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Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20th

What happened this week?

New challenges for an evolving Earth Day 

Earth and handsApril 22 is now generally considered the world’s largest secular holiday, with the organizing group, the Earth Day Network, now expecting more than one-billion people in 192 countries to this year celebrate the now-annual event in locations across the continent and throughout the world. 
With heightened partisanship on environmental and other issues, Earth Day planners must broaden minorities' involvement in preparing for the 50th anniversary in a presidential election climate. By purposefully embracing potential intersections between environment and other social issues, Earth Day organizers on the national, state, and local level could perhaps better engage historically underrepresented communities, offering real incentives making Earth Day everyone’s day... Read more

Interesting Facts

Is Your City Ready for a Catastrophic Earthquake?: A QuickTake 

While cities differ greatly in their preparations, many in fault zones are moving more urgently to revisit disaster plans in the wake of Japan’s harrowing 2011 Tohoku earthquake, which spawned a tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown and killed more than 15,000 people. Los Angeles is requiring owners of about 13,500 wood-frame and 1,500 brittle concrete buildings to strengthen them against earthquakes, and San Francisco is requiring retrofits of wood-frame apartment buildings that house a total of more than 115,000 people. In Peru, where the capital city of Lima has a perilous combination of unsteady housing built atop unstable soil, the national civil-defense institute holds nationwide earthquake evacuation drills as critics warn of mass fatalities in a major temblor... Read more

After the Hurricane: America has let down its Puerto Rican citizens 

Six months after the disaster, over 50,000 have no electricity and San Juan is prone to daylong power cuts. The poor, whose tin-roofed shacks were most damaged by the storm, have found it especially hard to secure assistance. Of the nearly 1.2m applications FEMA has received for money to repair damaged houses, it has rejected 60% for lack of title deeds or because the shacks in question were built on stolen land or in contravention of building codes. The economic toll is enormous. Around 80% of the island’s agricultural crop was destroyed, including coffee and banana plantations that will take years to regrow. An estimated 10,000 firms, one in five of the total, remain closed, including a third of the island’s hotels. The government forecasts output will shrink by another 11% in the year to June 2018. A burst of growth should then follow—estimated at 8% over the following year—on the back of $35bn in federal assistance, an estimated $20bn in private-insurance payments and as Puerto Ricans dip into their savings to repair their houses. Yet even allowing for the effects of that growth, Puerto Rico and the nearby US Virgin Islands will by one estimate lose $47.5bn in output and employment equivalent to 332,000 people working for a year... Read more  

Experimental effects of climate messages vary geographically  

A study conducted by researchers from Yale, Cambridge, UCSB, and Utah State University demonstrates that a message about climate change can have different effects depending on geographical location. The research integrates the importance of public understanding of the scientific consensus on climate change and new techniques that can estimate public opinion at state and local levels. It was found that  experimental subjects’ perception of the degree of scientific consensus about climate change increased by about 16 percentage points nationally when presented with a simple, clear message: “97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening.” When this message treatment effect was down-scaled to state and local levels, several fossil fuel-producing parts of the country exhibited the strongest positive response, especially West Virginia, North Dakota, and Wyoming. The consensus message led to a convergence of perceptions about the scientific consensus among conservatives and liberals... Read more

Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13th

What happened this week?

Puerto Rico to get $18 billion from HUD for Hurricane Maria recovery.

Puerto Rico will receive about $18.5 billion from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to repair and fortify houses, businesses and infrastructure wrecked by Hurricane Maria, the agency announced Tuesday. The US commonwealth will get about $10.2 billion to cover needs stemming from the disaster, plus $8.3 billion for "mitigation" activities, meant to protect it from future events. The money is meant to support disaster recovery, including rebuilding or redeveloping housing, repairing infrastructure and assisting businesses. Puerto Rico's allocation is part of nearly $28 billion that HUD will award to various places still struggling to recover from disasters that have struck since 2015... Read more     Read the press release

Interesting Facts

Can Nature Help Us Manage Risk in a Time of Growing Climate Extremes?

