In 1941, glacial Lake Palcacocha in the Peruvian Andes burst its moraine dam of earth and stones, sending a torrent of water through the city of Huaraz and killing an estimated 5,000 people. Between 1941 and 1950, two more glacial lake outburst floods, or GLOFs, which can occur after enough water fills in behind a glacier’s end moraine, killed another 5,000 people in the Cordillera Blanca. In response, the government set up one of the most effective glaciological units in the world with the goal of preventing future outburst floods. Using drain pipes, reinforced terminal moraine dams, sophisticated tunnels, and valve systems, they drained or contained 34 lakes in the region. As a result, thousands of lives were saved.
›April 13, 2015 // By Lauren Herzer
Depending on how closely you pay attention to the OECD, you may have picked up on a subtle but meaningful change in this year’s States of Fragility report. Whereas previous reports were titled Fragile States, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has shifted its framing to focus less on states and more on conditions, less on the binary status of a “fragile state” and more on fragility as a universal condition that can impede development in all countries.
›April 8, 2015 // By Linnea Bennett
›February 10, 2015 // By Wilson Center Staff
Rice is a thirsty crop. Yet for the past three years, Alberto Mejia has been trying to reduce the amount of water he uses for irrigation on his 1,100-acre farm near Ibague in the tropical, central range of the Colombian Andes.
Clean Cookstoves Provide Health, Environmental, and Socioeconomic Benefits, So Why Aren’t They Being Adopted?›
›November 26, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
Imagine an overgrown perennial garden. Impenetrable, shrubby bushes knit themselves together in long rows. Grasses reach chest high. Native hardwood trees hog the perimeter.
Nearly 1 billion people lack reliable access to clean drinking water today. A report by the Water Resources Group projects that by 2030 annual global freshwater needs will reach 6.9 trillion cubic meters – 64 percent more than the existing accessible, reliable, and sustainable supply. This forecast, while alarming, likely understates the magnitude of tomorrow’s water challenge, as it does not account for the impacts of climate change.
›August 22, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
A new law in Peru encouraging investment in the country’s extractive industries has reignited debate on the lack of power indigenous women have in the mostly rural societies where they often live. The International Indigenous Women’s Forum, which drew more than 60 native women from across the world to Peru last month, highlighted this important issue.
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