IAEM Dispatch
Sep. 3, 2015

Expert: View disaster management as a core development issue
The Hindu
Disaster risk management should be viewed as a core development issue. This would require strengthening institutional systems as well as empowering communities to become more resilient. Development of disaster response system at taluk and block levels would help in effective risk mitigation, according to Kamal Kishore, Member, Ministry of Home Affairs.More

With 15 million Pakistanis on Facebook and Twitter, we should use social media during emergencies and disasters
The Nation
From Karachi to Kuala Lumpur, there have been numerous cases where the use of social media by members of the public, nonprofit and government agencies has allowed responders to get a better understanding of the situation on the ground prior to deployment, allowing triaging of response to avoid duplication of efforts and ultimately save lives.More

Vancouver after the big one: 7.3-magnitude earthquake would kill nearly 10,000 and injure 128,000, experts say
National Post
It's a typically rainy day in January at 2 p.m. Streets are packed, with businesses in full swing after workers have returned from the holidays. Then the earthquake hits. Most people hear it before they feel it — a low, rumbling sound like a freight train. Closest to the epicenter, there is a violent shaking that lasts 10 to 20 seconds, knocking people off their feet. More

FEMA and Airbnb partnering to promote disaster preparedness
In efforts to strengthen their Disaster Response Program and the safety of their hosts and guests, Airbnb began collaborating with FEMA and the Ready campaign to better educate hosts on how to prepare for and respond to disasters. As a first step, more than 100,000 Airbnb hosts in hurricane-prone regions across the United States received hurricane preparedness information, including links to FEMA's Ready.gov website and simple steps to prepare themselves in the event a hurricane approaches their area. The company will also work with FEMA's private sector liaisons to receive real-time information during disasters, allowing them to more effectively deploy the Disaster Response Program in the areas where Airbnb hosts can be of the most help to survivors and responders. The Disaster Response Program makes it easier for Airbnb hosts to offer their space at no charge, supporting neighbors and relief workers following emergencies or disasters in their community. The program has been activated in such locations as Texas, Oklahoma, New York, and Nepal.More

FEMA issues bulletin on Hurricane Sandy Claims Review Process
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Aug. 31 released a bulletin (W-15040) to clarify the role that the agency is taking on flood insurance claims filed after May 18, 2015. Previously, FEMA provided notice that FEMA was undertaking an expedited settlement process for all claims in litigation arising from Hurricane Sandy. As part of the settlement process, FEMA assumed responsibility from the Write Your Own (WYO Company issuing a policy that was the subject of litigation and negotiated the case on behalf of the WYO Company. FEMA then coordinated with the defendant (WYO) to direct payment once an agreement was reached with the plaintiff policyholder. Bulletin W-15050 provides an update on the Hurricane Sandy claims review process.More

Hawaii disaster-relief course brings military, civilians together*
Stars and Stripes
Twenty disaster relief professionals raced the clock to build four makeshift shelters in 20 minutes under sweltering sun. The blue-tarp lean-tos weren't anything fancy, but the exercise underscored a basic tenant of humanitarian assistance: being a jack-of-all-trades is critical in a crisis. Among many competing priorities in the wake of a disaster is medical assistance, as shown at the two-week Health Emergencies in Large Populations course at the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance in Hawaii. More

NIST seeks members for new community resilience panel
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that it is seeking members for the new Community Resilience Panel on Buildings and Infrastructure Systems. The panel will connect and engage community and infrastructure-sector stakeholders in helping communities to become more resilient. The first meeting will take place on Nov. 9, 2015, at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. More information on the purpose of the committee and how to join in its work is available here.More

FEMA provides update on re-engineering of the Public Assistance program's delivery process
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published an update, which can be downloaded here, on the status of its redesign of the delivery process for Public Assistance. For years, all PA grants have been developed using the same work flow process regardless of a project's size, complexity, or facility type. The re-engineered process is designed to increase FEMA's ability to be more effective and efficient in providing disaster assistance. Projects will be sorted now by complexity. Another area that is seeing changes is that currently multiple staff interact with each applicant, often asking them for similar information. The re-engineered practice will provide applicants with a single FEMA point of contact, using expertise where needed so that projects are reviewed by the right people. The changes will be field tested later this fall, and more information will be forthcoming, as FEMA continues to engage its partners on the re-engineered PA process.More

FEMA issues clarification on 45-day timeline for passing through SHSP and UASI funding to local or tribal governments
On Sept. 1, Brian Kamoie, FEMA assistant administrator for grant programs, issued a message to clarify the timeline for State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) to obligate, or "pass through," at least 80 percent of State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding to local or tribal governments within 45 calendar days after the SAA receives its Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) award from FEMA. Grant recipients have cited confusion regarding when the 45-calendar-day requirement begins. In order to meet the statutorily required terms of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 HSGP Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), SAAs must pass through at least 80 percent of SHSP and UASI funding, respectively, within 45 calendar days of receiving the grant funds. Notwithstanding any other provision of the FY 2015 HSGP NOFO, "receipt of funds" occurs either when the SAA accepts the award or 15 calendar days after the SAA receives notice of the award, whichever is earlier.More

