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Friday, March 30, 2018

March 30th

Interesting Facts

Haiti: Hurricane Irma (MDRHT014) DREF Final Report  

previewThe Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Final Report for Hurricane Irma in Haiti has been released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Monday. 
Hurricane Irma impacted Haiti on the 7th of September, 2017 into the early hours of the 8th of September, 2017. The eye of the hurricane passed north-east of the coastline of the country, causing storm surges on the north coast and wind and flood damage to vulnerable communities. The storm directly impacted Haiti’s three northern departments, with some flooding in two additional departments due to rainfall. Preparedness activities included the pre-positioning of available stocks in the three northern departments, in conjunction with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) disseminating key messages before the passage of the storm and assisting the Haitian Department of Civil Protection (DPC) with the evacuation of affected people or designated collective centers; joint coordination meetings were also held with DPC and other stakeholders at the department level in the three northern departments. ... Read more

Colombian Air Force Bolsters Humanitarian Aid Capacity 

Colombia’s disaster response system led to an increase in the number of relief missions in local communities, and also provided assistance during recent disasters in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Costa Rica. The system is built around several public and private entities, and community and military organizations brought together under the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGDR, in Spanish). UNGDR was established in 2008 by the National Center for Personnel Rescue (CNRP, in Spanish) that the Colombian Air Force (FAC in Spanish) operates to aid the civilian population. The unit is based at the Military Air Transport Command in Bogotá... Read more

When disaster strikes: the role of aviation in humanitarian logistics 

Over the course of this year, the Global Humanitarian Overview predicts that more than 135 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. The provision of relief in a fast, secure and cost-effective manner is the product of painstaking global cooperation between aid agencies and organizations, and at the core of it all is the aviation industry, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of food, medical supplies or shelter materials. According to Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA) chief executive George Fenton, the primary role that aviation plays in humanitarian emergency response is moving supplies very quickly from hubs where there are pre-positioned supplies of goods, such as Dubai, Panama or West Africa, where nations, together with partners and non-governmental organisations stockpile largely shelter items. At present, the world’s leading humanitarian airline is the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), managed by the World Food Programme (WFP). Operating more than 70 chartered aircraft, UNHAS serves over 300 regular destinations in 19 countries... Read more

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking

Comparison maps indicating short or long times available for earthquake shaking arrival times
A new study examines what the expected warning times could be for earthquake early warning systems by considering how long it takes an earthquake to grow in size (magnitude) compared to how long it takes earthquake waves (shaking) to arrive at a user’s location.
Modern earthquake early warning systems can monitor the evolving rupture, issuing alerts to regions expected to experience a certain level of shaking as the earthquake is occurring.  If the earthquake rupture grows, and the region impacted by ground motion expands, alerts may be updated and extended to new locations.  A person will experience very strong ground motions only if the earthquake grows to a large-enough magnitude and if the fault rupture breaks close to their location. Consequently, earthquake early warning systems have the greatest potential benefit for people who can take protective action when warnings are issued for low levels of ground shaking. If alerts are only issued for very strong shaking, people will have less time to respond and take action... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Stanford law and science experts discuss court case that could set precedent for climate change litigation.

oil refinery in Anacortes, WashingtonA closely watched federal trial pitting two cities against major oil companies has taken surprising and unorthodox turns. A judge in California took an unusual step in trying to untangle who is to blame for increasingly frequent droughts, floods and other climate change-related extreme weather. The case in San Francisco is weighing the question of whether climate change damages connected to the burning of oil are specifically the fault of the companies that extract and sell it.  The judge in People of the State of California v. BP P.L.C. et al. had both the plaintiffs – the cities of Oakland and San Francisco – and the defendants – several major oil companies – answer basic questions about climate change in a tutorial format. Counter to what some might have expected, an oil company lawyer largely confirmed the consensus science on the issue, but challenged the idea that oil companies should be held accountable... Read more

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 23rd

What happened this week?

March 22nd, 2018, marks the 25th annual World Water Day, which the United Nations started to raise awareness around the importance of water.
World Water Day logo
As water shortage looms for 5 billion by 2050 without action, the United Nations World Water Development Report says that nature-based solutions can improve the supply and quality of water and reduce the impact of natural disasters. A key focus on the study is the importance of preserving wetlands, which cover only about 2.6 percent of the planet. Wetlands act as natural barriers that soak up and capture rainwater limiting soil erosion and the impacts of certain natural disasters such as floods. Nevertheless, the use of nature-based solutions remains marginal and almost all investments are still channeled to grey infrastructure projects. Yet, to satisfy the ever-growing demand for water, green infrastructure appears to be a promising solution complementing traditional approaches. The authors of the report therefore call for greater balance between the two, especially given that nature-based solutions are best aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015... Read more

Interesting Facts

If no action is taken, there will be more than 143 million internal climate migrants across the regions of Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050

A new World Bank report has found that by 2050 the worsening impacts of climate change in three densely populated regions of the world could see more than 140 million people move within their countries’ borders.
With concerted action, however, including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level – this worst-case scenario could be dramatically reduced, by as much as 80 percent, or 100 million people. The report identifies “hotspots” of climate in- and out-migration. These include climate-vulnerable areas from which people are expected to move, and locations into which people will try to move to build new lives and livelihoods... Read more

