opportunities lie, and it's where people are most likely to gain easy access to
services, such as health services and education. So the move to cities should
not be seen as a bad thing per se, and many people would prefer to live in
cities than in the countryside. But the problem is that most people moving into
growing cities in developing countries will lack basic infrastructure such as
water and electricity, and will find it difficult to get jobs.
The structures that have been set up to aid development in poorer countries
must also change to take account of rapid urbanisation. In the past, a lot of
aid work in the developing world has been focused on the rural poor, but it is
clear that in the future the urban poor will need more and more assistance. That
could bring more positives, in the form of better infrastructure and economic
development in poor cities.
Background Slumdwellers suffer what MsTibaijuka the human settlements programme, calls
the "urban penalty". She explains: "They have worse health [because of poor
sanitation] and they are affected by the worst effects of industrial pollution.
If there is a flood or a disaster, it's the poor who always suffer."
Ms Tibaijuka wants central government to direct migration better in order to
avoid congestion in the most populous slums. This need not involve controversial
forced clearances; instead, strategies can be developed to help people migrating
from the countryside find shelter in the cities best able to accommodate them,
With epidemic disease, overcrowding, malnutrition and crime all growing, how
can urban cities become safer and cleaner places to live? How can we make city
life sustainable against a backdrop of rising urban populations? And with the
strain upon current urban infrastructures, what does this mean for the state of
our cities in the developing world?
BBC: Chinese drought affects millions
At least 18 million people have been affected by China's worst drought in 50 years, according to the state news agency Xinhua.
The south-western region of Chongqing has been worst hit, but areas of Sichuan and Liaoning are also affected.
In Chongqing there has been no rain for more than 70 days, and two-thirds of the rivers have dried up, Xinhua said.
Residents in some mountain villages are having to walk up to 2km (1.25 miles) to get water.
At least one person is said to have died from heatstroke, and Xinhua estimates the drought has caused economic losses of 11.74bn yuan ($1.24bn).
The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs said on Thursday that in 2006, China had faced its most severe natural disasters for six year.
By 15 August this year, natural disasters had killed 2,006 people, affected more than 316m others and caused economic losses of 160bn yuan ($20bn), the ministry estimated, according to Xinhua.
Earlier this year, some parts of China were hit by heavy snowfall, while in recent months there have been several deadly typhoons, each killing hundreds of people.
This drought is again affecting millions of people. According to Xinhua, 10m people in Sichuan, nearly 8m in Chongqing and 600,000 in Liaoning do not have enough access to drinking water at the moment.
The problem has also affected huge areas of farmland, with crop failures and the death of cattle.
The Sichuan meteorological bureau has forecast that the drought will continue, at least for the next few days.
Reuters: China Power Grids Strained by Heat, Drought
CHINA: August 18, 2006
BEIJING - Soaring temperatures and the worst drought in over 50 years have strained power grids in southwestern China and caused blackouts in at least one city in the east, state media reported on Thursday.
Electricity generators have struggled in recent years to match demand during hot months when power-guzzling air-conditioning is turned on, but a slew of new capacity meant there had been hardly any problems reported this summer.
But Hangzhou, capital of coastal Zhejiang province, cut its power supply on Tuesday to avoid breakdown of a key transmission line after power consumption climbed nearly a quarter higher than a year earlier, the Shanghai Daily reported.
Temperatures in the city had nudged 38 degrees Celsius at the start of the week, and demand outpaced supply capacity by around 250 megawatts, the report added.
Neighbouring provinces struggling to keep their own lights on and engines running had no spare power to offer.
In Chongqing, at the centre of a drought that has reduced water levels in the country's longest river to the lowest since records began, businesses were told to suspend production in the afternoon and evening to ease pressure on the network.
Temperatures in the southwestern city exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, after a July when the average temperature stood at 31 degrees Celsius, more than 3 degrees above long-term averages.
But the China Meteorological Administration has forecast a cooler than usual start to the autumn for the city after a warm August.
The Daily TelegraphTyphoon hits Japanese island
TYPHOON Wukong slammed today into the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, triggering landslides, cancelling dozens of flights and leading to two deaths and three injuries, officials said.
Wukong, which means Monkey King in Chinese, hit Miyazaki prefecture some 900 kilometres southwest of Tokyo early today and lashed the region with heavy rains, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
Some 110 people were evacuated from the path of the 10th typhoon of the season but the first to make landfall on the main Japanese islands.
A 66-year-old man was seriously injured in Nagasaki prefecture in northern Kyushu as he broke his hip after falling from the roof where he was fixing gutter downpipes, a police spokesman said.
Two other people were also injured on Kyushu today, while a surfer and an angler died yesterday in rough weather conditions caused by Wukong, police said. Another angler was missing.
The typhoon also caused seven landslides, cut roads at three points and damaged three houses on the southwestern island, he said.
As of 1.40pm (1440 AEST), the typhoon was located over Nagasaki prefecture, packing winds up to 83 kilometres per hour.
It was moving northwest at a speed of 15 kilometres per hour, sweeping over Kyushu, the agency said, adding that it was likely to head toward South Korea.
Japan Airlines cancelled at least 31 flights while All Nippon Airways called off 34 flights.
Several local train services were suspended on Kyushu.
Passenger ships were also cancelled between Fukuoka, Kyushu's biggest population centre, and South Korea's second largest city Busan.
Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Wukong made landfall near Miyazaki city on the western Japanese island of Kyushu early this morning, bringing heavy rains and thunderstorms, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported.
Wukong, with maximum sustained winds of 83 kilometers per hour (52 miles), was about 112 kilometers south of the city of Fukuoka at 4 p.m. and had almost stopped moving, the weather agency said. The storm is forecast to skirt Fukuoka, with a population of 1.4 million people, early tomorrow.
Japan is regularly buffeted by tropical storms and typhoons, which left scores dead in 2004. Wukong, named after the Monkey King in the Chinese novel Journey to the West, crossed land shortly after 1 a.m. and brought rains of 55 millimeters (2.1 inches) per hour, Kyodo news reported. Three people were injured and 500 were forced to leave their homes, it said.
Heavy rain, flood, storm and high wave warnings are in affect for all of Kyushu and parts of adjacent Honshu, Japan's weather agency said.
Japan Airlines Corp. and All Nippon Airways Co., the country's two largest carriers, canceled at least 36 domestic flights, they said.
Idemitsu Kosan Co., Japan's second-biggest petroleum refiner, Cosmo Oil Co. and Kyushu Oil Co. and halted oil product shipments from three refineries as Wukong approached. The storm caused blackouts in 200 households in Miyazaki prefecture, Kyodo reported, citing Kyushu Electric Power Co.
Kyushu Railway Co., postponed services on five lines including one that crosses Kyushu, the company said on its Web site. Long distance ferries connecting Kagoshima and Miyazaki with Osaka were also halted, the Asahi newspaper reported.
Typhoon Saomai last week brushed past the southern Japanese island chain of Okinawa on its way to China, where at least 214 people were killed and more than 50,000 houses damaged or destroyed.
At least 20 people died in September last year when Typhoon Nabi hit southwestern Japan. A record 10 typhoons and tropical storms hit Japan in 2004, killing scores of people and causing billions of dollars of damage.