Update info

Updated every Friday.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March 31, 2017

What happened this week?

  1. Softening ground could cause Huixquilucan landslide. Affected 6 workers, of whom 2 died; another is missing and three are being treated for injuries...Read more
  2. Piura in emergency: This Monday saw a new overflow of the river Piura and this has caused that diverse sectors of the city are affected. The historic center, Hospital Cayetano Heredia and the National University of Piura are just some of the points affected...Read more
United States.
  1. The National Weather Service has confirmed that five tornadoes touched down in Arkansas during the weekend. Meteorologist Chris Buonanno said the most damaging tornado was an EF2 that touched down at the Pulaski-Faulkner county line Friday night, destroying several mobile homes and injuring six people...Read more
  2. The National Weather Service confirms that a tornado touched down in southwest Houston this morning. They determined the tornado was an EF-1 on the rating scale, which designates EF-0 as the weakest and EF-5 as the strongest...Read more
  3. Earthquake rumbles northern Oklahoma. At approximately 10:37 a.m. March 29 a preliminary 4.4 magnitude earthquake was recorded six miles east of Medford near Deer Creek in Grant County. By 11:30 a.m. the earthquake was downgraded to a 4.1 magnitude...Read more

Interesting Facts

A Parametric Flood Control Method for Dams with Gate-Controlled Spillways. The study presents a method which can be used to define real-time operation rules for gated spillways (named the K-Method). The K-Method is defined to improve the performance of the Volumetric Evaluation Method (VEM), by adapting it to the particular conditions of the basin, the reservoir, or the spillway...Read more

Global disaster events resulted in $54bn of insured losses in 2016. The findings show that there were 327 disasters events last year, 191 of which were natural catastrophes, and 136 were man-made, with North America accounting for half the global insured losses...Read more

Peru: Disaster relief funds sit unused as floods wreak havoc. Floods and landslides are nothing unusual during Peruvian summers so the national disaster relief program should not have failed across the country. There is no reason, save a lack of unified political will...Read more

What drought? Sierra Nevada snowpack at 164 percent of normal. On Tuesday, the statewide Sierra snowpack stood at 164 percent of its historic average, a massive accumulation of new water. It’s the largest snowpack since 2011, when it was 171 percent of normal on April 1...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Don’t forget refugees and migrants when tackling risk. A special session of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction spotlighted their vulnerabilities in the face of natural and human-induced hazards, but underlined that they also have an important role to play in curbing impacts...Read more

Don’t sideline women from disaster risk reduction. Sidelining half of society is completely wrongheaded, Ms. Hiba Qasas, Chief, Crisis Prevention, Preparedness and Response at UN Women, told a special session of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday...Read more

How can the hydropower sector and the Red Cross work together to protect flood-prone communities? The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre has developed an innovative mechanism to predict and prepare for flood risks, which will be presented at a special session during the 2017 World Hydropower Congress...Read more

People are the core of disaster risk reduction. People and their communities must be at the heart of efforts to reduce the impacts of natural and human-induced hazards, senior officials told Europe’s annual disaster risk summit today...Read more

