Update info

Updated every Friday.

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30, 2016

What happened this week?

Uruguay. Storm leaves one dead and 30 injured in San Carlos: A strong storm with the strength of a tornado affected the eastern part of the country, leaving one dead, and more than 30 injured, as well as downing trees and ripping off roofs. It was reported that as of yet, the city has no electricity (29,000 interrupted services). However, the two health centers in the affected area already have electrical power. The authorities are conducting damage assessments in the city. The 30 injures persons have been transferred to different health centers in the Department... Read more

Brazil. 5 municipalities in Bahia and Minas Gerais declared emergencies for heavy rain and drought: The National Secretariat for Protection and Civil Defense (SEDEC) of the Ministry of National Integration declared emergency situations for five municipalities in Bahia and Minas Gerais. The affected municipalities are Jaborandi and Marilac, for heavy rains and Paulo Afonso, Piritiba, and Presidente Janio Quadros, for drought... Read more

Interesting Facts

Earthquake faults are smarter than we usually think. Researchers now have an answer to a vexing age-old question: Why do earthquakes sometimes come in clusters? The research team has developed a new computer model and discovered that earthquake faults are smarter -- in the sense of having better memory -- than seismologists have long assumed... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Training trainers to curb disaster risk. Dozens of disaster risk management professionals from across the Americas have been schooled in how to pass on planning skills, thanks to a programme run by UNISDR’s Global Education and Training Institute... Read more

Chile boost for business resilience. Businesses in Chile have come together to form the latest national chapter of UNISDR’s Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies... Read more

Friday, December 23, 2016

December 23,2016

What happened this week?

Ecuador. 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Esmeraldas Province: Early this morning, December 19, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake was registered in the coasts of Atacames, Esmeraldas. According to the Geophysics Institute, 27 aftershocks with magnitudes between 2.9 and 4.2 have been registered in the same area. The earthquake was felt in the provinces of Guayas, Manabi, Pichincha and Santo Domingo. INOCAR dismissed necessary conditions to generate a tsunami in the coast of Ecuador. Classes were suspended in Esmeraldas and water pumps were closed as a preventive measure in Esmeraldas, Atacames and Rioverde. The provincial EOC has been activated and the local authorities together with the Army are attending the injured and surveilling the affected area. The damage assessment will be done by the Risk Management Secretariat and other institutions. According to latest report there have been 2 deaths, 10 injured, 20 damaged and 5 collapsed buildings. All health facilities are functional, the Hospital Juan Carlos Guasti in Atacames reported minor damage to its infrastructure... Read more

Bolivia. 600 families affected by overflowing of rivers in the Tropical Area: The overflowing of the Sajta and Chimoré Rivers in the municipalities of Puerto Villaroel and Chimoré, in the tropical area of Cochabamba, has affected 627 families and hundreds of hectares of crop fields. The communities affected by the flooding are: Puerto Villaroel, Manantal A, Tarija, Israel A, Sorpresa and Sajta Palmar Villa Victoria, Independencia, San Marcos and Puerto Chimoré... Read more

Interesting Facts

Tectonic shift? Study of olivine provides new data for measuring Earth's surface.
A recent study provides a new data set that scientists can use to better understand plate tectonics -- the movement of the earth's outer layer. Specifically, it contributes to understanding how plates are defined and measured, which is critical for developing computer models and predicting earthquake and volcano activity... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Mercocities focus on building resilience.A network of hundreds of cities across South America has pledged to step up regional efforts to reduce disaster risk and boost sustainable development... Read more

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016

What happened this week?

Nicaragua. Departments affected by the rainy season: Authorities reported that four departments of the country are being affected by the rains in the past days in the Southern Caribbean. 34 communities and 935 people have been affected by the low pressure system causing the Escondido River level to increase... Read more

Peru. Lack of rain causes loss of crops: The National Institute for Civil Defense (INDECI) reported that the lack of rain since October in the Amazonas area destroyed 5,253 hectares of crops and affected another 6,613. In addition, 3,645 hectares of vegetation were destroyed and 548 hectares affected. The Regional Directorate of Agriculture is performing the Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis in the affected localities... Read more

Bolivia. The Chuquisaca Prevention and Risk Assessment Department reported that 43,667 families were affected by natural disasters during 2016, with a higher incidence in the last two months due to the drought and strong rains in this region. The authorities informed that out of the 43,677 families, the Civil Defense and the local government has taken care of 36,743 families. The rest of the families will be attended to, including the affected ones in the Camargo municipality, who are recovering from a hail storm... Read more

Colombia. 77 people were rescued from a blocked road in Boyacá due to a landslide: The Civil Defense reported that 77 people have been rescued after 40 hours of being trapped in an emergency zone due to two severe landslides caused by the strong rains in the north sector of Boyacá, close to the borderlines with Arauca. No injuries or damage to nearby structures have been reported... Read more

Second winter season leaves 44 dead: The Management Unit for Irrigation (UNGRD) reported, that during the second winter period, floods and sudden floods brought 490 emergencies among landslides, floods and flash floods, which caused the deaths of 44 people and injured 32, none are missing. IDEAM reports that the rainy season extends until mid-December. Families left homeless by the storm amount to 48,513 in 312 municipalities over 28 departments... Read more