ImageUntil recently, most flood risk management interventions involved conventional engineering measures. These measures are sometimes referred to as “hard” engineering or “gray” infrastructure. Examples include building embankments, dams, levees, and channels to control flooding. Currently, nature-based solutions are gaining momentum as an approach to manage disaster risk given the wide range of benefits they can provide. Nature-based solutions can be completely “green” (i.e. consisting of only ecosystem elements) or “hybrid” (i.e. a combination of ecosystem elements and hard engineering approaches). A growing body of evidence demonstrates that such nature-based solutions can effectively and economically reduce risk and simultaneously create a broad value chain for other sectors, including tourism, environment and housing, and provide livelihoods for local communities. The capacity of mangroves to absorb carbon is also much higher than terrestrial ecosystems. The combination of economic, social and environmental benefits make green infrastructure an important solution for resilient coastal and urban landscapes... Read more   Link to Guidance document

Even duller disasters? How earlier finance can save lives in emergencies

 Authors based on previous World Bank work”  A previous version of this graph appeared in   Financial Protection Against Natural DisastersPutting in place the funding, systems, and plans before a disaster strikes can help dull the impact of disasters by enabling earlier, faster and more effective response and recovery. But would it be possible to make disasters even ‘duller’ by also releasing finance before a disaster strikes? UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, recently set out a compelling vision for how the humanitarian system can be improved. He argued that “disasters are predictable… we need to move from today’s approach where we watch disaster and tragedy build, gradually decide to respond, and then mobilize money and organisations to help, to an anticipatory approach, where we plan in advance for the next crises, putting the response plans and money for them before they arrive, and releasing the money and mobilizing the response agencies as soon as they are needed…” Read more  

Policy Developments and Outlook
Jamaica to Benefit from Four-Year Climate Change Project  

Jamaica is among three Caribbean islands to benefit from a four-year initiative that will help the country prioritize and invest in ecosystems that specifically reduce its risk of disasters related to climate change. The Dominican Republic and Grenada are the other two islands to benefit from the Resilient Islands by Design Project, which runs from 2017 to 2021. Funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the project is being led by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The objective of the project is to combine cutting-edge conservation science with the world’s leading expertise in disaster response to develop tools and test solutions that use nature to ensure protection of coastal communities in the Caribbean islands. These include the use of coral reef and mangroves, which can reduce wave energy and reduce wave height... Read more  

Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6th

What happened this week?

Dominican Republic welcomes the Regional Summit for Exchanging Innovative Experiences and Lessons Learned Regarding Disaster Risk Reduction 

 The Regional Summit for Exchanging Innovative Experiences and Lessons Learned Regarding Disaster Risk Reduction will be taking place on April 5th-6th, in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic.
The coordination of this event is carried out by the National Emergency Commission through the Program for Strengthening the Organizational-Functional Structures of Disaster Risk Management in the Dominican Republic, funded by the European Union.
This summit edition, based on the “Exchange of Lessons Learned after the impact of Hurricanes Irma and María”, will help to identify and share experiences, good practices and relevant challenges at regional, national and local levels. With this, the Dominican State reinforces its commitment on promoting measures to strengthen disaster reduction management, reduce the impact of natural events and increase resilience.... Read more

Interesting Facts

Colorado State University hurricane researchers predict a slightly above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2018

Hurricane EdouardThe CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 14 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Of those, researchers expect seven to become hurricanes and three to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
The team predicts that 2018 hurricane activity will be about 135 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2017’s hurricane activity was about 245 percent of the average season. The 2017 season was most notable for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which devastated the United States and portions of the Caribbean... Read more     Link to full report

