• USDA declares NY and PA counties disaster zones

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that several counties Pennsylvania and New York are now eligible for federal disaster aid

  • Japanese VC invests in disaster data recovery specialist

    Sumitomo’s U.S.-based venture investment arm, Presidio Ventures, has made an investment in Axxana, a specialist in data protection in the event of disasters

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  • Building design lessons from the Christchurch earthquake

    A leading infrastructure expert believes an assessment needs to be made of the level of “very rare” earthquake that needs to be considered in structural design, perhaps one with a 10,000 year return period or higher, rather than the 500 year return period that is commonly adopted for many buildings in Australia

  • Plan to protect Houston from the next big hurricane

    To protect Houston and Galveston from future hurricanes, experts recommends building a floodgate across the Houston Ship Channel, adding new levees to protect densely populated areas on Galveston Island and the developed west side of Galveston Bay; the team also recommends creating a 130-mile-long coastal recreation area to sustainably use wetlands that act as a natural flood barrier

  • States over reliant on FEMA aid for small disasters

    This year’s unprecedented number of major natural disasters including Hurricane Irene, the record number of tornadoes, and the floods along the entire Mississippi and Missouri rivers strained the Federal Emergency Management’s (FEMA) coffers, but the number of relatively minor disasters that were declared as “major disasters” pushed FEMA resources beyond their limit; some critics say this trend needs to stop

  • Giving hardware a second life in disasters

    A software version of CharTec BDR appliance enables CharTec’s partners to provide backup and disaster recovery offerings by reusing existing hardware or BDR solutions

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  • Costly October disasters worldwide

    October saw devastating — and costly — natural disasters in different parts of the world; in Thailand, the flooding has impacted 64 of Thailand’s 77 provinces, affecting more than 9.9 million people with at least 427 reported dead. Preliminary economic losses have been listed at $9.8 billion, with insured losses already estimated at more than $4.6 billion

  • Eight months later, Fukushima reactor could still be active

    Troubles continue at the beleaguered Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant in Japan with officials detecting radioactive xenon gas, a byproduct of nuclear fission, from reactor two nearly eight months after the dangerous meltdowns

  • Meth lab found in FEMA temporary housing in Joplin

    Following the devastating tornado that leveled Joplin, Missouri in May, thousands of residents were forced to take up temporary housing in FEMA mobile home parks, but of late many have become increasingly uneasy about their living situation following the discovery of a methamphetamine lab in a FEMA temporary housing complex

  • Air pollution in Arabian Sea linked to cyclone intensity

    Pollution is making Arabian Sea cyclones more intense, according to a just-published study; traditionally, prevailing wind shear patterns prohibit cyclones in the Arabian Sea from becoming major storms; the new study suggests that weakening winds have enabled the formation of stronger cyclones in recent years

  • Army engineers need $1 billion to repair damaged levees

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is urgently requesting $1 billion to repair flood control systems along the Mississippi and Missouri river basins following damage from record floods this spring; the historic flooding forced the corps to blow up portions of the levee to relieve pressure, flooding thousands of acres of farmland to protect cities along the rivers

  • DHS completes Multi-Band Radio testing

    Last week DHS completed testing on a sophisticated new multi-band radio that will allow first responders to communicate with multiple agencies and jurisdictions operating on different radio bands; beginning in May 2012, first responders will have the opportunity to purchase the Harris XG-100 Unity radio system; the Unity radios can replace up to five different radios, roughly the equivalent cost of just one high-end portable radio

  • FEMA chief: agency to recover $1 billion for disaster relief fund

    Testifying before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee last week, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Craig Fugate said the agency expects to recover about $1 billion from its disaster relief projects this fiscal year

  • Bangkok's losing battle against floods

    The Thailand government has been taking desperate measure to try and prevent a massive flow of water from inundating the Thai capital — parts of which are already under water. The swelling Chao Phraya river, which meanders through the heart of the sprawling city, has already flooded several neighborhoods, while swelling water from the Gulf of Thailand poses another threat. One reason for Bangkok’s growing flood problem is the fact that over the last two decades, many draining canals have been paved over to make room for roads, leaving rising water with no way to escape.

  • Israel's aid to Turkey "humanitarian, not political"

    Israel was among the first countries to rush plane-loads of disaster and search and rescue equipment to Turkey after last Sunday’s devastated earthquake which has killed more than 550 and displaced thousands. Both sides insist that the disaster relief was a humanitarian gesture which will have no effect on the deteriorating relations between these two former allies.