• Disaster responseCitizen science to aid in disaster response

    After natural disasters, communities need fast access to damage assessment maps to aid relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Researchers have developed a new way to link volunteers around the world with a way to help communities after major disasters, aiming to aid disaster damage mapping, providing much-needed real-time data to help communities recover and rebuild after disaster. For the next few weeks they are testing the new system – inviting the public to take part.

  • Disaster-related lossNew resilience study helps governments prevent disaster-related loss

    Hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, and other disasters cannot be stopped, but countries can plan for them — something some areas of the world seem to do better than others, according to a new study. In the study, thirty-eight factors that affect a country’s resilience were derived from national and international databases, and the researchers used these databases to grade the resilience of each country and continent and develop a comprehensive index that includes indicators such as the number of disasters and their death tolls, as well as an area’s population, infrastructure, economy and educational system.

  • Disaster responseHow disaster relief efforts could be improved with game theory

    By Anna Nagurney

    The number of disasters has doubled globally since the 1980s, with the damage and losses estimated at an average $100 billion a year since the new millennium, and the number of people affected also growing. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the costliest natural disaster in the U.S., with estimates between $100 billion and $125 billion. The death toll of Katrina is still being debated, but we know that at least 2,000 were killed, and thousands were left homeless. Worldwide, the toll is staggering. The challenges to disaster relief organizations, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), are immense, and the competition among them is intense. My team and I have been looking at a novel way to improve how we respond to natural disasters. One solution might be game theory.

  • ResilienceRecovery lessons from Hurricane Sandy to help improve resilience, disaster preparedness

    Purdue University will lead a $2.5 million, four-year research to determine why some communities recover from natural disasters more quickly than others, an effort aimed at addressing the nation’s critical need for more resilient infrastructure and to enhance preparedness. The research team will apply advanced simulations and game-theory algorithms, access millions of social media posts and survey data collected along the New Jersey shore, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

  • Disaster recoveryRecovering from disasters: Social networks matter more than bottled water and batteries

    By Daniel P. Aldrich

    Almost six years ago, on Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan faced a paralyzing triple disaster: a massive earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns that forced 470,000 people to evacuate from more than 80 towns, villages and cities. My colleagues and I investigated how communities in the hardest-hit areas reacted to these shocks, and found that social networks - the horizontal and vertical ties that connect us to others - are our most important defense against disasters. As communities around the world face disasters more and more frequently, I hope that my research on Japan after 3/11 can provide guidance to residents facing challenges. While physical infrastructure is important for mitigating disaster, communities should also invest time and effort in building social ties.

  • Disaster responseDisaster Survival Skills launches new disaster preparedness calculator

    Seismologists have warned for years about the danger of a so-called “megaquake” devastating the Pacific Northwest upon the rupture of the region’s Cascadian Subduction Zone. Disaster Survival Skills launched its brand-new online Family disaster preparedness calculator. After in-putting a few simple pieces of information, Disaster Survival Skills site visitors will receive a customized list of disaster supplies and advice that can be used to prepare for earthquakes, floods, and other emergencies.

  • ResilienceBe Prepared: Canada engages youth in disaster resilience

    Large-scale natural disasters have been on the rise worldwide, and while the exact cause is unclear, there is something most scientists, policy-makers, and legislators can all agree with — the increasing global need to invest in disaster preparedness, prevention, and recovery. Canadian experts say they are constantly evaluating and improving Canada’s emergency preparedness and the most effective ways to keep people safe. But some experts are taking a different approach to disaster resiliency: they are engaging youth.

  • ResilienceImproving infrastructure resilience to withstand natural disasters

    Over the past decade, some 80 000 people have died in Europe as a result of natural disasters. EU-funded researchers have created a tool to assess the impact of natural disasters on transport infrastructure in order to save both lives and money. The tool, developed through the EU-funded INFRARISK initiative, aims to help policy makers and industry experts identify ways of improving the resilience of bridges, roads, and rail networks in the face of catastrophic events such as earthquakes, floods, and landslides.

  • Natural disastersGrowing number of Hurricane Sandy-like storm surges in future

    In the wake of historic destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, residents of New York and other coastal cities were left wondering whether Sandy-scale storm floods are the new normal. Now, researchers have developed a computer simulation that estimates that storm-related flooding on the New York City coastline similar in scale to those seen during Sandy are likely to become more common in coming decades. The worst-case scenario has the frequency increasing by seventeen times by the year 2100.

  • ResilienceNew $4 million facility at UW to investigate natural disasters worldwide

    A new Post-Disaster, Rapid Response Research Facility at the University of Washington will provide necessary instrumentation and tools to collect and assess critical post-disaster data, with the goal of reducing physical damage and socio-economic losses from future events. The NSF’s $40 million NHERI investment, announced in September 2015, funds a network of shared research centers and resources at various universities across the nation. The goal is to reduce the vulnerability of buildings, tunnels, waterways, communication networks, energy systems, and social groups in order to increase the disaster resilience of communities across the United States.

  • ResilienceStrengthening U.S. infrastructure to withstand disasters

    The delivery of essential services — whether in food, water, health, or emergency response — relies increasingly upon a complex, interconnected system of critical infrastructure. Ensuring these interdependent systems continue to operate during disasters and other disruptive events is crucial to maintaining public health and safety. NSF announces $22.7 million in new investments to promote better understanding and functioning of these infrastructures in an effort to improve their resilience.

  • Resilience$3 million grant to build terrorism, disaster resilience

    LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry has been awarded a $3 million grant over five to build the Terrorism and Disaster Coalition for Child and Family Resilience, with a focus on terrorism and disasters. The purpose of the Coalition is to create effective partnerships in disaster-prone regions to enhance national capacity to prepare and respond to the unique needs of children, adolescents, and families after disasters and terrorism.

  • FloodsRecent history of U.S. floods shows regional trends, but no national pattern

    A new study examined the recent history of floods in the United States for the time period 1940-2013. The scientists found some regional trends, but no widespread national pattern of flood change. “An important prerequisite for effective flood risk management is to have an accurate assessment of how flooding is changing over time,” said one researcher. “Of course, changes in climate as well as land- and water-use management are each potential sources of change in flooding frequency or magnitude. But the relative influence of these factors across broad areas has been difficult to discern.”

  • Oil spillsInsights on Deepwater Horizon disaster

    The soon-to-be-released thriller “Deepwater Horizon,” which opens in theaters 30 September, promises moviegoers a chilling reenactment of one of history’s worst oil rig disasters. One scholar of societal collapse will enter the theater with a big-picture view of the perfect storm of factors that led to the explosion and oil spill that killed eleven people and sent more than 200 million gallons of crude oil spewing toward the nation’s southern coastline for eighty-seven days.

  • Crises & rumorsTackling rumors during crises

    The proliferation of rumors during a crisis can hinder efforts by emergency personnel trying to establish facts. That is why a doctoral student at BGU’s Department of Emergency Medicine has developed a methodology for tracking rumors and guidelines for how to control them.