How to encourage more female staff in disaster response  

When a disaster strikes, surge staff are the first ones deployed to assess and implement what is most needed on the ground. While disasters can disproportionately affect women, they only make up 40 percent of surge staff according to research report conducted by ActionAid and CARE International last year. In particular regions, this can be significantly lower. For example, only 27 percent of surge staff deployed in Pakistan are female. A more gender-balanced staff could help response efforts be more inclusive for those affected and could help reduce incidents of sexual abuse in disaster response... Read more

Argentine farmers slammed by worst drought in years  

Argentina's worst drought in years which began in November, has caused big losses, reduced expectations of economic growth and raised concerns among farmers, government officials and experts in the world’s third-largest exporter of soybean and corn. President Mauricio Macri was counting on a near-record soy crop this year to boost economic growth to 3.5 percent in 2018. Instead, what is expected to be the poorest harvest in at least a decade has already cut growth forecasts by up to a percentage point... Read more  

Friday, March 30, 2018

March 30th

Interesting Facts

Haiti: Hurricane Irma (MDRHT014) DREF Final Report  

previewThe Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Final Report for Hurricane Irma in Haiti has been released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Monday. 
Hurricane Irma impacted Haiti on the 7th of September, 2017 into the early hours of the 8th of September, 2017. The eye of the hurricane passed north-east of the coastline of the country, causing storm surges on the north coast and wind and flood damage to vulnerable communities. The storm directly impacted Haiti’s three northern departments, with some flooding in two additional departments due to rainfall. Preparedness activities included the pre-positioning of available stocks in the three northern departments, in conjunction with the Haitian Red Cross Society (HRCS) disseminating key messages before the passage of the storm and assisting the Haitian Department of Civil Protection (DPC) with the evacuation of affected people or designated collective centers; joint coordination meetings were also held with DPC and other stakeholders at the department level in the three northern departments. ... Read more

Colombian Air Force Bolsters Humanitarian Aid Capacity 

Colombia’s disaster response system led to an increase in the number of relief missions in local communities, and also provided assistance during recent disasters in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Costa Rica. The system is built around several public and private entities, and community and military organizations brought together under the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGDR, in Spanish). UNGDR was established in 2008 by the National Center for Personnel Rescue (CNRP, in Spanish) that the Colombian Air Force (FAC in Spanish) operates to aid the civilian population. The unit is based at the Military Air Transport Command in Bogotá... Read more

When disaster strikes: the role of aviation in humanitarian logistics 

Over the course of this year, the Global Humanitarian Overview predicts that more than 135 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. The provision of relief in a fast, secure and cost-effective manner is the product of painstaking global cooperation between aid agencies and organizations, and at the core of it all is the aviation industry, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of food, medical supplies or shelter materials. According to Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA) chief executive George Fenton, the primary role that aviation plays in humanitarian emergency response is moving supplies very quickly from hubs where there are pre-positioned supplies of goods, such as Dubai, Panama or West Africa, where nations, together with partners and non-governmental organisations stockpile largely shelter items. At present, the world’s leading humanitarian airline is the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), managed by the World Food Programme (WFP). Operating more than 70 chartered aircraft, UNHAS serves over 300 regular destinations in 19 countries... Read more

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners calculate possible alert times that earthquake early warning systems can provide people at different levels of ground motion from light to very strong shaking

Comparison maps indicating short or long times available for earthquake shaking arrival times
A new study examines what the expected warning times could be for earthquake early warning systems by considering how long it takes an earthquake to grow in size (magnitude) compared to how long it takes earthquake waves (shaking) to arrive at a user’s location.
Modern earthquake early warning systems can monitor the evolving rupture, issuing alerts to regions expected to experience a certain level of shaking as the earthquake is occurring.  If the earthquake rupture grows, and the region impacted by ground motion expands, alerts may be updated and extended to new locations.  A person will experience very strong ground motions only if the earthquake grows to a large-enough magnitude and if the fault rupture breaks close to their location. Consequently, earthquake early warning systems have the greatest potential benefit for people who can take protective action when warnings are issued for low levels of ground shaking. If alerts are only issued for very strong shaking, people will have less time to respond and take action... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Stanford law and science experts discuss court case that could set precedent for climate change litigation.