Friday, March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017

What happened this week?
Mexico. Ten forest fires are active in the state of Morelos, confirmed the Unified State Forest Fire Command. It has deployed a task force of more than 150 forest fighters from the National Forestry Commission of the Secretariat of Sustainable Development, Civil Protection and rural brigadistas that work to control and extinguish the fire... Read more
Peru. An unusual bout of heavy rains powered by El Niño conditions have drenched parts of Peru with 10 times more rainfall than normal, causing rivers to overflow, and mudslides to destroy roads and farms. More than 70 deaths have been attributed to the flooding, which has isolated hundreds and displaced thousands... Read more
United States. Heavy precipitation leads to seventh disaster declaration. Gov. Butch Otter has now signed state disaster declarations for seven north central and northern Idaho counties currently managing flooding-related issues associated with snowmelt and ongoing precipitation..Read more
Interesting Facts
Climate breaks multiple records in 2016, with global impacts. The year 2016 made history, with a record global temperature, exceptionally low sea ice, and unabated sea level rise and ocean heat, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Extreme weather and climate conditions have continued into 2017...Read more
California faces significant flood risk and funding shortfalls. With its aging dams, collapsing levees and outdated flood control systems, a state report Wednesday said California is ground zero for devastating floods — as San Jose experienced last month — and that billions of dollars in additional funding is needed to fix decaying infrastructure...Read more
Peru floods in line with climate change models, says climatologist Mojib Latif. Peru is being hit by devastating flooding. Is it a natural weather cycle or an impact of climate change?...Read more
Under the dead sea, warnings of dire drought. Nearly 1,000 feet below the bed of the Dead Sea, scientists have found evidence that during past warm periods, the Mideast has suffered drought on scales never recorded by humans—a possible warning for current times. Thick layers of crystalline salt show that rainfall plummeted to as little as a fifth of modern levels some 120,000 years ago, and again about 10,000 years ago...Read more
Tornadoes in the Southeast May Be Influenced by Mountainous Terrain; VORTEX-SE Project Investigating This Spring. Scientists this spring will gather more details on evidence that suggests tornadoes are influenced by terrain in parts of the southeastern U.S. Of particular interest for this investigation is a mountainous area of northern Alabama, where it's thought that the local environment has aided in tornado development in past events...Read more
What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?
The governments of Argentina, Brazil and Chile will convert the Hercules in hydrant planes. If a significant fire, the other two countries could attend the third. Personnel of the Argentine Aircraft Factory Brigadier San Martín (Fadea) in Córdoba, where the 4 Hercules C-130 are currently located, assures that the airplane allows the incorporation of a removable hydrant system...Read more
Living close to risk (Argentina): 7 out of 10 informal settlements are only yards away from a danger factor. According to Techo, most of the settlements are next to a stream, a high traffic route or a landfill; urbanization dilutes the possibility of accidents and health problems...Read more
Hancock Co. to spend $500,000 to repair tornado sirens. “It’s the last means of letting them know that the severe weather is actually here in our backyard,” said Misty Moore, director of Hancock County Emergency management agency...Read more

Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017


OAS participation in 5th Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas

The OAS was present at the V Session of the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Americas, in Montreal. Carmen Moreno, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) offered a key-note speech at the session on Gender Equality in Disaster Risk Reduction. Ambassador Moreno said that women no longer must  be consider a vulnerable group, and instead it must be understood that their conditions of vulnerability arise from gender inequalities and access to the same rights… Pablo Gonzalez, Principal Specialist of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development, attended on behalf of Secretary General Luis Almagro…


What happened this week?

Canada. During Tuesday night’s snowstorm in Montreal, 300 vehicles — and their occupants — were stuck on the lanes of southbound Highway 13 for close to 14 hours... Read more

Chile. Red alert for Valparaiso province due to wildfires: CONAF reported that the active wildfire fire “Ruta Las Palmas” has consumed 230 hectares in the commune of Viña del Mar. Approximately 6,000 people, some of which are returning, preventatively evacuated their houses. Approximately 16 houses are damaged. The electric service was restored; however, 2,200 people are without drinking water service... Read more

Dominica. Heavy rains damage infrastructure and cause flooding: over the weekend, heavy rains led to flooding which collapsed the Bailey bridge in Macoucherie and shut down the Douglas Charles Airport, which has since reopened. In addition, landslides have occurred, but so far there have been no reports of injuries or damages to health facilities... Read more

Peru. Heavy summer rains flood Peru: The rains and resulting floods and landslides have killed at least 25 people and affected more than 200,000 people in Peru. In particular, inland rains which fell on the western slopes of the Andes Mountains have caused major issues... Read more

United States.

  1. Winter storm Stella to impact northeastern region: A winter storm is set to affect the Northeastern part of the United States from March 13-14. Travel is expected to be severely limited- flights have already been cancelled. In addition, power outages are possible due to wet snow and strong winds and flooding is possible in vulnerable shore areas...Read more
  2. Following major wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, Governor Greg Abbott today declared a State of Disaster in the following counties: Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts and Wheeler...Read more

Interesting Facts

'Monster Guard': The app the Red Cross really wants your kids to play. the American Red Cross is urging children to use an app — a game —  to prepare for tornadoes and other disasters. The app will be rolled out to 40,000 educators with a full lesson plan in the next several months to help students learn the science behind natural disasters...Read more

