• Making buildings more tsunamis-resilient

    Often in disasters such as tsunamis, people escape the on-rushing wall of water by climbing to higher ground, called vertical evacuation. As people race to the third or fourth floor of a building, however, how do they know whether the building will hold up? Walls of water often carry with them cars, trucks, and 60,000-pound fully loaded cargo containers, transforming them into projectiles which slam into buildings with tremendous force. Most structural systems are designed to defy gravity, not a side kick from a shipping container. Engineers are now studying the impact of tsunami-carried debris in order to make buildings and other structures more disaster-resilient.

  • Improved disaster resilience is imperative for U.S: report

    A new report from the National Academies says that it is essential for the United States to bolster resilience to natural and human-caused disasters, and that this will require complementary federal policies and locally driven actions that center on a national vision – a culture of resilience; improving resilience should be seen as a long-term process, but it can be coordinated around measurable short-term goals that will allow communities better to prepare and plan for, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse events

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  • UAVs with dexterous arms to help in infrastructure repair and disaster recovery

    With current technology, most UAVs perform passive tasks such as surveillance and reconnaissance missions, tasks which are performed well above ground; researchers are interested in how UAVs might interact with objects at or near ground level; a UAV with dexterous arms could perform a wide range of active near-ground missions, from infrastructure repair and disaster recovery to border inspection and agricultural handling

  • The bicycle's next frontier: disaster response

    Cities in seismically active regions are examining their emergency response policies in the wake of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan; the city of Portland, Oregon, as well as citizen-led Neighborhood Emergency Teams(NET), have been including the cargo bike in their emergency response plans

  • Planetary exploration vehicle for earthly search-and-rescue missions

    A researcher develops a NASA-sponsored autonomous lake lander for the purpose of exploring lakes on distant planets; this mission is many years in the future; in the meantime, the vehicle is ready to deploy on missions related to defense and security, such as harbor surveillance and cleanup operations of littoral munitions dumps and mines; it is also ideal for search-and-rescue operations in oceans, lakes, and hazardous environments, as well as for environmental research projects

  • Brown graduate students help bankrupt city create disaster plan

    To help the cash-stricken city of Central Falls, Rhode Island, thirty graduate students from Brown University have banded together to help create a disaster preparedness plan

  • Study shows violence against women increases following disasters

    A new study shows that in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster domestic violence against women tends to increase

  • Nebraska debates disaster housing fund

    Legislators in Nebraska are currently debating a law that would create a $2.5 million temporary housing fund for families who lose their homes in natural disasters

  • Virginia receives $40 million in federal disaster aid following quake

    Following the rare east coast earthquake last year, Virginia has received nearly $40 million in federal disaster aid

  • Study finds disaster survivors more prone to fatal mistakes

    A new study concludes that survivors of traumatic natural disasters may suffer from a decline in mental capabilities causing them to make grave errors in their daily lives

  • Apps, digital tools to help cope with disasters

    The Department of Health and Human Services has posted on its Web a list of apps and digital tools which would help individual cope with disasters and the challenges disasters pose

  • Florida blood service upgrades storage systems

    Florida Blood Services has replaced three disparate storage systems with the Nimble CS240 converged storage array; FBS says the new storage operation allows FBS more efficient and centralized storage for FBS’s headquarters and forty field offices

  • Tax breaks for disaster victims

    This year victims of natural disasters may be eligible for a generous break on their taxes

  • 2011 natural disasters cost U.S. insurers more than $32 billion

    2011 saw U.S. government set record for disaster declarations; the severity of the disasters set a record as well, with twelve separate billion-dollar weather/climate disasters in 2011, with an aggregate damage total of approximately $52 billion (this number reflects both insured and uninsured losses)

  • 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