oil refinery in Anacortes, WashingtonA closely watched federal trial pitting two cities against major oil companies has taken surprising and unorthodox turns. A judge in California took an unusual step in trying to untangle who is to blame for increasingly frequent droughts, floods and other climate change-related extreme weather. The case in San Francisco is weighing the question of whether climate change damages connected to the burning of oil are specifically the fault of the companies that extract and sell it.  The judge in People of the State of California v. BP P.L.C. et al. had both the plaintiffs – the cities of Oakland and San Francisco – and the defendants – several major oil companies – answer basic questions about climate change in a tutorial format. Counter to what some might have expected, an oil company lawyer largely confirmed the consensus science on the issue, but challenged the idea that oil companies should be held accountable... Read more

Friday, March 23, 2018

March 23rd

What happened this week?

March 22nd, 2018, marks the 25th annual World Water Day, which the United Nations started to raise awareness around the importance of water.
World Water Day logo
As water shortage looms for 5 billion by 2050 without action, the United Nations World Water Development Report says that nature-based solutions can improve the supply and quality of water and reduce the impact of natural disasters. A key focus on the study is the importance of preserving wetlands, which cover only about 2.6 percent of the planet. Wetlands act as natural barriers that soak up and capture rainwater limiting soil erosion and the impacts of certain natural disasters such as floods. Nevertheless, the use of nature-based solutions remains marginal and almost all investments are still channeled to grey infrastructure projects. Yet, to satisfy the ever-growing demand for water, green infrastructure appears to be a promising solution complementing traditional approaches. The authors of the report therefore call for greater balance between the two, especially given that nature-based solutions are best aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015... Read more

Interesting Facts

If no action is taken, there will be more than 143 million internal climate migrants across the regions of Latin America, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050

A new World Bank report has found that by 2050 the worsening impacts of climate change in three densely populated regions of the world could see more than 140 million people move within their countries’ borders.
With concerted action, however, including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level – this worst-case scenario could be dramatically reduced, by as much as 80 percent, or 100 million people. The report identifies “hotspots” of climate in- and out-migration. These include climate-vulnerable areas from which people are expected to move, and locations into which people will try to move to build new lives and livelihoods... Read more

How private and public finance can help us to fight climate change

School children wearing masks leave school early at noon due to heavy air pollution, at a primary school in Shenyang, Liaoning province, November 13, 2015. According to Xinhua News Agency, lingering smog has disrupted traffic in northeast China's Liaoning Province, closing highways and delaying trains. REUTERS/Stringer CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - GF20000057495 According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the expected losses to investment portfolios due to climate change in today’s money lie between $4.2 trillion and $13.9 trillion. However, changing course remains very possible. Forecasts from the International Energy Agency suggest that up to $120 trillion in global infrastructure investments will be made before 2050, with most activity in emerging economies. Aligning these investments with a low-carbon future increases this figure by $44 trillion, but once the infrastructure is in place, radically lower fuel costs generate long-term real savings of $74 trillion. Funding the green transition should not be seen as a cost or a burden to investors who take a long-term view. But since many investors are assessed by short-term performance, they have an incentive to follow shorter-term strategies. And for those who can consider longer-term risks, there are not enough green investment opportunities into which they can redirect their capital. ... Read more

Friday, March 16, 2018

March 16th

What happened this week?

