Disasters

  • Dutch build sand dunes to fight rising seas

    More than eighteen million cubic meters of sand are dredged from the bottom of the ocean and brought back to land to form new dunes; the new dunes — each 30 to 60 meters wide, and rising up to 10 meters above sea level — are built along a 20-kilometer stretch of the shore

  • If disaster struck, most U.S. employees could not work remotely

    If major business interruptions — such as severe weather, mass illness, major road closings, or public transit strikes — occurred, the majority of employees in U.S. organizations could not work remotely

  • Axxana, a data storage and recovery specialist raises $9 million

    Axxana, an Israeli developer of data disaster recovery solutions, has raised $9 million in Series B funding; Carmel Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Gemini Israel Funds and serial investor Moshe Yanai

  • Judge: Corps' mismanagement doomed homes in New Orleans

    The judge’s 156-page decision could result in the federal government paying $700,000 in damages to three people and a business in those areas — but it also sets the stage for judgments worth billions of dollars against the government for damages suffered by as many as 100,000 other residents, businesses, and local governments in those areas who filed claims with the corps after Katrina

  • What tropical countries can teach the U.K. about flood management

    Climate change has caused a change in the patterns of rainfall in the United Kingdom: rather than a procession of predictable showers, a new type of rain emerged — localized storms, dropping a lot of water in one place over a short period of time; villages and towns were overwhelmed; tropical countries have had a long experience with the type of rainfall

  • Buildings made of prefabricated straw prove to be fire-resistant

    Researchers at Bath University test panels made from prefabricated straw-bale and hemp by exposing them to temperatures over 1,000°C; to reach the required building standard, the panels had to withstand the heat for more than thirty minutes, but more than two hours later — four times as long as required — the panels had still not failed

  • Texas running out of water

    Texas’s population of about 24.3 million is expected to hit about 45.5 million by 2060, and the water supply can not come close to keeping pace; if the state were to experience major drought conditions with that many more people, officials estimate almost every Texan would be without sufficient water and there would be more than $90 billion in economic losses

  • DHS unveils critical infrastructure Web site

    Designed to provide stakeholders and the public with easily accessible information about their role in safeguarding critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR); the new CIKR Resource Center will offer information on Web-based seminars on the tools, trends, issues, and best practices for infrastructure protection and resilience; resources concerning potential vulnerabilities for chemical facilities; and guidance for all response partners on how best to prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters and emergencies

  • Oregon's bridges to be readied for the Big One

    There are 2,671 bridges in Oregon’s highway system; researchers develop a computer model which, for the first time, gives state authorities bridge-by-bridge estimates of damage, repair cost, and traffic delay costs associated with a shattering western Oregon quake; the new tool would allow engineers to prioritize which of the state’s bridges should get seismic upgrades

  • Worries about safety of California bridges with eyebar design

    Every so often the Bay Bridge closes because of widening eyebar crack; when the bridge opened seventy years ago, the design was considered safe, but structural engineers now say the eyebar design is an inherently unsafe; trouble is, dozens and dozens of California aging bridges use the flawed design

  • Bay Area cities lag in making housing quake-safe

    Many public buildings in Bay Area cities have been retrofitted to make them more earthquake-resistant; most of the two types of private homes which are especially vulnerable to damage by tremors — wood-frame, “soft-story” buildings and concrete-frame structures that lack sufficient steel reinforcement — have not yet been retrofitted

  • Interference-free radio from Cambridge Consultants

    Cambridge Consultants shows a novel “spectral sensing” cognitive radio technology that will allow any radio product to transmit without interference over the so-called “whitespace” frequencies recently vacated by the U.S. digital TV switchover

  • New Army Corps of Engineers' policy instructs project designers to take rising sea levels into account

    The Army Corps will from now on incorporate estimates of rising sea levels in all its plans for flood control, navigation, and other water projects; the corps has had a planning policy for rising sea levels since 1986, but the instructions were less than a page long, buried in a 1,000-page document and largely ignored; the new policy is articulated in a 44-page stand-alone document

  • U.K. agency to increase flood protection

    The number of properties in England and Wales at significant risk of flooding could increase from 570,000 in 2009 to over 900,000 by 2035 at current levels of flood-defense investment; the Environment Agency says it is planning for the long haul, saying it is already planning to manage a predicted 1 meter rise in sea levels, and a predicted 10 percent increase in wave heights and wind speeds, both of which will increase the threat from coastal surges

  • Army Corps of Engineers in a $1 billion project to protect New Orleans' flank

    The West Bank area of New Orleans is primed for growth, but experts warn that developers and residents should be aware of a problem: the bowl-shaped area is considered by experts as perhaps the city’s most vulnerable flank;’