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Updated every Friday.

Friday, August 18, 2017

August 18

World Humanitarian Day 2017
Saturday, August 19th

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on August 19th to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.
Every year, disasters cause immense suffering for millions of people – usually the world's poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Humanitarian aid workers strive to provide life-saving assistance and long term rehabilitation to disaster-affected communities, regardless of where they are in the world and without discrimination based on nationality, social group, religion, sex, race or any other factor.
This year, the Geneva World Humanitarian Day commemoration is organized in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).
The commemoration will include a panel discussion on “Violence against health care and its implications for affected populations, humanitarian workers, and aid”, and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will give introductory remarks at the formal programme held at the Palais des Nations on Monday, 21 August 2017.

What happened this week?

Tropical Storm Harvey Is Drenching the Windward Islands. Tropical Storm Harvey is beginning to bring rain to the Windward Islands, and may pose a threat early next week in parts of Central America's Caribbean coast. ... Read more

6.1 Earthquake startles Central Peru. On Sunday, several cities in Peru were affected by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake ... Read more

Interesting Facts

How friction evolves during an earthquake. By simulating earthquakes in a lab, engineers at California Institute of Technology have documented the evolution of friction during an earthquake -- measuring what could once only be inferred, and shedding light on one of the biggest unknowns in earthquake modeling ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Humanitarian access in a changing world: why security risk management matters. Humanitarian access is undoubtedly affected by all of these, offering aid workers new challenges to reach those most in need … Read more

UW gets in on $4.9 million boost for ShakeAlert earthquake warning system. The University of Washington and six other research institutions will benefit from $4.9 million in funding from the U.S. Geological Survey for the ShakeAlert earthquake warning system, which could eventually provide precious seconds of advance notice that a seismic shock is coming … Read more

Earthquake researchers to map faults by airplane. The U.S. Geological Survey in coordination with the Oklahoma Geological Survey and other groups this week began using a modified small airplane to study the state's geology in an attempt to map deep, existing faults, to help stop earthquakes from rumbling deep beneath the Oklahoma soil … Read more

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11


Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas Discussion Sessions

Dates: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 to Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Times: Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC-4)

In preparation for the Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas Summit, ARSET will be offering recorded webinars and live question and answer sessions for attendees and others interested in disaster response across the Americas. We have listed a number of recorded webinars that we recommend as prerequisites for the discussion. Some materials are available in Spanish and the question and answer sessions will have both Spanish and English language support ... Read more

What happened this week?

Tropical Storm Franklin makes landfall in Mexico(CNN)Tropical Storm Franklin made landfall on the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula late Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Franklin moved inland with maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph ... Read more
Hurricane Franklin Brought Heavy Rain To Mexico (RECAP). Franklin made landfall as a hurricane in eastern Mexico overnight on August 10th and rapidly weakened to a remnant low over the highest terrain Thursday morning ... Read more
Two tornadoes have hit Maryland in two weeks. Is this normal? It turns out all of this tornado activity (in the DC area) isn’t some sort of freak anomaly, but rather par for the course for our region. ... Read more

Interesting Facts

What's the difference between a Tornado Watch and Tornado Warning? (OHIO) WOIO - The National Weather Service encourages people to move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building during a tornado watch. ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Dutch engineers test 'floating island'. Rising sea levels and increased scarcity of land are forcing tech companies to develop innovative real estate solutions. In the Netherlands, engineers have tested a concept for a "floating mega island"… Read more

Earthquakes, meet North Korean nukes: California's growing portfolio of disaster preparedness. It’s been 30-some years since those aging air raid sirens whined their last-Friday-of-the-month test decibels across Los Angeles. Now there are intercontinental ballistic missile tests out of North Korea, with swaggering threats about sending nuclear warheads to the western United States  Read more

Friday, August 4, 2017

August 4


Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas Discussion Sessions

Dates: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 to Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Times: Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m. EDT (UTC-4)

In preparation for the Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction Across the Americas Summit, ARSET will be offering recorded webinars and live question and answer sessions for attendees and others interested in disaster response across the Americas. We have listed a number of recorded webinars that we recommend as prerequisites for the discussion. Some materials are available in Spanish and the question and answer sessions will have both Spanish and English language support ... Read more


What happened this week?