Caribbean volcano Kick 'em Jenny: Ships warned off area

Map of GrenadaShips sailing in the Caribbean have been told to steer clear of an underwater volcano after it started showing increased seismic activity. The volcano, called Kick 'em Jenny, is located 8km (5 miles) off Grenada. Kick 'em Jenny, which rises 1.3km above the seafloor on a steep slope of the Lesser Antilles ridge, is one of the most active volcanoes in the eastern Caribbean.
The government of Grenada has imposed a 5km exclusion zone around Kick 'em Jenny after the alert was raised to orange, which means an eruption could take place within 24 hours. However, seismologists said there was no imminent danger to the region and according to researchers at the West Indies Seismic Research Center (SRC) in Trinidad, there was no indication that the increased seismic activity would generate a tsunami... Read more

March 18th marks the third anniversary of the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 

Three years after the adoption of a global plan to reduce disaster losses 148 countries have now committed to report systematically on their disaster losses including deaths, numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure including public utilities. Best estimates are that disasters cost the global economy US$520 billion annually while pushing 26 million people into poverty and displacing millions from their homes but not enough countries are providing precise data at national level. Since the Sendai Framework Monitor went live on March 1, 61 countries have already logged on to upload statistics for 2017 which will also feed into the first progress report on achievement of the 17 SDGs which will appear in July... Read more

Interesting Facts

The Peruvian Navy bolsters natural disaster response strategies with Modular Mobile Bases.

On February 1, 2018, the Peruvian Navy set up a Modular Mobile Base (BMM, in Spanish) in the Ricardo Palma district, in the department of Lima. The base will serve as a logistics center and provide basic services to the affected population during any natural disasters. West of Lima, BMM Huarochirí meets all the conditions for security, welfare, and basic services with freezers, refrigerators, and a freshwater and wastewater treatment plant. The unit also has two power plants generating 50 kilowatts each, a 5,000-gallon freshwater tank, and a 1,300-gallon fuel tank, in addition to a warehouse and a command center... Read more

Jamaica Strengthening Disaster Resilience under US$30-Million Project 

Jamaica’s resilience to disaster and climate risk is being strengthened through various activities and initiatives being undertaken as part of the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP).
The project, which is being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) from 2016 to 2022, is funded by the Government of Jamaica through a loan agreement with the World Bank valued at US$30 million. The project deliverables to be undertaken over the six-year period include the development of a National Risk Information Platform (NRIP), which will allow all risk data to be located and updated in a centralized platform available to government agencies and the public... Read more

Powerful earthquake that killed over 300 people in Mexico was a rare 'bending' quake: study 

file-20180310-30989-1sugyl9Most major earthquakes worldwide happen along the unstable intersections in the Earth’s crust, where two tectonic plates collide, one plate sliding beneath the other.These are called subduction zones and at most subduction zones, after one tectonic plate slides beneath a neighboring plate, it continues on a diagonal downward dive and sinks deep into the Earth’s mantle. In Mexico, the initial contact between the two tectonic plates starts off normally enough, with the subducted plate sinking diagonally downwards. However, just as it begins to jut underneath the Mexican mainland, the plate reverses course. It bends upward, sliding itself horizontally beneath the plate Mexico sits on top of.  Then, underneath Puebla state—just south of Mexico City—at a depth of about 30 miles below ground, the subducted plate abruptly changes direction once more. It dives almost vertically downward, plunging itself deep into the Earth’s mantle... Read more   Read research paper

Policy Developments and Outlook

CDEMA’s new procurement procedures improve disaster response 

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), has developed and will implement new procurement and contract management procedures to facilitate a more streamlined and efficient use of their resource pool, including disaster management funds. After conducting a routine assessment of its operations geared toward the continual improvement of financial management practices, a number of recommendations for improving the unit’s procurement system were identified. Updating the existing procurement manual to address gaps related to procurement and contract management was among the suggestions... Read more

Friday, March 9, 2018

March 9th

What happened this week?

