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Friday, September 27, 2013

2012 State of the Climate - Notes from the Editor Part II

2012 State of the Climate

A report released by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries and peer-reviewed with scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, serving as lead editors... Read more

Notes from the EDITOR

by Pablo Gonzalez

In the last issue of Disasters This Week, we looked into one of the highlights of the State of the Climate in 2012 that matters the most in our hemisphere, Sea Level Rise. In this one, we will look into another critical finding of the report for our hemisphere, cyclones and the North Atlantic hurricane activity.

And why do sea level rise and cyclones matter so much in our region? According to the US Census Bureau, in the US alone, in 2010, over 123 million people, or 39 percent of the nation's population, lived in Coastal Shoreline Counties, representing less than 10 percent of the US land area (excluding Alaska). US Coastal Shoreline County population experienced an increase of about 34.8 million people from 1970 to 2010. And while the expected increase in density for the entire US is 11 persons/mi2, according to Woods and Poole Economics, Inc. 2011, the increase in the US Coastal Shoreline County population density from 2010–2020 will be 37 persons/mi2. If we now consider the 580 million people living in Latin America and the Caribbean, with many in low coastal areas and low elevations susceptible to floods, and an urbanization rate that has doubled from 41% in 1950 to 80% in 2010[2], any sea level rise combined with active cyclonic seasons may mean a higher likelihood of disasters to many.... Read more

Saturday, August 24, 2013

2012 State of the Climate Report - American Meteorological Society (AMS)

2012 State of the Climate

A report released by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), which was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries and peer-reviewed with scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, serving as lead editors... Read more

Notes from the EDITOR

by Pablo Gonzalez

Undoubtedly, the State of the Climate in 2012 report provides valuable information and analysis to help decision- and policy-makers understand changes in the so-called essential climate variables (ECVs) –as defined originally by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) program in 2003 and updated in 2010, the impact of these changes and their drivers and/or contributors. Yet, one must understand its limitations given by the data and the actual complexity of Climate itself. For instance, as the authors explain in the introduction of this report, less than half of the ECVs are “fully monitored”. In other words, less than half of the ECVs are observed and analyzed across much of the world, and with sufficiently long-term data collections to make long-term projections. The remaining variables are “partially monitored” or not even included in the analysis... Read more

Monday, August 19, 2013

World Humanitarian Day

On this World Humanitarian Day, we join the United Nations and its humanitarian partners on the launching of a new global campaign to turn words into aid... Read more

We invite our member States to make full use of the instruments that they have created for a coordinated humanitarian assistance in the hemisphere, namely the Inter-American Convention to Facilitate Disaster Assistance, and the Inter-American Plan for Disaster Prevention and Response and the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance.

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013


Perhaps we need to change the point of reference
by Pablo Gonzalez

Are we not doing more harm than good by promoting 
a framework that is conceived around the Disaster? Should we not lower the threshold from Disaster to Development Objectives? ... Read more

What happened this week?

New Brunswick tornado had winds ranging from 135 to 175 km/h
Environment Canada says winds in a tornado that touched down in the Grand Lake-area of New Brunswick on Saturday moved at speeds of between 135 to 175 kilometres per hour... Read more

Dengue outbreak has killed 26 in Central America
TEGUCIGALPA, July 25, 2013 (AFP) - An unusually potent outbreak of dengue fever has killed 26 people and infected nearly 40,000 more so far this year in Central America, where the mosquito-born illness is endemic... Read more

Interesting Facts

Disaster Preparedness Kit
When preparing a disaster preparedness kit, first plan for the essentials for survival. Think practical first, and think comfortable second... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Preventing Earthquake Damage
Engineers are confident they can design structures that can withstand earthquakes in New Zealand, the U.S. and other places with similar geotechnical challenges. But first, engineers need to know more about the soil in each area.... Read more

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 19, 2013

What happened this week?

Drought will increase if Iowa sees no rain this weekend, meteorologist says
If rain does not fall on the state this weekend, Iowans will see an increase in drought conditions across the state, a National Weather Service meteorologist says.... Read more

Interesting Facts

IOM Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Highlights Growing Impacts on Human Mobility
IOM’s second Compendium on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience launched today (16/7/13) in Geneva provides for the first time an in-depth analysis of the interaction between disasters and mobility; spells out the fundamental role that human mobility plays in shaping resilience; and indicates the causes of vulnerability for communities at risk... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

CDB providing grants for community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation projects
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has launched a USD 23.5 million dollar fund which will provide grants to vulnerable communities for community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation demonstration projects in all of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries except Haiti... Read more

Central Emergency Response Fund provides an unprecedented $172 million to neglected emergencies in 2013
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, today announced the allocation of some US$72 million for humanitarian work in neglected crises in twelve countries around the world. These allocations include $3.5 million for Colombia, and $1.5 million in Haiti..Read more

Dunes, reefs protect US coasts from climate change
As climate change brings higher sea levels, can sand dunes and coral reefs really protect U.S. coastlines? Yes, indeed, they help defend 67% of them, says a new study by Stanford scientists..Read more

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 12, 2013

What happened this week?

