Haiti: Hurricane Irma (MDRHT014) DREF Final Report
Hurricane Irma impacted Haiti on the 7th of September, 2017 into the early hours of the 8th of September, 2017. The eye of the hurricane passed north-east of the coastline of the country, causing storm surges on the north coast and wind and flood damage to vulnerable communities. The storm directly impacted Haiti’s three northern departments, with some flooding in two additional departments due to rainfall. Preparedness activities included the pre-positioning of available stocks in the three northern departments, in conjunction with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) disseminating key messages before the passage of the storm and assisting the Haitian Department of Civil Protection (DPC) with the evacuation of affected people or designated collective centers; joint coordination meetings were also held with DPC and other stakeholders at the department level in the three northern departments. ... Read more
Colombian Air Force Bolsters Humanitarian Aid Capacity
Colombia’s disaster response system led to an increase in the number of relief missions in local communities, and also provided assistance during recent disasters in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Costa Rica. The system is built around several public and private entities, and community and military organizations brought together under the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGDR, in Spanish). UNGDR was established in 2008 by the National Center for Personnel Rescue (CNRP, in Spanish) that the Colombian Air Force (FAC in Spanish) operates to aid the civilian population. The unit is based at the Military Air Transport Command in Bogotá... Read more
When disaster strikes: the role of aviation in humanitarian logistics
Over the course of this year, the Global Humanitarian Overview predicts that more than 135 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. The provision of relief in a fast, secure and cost-effective manner is the product of painstaking global cooperation between aid agencies and organizations, and at the core of it all is the aviation industry, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of food, medical supplies or shelter materials. According to Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA) chief executive George Fenton, the primary role that aviation plays in humanitarian emergency response is moving supplies very quickly from hubs where there are pre-positioned supplies of goods, such as Dubai, Panama or West Africa, where nations, together with partners and non-governmental organisations stockpile largely shelter items. At present, the world’s leading humanitarian airline is the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), managed by the World Food Programme (WFP). Operating more than 70 chartered aircraft, UNHAS serves over 300 regular destinations in 19 countries... Read more
U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking
A new study examines what the expected warning times could be for earthquake early warning systems by considering how long it takes an earthquake to grow in size (magnitude) compared to how long it takes earthquake waves (shaking) to arrive at a user’s location.
Modern earthquake early warning systems can monitor the evolving rupture, issuing alerts to regions expected to experience a certain level of shaking as the earthquake is occurring. If the earthquake rupture grows, and the region impacted by ground motion expands, alerts may be updated and extended to new locations. A person will experience very strong ground motions only if the earthquake grows to a large-enough magnitude and if the fault rupture breaks close to their location. Consequently, earthquake early warning systems have the greatest potential benefit for people who can take protective action when warnings are issued for low levels of ground shaking. If alerts are only issued for very strong shaking, people will have less time to respond and take action... Read more
Policy Developments and Outlook
Stanford law and science experts discuss court case that could set precedent for climate change litigation.
A closely watched federal trial pitting two cities against major oil companies has taken surprising and unorthodox turns. A judge in California took an unusual step in trying to untangle who is to blame for increasingly frequent droughts, floods and other climate change-related extreme weather. The case in San Francisco is weighing the question of whether climate change damages connected to the burning of oil are specifically the fault of the companies that extract and sell it. The judge in People of the State of California v. BP P.L.C. et al. had both the plaintiffs – the cities of Oakland and San Francisco – and the defendants – several major oil companies – answer basic questions about climate change in a tutorial format. Counter to what some might have expected, an oil company lawyer largely confirmed the consensus science on the issue, but challenged the idea that oil companies should be held accountable... Read more