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Updated every Friday.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15

Irma: The Aftermath

How Hurricane Irma will change the Caribbean. Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. Just putting back what the storm took away will not be enough this time. ... Read more

'For first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda'. Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. An estimated 95% of Barbuda’s structures are damaged, and the entire island of around 1,800 people has been evacuated. ... Read more

The Virgin Islands, After Irma: 'It Was Like Stepping Onto Another Planet'
. Hurricane Irma arrived on the doorstep of the Virgin Islands just over a week ago. A Category 5 storm, historic in its terrible might, Irma shredded homes and hotels into the bare materials that made them, its winds scattering floorboards and roofs and light poles like so many matchsticks. ... Read more

Florida Deaths in Sweltering Nursing Home Show Post-Disaster Perils. Heat is a top killer after hurricanes and disasters cause power outages, said Dr. Thomas Kirsch, director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health. Kirsch noted that hundreds of elderly people died in the 1995 Chicago heat wave and when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. ... Read more

What [else] happened this week?

Mexico-Guatemala Earthquake. According to the [BBC], an 8.1-magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale struck off the Pacific Coast of Mexico--around 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan--at 23:50 local time on Thursday, 7 September 2017 (04:50 [GMT] Friday). A tsunami warning was issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras; however, it was later lifted. An estimated 50 million Mexicans felt the tremor per the Mexican government. ... Read more

Mexico quake hit hard at center of Zapotec 'muxe' culture. The quake killed 96 people across Mexico, and it struck hardest in the heartland of Mexico's Zapotec culture — a region famed for deep-rooted feminism, the flamboyant "Tehuana" dresses often worn by Frida Kahlo and for one of its most noted traditional subcultures: the "muxe," people born male who dress and identify as women and who are accepted, even honored, for their contributions. ... Read more
Interesting Facts

Is it unusual to have two strong storms back to back? This isn't the first time two impressive storms have hit in rapid succession. In 1954, Carol and Edna menaced the East Coast within two weeks of each other and were soon followed by Hazel. In 1955, Connie and Diane "struck the North Carolina coast only five days apart," according to the National Hurricane Center. ... Read more

Mysterious lights in the sky seen after Mexico’s huge earthquake. Earthquake lights are a phenomenon so unusual that they border on myth. The first known reports of them are from 89 BC, with spotty descriptions over the centuries. ... Read more

Did Mexico dodge a bullet in last week’s M=8.1 earthquake? It’s now been a little over four days since Mexico’s Chiapas region was struck by a deadly M=8.1 earthquake, the largest earthquake to hit the country in over a century. And a closer look at the dynamics of this event tells us that while it was extremely destructive, it could have been much worse.  ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Houston's 'flood czar' says Harvey has brought the city to a decision point on flood control. Stephen Costello, the city's chief resilience officer, says that "at least some of the money (recovery dollars) should be used to buy up entire neighborhoods that border bayous and have inadequate flood protection and then to turn those areas into green space." ... Read more

Abandon Florida? Not quite. But it’s time for a retreat from flood zones. It's easy to lament Houston’s paved-over floodplains and Tampa Bay's waterfront high-rises, built on terrain that’s barely above sea level — on a good day. When you hear about a house in Houston, assessed at $72,400, that has received more than $1 million in payouts through the federal flood insurance program, it’s only natural to ask, “Why did we ever build there?" ... Read more

Hurricanes Are Just One Kind Of Disaster. Never mind the idea of a 100-year storm — Hurricane Harvey which dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston has been called a 1,000-year storm. In its wake at least 60 people lost their lives, more than a million others were uprooted as some 200,000 homes and as many as 500,000 cars were damaged or destroyed. ... Read more

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