International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Meetings & conferences on disaster reduction

Newsletter for Latin America and the Caribbean        Inssue No. 15, 1999


Five Practical Guides for Disaster Situations
Urban Risk Mitigation Project, Nicaragua (MIRUN/GTZ)

The purpose of the MIRUN project is to provide guidelines and tools for strengthening self-help group management capacity at the local and municipal level, thereby increasing assistance and response capacity in the face of natural hazards.

These five guides are a practical result of the project. After being tested in selected communities, they will be made available to other communities and local governments to strengthen local risk and vulnerability mitigation plans by promoting self-help strategies for the affected population and local institutions, as an alternative strategy to respond to the problems that frequently occur at the local level in the event of a disaster.

The guides cover the following topics:
1. Floods
2. Self-help networks
3. Fires
4. Pollution
5. Safe housing

For more information, please contact:
INETER, Managua, Nicaragua
Telex/fax (505) 249-2751 (Ana Izaguirre),
268-1654 (Diana Rappaccioli)

Currents of change:
The impact of El Niño on weather and society

This interesting publication by Michael H. Glantz, has been translated by US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) as a to the International Year of the Ocean 1999. Its goal is to disseminate key information about the physical and social aspects of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation Phenomenon (ENSO) throughout the Spanish-speaking world. It is distributed at no cost.

Every year, extreme climatic phenomena take place around the world, producing drought in some places and floods in others. We have recently come to recognize that several of these climatic impacts, often remote from one another, can have a common origin: the warming of surface waters in the Central and Equatorial Pacific. A century ago, Peruvians related the arrival of these higher water temperatures in December to the advent of Christmas, hence the name “El Niño”, referring to Baby Jesus. In some years, the El Niño phenomenon can be more severe and long lasting, apparently leading to drought in Australia, Brazil or India, fewer tropical hurricanes reaching the US Eastern seaboard, and flooding in Peru.

Currents of Change explains in simple terms what El Niño is, how its effects can be forecast, and how its impact affects us all.

The publication is available from the Regional Disaster Information Centre in spanish only (CRID).