Interesting Facts

Quake-detection app captured nearly 400 temblors worldwide. A crowdsourced earthquake network using Android phones and the MyShake app has since February 2016 detected nearly 400 temblors worldwide, with one of the most active areas of the world the oil-drilling areas of Oklahoma. The app, downloaded almost 220,000 times, has sent back seismic waveform data that allows quite accurate assessment of magnitude and location, suitable for early warming: one of the main goals of the project... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Buenos Aires joins resilient cities network. 
Argentina’s Buenos Aires province has joined UNISDR’s Making Cities Resilient campaign, marking an important step in efforts to protect its population of almost 17 million people from natural and human-induced hazards... Read more

Friday, December 9, 2016

December 9, 2016

What happened this week?

Peru. A state of emergency has been declared in more than half of the country: On December 7 a state of emergency was declared in more than half of the country (18 of 25 regions) due to an acute drought that is affecting most of the coastal and Andean region. This emergency will last 60 days, during which the Central Government will implement immediate response and risk reduction actions to avoid damage to the agricultural sector and water shortenings... Read more

Dominican Republic. A state of emergency has been declared in more than half of the country: On December 7 a state of emergency was declared in more than half of the country (18 of 25 regions) due to an acute drought that is affecting most of the coastal and Andean region. This emergency will last 60 days, during which the Central Government will implement immediate response and risk reduction actions to avoid damage to the agricultural sector and water shortenings... Read more

Bolivia. Storms cause the death of 8 persons: The Civil Defense reported that up to as of the current date, storms, strong rains, and floods have killed eight people in Tomina, Chuquisaca, and La Paz Departments and have affected more than 614 families in the same areas... Read more

Guatemala. People affected by cold wave search refuge: 10 shelters are currently assisting a total of 516 people, of which 508 are in the Guatemala Department. 5 departments, Jutiapa, Alta Verapaz, San Marcos, Totonicapán and Guatemala, have established shelters to provide refuge during the cold season... Read more

Interesting Facts

Study offers coastal communities better way to prepare for devastating storms. With massive coastal storms on the rise, a new study describes a method for stakeholders in vulnerable communities to be involved in preparing for, absorbing, recovering and adapting from devastation... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Peru harnesses private sector for resilience. Peru is harnessing the power of business to reduce the impacts of natural and human-induced hazards, thanks to the creation of a national chapter of the UNISDR Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies... Read more

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2, 2016


By Pablo Gonzalez

One of the main challenges that policy and decision makers face in the reconstruction of critical infrastructure lies in the urgency that is required to get vital systems and services up and running. That is the case of roads and bridges, needed to reestablish access to most affected communities that become isolated and in need of assistance; and hospitals that not only need to be operational but accessible to treat the injured and those who need urgent care. But also water systems, energy plants and grids, tele-communication networks and schools; and often, ports and airports, to ensure delivery of disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, domestic or international. That urgency often results in rehabilitating or rebuilding damaged infrastructure back worse, not better. Furthermore, reducing the vulnerability of critical infrastructure requires risk-based zoning and close institutional collaboration and coordination for data sharing and for integrating risk assessments into land use planning and the development of building codes, as well as the implementation of construction quality assurance (CQA) and construction quality control (CQC) systems. Last November 17th, an expert panel examined these challenges at a special meeting of the OAS Permanent Council and the Committee on Hemispheric Security... Read more

What happened this week?

Caribbean. Floods in Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Dominica: Severe flooding from heavy rainfall has been impacting Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Dominica. A flood warning is ongoing for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Conditions in these countries are expected to worsen. Furthermore, residents living in landslide prone areas along the riverbanks are at risk, due to the already saturated nature of the soils. Landslides have already been reported, destroying 15 homes and damaging 30... Read more

Costa Rica. Update on Hurricane Otto: Institutions prepare a damage report for the rehabilitation stage. Two cantons remain on red alert. The Government authorities maintain emergency response actions in the areas most affected by Hurricane Otto... Read more

Dominican Republic. Heavy rains continue to impact Dominican Republic- Update: Two provinces, Monte Cristi and Duarte are under a red alert. Assessments are currently ongoing and distribution of drinking water in affected communities is being carried out. Approximately 20,000 people are displaced, 4,000 homes are damaged and 69 communities are isolated... Read more

United States. Severe weather have caused at least 5 deaths in several states: Five people have been killed in Alabama and Tennessee, as storms bearing suspected tornadoes affected the South early Wednesday. In addition to the reported fatalities, at least 7 people were injured and more than 20 building were destroyed in Roslie, Alabama. While in Tennessee and Mississippi at least 9 people have been injured, and several building and power lines have been damaged... Read more

Tennessee, US: Gatlinburg fires continue to blaze: Three people have died from the wildfire that scorched roughly 15,000 acres. The wildfire spread from the great Smoky Mountain into inhabited areas of Sevier County. More than 250 buildings in the county are damaged or destroyed... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

At tsunami summit, high school students commit to curb risk. Hundreds of high school students from around the world have pledged to step up efforts to reduce disaster risk, at a global gathering held to mark the first edition of World Tsunami Awareness Day... Read more