• Oregon declares state of emergency to repair damaged ports

    The 11 March tsunami born of Japan’s 8.9 magnitude quake battered U.S. coasts and ports from Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest to southern California; the governor’s office in Hawaii expects damages to run about $10 million with estimates heading toward $50 million in California; one county in Oregon is reporting $25 million worth of destruction in one of three damaged ports

  • Aussies flee more flooding

    Flood water in northern Australia now cover an area larger than Germany and France combined; in addition to Queensland, large parts of the state of Victoria are now under water; around sixty towns across an area larger than Denmark to the north-west of the state capital, Melbourne, have been hit by floods as heavy rain from recent weeks makes its way across broad floodplains to the Murray River; the estimated damage in hard-hit Queensland now stands at US$19.8 billion

  • Who is the culprit in the Queensland floods: man or nature?

    Climate change may contribute to the intensification of natural disasters, but the major drivers of the rapidly rising costs of natural disasters — in Australia and around the world — are societal changes such as increases in population, wealth, and inflation, not climate change; the only way to reduce the scale of future disasters in Australia are risk-informed land planning policies with risks appropriately priced by an active insurance market; in simple terms, for flood and bushfire, this means an end to unmanaged development of flood plains or within bushlands

  • Economic, infrastructure damage of floods in Australia, Brazil staggering

    The floods in Australia and Brazil demonstrate how vulnerable societies are to the ravages of nature; the floods in Brazil have caused damage estimated at $1.2 billion; the Australia flooding could prove to be the most costly in the country’s history, already topping $5 billion before the waters reached Brisbane last week; the waters have ruined the agriculture industry in many areas of the country and when including the lost production value of crops and other goods, damages rise to almost $30 billion

  • Brisbane under water

    Brisbane, a city of two million and Australia’s third largest, is flooded; roads are inundated, railway lines have been cut, and sewage is spreading into the waters; dozens of suburbs are under three meters of waters, with some factories and homes only visible by their roofs; more than 100,000 properties had their power cut as a precaution against flooding of electricity substations; the worst affected area was the town of Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, where residents described an 8-meter “instant inland tsunami” ripping through the streets on Monday; the flood zone in northern Australia now covers are larger than Germany and France combined

  • Plastic homes for quick rebuilding after disaster

    Canadian company thinks it has an answer for Haitian relief; the company uses a rubber seal to attach the plastic structure to the concrete slab used as the foundation; the result is the structure “floats” atop the foundation in such a way it that can compensate for movements in the earth directly below, while the production process allows it to hold up against winds in excess of 240 kilometers per hour

  • ASIS International, BSI release Business Continuity Management ANSI standard

    ASIS International, BSI have released Joint Business Continuity Management ANSI Standard; the standard provides auditable criteria with accompanying guidance for developing and implementing a business continuity management system that improves an organization’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disruptive event

  • Protecting the grid from solar storm-induced blackouts

    Since the beginning of the Space Age the total length of high-voltage power lines crisscrossing North America has increased nearly ten fold; this has turned power grids into giant antennas for solar storm-induced currents; with demand for power growing even faster than the grids themselves, modern networks are sprawling, interconnected, and stressed to the limit — a recipe for trouble

  • Hurricane-proof data center built inside 770,000 gallon water tank

    The city of Altamonte Springs, Florida decided that the best protection against downtimes caused by hurricanes is to build the city’s data center inside a 770,000 gallon water tank; the dome-shaped tank offered 8-inch-thick walls of reinforced concrete and was situated only 100 feet from City Hall

  • California prepares for the Big One

    The scientific community in California is growing more and more wary of the potential for a major seismic event since the last that occurred was in 1857; a recent study projected that there was a 99 percent chance that a 6.7 magnitude earthquake would strike somewhere in California during the next thirty years

  • DHS seeks comments on small business preparedness plan

    DHS seeks public comments on a private sector readiness certification program specifically tailored to the needs of small businesses; this first-of-its-kind program will tailor voluntary private sector preparedness certification standards to specifically meet the needs and capabilities of U.S. small businesses

  • New door design to save lives in earthquakes

    New door design would save lives during earthquakes; the door looks unremarkable but, in an emergency, it can swivel horizontally on a central pivot a little less than a meter above the ground; at the same time, the door folds horizontally so the bottom half of it remains on the ground, anchoring it to the floor and providing additional protection

  • Bridge column withstands 6.9 quake in tests

    Engineers in California test a bridge column design capable of withstanding a 6.9 quake; nearly all of California’s 2,194 state-owned bridges have been retrofitted better to withstand tremors; local cities and counties across California own 1,193 with work done on 729 of them

  • Vulnerable IT infrastructure means loss of revenue

    Europeans businesses are losing approximately 17 billion Euros a year in revenue owing to IT disruptions; on average, European businesses suffer IT failures lasting an average of fourteen hours per company a year, amounting to nearly one million hours of down-time costs

  • DHS unveils more Than $1.8 billion in FY 2010 preparedness grants

    DHS announces more than $1.8 billion in preparedness grants; the grants are designed to help states, urban areas, tribal governments, and non-profit organizations enhance their protection, prevention, response, and recovery capabilities for risks associated with potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.