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This past year we have witnessed a number of extreme climatic events occurring throughout different regions of the world. The first feature article in this issue includes a report on one such event, the flooding that occurred in drought-stricken Somalia in November.

Somalia has been devastated by civil wars for the past six years. During this period no central government has existed that could administer to the nation. For a country already experiencing severe stress through recurring droughts, this civil unrest has resulted in further deprivation to both the Somali people and their natural environment. Feysal Ahmed Yusuf of the newly-formed non-governmental organization, the Somali Environmental Protection and Anti-Desertification Organization, describes the difficult situation confronting his team in their endeavours to secure a healthy and sustainable environment for the Somali nation.

Tiempo has published a number of articles outlining the South Pacific’s vulnerable position as a region coping with climate change. We now present an account of the Chairpersons’ summary of findings and future needs of the region as recognized at the meeting on climate change and sea level rise held in New Caledonia in August this year.

Fresh water is becoming a scarce resource throughout the world. Robert Schemenauer and Pilar Cereceda summarize their work over the past ten years studying the potential of fog collection as an additional water resource. Their experience shows that fog collection can prove very effective in suitable areas and under the right circumstances.

Weather Eye comments on the outcome of the Kyoto climate conference and, finally, we document two other extreme events of 1997 — a powerful typhoon which devastated the south of Vietnam in early November and the emerging impact of the current El Niño.

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