Update info

Updated every Friday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Nov 21st

What happened this week?

California Wildfires: Rain in the forecast will help firefighters but could also trigger mudslides. Up to four inches of rain is expected to fall from late on Tuesday through Friday in the Sierra foothills, the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center said. The rain is good news for fire fighters battling to extinguish the flames, but has also triggered warnings of landslides in areas where the fires have burnt away trees and brush and scorched the earth. Read more 

California Areas Torched By Wildfires Face New Dangers - Flooding and Mudslides. The rain that's forecasted for later this week may give California some much/-needed relief from the deadly and destructive wildfires plaguing the state. But too much sudden rainfall may pose its own dangers for land that has been burned. Read more   

Interesting Facts

Air Pollution from California Wildfires 60 Times Above Safe LimitAir pollution from California's deadly wildfires was 60 times higher than world health standards for safe air quality. Particulates in the air in some parts of the state measured as high as 1,500 micro-grams per cubic meter last week - far exceeding the World Health Organization's threshold of 25 micro-grams for particulate pollution. Read more 

Policy Developments and Outlook

NASA Mobilizes to Aid California Fires Response. For the past two weeks NASA scientists and satellite data analysts have been working every day producing maps and damage assessments that can be used by disaster managers battling the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California. The agency-wide effort also deployed a research aricfraft over the Woolsey Fire on Nov. 15 identigy burned areas at risk of mudslides in advance of winter rains expected in the area. Read more

Friday, November 16, 2018

Nov 16th

What happened this week?

Death toll rises in California's Camp Fire as number of unaccounted for leaps — live updatesAuthorities said late Thursday the death toll from California's Camp Fire has risen to 63, bringing the statewide count to 66. In addition, more than 600 people have now been reported missing, according to the Butte County Sheriff's Office. Read more  

What Started the California Fires? Experts Track the Blaze's Origins. As investigators try to determine what started the most devastating wildfire in California history, which has killed at least 63 people, the beginning premise is that human beings -through their mistakes, or their toys, tools and technologies - were probably behind it. Read more

Interesting Facts

All About Santa Ana Winds.  Santa Ana winds refer to a usually very hot and dry wind that blows from interior regions towards the coastline. While blowing dust is a pesky side-effect of these winds, the most publicized effect of the Santa Ana winds is their ability to quickly spread fires and knock out power. Read more 

What are the Santa Ana winds, and why are they such a wildfire hazard? Santa Ana winds can occur anytime from September to May, but they tend to be most dangerous in the fall, when summer droughts typically create the driest conditions, essentially turning the land into a tinderbox. And while the winds usually blow for just a few days on end, that's plenty of time for a tiny spark to spread into a vicious blaze. Read more 

ASU professor: After fires, Southern California could face mudslides. An Arizona State University professor said that once wildfires in Southern California are under control, the coastal region could face a different natural disaster: mudslides.Read more 

Policy Developments and Outlook

California's Deadliest Fires Could Have Been Mitigated By PreventionAs California’s fire season burst back into the headlines, President Trump generated controversy with a weekend tweet emphasizing the role of forest management in these fires:"There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!" Read more

California's Wildfire Epidemic Is Blamed on Bad Building Decisions. California's deadly wildfires have a straightforward solution, experts say: stop building homes in places that are likely to burn - and make homes that already exist in those areas a whole lot tougher. "It's a land-use issue", said Alice Hill, a senior adviser for climate resilience to President Barack Obama. Without so many homes being constructed in vulnerable areas at the edge of the fores, "we would still have the fires. But we wouldn't have this kind of devastation." Read more 

California utility proposes wildfire safety measures. A California utility plans to replace 3,400 miles of overhead power lines with insulated wire to reduce the risk of them sparking when hit by tree limbs or other objects, the company announced Monday. Sparking power lines are one of the leading causes of California's wildfires. The Wildfires have killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes in recent years. Read More

California Wildfires: Prevention, Safety Tips. Cal Fire, the state's firefighting agency, provided advice to help Californian's prevent a small spark from becoming a devastating wildfire. These safety tips, including how to prepare you property and family for wildfires, can save property and lives. Read more

Friday, November 9, 2018

Nov 9th

What happened this week?

