have been recorded in 2008 (show here June events are numbered 62-75; click on the image to load the larger version).
Then she showed how a few rainfall anomaly plots for June compared:
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Check out all of IRI’s forecasts here.