How private and public finance can help us to fight climate change

School children wearing masks leave school early at noon due to heavy air pollution, at a primary school in Shenyang, Liaoning province, November 13, 2015. According to Xinhua News Agency, lingering smog has disrupted traffic in northeast China's Liaoning Province, closing highways and delaying trains. REUTERS/Stringer CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - GF20000057495 According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the expected losses to investment portfolios due to climate change in today’s money lie between $4.2 trillion and $13.9 trillion. However, changing course remains very possible. Forecasts from the International Energy Agency suggest that up to $120 trillion in global infrastructure investments will be made before 2050, with most activity in emerging economies. Aligning these investments with a low-carbon future increases this figure by $44 trillion, but once the infrastructure is in place, radically lower fuel costs generate long-term real savings of $74 trillion. Funding the green transition should not be seen as a cost or a burden to investors who take a long-term view. But since many investors are assessed by short-term performance, they have an incentive to follow shorter-term strategies. And for those who can consider longer-term risks, there are not enough green investment opportunities into which they can redirect their capital. ... Read more

Friday, March 16, 2018

March 16th

What happened this week?

Caribbean volcano Kick 'em Jenny: Ships warned off area

Map of GrenadaShips sailing in the Caribbean have been told to steer clear of an underwater volcano after it started showing increased seismic activity. The volcano, called Kick 'em Jenny, is located 8km (5 miles) off Grenada. Kick 'em Jenny, which rises 1.3km above the seafloor on a steep slope of the Lesser Antilles ridge, is one of the most active volcanoes in the eastern Caribbean.
The government of Grenada has imposed a 5km exclusion zone around Kick 'em Jenny after the alert was raised to orange, which means an eruption could take place within 24 hours. However, seismologists said there was no imminent danger to the region and according to researchers at the West Indies Seismic Research Center (SRC) in Trinidad, there was no indication that the increased seismic activity would generate a tsunami... Read more

March 18th marks the third anniversary of the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 

Three years after the adoption of a global plan to reduce disaster losses 148 countries have now committed to report systematically on their disaster losses including deaths, numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure including public utilities. Best estimates are that disasters cost the global economy US$520 billion annually while pushing 26 million people into poverty and displacing millions from their homes but not enough countries are providing precise data at national level. Since the Sendai Framework Monitor went live on March 1, 61 countries have already logged on to upload statistics for 2017 which will also feed into the first progress report on achievement of the 17 SDGs which will appear in July... Read more

Interesting Facts

The Peruvian Navy bolsters natural disaster response strategies with Modular Mobile Bases.

On February 1, 2018, the Peruvian Navy set up a Modular Mobile Base (BMM, in Spanish) in the Ricardo Palma district, in the department of Lima. The base will serve as a logistics center and provide basic services to the affected population during any natural disasters. West of Lima, BMM Huarochirí meets all the conditions for security, welfare, and basic services with freezers, refrigerators, and a freshwater and wastewater treatment plant. The unit also has two power plants generating 50 kilowatts each, a 5,000-gallon freshwater tank, and a 1,300-gallon fuel tank, in addition to a warehouse and a command center... Read more

Jamaica Strengthening Disaster Resilience under US$30-Million Project 

Jamaica’s resilience to disaster and climate risk is being strengthened through various activities and initiatives being undertaken as part of the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP).
The project, which is being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) from 2016 to 2022, is funded by the Government of Jamaica through a loan agreement with the World Bank valued at US$30 million. The project deliverables to be undertaken over the six-year period include the development of a National Risk Information Platform (NRIP), which will allow all risk data to be located and updated in a centralized platform available to government agencies and the public... Read more

Powerful earthquake that killed over 300 people in Mexico was a rare 'bending' quake: study 

file-20180310-30989-1sugyl9Most major earthquakes worldwide happen along the unstable intersections in the Earth’s crust, where two tectonic plates collide, one plate sliding beneath the other.These are called subduction zones and at most subduction zones, after one tectonic plate slides beneath a neighboring plate, it continues on a diagonal downward dive and sinks deep into the Earth’s mantle. In Mexico, the initial contact between the two tectonic plates starts off normally enough, with the subducted plate sinking diagonally downwards. However, just as it begins to jut underneath the Mexican mainland, the plate reverses course. It bends upward, sliding itself horizontally beneath the plate Mexico sits on top of.  Then, underneath Puebla state—just south of Mexico City—at a depth of about 30 miles below ground, the subducted plate abruptly changes direction once more. It dives almost vertically downward, plunging itself deep into the Earth’s mantle... Read more   Read research paper

Policy Developments and Outlook

CDEMA’s new procurement procedures improve disaster response 

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), has developed and will implement new procurement and contract management procedures to facilitate a more streamlined and efficient use of their resource pool, including disaster management funds. After conducting a routine assessment of its operations geared toward the continual improvement of financial management practices, a number of recommendations for improving the unit’s procurement system were identified. Updating the existing procurement manual to address gaps related to procurement and contract management was among the suggestions... Read more

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 9th

What happened this week?