'It Is Pure Chaos Up Here': Camp Fire Injures Residents, Forces Thousands to Flee as Flames Invade Paradise, California. Officials confirmed to the AP that some residents who attempted to escape the fire in their vehicles were then forced to flee on foot – some holding pets and even babies in their grasp – as the flames drew closer. With few options out of Paradise, roads quickly became gridlocked, and abandoned cars left in the middle of the road only made problems worse.. Read more

Interesting Facts

Raging California fires: Why have the flames spread so quickly? The Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires are expected to continue burning for days. The flames from the Camp Fire in Butte County, California, were spreading at 80 acres per minute Thursday, which is equivalent to burning an entire football field every second, according to UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. How have the flames spread so quickly in California? Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Greece: Eye of the Fire. A catalogue of dreadful failure and mismanagement ensued, from traffic diversions leading people into harm's way rather than out of danger, to illegal developments trapping others as they tried to flee into the sea, the only available refuge amid the flames.. Read More

Entering Burn Area’: Yosemite After the Fire. America’s national parks are increasingly bearing the burden of climate change, as rising temperatures and new weather patterns create mega blazes. A report from the burn zone. Read more

Friday, November 2, 2018

Nov 2

Interesting Facts
The National Weather Service Is Predicting a Mild Winter For Most Of The U.S. The Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Weather Service, is calling for a mild winter for most of the United States. The seasonal forecast is predicting warmer-than-normal conditions for most of the northern and western United States with the Pacific Northwest and Alaska seeing the biggest difference in temperatures. Read more 

Policy Developments and Outlook

The Battle for sustainable development will be won in cities - What should the inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable urban development look like? The key dimension of inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities is their ability to anticipate, reduce, mitigate, respond to and recover from a wide range of risks. The increased frequency and magnitude of urban disasters inflict an exponential economic cost as is evident by a string of disasters over the past decade. In big metropolitans as Cape Town and New Delhi, climate change is already aggravating water scarcity.  Read More

What is Climate-Ready Infrastructure? Some Cities Are Starting to Adapt Infrastructure systems are the front line of defense against flooding, heat, wildfires, hurricanes and other disasters. However the country is more frequently exceeding these historical conditions and is expected to see more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Said another way, because of climate change, natural systems are now changing faster than infrastructure. Read More 

Energy Companies Could Feel The Effects Of Climate Change On Their The Bottom Line "Disruptive climate change forces energy companies to take a hard look at changes they must make to become part of the reduction of greenhouse gases" Ben Ratner, senior director with the Environmental Defense Fund's EDF+Business, said. Read more 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Oct 19th

What happened this week?

International Day for Disaster Reduction. Held every 13 October, the day celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face. The 2018 edition continues as part of the "Sendai Seven" campaign, centred on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year will focus on Target C of the Sendai Framework, reducing disaster economic losses in relation to global GDP by 2030. Read more

Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built 'for the Big One'. MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — Florida’s building code, put into effect in 2002, is famously stringent when it comes to windstorm resistance for homes built along the hurricane-prone Atlantic shoreline. But it is less so for structures along the Panhandle, a region historically unaffected by storms as strong as the ones that have slammed into South Florida. Read More

As Hurricane Michael damages the Southeast, Puerto Rico provides lessons on resilient power. A year of power outages in Puerto Rico produced a historic case study in human misery, with almost 3,000 deaths due in part to the lack of power for home health care equipment and refrigeration of medications, and from outages in hospitals and clinics. 
Recently, however, Puerto Rico has taken steps to avoid future such catastrophes. Read more

Interesting Facts

What will winter in the US look like? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that overall temperatures will be warmer than normal over much of the US, especially the pacific northwest. In relation to precipitation,  NOAA predicted that it will be wetter than normal across much of the south, and dryer than normal in portions of the mid-west and Northern Rockies. In addition, there is a 75% chance that El Niño will develop in the next several months. Watch Video