A supercomputer created a simulation of the F5 “El Reno” tornado which devastated part of Oklahoma in 2011. Now, researchers have created a similar simulation of the internal workings of tornado, without Hollywood magic or at risk of life and limb. According to a press release, researchers using a supercomputer have created the most detailed simulations of the inner workings of tornados so far...Read more

How to prepare in case you're stranded in a car for hours. What should you keep in your car in case of an emergency? And what should you do if you end up stranded on the road for hours?...Read more

New model aims to help improve resilience to subduction zone earthquakes. Subduction zone earthquakes are the largest on earth. Because of the severe impacts these quakes can have on society, researchers at the University of Bristol and the University College of London have developed a computer model to simulate the entire chain of events caused by these earthquakes...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

2 bills aim to prevent or mitigate oil-train disaster. Native Americans, environmentalists and a fishing guide spoke out Monday in support of two bills that aim to prevent, or at least mitigate, an ecological disaster like an oil spill into the Columbia River...Read more

IBC supports outcomes of 2017 Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas. Last week, Canada hosted the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, held in Montreal. The three-day conference ran from March 7 to 9 and was supported by Public Safety Canada and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is a key supporter of the Regional Platform...Read more

Americas region adopts landmark disaster risk plan. The Americas region in March 9, took a landmark step on the road to resilience by adopting an action plan to tackle the huge array of natural and human-induced hazards that its dozens of countries and territories face...Read more

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017

What happened this week?

Bahamas. Residents of a community near the burning landfill in The Bahamas’ capital are not expected to get the all-clear to return to their homes for another few days... Read more

Paraguay. Over the weekend, six families were evacuated from their homes due to the overflow of Pirayu'i River in Edelira, Itapúa Department, due to heavy rains. In addition, hundreds of vehicles were stranded, leaving the area inaccessible and a bridge was affected... Read more

Peru. Heavy rains caused a landslide in La Libertad, Parcoy District, Pataz Province, and affected several homes and killed two people. There are 10 more homes at risk. In the Piruan province of Paita, streets flooded after 10 hours of continuous rainfall... Read more

United States.

  1. Tornadoes slam Midwest, leaving a trail of destroyed homes and displaced residents. The Midwest was slammed with 29 reported tornadoes Monday, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, leaving a trail of damaged homes and displaced and injured residents...Read more
  2. Tornado tore 15-mile path through Perry County, costing 60 families 'just about everything'...Read more
  3. Rancher David Bouziden lost his home, his ranch and nearly all his cattle in wildfires that swept through Kansas this week...Read more

Interesting Facts

California won't meet its climate change goals without a lot more housing density in its cities. To meet the bold new climate change goals put in place last year, California will work to put millions of electric cars on the road, revolutionize its dairy industry and generate half of all power from solar panels and other renewable sources...Read more

Chattanooga still vulnerable to once-in-500-years flood. According to Tom Barnett, the senior manager at TVA's operations center TVA's system of dams and reservoirs cannot prevent all flooding in the city...Read more

Doctors turn to 3D printing to source medical supplies in earthquake-recovering. While otoscopes might be a common medical item in the West, for remote mountain hospitals in Nepal, sourcing such equipment can be next to impossible...Read more

Drought monitor shows dramatic changes to national map. The drought situation in the west has been improving in 2017 and the intense red colors on the map have been slowly shrinking since the later part of 2016...Read more

Fault system off San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles Counties could produce magnitude 7.3 quake. A fault system that runs from San Diego to Los Angeles is capable of producing up to magnitude 7.3 earthquakes if the offshore segments rupture and a 7.4 if the southern onshore segment also ruptures, according to a new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego...Read more

In the US, added wildfires due to carelessness, not just climate change. The United States spends billions of dollars every year fighting wildfires. A recent paper published in PNAS finds that human-started conflagrations account for 84 percent of all wildfires in the US in recent years...Read more

Oroville Dam faces another risk: Earthquakes from rapid rise in water levels. As Lake Oroville swung from being at 41% of capacity to 101% in just two months, scientists are asking whether the filling of the reservoir at the fastest rate in at least a generation can produce a damaging earthquake...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