Historic Drought Hammers Dakotas, Montana. Crops in the Dakotas and Montana are baking on an anvil of severe drought and extreme heat, as bone-dry conditions force growers and ranchers to make difficult decisions regarding cattle, corn and wheat ... Read more

Drought Spreads and Intensifies Across U.S. Northern PlainsThe drought plaguing eastern Montana and much of North and South Dakota came on quickly and is intensifying, leading ranchers to sell their cattle and farmers to harvest early whatever crops that have grown so far this summer ... Read more

US President declares federal disaster after Michigan floodingPresident Donald Trump on Wednesday declared that a major disaster exists in mid-Michigan following severe flash flooding and storm damage in late June, clearing the way for federal emergency aid to supplement ongoing recovery efforts ... Read more

Nebraskan congressional delegation requests disaster declaration after six tornadoes"The strong winds, including six tornadoes and golf-ball-to-baseball-sized hail, produced extensive damage across the state. Public power districts are reporting damages in excess of $13,780,024," the letter states ... Read more 

Interesting Facts

Severe Thunderstorms Top the List of Climate Disasters So Far This Year. During the first half of 2017, a series of extremely powerful thunderstorm outbreaks with damaging hail and tornadoes caused $41 billion of damage in the U.S., according to a new report from Munich Re, a German reinsurance company that tracks and analyzes natural disasters. So far this year there have been six severe, large-scale thunderstorm outbreaks, each causing billions of dollars in losses ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Drought-warning tool to help Central American farmers: U.N. BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new weather monitoring system to better forecast drought in Central America could help the region's governments and farmers avoid major crop losses and boost resilience to recurring water shortages, the United Nations says ... Read more

World Bank issues $360 million Mexico catastrophe bonds. NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The World Bank will issue $360 million in three-year catastrophe bonds on behalf of Mexico, the organization said on Friday, to be paid out in the event of hurricanes or earthquakes that devastate the country ... Read more

Ottawa County Senior Companions get tornado disaster training. MIAMI - Senior Companion Program volunteers are trained and ready to help their clients with many needs. The focus of the training is preparing for severe storms and tornadoes. Insulated ... Read more
Technology would change Edmonton's tornado response today. Thirty years ago, Edmonton Coun. Ed Gibbons was pacing up and down his Clareview driveway, waiting and hoping his children would arrive home safely ... Read more




Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21, 2017

What happened this week?

United States. Remote landslide creates new, deep lake in national forest. JACKSON, Wyo. — A remote landslide has created a deep lake in western Wyoming ... Read more

Interesting Facts

Are we running out of fresh water? Global water demand is projected to increase by 55 per cent between 2000 and 2050 ... Read more

A huge iceberg weighing more than a trillion tonnes was recently released from western Antarctica. The UK based team of scientists says that a section of approximately 5,800 square kilometers is already lose ... Read more

“'When corals die off, we die off'”. In 1998, the cruel heat of El Nino hit Seychelles hard. Sea surface temperatures rose around the Indian Ocean, bleaching 90% of coral reefs in the archipelago. Widespread flooding caused significant economic losses -- fishing and agriculture accounting for more than half of the total figure according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) ... Read more

Climate change is going to make air travel even more nightmarish, study says. Extreme heat is a byproduct of climate change. Experts agree that as the Earth’s temperature rises, these heatwaves will come more frequently, last longer, and be felt more intensely. And this will have an indelible effect on how we use airplanes for travel and commerce. A team of researchers at Columbia University set out to chart exactly how rising temperatures will affect the takeoff and landing performance of aircraft; their findings were published today in the journal Climatic Change ... Read more