Chantal Weakens to Tropical Wave
The only reported fatality was that of Juan Ramon Rodriguez, a 26-year-old Dominican firefighter, in the community of Maimon, about 50 miles (85 kilometers) north of the capital of Santo Domingo... Read more

60,000 evacuated due to floods in Paraguay
Paraguayan authorities reported that about 60,000 people were evacuated due to the floods produced by the overflow of the Panama and Paraguay rivers... Read more

Interesting Facts

Earthquakes Fast Facts
(CNN) -- Here's what you need to know about earthquakes worldwide... Read more

U.S. earthquake increase tied to disposal well boom
An increasing number of small quakes near deep wastewater wells, used to dispose of industrial fluids used in the "fracking" boom, is raising questions about their use..Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Online climate risk assessment tool for the Caribbean
BELMOPAN, Belize — The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) says it will launch a seminal on-line support tool in St Lucia on Friday in keeping with the thrust to promote a culture of risk management across the region..Read more

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013

What happened this week?

In Argentina, floods expected in four provinces
Misiones, Corrientes, Chaco and Santa Fe are in state of alert and evacuations are imminent..Read more

In Brazil, heavy rains in Parana affect 53 municipalities, eight declare state of emergency
Heavy rains in the state of Paraná, since last Thursday June 20, affected 53 municipalities and flooded more than 6,700 houses. The cities of Irati, Santa Tereza, São João, Itapejara do Oeste, Bituruna, Imbituva, Sulina and Teixeira Soares declared state of emergency..Read more

In Paraguay, more families are affected by the Parana river
About 4,000 people are affected by the flood caused by the overflow of the Paraná in Ayolas, Misiones. So far, about 804 families were evacuated..Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Disaster recovery: How it works in Alberta
Disaster recovery programs are a safety net for citizens who incurred uninsurable loss and damage during a disaster -- key for southern Albertans, since overland flood insurance is not provided in Canada... Read more

Paraguayan government implements early warning system for natural disasters
The government of Paraguay and the Ministry of Strategic Communication for Development (SICOM) has started a journey throughout the country with the aim of raising awareness and disseminating information through workshops on environmental protection issues and natural disasters..Read more

Norway Praises Cuban Humanitarian Aid to Haiti
HAVANA, Cuba, June 27 (acn) Norway’s deputy foreign affairs minister Gry Larsen stressed the humanitarian work carried out in Haiti by the Cuban medical brigade, a mission that was reinforced following the January 2010 earthquake that ravaged the homeland of Toussaint Louverture..Read more

Central American Heads of State call for new regional instrument on disaster cooperation
n June 27, at the 41st Summit of Heads of State and Government of the member states of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in San Jose, the top leaders of eight countries took an important step forward in the development of disaster law in the region... Read more

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 21, 2013

What happened this week?

Bolivia declares national emergency due to a drought that affects four regions of the country
The Bolivian government declared a state of national emergency due to a drought that affects almost 17,000 families in four of the nine departments of the country... Read more

Ecuador: Drought DREF operation nº MDREC007
Ecuador’s southern region has gone for four months without rain.... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Climate change threatens trouble in the near future, World Bank says
The World Bank is beginning to commit billions of dollars to flood prevention, water management and other projects to help major Asian cities avoid the expected impact of climate change, a dramatic example of how short the horizon has become to alleviate the effects of global warming..Read more

The World Bank's estimate for the 2011 Thailand flood, which began at the end of July triggered by the landfall of Tropical Storm Nock-ten, ranked that disaster as the world's fourth costliest, as it was surpassed only by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005...Read more

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 14, 2013

What happened this week?

Residents hope for best, brace for worst as wildfire sizzles near Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado (CNN) - As early Saturday, 473 homes had been destroyed, with at least 15 others suffering partial damage. This is the second time in a year that the Colorado Springs area has faced a mammoth wildfire. Last summer's Waldo Canyon Fire burned down about 350 homes and 18,000 acres. ... Read more

Interesting Facts

Earthquake acoustics could warn of impending tsunami
Stanford scientists have identified key acoustic characteristics of the 2011 Japan earthquake that indicated it would cause a large tsunami, and suggested that the technique could be applied worldwide to create an early warning system for massive tsunamis... Read more

B.C. due for mega-earthquake along coast
The last massive earthquake that shook the south coast of British Columbia took place on Jan. 26, 1700, say researchers who have been able to use sediment samples taken from the sea floor off the coast of Vancouver Island to reveal the Pacific coast's seismic history...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Risk Management: Fixed & Mobile Enterprise Adoption Trends

Risk management practices related to telecommunications management have evolved as cloud computing and mobility have broadened the span of accessibility to business information. In this regard, the emphasis of risk management is primarily focused on information security and technical integrity..Read more

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 07, 2013

What happened this week?