$1.5M flood control work in downtown Grand Rapids starts next month. The city is taking a more specialized design approach to the work in the area from Grand Valley State University's Eberhard Center north to Ab-Nah-Awen Park, where land largely serves as the flood wall...Read more

Americas region crafts disaster risk reduction plan. The vast Americas region today started a high-level conference on a wide-ranging plan that will seek to reduce the risks posed by natural and human-induced hazards...Read more

Guardsmen train with civilian counterparts for disaster preparedness. More than 50 Airmen from the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing attended training at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama...Read more

Indigenous peoples are key players in disaster risk reduction. The concerns and capacities of indigenous peoples need to be taken into account at all times when it comes to curbing disaster risk, leading members of communities from across the Americas said today at a high-level conference...Read more

International Women's Day: UN call for greater role for women in disaster risk management. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, today marked International Women’s Day with a call for greater advancement of women in disaster management and disaster risk reduction...Read more

Managing multi-hazard disaster risk in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Policy and practice options for managing destructive disaster events, such as volcanic eruptions and flash-floods, in St Vincent and the Grenadines...Read more

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017

What happened this week?
Canada. Three minor earthquakes in the past three days off the coast of B.C. and Washington state serve as a reminder that B.C. has entered “slip season”, when one expert says we should be the most prepared for “The Big One.".... Read more
Chile. Millions without water in Santiago after floods and landslides cause havoc in Chile. Three people are dead and 19 others are missing after heavy rains struck Chile over the weekend during the country's usually dry summer months... Read more

Guatemala. El Nino: Drought threatens Guatemala’s rural population. Nearly one million Guatemalans are at risk of going hungry. The weather phenomenon, El Nino, is being blamed for a lack of rain over the past two years. Rural families are running low on food, and some now depend on food aid.... Read more

 United States.
  1. A landslide as partially stranded homeowners in a rural part of Contra Costa County and there's a growing fear fire and rescue crews will not be able to get to them if there is an emergency...Read more
  2. Severe thunderstorms left swaths of destruction for a second straight day in parts of the Midwest and Southeast after a string of tornadoes ripped through several states...Read more.
Interesting Facts

A strange physical phenomenon is helping scientists predict where massive earthquakes will strike. Now, thanks to new research, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania believe they've found a new insight into why earthquakes happen, helping them to predict where they might occur. Their results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters...Read more
Colorado River drought woes could affect 41 million Americans. Residents of the Southwest US will almost certainly face drought because of water loss in the Colorado River caused by global warming, according to scientists. By mid-century the water levels will drop by 5 million acre-feet, a new study says...Read more

Stunning new tornado simulation may help meteorologists unlock their secrets. Weather experts are calling it the most realistic computer simulation of a tornado ever created.  Dr. Cathy Finely at Saint Louis University played a big role in making it happen. She is part of a team of meteorologists from around the country that are working together to bring this simulated tornado to life...Read more
The U.S. Geological Survey hails an early spring — and ties it to climate change. As the nation basks in some of the warmest February weather it's seen in decades, the U.S. Geological Survey has been quick to point out that the early spring conditions are just another symptom of climate change...Read more
Vancouver summers could get as warm as San Diego by 2050. The report used current climate model outcomes to provide a “best guess” snapshot of how climate change will unfold in Metro Vancouver over the coming decades...Read more
Will California's Giant Sequoias Survive The Next Drought? Although though the skies have finally opened and the rains have started to fall on California, more than 100 million trees died during the state's historic five-year drought...Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

A winter's worth of storms prompts Gov. Jerry Brown to ask for $437 million in flood and emergency relief. arning that it will only amount to a small down payment on a large and costly problem, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a $437-million request Friday to speed up flood control efforts in Northern California and boost the readiness of the state’s emergency operations...Read more
DRR critical to Haiti recovery effort. The Americas region meets next week to discuss the best way forward to reduce disaster losses as a new Post Disaster Needs Analysis (PDNA) demonstrates the full impact of the devastation wrought on Haiti by Hurricane Matthew in October last year...Read more

Technology and communities key to curbing tsunami risk. Deploying the power of technology worldwide and ensuring that communities know how to act in an emergency are the keys to curbing the risks posed by tsunamis, experts said this week...Read more