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International Community Must Take Action To Address Climate Change, Help Build Resilience In Poor Nations

Newsweek: Don’t Consign Poor Countries to Wild Storms and Flooding
Hugh Sealy, professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University in Grenada

“…Climate change has made hurricanes like Maria more intense and destructive — and has exacerbated the public health crises that hurricanes can unleash. These crises, fueled by invisible killers, can be far deadlier than the physical destruction caused by extreme weather. … These extreme conditions threaten water supplies. Intense precipitation causes flooding that overwhelms sewage systems and contaminates sources of drinking water with sediment, animal waste, and pesticides. … Rich nations bear some of the blame for these climate-change-fueled crises. … Yet richer, higher-emitting countries are also fortunate enough not to bear the full consequences of climate change. … It is irresponsible and immoral to continue to emit such high levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Rich, developed countries need to acknowledge this — and take urgent action to correct their emitting ways…” (10/15).

Devex: Opinion: How to build flood resilience and avoid human tragedy
John Bonoh Sisay, Sierra Leonean businessman and public figure

“…[T]he series of tragedies we have seen this year [among countries falling within the tropics] must force us to look at what more can be done to protect often hugely vulnerable communities, in poor and often fragile states, against events that will clearly happen again. In my country, Sierra Leone, we have only just begun to fully recover from the devastation of Ebola. Yet now the floods and resulting mudslides witnessed in Freetown in August are estimated to have killed approximately 1,000 people, with new incidents continuing. … But the resilience of the people is not a solution to a problem we will face time and time again. The government, the private sector, and the international donor community need to collaborate and work out how best to protect cities such as Freetown and minimize the impact of inevitable future floods…” (10/12).

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