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Updated every Friday.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 29

Teaching the Science & Rhetoric of Climate Change: Strategies, Pitfalls, and Keeping Your Chin Above Water in Turbulent Times
NOAA Climate Stewards Webinar Series

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 19:30

Monday October 2, at 7:30 pm ET

... Read more

What happened this week?

PM Skerrit Wants to Rebuild a More Resilient Dominica. Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit thanked the international community for help, have made "tremendous progress" since Hurricane Maria hit last week. ... Read more

What every American needs to know about Puerto Rico’s hurricane disaster. There’s still no power on the island, with the exception of generators powering only the highest-priority buildings like hospitals. ... Read more

How Mexico City Is Beginning To Rebuild After The Earthquake. Nearly 4,000 buildings have been reported to have structural damage. More may collapse over coming weeks. It may cost several billion dollars to repair the damage. ... Read more

Interesting Facts

Majority of Americans now say climate change makes hurricanes more intense. A majority of Americans say that global climate change contributed to the severity of recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.  ... Read more

Hidden Costs of Climate Change Running Hundreds of Billions a Year. A new report warns of a high price tag on the impacts of global warming, from storm damage to health costs. But solutions can provide better value, the authors say. ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Hurricane response: Caribbean disaster agency comes of age. Caribbean governments want to be “taken seriously” in humanitarian management, and this year’s hurricane crises are an opportunity for the UN to “let go”. ... Read more

Many Americans think foreign aid is a waste. Puerto Rico shows why it’s not. Every year, USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance draws on part of the foreign aid budget to respond to an average of 65 disasters in more than 50 countries. ... Read more

Climate change burden unfairly borne by world's poorest countries. A flood of climate refugees could be imminent unless the richer nations do more to help poorer ones combat global warming, argues an IMF report. ... Read more

Friday, September 22, 2017

Septiembre 22


Dominica 'in daze' after storm leaves island cut off from world. The first island hit by the full category-five force of Hurricane Maria – is “in a daze”, officials have said, cut off from its Caribbean neighbours in the wake of a storm that destroyed properties, silenced communications and cut power and running water... "I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane,” the prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, wrote on Facebook. ... Read more

In Puerto Rico, the Storm ‘Destroyed Us’. Puerto Rico remained in the throes of chaos and devastation Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Maria continued to dump rain on the island — up to three feet in some areas. ... Read more

Hurricane Maria rips Caribbean, leaves Puerto Rico powerless for months and trashes Dominican Republic. Hurricane Maria was battering the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning in its deadly tear across the Caribbean -- as the long-term devastation in Puerto Rico was just coming into focus. ... Read more

Mexico Earthquake

Mexico had two major earthquakes this month. Here's why. Both earthquakes seem to be a result of the rupture of fault lines within the North American tectonic plate, according to Behzad Fatahi, associate professor of geotechnical and earthquake engineering at the University of Technology Sydney. ... Read more

Lessons from the devastating Mexico City earthquake of 1985 that were not learned. 'No running. No screaming. No pushing.' A phrase that several generations of Mexicans memorized since little kids. ... Read more

Mexico shrouds its sorrow in solidarity. Mexico's biggest earthquake in more than three decades brought parts of the capital to its knees on Tuesday afternoon. But moments later, as the earth continued to tremble, many of Mexico City's residents stood up and mobilized. ... Read more

What Mexico's earthquake means for California. As we see footage of the devastation in Mexico in the aftermath of the second earthquake that country has suffered this month, people in California might well be wondering how well-prepared their local communities are.  ... Read more

Interesting Facts
Climate Change maximizes atmospheric phenomena. or doesn't? Luis Maisincho, researcher at the Universidad Amazónica Ikiam and the Instituto Nacional de Meteorología e Hidrología (Inamhi), explains that CC has increased the strength of hurricanes since 1960, but not their frequency... Meanwhile, Fernando Mato, scientist and researcher at the Escuela Politécnica del Ejército, explains that the planet is “in a transition period, adjusting to a change in trends”.  ... Read more

The 'triangle of life', the technique that saves you in an earthquake. An expert in search and rescue argues that 'take cover and hold on' may kill you.  ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

We cannot just stand still: Jamaica Tourism to steer UNWTO Disaster Recovery Program for Caribbean. Speaking at a special meeting of the newly convened recovery program, Secretary General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai said, “We cannot just stand still – it is not right. I hope that we can leave this place with lines of action we can pursue. ” ... Read more

Natural barriers are a key defense against storms like Harvey and Irma. Coastal populations are swelling, which is putting many more people and much more property in harm’s way. What’s seemingly disregarded is that many of these development choices are doubly risky because we are building on top of, and degrading, our first lines of protection — our natural defenses ... Read more

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15

Irma: The Aftermath

How Hurricane Irma will change the Caribbean. Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. Just putting back what the storm took away will not be enough this time. ... Read more

'For first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda'. Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. An estimated 95% of Barbuda’s structures are damaged, and the entire island of around 1,800 people has been evacuated. ... Read more

The Virgin Islands, After Irma: 'It Was Like Stepping Onto Another Planet'
. Hurricane Irma arrived on the doorstep of the Virgin Islands just over a week ago. A Category 5 storm, historic in its terrible might, Irma shredded homes and hotels into the bare materials that made them, its winds scattering floorboards and roofs and light poles like so many matchsticks. ... Read more

Florida Deaths in Sweltering Nursing Home Show Post-Disaster Perils. Heat is a top killer after hurricanes and disasters cause power outages, said Dr. Thomas Kirsch, director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health. Kirsch noted that hundreds of elderly people died in the 1995 Chicago heat wave and when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. ... Read more

What [else] happened this week?

