Saturday, January 18, 2014

Small projects, big changes in climate risk in Honduran slums

Thelma Mejia in IPS: For some 250,000 shantytown-dwellers in the Honduran capital, fear of dying or losing their home due to a landslide or other weather-related event has been reduced, thanks to a global warming mitigation plan that has carried out small infrastructure works in 180 ecologically and socially vulnerable neighbourhoods.

The 100×100 Plan – one hundred works in the same number of days – is part of a climate change risk mitigation project financed by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) with a 26-million-dollar credit granted on concessionary terms.

...The more than 100 small projects are scattered all over the city of Tegucigalpa, which is home to 1.8 million of Honduras’s 8.5 million people.

Tegucigalpa and the adjacent city of Comayag├╝ela – also known as the Central District – make up the capital of this impoverished Central American country. The city’s vulnerability increased when Hurricane Mitch left at least 11,000 dead and 8,000 missing in 1998, besides causing enormous damage to infrastructure.

The capital, located in a chain of mountains that reach 1,300 metres in height, was among the most affected parts of the country. And 15 years after the catastrophe, there are still areas where time has stood still, and the ruins of houses are still standing. The 180 neighbourhoods selected for the project are home to the poorest of the poor, who live on hillsides where mudslides and landslides can occur after just one hour of heavy rain.

...Johan Meza, in charge of mitigation projects in the 100×100 Plan, told IPS that the small infrastructure works include the construction of ditches, gutters, stairways, evacuation routes, pedestrian bridges, and storm water drains...

A shanty town in Tegucigalpa, shot by Brooke Novak, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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