Policy Developments and Outlook

Seismologist Stresses Open Dialogue Between Scientists and Policymakers. “In the light of recent hurricanes in the United States as well as other calamities around the world like the devastating tsunami in Palu, Indonesia, conversations on Disaster Mitigation are increasingly more relevant for Cornell as a cross-disciplinary incubator for innovation,” said Rhea Lopes grad, who is part of the Disasters Working Group at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Read More

Disaster Recovery: School Infrastructure Resilience Roadmap & Best Practices. School districts that face the loss of a school in a natural disaster like a hurricane face myriad challenges after the immediate danger passes, ranging from education and public safety to reconstruction. To improve community resilience, replacement schools can be designed to mitigate disaster risk and increase school infrastructure resilience in affected areas following a disaster. Read More

900K San Diegans participated in earthquake drill. SAN DIEGO - More than 900,000 San Diego County residents participated in Thursday's Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill to test their level of preparedness for a major temblor. The 10th annual drill took place at 10:18 a.m. At that time, millions of people across California will "drop" to the ground, take "cover" under a desk, table or other sturdy surface and "hold on" for 60 seconds, as if a major earthquake were occurring. Read More

Friday, October 12, 2018

Oct 12th

What happened this week?

Image result for hurricane michael 2018Michael hits Fla.: DR preps against 'compassion fatigue'. "The storms are simply happening a month later than they did last year," said Porter, who is coordinating with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief directors across the Southeast and NAMB's Send Relief leadership ahead of Michael's landfall. The tendency is for people to lose their sensitivity to the news of damage, flooding and homelessness, he said. Read More

How to talk about hurricanes now. (CNN) Hurricane Michael isn't a truly "natural disaster." Neither was Harvey in Houston. Nor Maria in Puerto Rico. Yet we continue to use that term. Doing so -- especially in the era of climate change -- is misleading if not dangerous, according to several disaster experts and climate scientists I reached by phone and on Twitter. Read more

Interesting Facts

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches with Argentine SAOCOM 1A and nails first West Coast landing. The launch took place from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Launch Complex 4E at 19:22 Pacific Time (02:22 UTC on Monday). Satélite Argentino de Observación Con Microondas, or SAOCOM, is a constellation of radar-imaging satellites that is being established by Argentina’s national space agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE).SAOCOM 1A is a 3,000-kilogram satellite. Built by INVAP, an Argentine Defense and Space company, it is based around the same platform used for the SAC-C remote sensing satellite which launched aboard a Delta II rocket in November 2000. Designed to operate for five years, the satellite will use L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to image the Earth in any weather or lighting conditions. SAOCOM 1B is an identical satellite which will join SAOCOM 1A in orbit next year. Read more

Michael made history as one of the top four strongest hurricanes to strike the United States. The Florida Panhandle, which was devastated by Michael, has no prior record of such a strong storm. It ranked as the third-strongest storm to hit Florida, based on wind, and second-strongest, based on pressure. Michael made history by intensifying at a mind-boggling pace. It was a tropical depression on Sunday morning. At the time of landfall near Mexico Beach on the Panhandle early Wednesday afternoon, the storm was 1 mph shy of Category 5 status.  Read More

Policy Developments and Outlook

A new report of the UN urges to take measures against climate change.

Un nuevo informe de la ONU urge tomar medidas contra el cambio climáticoThis new report analyzes several ways to limit the increase in temperature to the more ambitious 1.5ºC, since it would be the only way to make the effects of climate change "less catastrophic". Among the proposed measures, the use of more renewable energies stands out, but also other actions, such as the implementation of a more sustainable and less extensive agriculture, with a greater extension of land dedicated to energy crops. In addition, it is proposed to increase the investment in technologies to reduce the emissions of polluting gases in daily life and capture more efficiently those that end up being released into the atmosphere. Read More

Hurricane Florence: Hoteliers coped with compassion. 

