• Weather variations cost U.S. $485 billion a year

    New research finds that routine weather events such as rain and cooler-than-average days can add up to an annual economic impact of as much as $485 billion in the United States; the study found that finance, manufacturing, agriculture, and every other sector of the economy is sensitive to changes in the weather, and that the impact of routine weather variations on the economy is as much as 3.4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product

  • SBA offers loans to nonprofits in Vermont

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) just announced today that certain private non-profit organizations (PNPs) in Vermont could qualify for special low-interest federal disaster loans; the announcement comes following the presidential disaster declaration in counties severely affected by the devastating storms and flooding that occurred in late April and early May; SBA said that PNPs not providing critical services of a government nature in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleans, and Washington counties are eligible for Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans

  • Artist fundraises to build prototype disaster relief shelter

    An artist from Amherst, Virginia is currently fundraising to build a prototype temporary house that can be quickly and cheaply built for displaced families; with the help of www.Kickstarter.com, a New York based website that helps artists find funding, Craig Pleasants is trying to raise roughly $28,000 to fund his project; the shelter is shaped like an octagon to maximize space and is designed to withstand storms and wind

  • California county's federal assistance request rejected

    On Tuesday, federal authorities denied Santa Cruz’s request for federal aid to assist with cleanup efforts from the storms that pelted the region in March; the heavy rain caused $17 million in damage from floods and mudslides across the county; FEMA said the storms that hit California “were not severe, continuous and were not beyond the combined capabilities of the state and affected local governments”

  • FEMA extends federal aid deadline for North Carolina

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended its deadline to register for federal disaster assistance for those in affected counties in North Carolina; at the request of North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM), FEMA agreed to give residents an additional fifteen days to turn in their paperwork; the new deadline is Tuesday 5 July

  • Nebraska nuclear plant on flood alert

    Levees in northern Missouri were failing late Saturday and Sunday as a result of massive release of water from upstream dams; farmland and houses in two Missouri counties — Holt and Atchison — were flooded and residents evacuated; two Nebraska nuclear power plant place on flood alerts

  • UN body approves measure advancing Iran's nuke program

    The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), over a strenuous U.S. opposition, approved a measure committing the UN to supporting what the Iranians call a “disaster information management center”; the United States managed to defeat the Iranian proposal for the center several times in the past, but this time Iran, exploiting concerns about climate change, repackaged its proposal and tied it to a broader UN effort to help Asian countries prepare for climate change-induced natural disasters; the technologies with which the center will be provided — technologies which are otherwise unavailable to Iran because of the UN sanctions imposed on the country — will give Iran much-improved satellite-imagery and missile-control capabilities; these technologies will dramatically bolster Iran’s target selection, target-destruction, and bomb-damage-assessment capabilities; as is the case with any other new nuclear weapon state, Iran will initially have very few nuclear bombs in its arsenal; the technologies approved by ESCAP for delivery to Iran will allow the ayatollahs to make a much more efficient — and effective — use of their small arsenal — and make their threats to use this arsenal more credible

  • Mississippi River floods to cause large Gulf of Mexico dead zone

    Hypoxia, which creates oceanic dead zones, is caused by excessive nutrient pollution, often from human activities such as agriculture, which results in too little oxygen to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water; scientists are predicting the dead zone area in the Gulf could measure between 8,500 and 9,421 square miles, or an area roughly the size of New Hampshire; the largest hypoxic zone measured to date occurred in 2002 and encompassed more than 8,400 square miles

  • Arizona wildfire now largest in state's history

    The Wallow wildfire in Arizona has continued to burn out of control and is now the largest fire in Arizona’s history; on Tuesday firefighters in Arizona reported that they had 18 percent of the fire contained; so far the blaze has burned 479,407 acres in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona; officials have evacuated thousands of residents from mountain towns and are urging residents to stay clear as the smoke has created dangerous air conditions

  • Era of major volcanic eruptions nears

    The recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland upset airline bosses and caused a lot of fuss, but they were trivial by comparison with what could happen next, according to Clive Oppenheimer’s new book; 10 percent of the world’s population and at least twelve major cities now located within range of a volcano, so a more accurate perspective is needed on what they can do, so that rational plans can be drawn up in preparation for future events

  • Montana floods cause $8.6 million in damage to infrastructure

    Towns in Montana have been hit particularly hard by floods, causing an estimated $8.6 million in damage to public infrastructure; officials expect that figure to increase in the coming weeks as flooding will continue for some time

  • Firefighters struggling with Arizona's second largest wildfire in history

    Firefighters in eastern Arizona are struggling to contain the second largest wildfire in the state’s history; as the blaze burns toward New Mexico, Arizona officials have been forced to evacuate mountain resort communities and close national forests and parks; the wildfire has been burning steadily since 29 May; the conflagration now covers more than 311,000 acres in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, and is threatening to damage power lines carrying electricity to Tucson; the fire is growing at a rate of four to five miles a day and protracted drought and dry, high winds have hampered efforts to control the blaze

  • Torrential rains hit Haiti, killing 23

    Haiti has never recovered from the massive earthquake that hit it more than two years ago; the country lacks basic infrastructure, and torrential rains turned streets into rivers and buried buildings under mountains of mud

  • 42 million displaced by natural disasters in 2010

    In 2010 approximately forty-two million people were displaced from their homes due to natural disasters, more than double the number of people forced to relocate in 2009; the latest numbers were calculated by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), which found that more than 90 percent of disaster displacements were the result of weather-related events; the number of natural disasters has doubled from roughly 200 to over 400 a year during the last twenty years; the report found that countries on all continents were affected by the increase in natural disasters, but Asian countries have been hit the hardest

  • Connecticut addresses children's needs in disasters

    Lawmakers in Connecticut recently passed legislation to help ensure the safety of children during a natural disaster or terrorist attack; on Tuesday, Connecticut’s House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the state to include the well-being of children in its emergency response plans; the bill passed 125 to 1 on Tuesday; under the law, the Commissioner of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is required to file annual reports that address the health needs of children during a biological attack or other incidents; the bill is currently on its way to Governor Dannel P. Malloy who is expected to sign it into law