On November 8, Typhoon Yolanda (known internationally as Haiyan) struck central Philippines, particularly the eastern coasts of the islands of Leyte and Samar, carrying winds close to 200 mph and causing a massive storm surge that flattened entire towns and devastated communities in its wake. Yolanda is said to be one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land. The official death toll stands at more than 2,300, but local officials warn that number could increase significantly. An estimated 8 million people have been affected and 600,000 are displaced. Most visible is the plight of residents of coastal Tacloban – Leyte’s capital city and regional economic hub – who are struggling to find the most basic of services: food, water, shelter, and electricity.
The government of Bangladesh and the two primary Bangladeshi leather industry trade associations reached a historical agreement last month to transfer the leather industry from central Dhaka to Savar, a new, environmentally compliant industrial zone on the outskirts of the city. According to the president of the Bangladesh Tanners Association, the new location could boost the industry’s export revenues from $1-5 billion. Economists predict that if the leather industry continues its impressive growth, it may even challenge the ready-made garment sector as one of Bangladesh’s most valuable exports.
The Asia Foundation, in partnership with Australian Aid, World Bank, and SMERU, a leading Indonesian research institute, recently hosted a four-day regional conference…
Early this month, I boarded a bus to visit the Balinese village of Sobangan to see in action the impact from a decade of Community-Driven Development (CDD), an approach that delivers public funds directly to the village level and allows citizens to determine priorities for social services and economic development.
In November 1979, I attended a benefit concert in Bangkok given by Joan Baez to help raise funds for the humanitarian relief of Cambodian refugees who fled to the Thai border to escape the heinous rule of the Khmer Rouge. An estimated two million people were murdered by Pol Pot and his henchmen.