Natural disasters can trash a city or region, and it often falls to the hotels left standing to comfort, house and sustain a shake populace and the visitors caught up the event. 

Eric Churchill, SVP of operations at Connecticut-based Meyer Jabara Hotels, said his company went through a normal procedural checklist as the storm approached, but admitted it is impossible to be prepared for everything. As always, planning ahead of time can help cut down on the chaos a natural disaster brings. Read more

IFRC calls on governments to invest more in disaster risk reduction. This year, millions of people living in crisis have not been receiving the humanitarian assistance they desperately need—partly due to lack of sufficient investment in disaster and crisis preparedness, as well as resilience-building. In 2017, the Red Cross Movement invested more than 250 million Swiss francs in disaster risk reduction, working with local Red Cross and Red Crescent actors in the communities to help reduce the vulnerability to risk through education, community engagement and capacity building and boosting their resilience. Read More

Going Green in Dominica—Literally and Figuratively. 

(ECPA) One year after Hurricane Maria stripped Dominica’s trees of their leaves and turned the lush Caribbean island to brown, Ambassador Vince Henderson reports that nature is rebounding. “The island is looking green again, and I think psychologically that makes a big difference,” he said recently, just days after returning from a visit home. In an interview, the diplomat talked about the resilience of his fellow citizens and some of the steps his country is taking to become more resilient to climate change. Read more

Friday, July 13, 2018

July 13th

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

National Hurricane Center watching remnants of Hurricane Beryl 

(National Hurricane Center)A trough of low pressure, associated with the remnants of Hurricane Beryl, was moving north-northeastward over the western Atlantic at about 10 mph., the National Hurricane Center reported. In its 7 p.m. update Thursday (July 12), the Hurricane Center said the disturbance was located about 350 miles west of Bermuda, was producing showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions could support some tropical or subtropical development during the next couple of days, the Hurricane Center said. Later in the weekend, the system will be over colder waters and interacting with an upper-level low, which will limit development, the Hurricane Center said. Tropical formation chances were 20 percent over the next 48 hours and 40 percent over the next five days.... Read more  

Tropical Storm Chris expected to transition to a powerful non-tropical storm

Hurricane Chris tracker: Where is Hurricane Chris now? Hurricane Chris has been downgraded to a tropical storm as of Thursday, July 12th.The storm has moved away from the United States towards Newfoundland, in Canada, according to the National Hurricane Center.  A 5am EDT advisory at the National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving at 35mph towards the northeast. Chris is expected to spread some rain across Iceland, but also some warm weather across the UK and Ireland this weekend. Chris is said to be an unusually strong storm for mid-July, following its stirring of seas and coastal waters.  The second hurricane of the Atlantic season does not usually occur until later in the summer - around August 28, according to the National Hurricane Center. Waves 10 feet or greater may pose hazards to small craft, shipping and cruise interests over the northwestern Atlantic into this weekend. The storm follows Beryl, the first-named hurricane of the season, which could regenerate again north of the Bahamas... Read more  

Bolstering disaster preparedness in the Caribbean 

On July 10 and 11, the United States William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies co-hosted a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Seminar with U.S. Southern Command and the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) at the Hilton Barbados. The event brought together participants from 18 Caribbean and South American countries, as well as British, Canadian, Dutch, and French partners. The seminar provided an opportunity to consolidate lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season and to prepare Caribbean, partner nations, and U.S. humanitarian assistance forces for the 2018 hurricane season...Read more 

Regional Governments Advised to Include Disaster Management in Budgets

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs of Barbados, Gayle Francis-Vaughan, has called for emergency management and disaster preparedness to be mainstreamed in the budgets of Caribbean countries. She made the appeal yesterday as she addressed a two-day Caribbean Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Seminar at the Hilton Barbados Resort. “Personally, as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for disasters and emergencies, I would like to see emergency management and disaster preparedness mainstreamed in the budgets of our countries,” she said. The Permanent Secretary said issues related to the development of resilience in Barbados and support for the region were high on the government’s agenda. She added that the devastation left behind following last year’s hurricane season was evidence that countries could never be totally prepared, and they could not do it all on their own. “It [last year’s hurricane season] reminds us that the Caribbean region is really a family that comes together immediately if anyone of us is impacted seriously by any sort of disaster but especially disasters brought on by hurricanes. No Caribbean country is alone when preparing for hurricanes and dealing with the aftermath,” she said. Noting that Caribbean countries shared a common apprehension and anxiety during the Atlantic hurricane season, Francis-Vaughan said they did not have to be lobbied during times of crisis, since they rushed to each other’s aid...Read more 