Large Oklahoma earthquake shifted the earth by 3 centimeters, study says. The earth shifted by about 3 centimeters during the most powerful earthquake in recorded history in Oklahoma in September. The 5.8-magnitude earthquake near Pawnee tore apart houses in the rural area near the epicenter.... Read more

Extreme cyber-attack could dwarf natural disaster costsA major global cyber-attack has the potential to trigger up to US$53 billion of economic losses – greater than some of Australia’s worst natural disasters combined ... Read more

3-D models help scientists gauge flood impact.  Today, simplified 2-D flood models are the state of the art for predicting flood wave propagation, or how floods spread across land. A team at IFC, led by UI Professor George Constantinescu, is creating 3-D non-hydrostatic flood models that can more accurately simulate flood wave propagation and account for the interaction between the flood wave and large obstacles such as dams or floodplain walls. These 3-D models also can be used to assess and improve the predictive capabilities of the 2-D models that government agencies and consulting companies use for predicting how floods will spread and the associated risks and hazards ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Scientists want to use satellites to predict landslides. Small satellites have countless uses, including when it comes to monitoring the planet for natural disasters. Now, scientists think they've made a breakthrough on this front: They're using satellite data to map the Earth's movement. Their end goal is to develop an early warning system for communities before landslides, Engadget said ... Read more

Experimental Model Predicted Tornado's Path Hours, Not Minutes, Before it FormedThe strategy, called Warn on Forecast, allows forecasters to issue warnings before storms even form, based on high-resolution satellite imagery, radar data and surface observations. This data is fed into a very high-resolution weather model that is run every 15 minutes for a period of time on storms of interest or for areas that could produce storms ... Read more

Green Finance: The Key to Unlocking Sustainable Development. The world has, for some time now, been keenly aware of the challenges that poor environmental management poses to our common future – threatening human health, peaceful societies, and long-term economic sustainability ... Read more

Principles for Flood and Coastal Erosion. Office for Nuclear Regulation and Environment Agency Joint ... Read more

Climate change will force today’s kids to pay for costly carbon removal technologies, study says. The longer humans continue to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the closer we draw to leaving the next generation with an unmanageable climate problem, scientists say. A new study, just out Tuesday in the journal Earth System Dynamics, suggests that merely reducing greenhouse gas emissions may no longer be enough — and that special technology, aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, may also be necessary to keep the Earth’s climate within safe limits for future generations ... Read more

Climate change and protected areas. Canada’s network of protected areas provide a natural solution for climate change by conserving biodiversity, protecting ecosystem services, connecting landscapes, capturing and storing carbon, building knowledge and understanding and inspiring people ... Read more

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017

What happened this week?

Jamaica. The country has been hit by widespread flooding and a flash-flood warning has been issued for ten parishes, according to media reports...Read more

United States.

1.     A shallow magnitude 4.0 earthquake was reported Wednesday evening 76 miles from Petrolia, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey...Read more
2.     An outbreak of severe thunderstorms with tornadoes, large hail and wind damage was expected across parts of the southern and central Plains into the overnight hours…Read more
3.     A flooding, brought on by torrential downpours, was mostly reported in the city's East Ward of Newark, N.J. Emergency responders, some using a boat and amphibious vehicle, rescued 29 people stranded by flood waters…Read more
4.     A series of storms throughout the eastern part of the Texas Panhandle produced four tornadoes that were spotted Tuesday afternoon and caused heavy damage in some parts of Wheeler County…Read more
5.     The USGS recorded a magnitude 4.2 quake at 4:32 a.m. Saturday near Waynoka, about 150 miles (241.39 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City…Read more
6.     The North Port brush fire grows to more than 3,000 acres, forcing portions of I-75 to remain closed overnight…Read more
Interesting Facts

Flooding in Canada is a big problem, but few Canadians know they're at risk: study. Nearly all of the 2,300 people surveyed for a new University of Waterloo study did not know or weren't sure that they lived in a designated flood risk area. Almost 90 per cent were unaware that their home was in an area vulnerable to flooding...Read more

