Resilience / Recovery

  • Key to coping with disasters: neighbors

    A political scientist who had moved to New Orleans only weeks before Hurricane Katrina concluded that neighbors — and cooperation among neighbors — are more important for surviving, coping with, and recovering from disasters than ambulances and fire trucks and government aid; to make sure his observations were more than anecdotal, he visited disaster areas around the world, and his data show that his personal experiences reflect a larger truth

  • Disaster relief innovation: concrete tent

    Among innovations which could help relief efforts following major disasters is a fabric shelter that, when sprayed with water, turns to concrete within twenty-four hours; the system works by impregnating cement particles into a fabric from which the tent is made; when the folded tent arrives at the disaster area, it is unrolled, tacked down with stakes, and then filled with air via a fan; once in place, the tent is soaked with water and then left to dry for twenty-four hours; once the concrete hardens, the tents can last for up to ten years; the tents come with installable doors, and since the walls are hard, electrical outlets and plumbing pipes can also be installed

  • More American civil engineers deployed to Japan to study damage

    Last week the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) deployed two more disaster assessment teams to Japan to study the damage wrought by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami; the two teams, the third and fourth deployed by ASCE, will tour the damaged areas which include the approximately 292 square miles inundated by the tsunami; one team will focus on examining the effects that the tsunami and earthquake had on port structures; the other team will focus their efforts on investigating the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on coastal structures like tsunami walls, breakwaters, and seawalls

  • Government moves quickly to help storm victims in South

    So far residents have been fairly pleased with the government’s response to the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina; after tornadoes touched down in seven states on Wednesday, Secretary Napolitano and other top federal officials immediately began contacting governors in the affected states; just hours after the storms had ravaged Alabama, Obama signed the declaration of disaster in Alabama and by Thursday he had done the same for Georgia and Mississippi; by Friday afternoon FEMA liaison officers had been deployed to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee; the storms have killed at least 350 people, injured more than 2,200, and left tens of thousands homeless in seven states

  • Japan quake reconstruction could take ten years

    Yesterday an advisory panel to the Japanese government announced that it could take a decade to rebuild Japan after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami wiped out much of north-eastern Japan; the council said that the first three years alone would be devoted to building roads and erecting temporary housing for the thousands of families that have been displaced; rebuilding towns could take another four years and a full recovery might take even longer; the damage from the recent quake was far greater than the large quake that struck Japan in 1995; Prime Minister Kan’s cabinet has approved almost $50 billion in spending for post-earthquake rebuilding

  • Waste management critical to natural disaster recovery

    Disasters can typically generate up to fifteen years worth of a community’s solid waste over a few days, with the potential to overwhelm day-to-day solid waste operations and to lead to years of disruption; FEMA estimates that debris removal accounted for 27 percent of their total disaster response costs for those U.S. disasters between 2002 and 2007; prolonged problems with the management of solid waste can lead to public and environmental health issues; slow management of solid waste can also impede economic recovery by inhibiting rebuilding activities

  • view counter
  • Japan sets up reconstruction planning structure

    Japan has announced that three newly created bodies will be in charge of Japan’s reconstruction: a 15-member panel of experts called the Reconstruction Design Council which will offer plans and programs for reconstruction; a cabinet task force, in which all cabinet members will be members, which will be responsible for implementing the programs; and a panel of reconstruction of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which will be in charge of coordinating relevant policies with the opposition parties

  • Protecting Japan from tsunamis

    As Japan begins to rebuild after the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, engineers are beginning to analyze the destruction to learn how to better prepare for future natural disasters; one expert says that prior to the earthquake, more infrastructures spending, particularly for projects aimed at preventing the approaching tsunami, could have mitigated much of the damage; the tsunami easily overwhelmed one of the tallest and longest seawalls in Japan; officials will have to decide whether to reinvest in costly tsunami infrastructure or to relocate communities further from the ocean to minimize the numbers affected by such events

  • Weighing the costs of disaster

    Different people react differently to disasters; individuals exposed to disaster may experience a number of psychological problems including PTSD, grief, anxiety, and increased substance abuse, but the evidence shows that less than 30 percent of adults experience severe, lasting levels of these problems; there may be a number of factors that influence how people react following disasters, such as age and socioeconomic status

  • Australian floods spread to forty towns, threaten Great Barrier Reef

    The floods in Australia continue to spread; forty towns have been flooded so far, affecting 200,000 people; as tons of toxic sludge are being washed into the sea, the famous Great Barrier Reef is now threatened; economists say the disaster could potentially shave about 0.5 percent off Australia’s annual GDP; snakes and marauding crocodiles are among the hazards for the besieged residents of steamy Queensland state, along with disease-carrying mosquitoes and the possibility of looting

  • Engineers develop more earthquake-resistant building designs

    Virginia Tech researchers are developing a next generation of design criteria for buildings located in geographic regions where earthquakes are known to occur, either rarely or frequently; in the future, structural engineers will base their designs on the concepts of Performance Based Earthquake Engineering (PBEE), where the objective is to control damage and provide life-safety for any size of earthquake that might occur

  • DHS adopts ASIS's resilience standard for private sector organizations

    DHS has adopted ASIS International’s Organizational Resilience Standard as part of a program designed voluntarily to bolster the resilience of private organizations during man-made and natural disasters and emergencies

  • Need seen for single U.S. disaster recovery agency

    The Obama administration has launched a series of meetings around the country which bring together government officials and representatives of non-profit, volunteer, and faith-based organizations to identify and share best practices and innovations in the area of disaster recovery; insights gathered at these meetings and at other similar meetings will go into recommendations for improving disaster recover policy to be presented to the Obama administration in April

  • Aussie telco says it is ready for the next Black Saturday

    The bushfires in Victoria, Australia on 7 February took 173 lives, ravaged thousands of hectares of land, and burned down hundreds of houses; providers Telstra and Optus were both hit hard by the fires too, with communications outages across fixed-line and mobile networks, Internet exchanges and power stations; Telstra says its systems are now more robust

  • Cumbria flood bridges facing safety checks

    Heavy rains in north-west U.K. cause six bridges in Cumbria to collapse; engineers are now examining the safety of the county’s 1,800 bridges; forty waste treatment works which have been put out of action, and 1,300 homes were flooded