Interesting Facts 

Half of climate action plans neglect people in danger, say researchers  

Governments are failing those most at risk from climate change by not placing them at the heart of efforts to adapt to more extreme weather and rising seas, researchers said in a report on the U.N. development goals, calling it “a critical concern”. The analysis of progress made by 86 countries found that just over half their strategies aimed at building climate resilience overlook groups bearing the brunt of environmental pressures, such as indigenous people and low-caste Indians. The index from the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) assessed whether countries are on track to meet a commitment to “leave no one behind”, a key pillar of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in 2015... Read more  

Improving disaster response through Twitter data 

Improving disaster response through Twitter dataTwitter data could give disaster relief teams real-time information to provide aid and save lives, thanks to a new algorithm developed by an international team of researchersA team of researchers from Penn State, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and the Qatar Computing Research Institute created an algorithm that analyzes Twitter data to identify smaller disaster-related events, known as sub-events, and generate highly accurate, real-time summaries that can be used to guide response activities. The group presented their paper—"Identifying Sub-events and Summarizing Information from Microblogs during Disasters"—today (July 10) at the 41st International Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval in Ann Arbor, Michigan... Read more       

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6th

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

Beryl Becomes 'Very Tiny' First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season 

The Category 1 hurricane Beryl, the first of the 2018 Atlantic season, strengthened from a tropical depression to a hurricane within 24 hours. By midday Friday, Beryl was churning about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean; it's expected to reach land by late Sunday or early Monday. Forecasters say the storm is likely to maintain its hurricane status as it approaches and crosses the islands. "It is possible that we could have hurricane watches up for some of those islands by tonight," said Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph on Friday afternoon as it churned across the water. "The hurricane force winds only extend outwards about 10 miles from the center, and the eye itself is about 5 miles wide" Berg said. "So that's just a very tiny system. We don't see many hurricanes that small." And yet, Berg said the conditions ahead of Beryl could allow it to strengthen a bit over the next few days as it heads for the island chain extending from the Virgin Islands to Grenada...Read more 

The 10th International Congress on Disasters held in Cuba

The 10th International Congress on Disasters was held in Cuba this Tuesday to strengthen collaboration in preparing and protecting countries against the risks of adverse climatic events. Major General Ramon Pardo, head of the National General Staff of Civil Defense, said that the event's organization shows Cuba's interest in gathering authorities, scientists and professionals from all over the world dedicated to work to reduce disaster risks. Pardo also pointed out the event aims to exchange knowledge and results on good practices, as well as to showcase experiences of the work being done in the Caribbean nation to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience....Read more 

Climate Change Tops Agenda at CARICOM Leadership Transfer

The Chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) today passed to Jamaica's Prime Minister from Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse, who concluded his 6-month leadership of the regional bloc. Mr. Moïse, during his term as Chairman, prioritized disaster preparedness and rallied regional and global support for innovative financing for risk management efforts for Caribbean countries - particularly in seeking funding for a regional sovereign disaster insurance program called the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). Through CCRIF, governments can access funds swiftly following a disaster striking. Following Mr. Moïse's leadership on the issue, climate disaster risk management and insurance are now permanent agenda items at CARICOM. He also renewed commitment toward strengthening the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management (CDEMA). ...Read more 

