Update info

Updated every Friday.

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

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013

What happened this week?

A Tornado’s Mad Dash, and Then Ruins
GRANBURY, Tex. — “There used to be a house there.” Wayne McKethan, Granbury’s city manager, pointed at a bare slab surrounded by debris, all that was left Thursday after a tornado tore through the Rancho Brazos subdivision.... Read more

South American corn bolsters drought-ravaged U.S. stocks
A record 2 million tonnes of South American corn is being sent to the United States this season to compensate for last year's weak harvest, industry sources based in Buenos Aires have told Reuters.... Read more

Interesting Facts

Climate change 'will make hundreds of millions homeless'
Carbon dioxide levels indicate rise in temperatures that could lead agriculture to fail on entire continentsIt is increasingly likely that hundreds of millions of people will be displaced from their homelands in the near future as a result of global warming. That is the stark warning of economist and climate change expert Lord Stern following the news last week that concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere had reached a level of 400 parts per million (ppm)..Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

UN: $2.5 trillion in disaster losses since 2000
Economic losses from disasters since 2000 are in the range of $2.5 trillion, a figure at least 50 percent higher than previous international estimates, according to a U.N. report released Wednesday....Read more

Flood alarms threatened by budget cuts
The U.S. flood alarm system is about to get smaller.
On May 1, the U.S. Geological Survey began turning off some 150 stream gauges that monitor water levels on the nation's rivers and streams, thanks to the federal spending cuts, also known as sequester... Read more

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013

What happened this week?

North Dakota residents exhausted from multiple floods

The Red River crested in Fargo, N.D., 16 feet above flood stage. "Four floods in the last five years. That's extremely unusual," Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said. Last year was the only season since 2009 without a flood because there was a drought... Read more

4.1 earthquake shakes St Lucia
St Lucia was jolted by an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 late Tuesday night, the Trinidad-based Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) reported Wednesday... Read more

Drought-stricken Panama orders power rationing
The Secretary of Energy, Vicente Prescott, explains that if the dams of Fortuna in Chiriquí and Bayanoa do not get any water soon, they will have to schedule power outages in the next days..... Read more

Interesting Facts

Tornado spike in 2011 attributed to climate change. So what to make of this year’s tornado drought?

Tornado expert Harold Brooks notes that during the 12-month period from May 2012-April 2013 there were just 197 tornadoes rated EF1 or stronger. This is, Brooks says, apparently a record low for U.S. tornadoes in a 12-month period... Read more

More about Tornados. Tornado activity hits 60-year low
The USA in the past 12 months has seen the fewest number of tornadoes since at least 1954, and the death tolls from the dangerous storms have dropped dramatically since 2011.... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

UK budget airline to test volcanic ash cloud detection technology aimed at avoiding air chaos
A U.K. budget airline will create an artificial volcanic ash cloud over Europe this summer to test ash detection technology. The experiment aims to avoid the kind of chaos that paralyzed air traffic during eruptions three years ago..... Read more

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013

What happened this week?

Bolivia. Three macro regions reported effects of drought which put 13 000 hectares in danger

The Director of Departmental Service of Agriculture (SEDAG), Ruben Paichucama, said on Tuesday that three macro regions reported effects of drought and announced that at least 13,000 hectares of crops are at risk. These areas are being affected by multiple factors including dry soil and transpiration, seepage problems because of the heat sources, the characteristic clay of their land, increasing soil degradation, and erosion by high temperatures.
Read more

Colombia. A winter emergency has affected 300 families in Antioquia

A total of 25 houses and about 80 people were evacuated due to a winter landslide located in the east of Medellin near the highway to Alto de Santa Elena. Fortunately zero victims were injured. Also in east Antioquia intense rains had affected 223 people and left 13 families without homes. For the 13 families who lost everything the Red Cross handed hygiene and kitchen kits, while the Dapard and the Municipal Council of Risk Management, provided blankets and food.
Read more

Argentina. The city of La Plata implements a preventive operation against rain alert
On Wednesday morning, city staff tour the neighborhoods of the city of La Plata to warn neighbors about the scope of the governing rainfall alert for today. Inspectors visited the city, especially the neighborhoods that were most affected by the tragic flood on April 2, 2013. The municipal offices were scheduled to open all day; along with municipal officers patrolling on foot and in vehicles.
Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

USA. The U.S. White House recognizes Steve Birnbaum, the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) Chairman of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HA/DR) Programs for his efforts during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012

Steve Birnbaum was honored for providing expert and innovative assistance that enabled a locally-driven community response through the use of High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) communications during the Hurricane Sandy relief operations. Applying his knowledge of satellite communications, Mr. Birnbaum helped implement FEMA’s“Whole of Community” approach to disaster response, which articulates that an effective response to a disaster requires the participation of the entire community, and that robust communication networks catalyze optimal response and recovery by providing both survivors and community leaders access to information and resources.

Barbados. With the approaching hurricane season, the Barbados Advocate stresses 'Be Disaster Ready'
Some experts have predicted an above-normal hurricane season for this year and with the heavy and persistent showers being experienced in the last few weeks, we are reminded that the hurricane season will very soon be upon us. In fact, it is just four short weeks away, with an official start of June 1. It can only be hoped that after so many years of being sensitized to the necessary preparations, homeowners and businesses now have an established routine when it comes to preparing for the hurricane season. Equally important are preparations made on a longer timeline, such as purchasing home insurance and for businesses, making provision for off-site and/or digital storage, for example.

USA. The Next Government Spending Crisis: Disaster Relief
A new analysis from the Center for American Progress (CAP) finds that the federal government spent $136 billion on disaster relief from fiscal 2011 to 2013. “Combined, these extreme weather events were responsible for 1,107 fatalities and up to $188 billion in economic damages,” the report says. However, government agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Management and Budget have failed to keep comprehensive tabs on the total levels of disaster-relief spending, the CAP report found, making it harder to properly budget for such spending.
Read more