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Posts tagged "emergency response"


South Sudan: Preparing for the Rainy Season

At the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, where the population has increased five-fold in the past year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is treating growing numbers of patients and preparing for the additional hardships that will come with the approaching rainy season.


U.S. Drought Monitor - April 2013

Brutal wildfire year lies ahead for the west and south west.


The Atlantic Cities:

Why New York’s Sandy Commission Recommendations Matter

From a behavioral perspective, the hardest thing about adapting to the slow process of climate change is creating a sense of urgency. After a close call with Hurricane Irene a couple years back, and a horrible clash with Hurricane Sandy this past fall, New York is beginning to accept the fact that when it comes to weather patterns along its coasts, there’s a terrifying new normal.

Late last week, just two months after Sandy, a state commission released a massive, 200-plus page blueprint on ways to develop resilience in the face of tomorrow’s environment [PDF]. The NYS 2100 Commission — one of several formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo following Sandy — evaluated the state’s critical infrastructure systems and recommended a gradient of goals, from broad to specific, to reduce their vulnerability.

“There is no doubt that building resilience will require investment, but it will also reduce the economic damage and costs of responding to future storms and events, while improving the everyday operations of our critical systems,” write commission co-chairs Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation and Felix Rohatyn of Lazard in a foreword.

While the commission offered statewide suggestions, its emphasis fell naturally on the New York City metro area — especially coastal parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island — where Sandy hit hardest.”

Photo: Reuters


The Atlantic Cities: 

“The Generator Is the Machine of the Moment”

In the days that followed Hurricane Sandy, the developer of the luxury condominium 150 Charles Street hunkered down with his team of architects and engineers to rethink the building’s design.

Just steps from the Hudson River, the construction site was partially flooded. “Their mandate was to figure out how the building would have stayed open in a storm like this,” said Steven Witkoff, the developer. “They came back with a list of five things, and we implemented every single one.”

The efforts delayed the project by some six weeks and added as much as $3 million to its cost.

It was one of a number of projects that convened their engineers and construction teams to reconsider their plans after the rising waters rushed over the city’s embankments and into the basements of countless residential buildings across Lower Manhattan.

Now, more than two months after the storm caused millions of dollars in damage, novel and costly waterproofing techniques are being employed, including the addition of backup generators and floodgates, and the relocation of mechanical equipment. The owners of buildings that predate the flooding are also looking at these measures, although retroactive installation is so complex and costly that some may decide not to do anything.

“If you are in the flood zone and you are marketing a new high-end property, it will need to stand up to the test of another superstorm,” said Stephen G. Kliegerman, the executive director of development marketing for Halstead Property. “I think buyers would happily pay to be relatively reassured they wouldn’t be terribly inconvenienced in case of a natural disaster.” [Photo: Evan Sung for The New York Times]

This is a great read for adaptation and infrastructure folks. Purchases of large-scale pumps, generators, and other flood proofing measures are on the rise, especially in storm prone and coastal cities. I was walking along 5th Avenue recently and saw a motley work crew pumping the flooded basement of a uber fancy high-rise apartment building. “Why are you taking pictures of hoses?” my friend asked me. “Invest now,” I told her, “pumps are the future.”

Yet another eye-opening story by the underrated USATODAY newspaper. I question the copy-editor’s choice of headline, since the story quickly veers into a list of incredible disasters that are occurring in China right now:

  • 180,000 cattle killed by deep freeze. Deaths quickly rising.
  • Over 250,000 people in Mongolia in need of emergency aid
  • Airports shut down, thousands stranded
  • Trains lines also shut down, thousands more stranded or cannot get to work
  • Over 1,000 ships stuck in thick sea ice on Laizhou Bay
  • Food prices skyrocketing
  • Politicians criticized for uneven disaster response
  • Hundreds of shelters opened in south China, which is not used to cold and has very little heating infrastructure
  • National average 25f, lowest in decades
  • Over 10,000 square miles of sea surface covered in ice, a record

Read the rest at USATODAY

Thank you, doctorswithoutborders:

Behind the Scenes: MSF Casualty Training

Working in the field involves situations that require our staff to make quick, smart, lifesaving decisions. We conduct training exercises to prepare our staff for casualty incidents. Watch this video of an exercise that involved 60 staff members from 32 countries playing the parts of medical staff, logisticians, and patients.

All this other noise, I think, are coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who — you know — don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the president of the United States. Well, that’s too bad for them…
NJ Gov. Chris Christie, criticizing Romney’s “know-nothing” staff shortly after voting for Romney


Spread this link:

"President Barack Obama receives an update on the ongoing response to Hurricane Sandy at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, right, and Richard Serino, FEMA Deputy Administrator, are seated next to the President. October 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)" WH

Awesome storm tracker by the folks at Florida Division of Emergency Management. Note the options on the right, including shelters. Solid API guys


Summer floods are common in this region, and yet the authorities were unprepared and under-equipped. They had at least three hours for an emergency warning: officials had learned about the imminent disaster around 10 P.M., and the water didn’t begin to rise dramatically until 1 A.M. But there was hardly any warning at all.

 Masha Lipman: The public’s grief is now mixed with a deep distrust of the government after a horrific flood in southern Russia.  Click-through to read more:

Now reading.

Elderly couple rescued by brave emergency crew in Mount Holly, Vermont. Click for story and video.

Predicted rainfall amounts. It’s already cloudy here in Western Massachusetts. 

Source: NOAA