Interesting Facts 

Regional Platform Advances Sendai Framework Implementation in the Americas  

Image result for cartagena declaration unisdrThe Sixth Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas which convened from 20-22 June in Cartagena, Colombia, concluded with the adoption of the Cartagena Declaration. The Cartagena Declaration aims to spark an increase in the number of national and local strategies for disaster reduction in the region by 2020. It calls for integrating DRR in all activity areas to promote more resilient communities and reduce vulnerability in the region, and urges UNISDR to continue providing institutional support for implementation, monitoring and review of DRR in the Americas and the Caribbean. The event provided the space for actors in the region to exchange experiences regarding implementation of the Regional Action Plan, a guide for implementing the Sendai Framework in the Americas, which aims to align regional, national and local strategies with the Sendai Framework, and accelerate country-level implementation of the DRR agenda... Read more  Read the Cartagena Declaration  

Cuba, Haiti to Work Together in Reducing Disaster Risks 

Cuba and Haiti agreed to consolidate their collaboration in disaster risk reduction management through sharing knowledge and training as part of South-South cooperation.
According to authorities of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), both nations maintain similar levels of exposure to natural phenomena such as hurricanes, cyclones and drought. Cuba  has accumulated experiences and methodologies to reduce the negative impacts of these disasters, and among Cuba's contributions to Haiti is the strengthening of hydro meteorological surveillance through the transfer of tools to improve monitoring and forecasting of events. Channels and communication routes have been identified to ensure that participants at all levels receive the information generated by the monitoring institutions in a timely manner. Also, Haitian technicians were trained in the monitoring of extreme weather events, and Haiti improved its hurricane monitoring and forecasting capabilities, which facilitates decision-making... Read more       

Cuba, Dominica Strengthen Bilateral Ties, Agree to Work on Disaster Preparedness  

Skerrit thanked the Cuban government for its collaboration, especially the help offered by the rescue workers, doctors, construction personnel and other staff in the post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. Cuban head of state, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and the Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit met at the Presidential Palace in Havana Tuesday as the countries work to strengthen bilateral ties and collaborate on disaster preparedness initiatives. During the meeting, Skerrit thanked the Cuban government for the assistance it offered when Dominica was battered by hurricane Maria last year. Cuba was among the countries to provide aid to the island, sending rescue workers, doctors, construction personnel and other staff in the post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts that devastated the Caribbean island last year. Cuban and Dominican specialists have agreed to work on one of Dominicans' main issues, flash flooding, and lay down a strategy to reduce the impact heavy rains have on the country's drainage system. In June, Cuba sent a contingent of 80 builders and engineers to repair schools and homes, in response to the government's request to continue with the process of recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria... Read more       

Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29th

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

OAS and Chile Announce First Call for Applications for the Scholarships on International Disaster Response for CARICOM Countries 

The Organization of American States (OAS), in partnership with the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness of Florida International University (FIU), is offering a Disaster Field Operations Course on July 13 – 15, 2018. Citizens of CARICOM member states are encouraged to apply for scholarship consideration by June 27, 2018. The course is intended to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to engage in an international disaster response, in true-to-life field settings. Working professionals with backgrounds or work-related duties in emergency management and disaster response, including first responders in firefighting, law enforcement and EMS, emergency management employees, policymakers and program directors, urban planners, NGOs, public health workers and private sector professionals will be considered. The project is being implemented with funding support from the Government of Chile through its policy of international cooperation for development. The aim of this project is to strengthen the capabilities of CARICOM member states in Disaster Risk Management (DRM), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Climate Resilience through certified courses, training programs and diplomas. 
The OAS recognizes that education is fundamental to the development of human capital, improvement in standards of living, and the promotion of social inclusion, social justice and prosperity. Accordingly, the OAS, through its Secretariat for Integral Development supports the efforts of OAS member states to expand access to inclusive and quality education...Details on scholarship  Read press release