International Women's Day: Call for better data on impacts of disasters on women and girls

Marking International Women’s Day on March 8, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Mami Mizutori made an appeal today for UN Member States to provide better data on the impacts of disasters on women and girls. Ms. Mizutori who took over as head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on March 1, stressed the need for a better understanding of the extent to which a disproportionate number of women and girls die or are affected by disasters, allowing governments and civil society organizations to be compelled to make a more conscious effort to ensure that women are recognized as agents of change and better represented in disaster management agencies ... Read more

Recognizing issues around gender, and empowering women and drawing on their knowledge, is an essential part of resilience and achieving the globally-agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

© UNDP Bhutan
The impacts of climate change are not “gender neutral”. In fact, the situation is worst for the most vulnerable: according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women. Women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes and labor markets compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.... Read more

Mexico strengthens political dialogue and cooperation with St Lucia

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Luis Videgaray Caso, and the Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet, led the work of the first meeting of the Mechanism for Consultations on Matters of Common Interest between Mexico and Saint Lucia, during which one of main areas of discussion were climate change and renewable energy. They also spoke on the initiatives presented at the 4th Mexico-CARICOM Summit on the 25th of October 2017, particularly concerning the Mexico-CARICOM Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Strategy. ... Read more

Interesting Facts

International Women's Day: How the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan led to the foundation of Bosai Girls (or Disaster Preparedness Girls), to raise awareness among young people on the importance of disaster and emergency preparedness

Were it not for the 9.0-magnitude earthquake disaster that triggered a tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing, Ms Misaki Tanaka’s destiny might have been different. Ms Tanaka quit her job at a Tokyo information technology firm and joined an organization which supports disaster victims. She was tasked with helping to plan disaster preparedness exercises, which many saw as repetitive and boring. She set herself a goal: Make these drills interesting, even for young people. That idea led to the creation of Bosai Girls, or Disaster Preparedness Girls, in 2013. Her decision to use the word “girls” in the name reflected the fact that women are particularly vulnerable in times of disaster. If she was to promote her vision of a fun and funky approach to disaster preparedness, Ms Tanaka realized she needed to reach out to young women, who are often the catalyst for new trends... Read more

Studies show that women are more likely than men to be affected by disasters

Three women in Pakistan wade through floodwater, carrying their belongingsUN figures indicate that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Roles as primary caregivers and providers of food and fuel make them more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur. In addition, women are more likely to experience poverty worldwide, and to have less socioeconomic power than men. This makes it difficult to recover from disasters which affect infrastructure, jobs and housing. The UN has highlighted the need for gender sensitive responses to the impacts of climate change, yet the average representation of women in national and global climate negotiating bodies is below 30%... Read more

Political orientation and climate concern shape visual attention to climate change.

Climatic ChangeDespite the scientific consensus, there is widespread public controversy about climate change. A recent study by psychologists have found that Conservatives who were less concerned about climate change were less likely to see climate-related words than liberals who were worried about the issue, suggesting patterns of climate change blindness in conservatives. These findings suggest that climate-related communications may be most effective if tailored in a manner accounting for how attentional priorities differ between audiences—particularly those with different political orientations... Read more  Link to research paper

Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2nd

What happened this week?

The CARICOM 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting: the Caribbean Community's push to build a more climate-resilient community

H.E. Jovenel Moise, President of HaitiThe President of Haiti (current Chairman of CARICOM) addressed the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Ninth Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Port-au-Prince on Monday and placed much emphasis on climate change, natural disasters and funding for recovery. He highlighted the need for a new mechanism for disaster risk funding that would assist affected Member States to quickly recover and reconstruct... Read more

The CARICOM 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting: CARICOM addresses their needs for concessional financing for climate resilience

Amb. Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General of the Caribbean CommunityCARICOM's Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque emphasized the need for significant grant funding and very concessional financing in order to meet the Caribbean Community’s goal of creating a climate resilient region. He addressed that the common obstacle of most CARICOM countries is their ineligibility for concessional development financing and Official Development Assistance (ODA), due to the use of GDP per capita as the principal criterion, as most are categorized as middle or high-income countries ... Read more

Interesting Facts

Investments in forecasting and research has yielded more accurate predictions for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Year-End Summary.The devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season produced 17 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes. Not only had the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided vital forecasts and data to communities in the path of this year’s storms that contributed to saving many lives, but also NOAA's preliminary data show that the National Hurricane Center issued forecasts with record-setting accuracy. Track forecasts for the three most damaging hurricanes were about 25 percent more accurate than average... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Jamaica to Host Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center

According to Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica will host a tourism resilience and crisis management center to deal with climate-related issues. The center is to be located at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and will serve the Caribbean, providing information, expertise, technical advice and guidance. It will be armed with guidelines, tool kits and policies to handle the recovery process in the event of a crisis, facilitating information flow among all stakeholders in the tourism industry within and outside of the region... Read more