International Women's Day: Call for better data on impacts of disasters on women and girls

Marking International Women’s Day on March 8, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Mami Mizutori made an appeal today for UN Member States to provide better data on the impacts of disasters on women and girls. Ms. Mizutori who took over as head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) on March 1, stressed the need for a better understanding of the extent to which a disproportionate number of women and girls die or are affected by disasters, allowing governments and civil society organizations to be compelled to make a more conscious effort to ensure that women are recognized as agents of change and better represented in disaster management agencies ... Read more

Recognizing issues around gender, and empowering women and drawing on their knowledge, is an essential part of resilience and achieving the globally-agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

© UNDP Bhutan
The impacts of climate change are not “gender neutral”. In fact, the situation is worst for the most vulnerable: according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women. Women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes and labor markets compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.... Read more

Mexico strengthens political dialogue and cooperation with St Lucia

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Luis Videgaray Caso, and the Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet, led the work of the first meeting of the Mechanism for Consultations on Matters of Common Interest between Mexico and Saint Lucia, during which one of main areas of discussion were climate change and renewable energy. They also spoke on the initiatives presented at the 4th Mexico-CARICOM Summit on the 25th of October 2017, particularly concerning the Mexico-CARICOM Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Strategy. ... Read more

Interesting Facts

International Women's Day: How the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan led to the foundation of Bosai Girls (or Disaster Preparedness Girls), to raise awareness among young people on the importance of disaster and emergency preparedness

Were it not for the 9.0-magnitude earthquake disaster that triggered a tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing, Ms Misaki Tanaka’s destiny might have been different. Ms Tanaka quit her job at a Tokyo information technology firm and joined an organization which supports disaster victims. She was tasked with helping to plan disaster preparedness exercises, which many saw as repetitive and boring. She set herself a goal: Make these drills interesting, even for young people. That idea led to the creation of Bosai Girls, or Disaster Preparedness Girls, in 2013. Her decision to use the word “girls” in the name reflected the fact that women are particularly vulnerable in times of disaster. If she was to promote her vision of a fun and funky approach to disaster preparedness, Ms Tanaka realized she needed to reach out to young women, who are often the catalyst for new trends... Read more

Studies show that women are more likely than men to be affected by disasters

Three women in Pakistan wade through floodwater, carrying their belongingsUN figures indicate that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Roles as primary caregivers and providers of food and fuel make them more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur. In addition, women are more likely to experience poverty worldwide, and to have less socioeconomic power than men. This makes it difficult to recover from disasters which affect infrastructure, jobs and housing. The UN has highlighted the need for gender sensitive responses to the impacts of climate change, yet the average representation of women in national and global climate negotiating bodies is below 30%... Read more

Political orientation and climate concern shape visual attention to climate change.

Climatic ChangeDespite the scientific consensus, there is widespread public controversy about climate change. A recent study by psychologists have found that Conservatives who were less concerned about climate change were less likely to see climate-related words than liberals who were worried about the issue, suggesting patterns of climate change blindness in conservatives. These findings suggest that climate-related communications may be most effective if tailored in a manner accounting for how attentional priorities differ between audiences—particularly those with different political orientations... Read more  Link to research paper

Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2nd

What happened this week?

The CARICOM 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting: the Caribbean Community's push to build a more climate-resilient community

H.E. Jovenel Moise, President of HaitiThe President of Haiti (current Chairman of CARICOM) addressed the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Ninth Inter-sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Port-au-Prince on Monday and placed much emphasis on climate change, natural disasters and funding for recovery. He highlighted the need for a new mechanism for disaster risk funding that would assist affected Member States to quickly recover and reconstruct... Read more

The CARICOM 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting: CARICOM addresses their needs for concessional financing for climate resilience

Amb. Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General of the Caribbean CommunityCARICOM's Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque emphasized the need for significant grant funding and very concessional financing in order to meet the Caribbean Community’s goal of creating a climate resilient region. He addressed that the common obstacle of most CARICOM countries is their ineligibility for concessional development financing and Official Development Assistance (ODA), due to the use of GDP per capita as the principal criterion, as most are categorized as middle or high-income countries ... Read more