Tropical Storm Andrea drenches Florida's west coast
Heavy rains and 60 mph winds pounded the west coast of south Florida from the Keys to the Tampa area Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center reported... Read more

Interesting Facts

NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season
“This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa."... Read more

Hurricane Statistics Fast Facts
Here's a look at some hurricane statistics, as the 2013 hurricane season kicks off..Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

New action plan launched in South America to promote resilience, risk reduction, and preparedness towards disasters
After Asia, the Americas are the region in the world most prone to disasters, but suffering the highest economic losses globally resulting from disasters. There is much to gain from preparing better. A recent study conducted in Ecuador shows that each dollar spent on disaster preparedness to floods saved 9 dollars in subsequent relief response and rehabilitation..Read more

Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013

What happened this week?

OAS Representative describes disaster simulation exercise on Nevis as successful
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (MAY 28, 2013) -- The knowledge and technical skills of almost 133 members of the newly trained Community Disaster Response Team from the Sustainable Communities Project, entitled “Building Community Resilience One Community at a Time” were tested through a simulation exercise conducted throughout the island on May 27, 2013... Read more

Copahue Volcano Eruption Imminent
The Copahue volcano located on the border of Chile and Argentina recorded an average of 130 seismic events per hour over the last 24 hours, which has officials worried of that eruption might occur before the evacuation of the Chile side is complete.... Read more

Rivers again on the rise across the Midwest, and heavy rain unlikely to let up soon
ST. LOUIS — Rivers in the nation’s heartland are rising again, and with heavy rain in the forecast, parts of Iowa, Missouri and Illinois are bracing for yet another round of flooding... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Lima: 92 areas at risk during earthquake
Last year a report by the country’s Civil Defense agency warned that an 8-degree earthquake, or higher, could leave over 51,000 fatalities, and more than 680,000 people injured in Lima and Callao..Read more

Much of Red Cross fund for Sandy aid still unspent; organization says money being used wisely
NEW YORK — Seven months after Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross still hasn’t spent more than a third of the $303 million it raised to assist victims of the storm, a strategy the organization says will help address needs that weren’t immediately apparent in the disaster’s wake..Read more

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24, 2013

What happened this week?

Oklahoma tornado's strength upgraded to rare EF5
Scientists concluded the storm was a rare and extraordinarily powerful type of twister known as an EF5, ranking it at the top of the scale used to measure tornado strength... Read more

The Fourth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction: linking discussions on post-2015 HFA to enable sustainable development through reduced disaster loss
The Global Platform is highly important for the international community to agree a strong successor framework that builds on the achievements of the Hyogo Framework for Action, and to ensure clear links between discussions on post-2015 frameworks to enable sustainable development through reduced disaster loss... Read more

Interesting Facts

Oklahoma Tornado's Climate Change Connection Is 'A Damn Difficult Thing To Predict'
Climate change chatter ran rampant after an unusually violent string of twisters in 2011, including a Joplin, Mo., storm that killed 158 people. After tornadoes took at least 24 lives in Moore, Okla., on Monday, headlines -- like this one -- are once again raising the question: Will a warming world fuel more tornado strikes? "It's a damn difficult thing to predict," said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate change expert at Princeton University..Read more

As Jet Stream Moved North, Moist Air Barreled Into Plains With Deadly Results
It is not possible to draw a connection between climate change and the frequency or intensity of tornadoes, experts said — the year-to-year variability is too great to draw any useful conclusions..Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Overheated rhetoric on climate change doesn’t make for good policies
Climate change is an issue that needs to be discussed thoughtfully and objectively. Unfortunately, claims that distort the facts hinder the legitimate evaluation of policy options..Read more

Climate change: Environmentalists question whether Gov. Jerry Brown's actions match his rhetoric
The world is fast approaching a tipping point after which the damage caused by climate change can't be undone, Gov. Jerry Brown told a technology summit Thursday. "Five years from now, it's over," unless we change our ways sooner, he said. But some environmentalists say Brown's actions don't match his rhetoric -- particularly his recent decision to divert $500 million in cap-and-trade fee revenues away from clean-energy and pollution-abatement projects to help California balance its books..Read more