A focus on mitigating extreme weather impacts in South Asia

February 16, 2023 – A group of researchers led by faculty at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are beginning a project aimed at mitigating the impact of extreme weather events on populations in South Asia.

The group is among five interdisciplinary research clusters across Harvard that received the first grants awarded by the University’s Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability. The Institute aims to tackle climate change head-on and to focus on projects that will have meaningful impact, according to a February 13 Harvard Gazette article.

The research cluster on adaptation and climate-driven migration in South Asia is being led by Caroline Buckee, professor of epidemiology. Co-investigator is Satchit Balsari, assistant professor in the Department of Global Health and Population.

“What struck me is how much the impact of these erratic weather events is not necessarily foremost in either public consciousness or the consciousness of policymakers,” Balsari told the Gazette. “And as you think about all that needs to be done, you begin to recognize the vastness of the scope of policy changes that one will need to influence in order to mitigate the impact of these extreme weather events on vulnerable populations. You have to first generate the evidence to show that these interventions work, and then figure out what the theory of change is to empower the communities to advocate for policy change to institutionalize these changes.”

Buckee noted that extreme weather “will likely increase in frequency and severity for the foreseeable future. We are interested in the Global South and in low-income settings because those are going to be the most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather events.”

Read the Harvard Gazette article: Combining forces to accelerate climate action here, there, now

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CrisisReady Co-Directors leading research cluster at Harvard University to study climate adaptation in South Asia (CrisisReady article)