Interesting Facts 

Lessons Learnt from 2017 Caribbean Hurricane Season 

french_welcomes_participants_to_lessons_learnt_session_1The outcomes of the review, “Lessons learnt on Early Warning Systems during the 2017 Caribbean Hurricane Season,” were presented during the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, taken place in Colombia from 20-22 June 2018.  The session was named “Priority Investment Opportunities to strengthen Early Warning Systems in Small Island Developing States.” The World Meteorological Organization along with regional partners the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and a gender expert led the review as part of the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative. 
The review found that forecasts were generally accurate and timely. However, the rapid change in intensity, especially for Hurricane Maria in Dominica, posed a real challenge. Warnings of secondary hazards, including flooding and coastal inundation were insufficient and should be improved to include impact-based forecasting. “Key findings to date that need to be addressed with some urgency include greater investment in national meteorological services to strengthen their physical and communications infrastructure, data collection networks, human and technical capacity as well as interactions with the public. While the anticipated CREWS investment strategy will address these areas of investment, it remains important that national authorities sustain the benefits of this investment,” said Mr Farrell. In terms of dissemination and communication of warnings, it was found that the risk assessments and response plans were not sufficiently connected. Risk knowledge, including the risk of river flooding and storm surge, was limited.  While a hurricane alert gives information about the intensity of wind, thresholds for secondary hazards still remain to be identified.  The review recommended that there should be follow-up into whether the message is actually received and understood... Read more       

Jamaica welcomes 'glorious opportunity' to host the next Regional Platform on Disaster Reduction in the Americas

Jamaica’s hosting of the next Americas disaster risk reduction conference is a “glorious opportunity” to raise awareness of the challenges facing the small island developing states of the Caribbean, said Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development. The Vl Regional Platform on Disaster Reduction in the Americas, held in Cartagena, Colombia, June 20-22, decided to convene the next forum in Jamaica. It is the first time that a regional platform will be held in the Caribbean, one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to extreme weather events and seismic activity. “It is a glorious opportunity, not just for Jamaica, but for the region as a whole to have a real platform for expression of our positions on disaster risk and all the associated issues,” the minister said. McKenzie said the forum will raise awareness locally, regionally and internationally of the Caribbean’s position. “To be honest many of these platforms do not afford the Caribbean the kind of exposure that is required. So, I think the hosting of a conference within the Caribbean will give greater appreciation to its needs,” he said... Read more       

Tourism industry in Americas, Caribbean prepares against tsunami risk 

Tsunamis may be rare in the Americas but they do happen as the region is highly seismic prone. A dozen earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have occurred in the Caribbean near Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola in the past 500 years generating more than 75 tsunamis. “We do see a general increased tsunami awareness now as the tourism sector and governments are starting to feel more vulnerable to weather related disasters,” said Amanda Charles, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at a session on how to reduce tsunami risk in the tourism sector held at the Sixth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cartagena, Colombia last Friday.
“The tourism sector is realizing how much they can lose when disasters happen. Some are also beginning to understand that resilience can be an additional competitive advantage as well,” added Charles. “Countries such as Anguilla and the four islands of British Virgin Islands are now Tsunami ready.  St. Kitts and Nevis have annual drills, inundation and tsunami evacuation maps and Puerto Rico has developed a tsunami safety card for tourists which is accessible and distributed in hotels. “Those are considerable progresses even if we can still see some resistance from countries too cautious to scare tourists and with too many assets located in areas vulnerable to tsunamis,” Charles said.... Read more       

Jamaica Charged to Adopt Gender-Sensitive Response to Climate Change  

Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, has called on countries of the region to adopt more gender-sensitive measures in reducing vulnerability and building resilience against climate change. She said that this can be done by integrating gender issues into policies, programmes and activities, with specific focus on empowering women and girls.

“Canada wants to see a climate smart region… that promotes environment and climate action by advancing women’s leadership and including women and girls in the planning and decision-making process,” she said. Ms. Peters was addressing a workshop dubbed ‘Conversations on Gender. The Role of Gender in Building Climate Resilience in Jamaica’, at the Waterloo Road location of the Canadian High Commission in Kingston on Tuesday (June 26). She noted that it is Canada’s hope that this inclusive approach will support initiatives that will both mitigate and adapt to climate change and also create economic opportunities for women... Read more