Mexico-Guatemala Earthquake. According to the [BBC], an 8.1-magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale struck off the Pacific Coast of Mexico--around 87km (54 miles) south-west of Pijijiapan--at 23:50 local time on Thursday, 7 September 2017 (04:50 [GMT] Friday). A tsunami warning was issued for Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Honduras; however, it was later lifted. An estimated 50 million Mexicans felt the tremor per the Mexican government. ... Read more

Mexico quake hit hard at center of Zapotec 'muxe' culture. The quake killed 96 people across Mexico, and it struck hardest in the heartland of Mexico's Zapotec culture — a region famed for deep-rooted feminism, the flamboyant "Tehuana" dresses often worn by Frida Kahlo and for one of its most noted traditional subcultures: the "muxe," people born male who dress and identify as women and who are accepted, even honored, for their contributions. ... Read more
Interesting Facts

Is it unusual to have two strong storms back to back? This isn't the first time two impressive storms have hit in rapid succession. In 1954, Carol and Edna menaced the East Coast within two weeks of each other and were soon followed by Hazel. In 1955, Connie and Diane "struck the North Carolina coast only five days apart," according to the National Hurricane Center. ... Read more

Mysterious lights in the sky seen after Mexico’s huge earthquake. Earthquake lights are a phenomenon so unusual that they border on myth. The first known reports of them are from 89 BC, with spotty descriptions over the centuries. ... Read more

Did Mexico dodge a bullet in last week’s M=8.1 earthquake? It’s now been a little over four days since Mexico’s Chiapas region was struck by a deadly M=8.1 earthquake, the largest earthquake to hit the country in over a century. And a closer look at the dynamics of this event tells us that while it was extremely destructive, it could have been much worse.  ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Houston's 'flood czar' says Harvey has brought the city to a decision point on flood control. Stephen Costello, the city's chief resilience officer, says that "at least some of the money (recovery dollars) should be used to buy up entire neighborhoods that border bayous and have inadequate flood protection and then to turn those areas into green space." ... Read more

Abandon Florida? Not quite. But it’s time for a retreat from flood zones. It's easy to lament Houston’s paved-over floodplains and Tampa Bay's waterfront high-rises, built on terrain that’s barely above sea level — on a good day. When you hear about a house in Houston, assessed at $72,400, that has received more than $1 million in payouts through the federal flood insurance program, it’s only natural to ask, “Why did we ever build there?" ... Read more

Hurricanes Are Just One Kind Of Disaster. Never mind the idea of a 100-year storm — Hurricane Harvey which dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston has been called a 1,000-year storm. In its wake at least 60 people lost their lives, more than a million others were uprooted as some 200,000 homes and as many as 500,000 cars were damaged or destroyed. ... Read more

Friday, September 1, 2017

September 1

Hurricane Harvey's aftermath: Live updates

Interesting Facts

Satellite images show Harvey's impact on Texas towns. Although flooding in Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur has received the most attention, newly released satellite images show the storm's impact in other towns ... Read more

In maps: Houston and Texas flooding. Before and after. Imagery from the TerraSAR-X radar satellite shows the extent of flooding up to Monday 28 August ... Read more

Most Harvey flood victims uninsured, face big bills alone. Insurance experts say only a small fraction of homeowners in Harvey's path of destruction have flood insurance ... Read more

What 500-year flooding could look like around five cities. Hundreds of thousands of people live in flood-prone areas like Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and New York ... Read more

What's new in Disaster Risk Reduction?

Harvey Wasn’t Just Bad Weather. It Was Bad City Planning. Houston exulted in sprawling, hands-off growth. That’s no way to prepare for natural catastrophes ... Read more

Federal agencies, employees surge to Harvey’s devastation. A welcome counterpoint to Mother Nature’s destruction is the human response, the legion of selfless volunteers, charitable organizations and regular folks helping residents survive. Government workers at all levels, including more than
12,400 federal employees as of Wednesday morning, are directly involved with the disaster ... Read more

Who will bear the financial burden for Harvey’s rampage? Not insurance companies. The estimated bills for Harvey are just now trickling in and they are preliminary, but a couple of facts are becoming clear. First, Harvey will be rank among the costliest hurricanes to strike the U.S. Second, a very large portion of the bill will wind up on property owners ... Read more