 “Time to Build” Flood Resilient Infrastructure. The lower Midwest is still recovering after severe flooding swept through the region in early May. While the chances of multiple major floods happening in a relative short time span is a possibility, climate change is loading the dice in favor of making such occurrences all too common. Bad news for infrastructure...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Caribbean region aims to integrate gender equality in disaster risk management in the agriculture sector. In an effort to strengthen the resiliency of communities to disasters in the Caribbean, 25 representatives from 12 countries across the region are participating in a regional training workshop for integrating gender equality in disaster risk management programming for the agriculture sector...Read more

China reaffirms disaster risk cooperation commitment. China’s Minister of Civil Affairs has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to increasing international cooperation to address the common challenge of disasters...Readmore

How cities are helping lead the world’s disaster risk reduction efforts. With over half of the world’s population living in urban environments, the actions of city leaders and local stakeholders could prove to be powerful agents of change in achieving the goals of the Sendai Framework to build meaningful resilience and disaster risk reduction across the globe...Read more

UNDP & the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. UNDP’s disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by both delivering and protecting development gains from the impacts of disasters and climate change. By working with governments and partners towards ‘risk-informing’ national, local and sectoral development planning processes...Read more

Friday, May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017

What happened this week?

  1. The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-6.3 aftershock has shaken the corner of British Columbia, near the boundary with Alaska, nearly two hours after a magnitude-6.2 earthquake hit the same area...Read more
  2. An Argentine mountain climber is stranded alone about halfway up Canada's highest peak, braving high winds and awaiting a rescue that may still be days away...Read more

Cuba. Almost 1 Million Cubans Impacted by Intense Drought; the reservoirs on the island are registering 36.5 percent of their filling capacity. In the central provinces of Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila and Camaguey, where the drought is especially acute, reservoirs are below 25 percent...Read more

Dominican Republic. Torrential rains put thousands more at risk of flooding and disease, more heavy rains are expected in the Dominican Republic over the next couple of weeks, more than 9,000 people have already been forced to leave their homes into shelters as heavy rains and flooding have swept over southern Dominican Republic since late April...Read more

United States.

1.      At least 10 people have been killed by tornadoes or flooding in the South and Midwest by a storm that also dumped a rare late-season blizzard in western Kansas on Sunday...Read more

2.     Dozens of firefighters were battling a brush fire that broke out in the Highgrove community of Riverside County Sunday afternoon and was spreading rapidly, threatening several homes; in Highgrove, California...Read more

3.     Thunder storms ripped across Texas, the South and Midwest this weekend killing at least 15 and spawning tornadoes and floods that left parts of the countryside devastated...Read more

4.     Southwest Missouri received considerable amounts of rain late Friday night and into Saturday. Areas are flooded, roadways are closed, sink holes in some parts and the town of Seneca is completely closed down due to the flooding...Read more

Interesting Facts

Earthquake probability maps show nearly all of Japan at risk. Compared with the 2016 data released in June, the sharpest rise in probability for an intensity-6 quake was around the city of Sanyo-Onoda in Yamaguchi Prefecture. It increased by 3.6 percentage points to 17.1 percent...Read more

How drone swarms could help protect us from tornadoes. In the future, envisions meteorologists flying drone swarms into severe weather to measure the parameters at specific points throughout the storm. Fed into a computer model, this information could indicate whether a thunderstorm is likely to turn into a tornado from a safe distance...Read more

Monitoring groundwater drought without measuring it. Seventy-five percent of EU inhabitants depend on groundwater for their water supply, which makes groundwater management extremely important. To manage groundwater effectively during drought periods like 2015, data about groundwater levels are needed in (near-) real time. However, observations of groundwater levels are rarely available in real time, even in Europe, one of the most densely monitored areas of the world...Read more