Interesting Facts

Investments in forecasting and research has yielded more accurate predictions for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Year-End Summary.The devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season produced 17 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes. Not only had the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided vital forecasts and data to communities in the path of this year’s storms that contributed to saving many lives, but also NOAA's preliminary data show that the National Hurricane Center issued forecasts with record-setting accuracy. Track forecasts for the three most damaging hurricanes were about 25 percent more accurate than average... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Jamaica to Host Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center

According to Jamaica's Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica will host a tourism resilience and crisis management center to deal with climate-related issues. The center is to be located at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and will serve the Caribbean, providing information, expertise, technical advice and guidance. It will be armed with guidelines, tool kits and policies to handle the recovery process in the event of a crisis, facilitating information flow among all stakeholders in the tourism industry within and outside of the region... Read more  

Friday, February 23, 2018

February 23rd

What happened this week?

Oaxaca, Mexico requests emergency funds after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake. 
Soldiers remove debris from a partly collapsed municipal building, which was felled by a massive earthquake, in Juchitan, Oaxaca state, Mexico.A 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Oaxaca on February 16th, with its epicenter close to Pinotepa Nacional and Santiago Jamiltepec. Authorities in Oaxaca, Mexico are requesting emergency funds to supply food, shelter and health services in more than 30 municipalities that are still recovering from the Sept. 2017 earthquakes. At least 1,000 homes were damaged and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa said rebuilding would take up to six years after the city was struck by a 8.2 magnitude earthquake last September, which left more than 300 dead... Read more

Interesting Facts

How rising temperatures and changes in climate can impact the aviation industry and air travel.

Floodwaters swamp Don Mueang domestic airport in Bangkok, Thailand
As temperatures increase and weather becomes more extreme, the aviation industry must adapt to changes both in the air and on the ground. Not only can higher temperatures  bring about severe consequences for aircraft take-off performance, but also changes in the jet stream when flying across the Atlantic could result in increased flight delays and turbulence ... Read more

Forests are losing their resilience to wildfires as warming climates are impacting post-fire tree regeneration.
Few surviving trees remain in the changed landscape located in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in Idaho.
A new study on the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests, led by Colorado State University scientists, found significant decreases in tree regeneration following 21st century wildfires. Historically, the look of forests changes over time, but according to research it will take much longer for sites to re-establish forests after a wildfire, if they return at all.  The study shows the pattern of reduced tree regeneration emerge consistently across all the sites ... Read more  Link to research paper

People remain outside a building, shortly after an earthquake rattled the Mexican city of Guadalajara, on Feb. 9. Photo: ULISES RUIZ, AFP/Getty ImagesEarthquake early warning: How the U.S. trails Mexico in potential life-saver
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake in southern Mexico early Monday appeared to be an aftershock from a 7.2-magnitude temblor that hit Friday. Both triggered seismic alarms that echoed across the capital, giving people a head start of 30 seconds to a minute to take cover or exit an unsafe building. Mexico built its system in response to an earthquake that devastated the capital in 1985, killing an estimated 10,000 people... Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Trump again seeks to end funding for earthquake early warning system and how authorities and facilities in California are planning to test their earthquake early warning systems.  The Trump administration’s budget proposal released last week again zeroed out funding for the earthquake early warning program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  The U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the USGS, said in its budget justification that the reduction in the earthquake hazards program was proposed to “address higher priorities... Read more  

One arm of the Trump administration thinks climate change is a security threat.
A report published on January 26th by the Department of Defence (DoD) found that more than half of the 3,500 military sites surveyed are already reporting climate-related problems. Droughts are leading to water shortages, heatwaves are causing some live-fire exercises to be cancelled and shifting wind patterns are disrupting aircraft sorties. In addition, critical outposts abroad are similarly vulnerable. Twenty years from now a new $1bn radar installed on the Marshall Islands could be under water. Diego Garcia, a staging post on an Indian Ocean atoll crucial for operations in the Persian Gulf, may be submerged too... Read more