Researchers develop radar simulator to characterize scattering of debris in tornadoes. The first numerical polarimetric radar simulator studies and characterizes the scattering of debris particles in tornadoes and transmits radio wave pulses horizontally and vertically...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Arab region sets stance for Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Doha Declaration focuses on the Arab Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2030, with a strong emphasis on aligning the region’s efforts with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year plan adopted by the international community in 2015...Read more

Caribbean Rolls Out Plans to Reduce Climate Change Hazards. The regional plan of action you will adopt . . . will help and guide national and local governments in their efforts to strengthen the links between the 2030 agenda for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction...Read more

Ottawa gets it right on funding for disaster mitigation. The investment is designed to reduce the almost $9-billion spent by the federal government in unbudgeted disaster relief expenditures from 2005 projected through 2020...Read more

Overcoming Barriers to Meeting the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Canada’s adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction represents an important opportunity to manage flood risk, which is the most common and costly hazard facing Canadians...Read more

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017

What happened this week?


1.      6.0 earthquake punctuates a sustained seismic swarm off Valparaíso, 30 km (18 mi) offshore of the major port city of Valparaiso, Chile. Santiago, Chile’s capital, lies another 100 km (60 mi) inland, where the largest quake was widely felt...Read more

2.      6.9 earthquake in Chile follows intense seismic swarm. This earthquake’s epicenter was offshore of the port city of Valparaiso, and occurred at a depth of 25 km according to both the USGS and EMS...Read more

Dominican Republic. 580 people are displaced and 47 sectors incommunicado due to the rains that affected this week the Dominican Republic, where 15 of the 32 provinces are on alert...Read more

Jamaica. Heavy, persistent rain caused by a trough in the vicinity of Jamaica over the weekend brought disaster to sections of south-east Clarendon Saturday...Read more

United States.

1.      A 3.5-magnitude earthquake shook extreme northwest Colorado on Saturday morning, alarming residents in the town of Rangely...Read more

2.      A Flash Flood Watch was issued for portions of southeastern Kentucky from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon...Read more

3.      Dozens of firefighters have spent Monday on the lookout for hot spots, after a fast moving wildfire burned through the Golden Gate Estates area over the weekend (Florida)...Read more

4.      The Sawmill Fire burning north of Sonoita is now estimated to be 18,000 acres in size and is expected to grow as strong winds grounded air tankers on Tuesday afternoon (Arizona)...Read more

Interesting Facts

Forest fires affect 3.9 thousand hectares in 2017 (Mexico). So far this year, 3,941 forest fires have been registered in 31 states of the country, which affected an area of ​​122 thousand hectares, according to the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR)...Read more

Oroville Dam: Disaster expert says spillway emergency ‘developed and propagated by DWR’. A disaster expert’s review of the Oroville Dam spillway emergency says the Department of Water Resources could have prevented everything with better design, better construction and better maintenance...Read more

Supercells: What to Know About These Dangerous Thunderstorms. The term supercell is used by meteorologists to describe a breed of long-lasting thunderstorms which rotate and are accompanied by dangerous weather conditions, including large hail, damaging winds and sometimes tornadoes...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

$350 Million in National Disaster Fund (Jamaica). The establishment of the Fund forms part of the requirements under the Disaster Risk Management Act which seeks to strengthen the country’s overall national disaster preparedness, emergency management and response processes and mechanisms, and reflects modern, strategic, administrative and legal approaches consistent with current best practices...Read more
How to Reduce Risk from Extreme Weather Events. Events such as the Colombia mudslide, the recent Peru floods which claimed 100 lives, and last October’s Hurricane Matthew in Haiti which caused over 600 deaths and US$2.7 billion of economic losses, highlight the need to address the underlying social and economic forces that place human settlements at risk...Read more

Mobile networks and natural disasters: How to prevent a second catastrophe? This global initiative seeks to strengthen access to communication and information for those affected by emergencies, helping to reduce loss of life and contribute positively to humanitarian response...Read more