IAEM-hosted Emergency Management & Business Contingency Summit in Dubai seeks sponsors and exhibitors
Do you have a product or service that senior emergency management and business contingency decision-makers and influencers need? The Emergency Management & Business Contingency Summit, set for Oct. 7-8, 2015, at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, offers you the perfect platform to showcase your solution to your target market and to meet and network with senior-level decision makers who are leading the way in the industry. At this event, which is being co-hosted by IAEM and the International Quality & Productivity Centre (IQPC), business development, marketing and sales solutions are available that can be tailored to your business objectives. Whether you wish to participate in the exhibition or be a sponsor, you will have the opportunity to create customers, develop qualified sales leads, convert leads into sales, and retain customers. Find out more on the event site.More

Articles sought by Sept. 10 for IAEM Bulletin special focus issue on 'Expanding the Spectrum of Emergency Management'
The IAEM Editorial Work Group seeks articles on the theme of "Expanding the Spectrum of Emergency Management" for a special focus issue of the IAEM Bulletin on the 2015 IAEM Annual Conference theme. Download an article written by IAEM-USA Conference Chair Susamma Seeley for the Jan. 2015 IAEM Bulletin to get some ideas for articles for this special focus issue of the Bulletin. The deadline for submitting articles for this issue is Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Please read the Author's Guidelines before you write your article. Article submissions (750-1,500 words) should be emailed to Karen Thompson, editor, in Word format.More

Providing insights into overcoming disaster
The Boston Globe
In late July 2005, Daniel Aldrich and his wife, Yael, moved to New Orleans with their two young sons so that Aldrich, a newly minted PhD in political science from Harvard, could take a job as an assistant professor at Tulane University. The couple rented a home, bought a car and furniture, and put an inflatable pool for the kids out back. "We had a real nice setup in Lakeview," says Aldrich, 41. "You could see Lake Pontchartrain from our house, and my wife and the kids had biked to the levee, less than a quarter-mile away." On Monday, Aug. 29, Aldrich was scheduled to start teaching, and the boys were to start preschool. But early that morning, Hurricane Katrina made landfall, and history, after the catastrophic breaching of the levees that left the city under water.More

The escalation of natural disasters
Adam Sobel writes: I'm in Atlantic Canada giving a series of talks about Hurricane Sandy and what it did to New York (based on my book, Storm Surge). I've been talking about what happened in New York, hearing from people here about what has happened and could happen here, all the while thinking, along with the rest of the world, about what happened 10 years ago in New Orleans. The differences are many, but there are a few common threads. More

An earthquake is going to hit LA — then what?
Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina reminded us that when it comes to natural disasters, you can prepare for the worst, but it's also crucial to plan for the chaos that comes afterward. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took that lesson to heart. He is haunted by the memory of flying over New Orleans in a helicopter a full year after the storm and seeing whole sections of the city that hadn't come back to life — and probably never would. In Los Angeles, the looming disaster is not a hurricane, but a long-overdue eruption of the massive San Andreas Fault, which seismologists say is the most likely source of a large earthquake in heavily populated Southern California.More

It's not New Orleans that most worries disaster experts*
U.S. News & World Report
Robert Traver saw homes that had been blown up while serving in the Army in Iraq during Desert Storm, but nothing prepared him for the damage in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "I can't get over the horror of that — flying for hours and seeing the damage. It's nothing that you ever forget," the retired lieutenant colonel says. "I was [near] a barracks that was hit by a SCUD missile, and in comparison that was nothing."More

The IAEM-USA Annual Conference is the premier emergency management event of 2015
See what others are saying about the IAEM Annual Conference & EMEX.

  • "The IAEM Annual Conference is a must experience for both disaster researchers and emergency management professionals. It has provided real networking opportunities for me over the years and an excellent forum to present the latest research results. If you want to know what really is going on in emergency management today, this is the place to be."
  • "IAEM offers a wide range of stimulating programs that will enlighten, from students to 30-year veterans of emergency management. While attending the IAEM Annual Conference, I have always found new ideas to help me grow both personally and professionally."
  • "The IAEM Annual Conference was beyond my expectations as a first time attendee. It provided so much networking and the ability to find counterparts in other states to allow the exchange of information, which was truly amazing. If you haven’t been, plan to go! There is so much to learn and explore at IAEM."
  • View more testimonials from well-known speakers, your peers, first- and repeat-attendees, and many more! View the complete program and Register today for the IAEM 63rd Annual Conference & EMEX, Nov. 13-18, 2015 in Clark County, Nevada. More

    The new tech of disaster response, from apps to aqua drones
    Hurricane Katrina was a tale of three disasters. The first was natural, a violent storm that devastated the Gulf Coast. The second was man-made, the catastrophic failure of levees protecting New Orleans. Together, these disasters killed more than 1,800 people and displaced half a million families. Damages ran into the billions, and the recovery continues even now.More

    Social media plays major role in storm response
    Larry Richardson heads down to the beach every morning and snaps a few photos. When he gets home he chooses the best of the bunch to share with friends on Facebook. But during severe weather and emergencies, it’s not only Richardson’s friends who will be looking at this photos. The Emergency Operations Center has a team dedicated to mining social media. Monitoring what your sharing that could be relevant to first responders. And when disaster strikes, people like Richardson become the eyes of the community.More

    Register today for a Certification Prep Course or exam
    If you're interested in attending one of the IAEM CEM®/AEM Prep Course and Exam offerings this fall, visit the IAEM website for further details and registration information. Upcoming locations include:

    IAEM Region 4 Conference in Asheville, North Carolina – Sept. 21
    Indianapolis, Indiana – Oct. 20
    IAEM Annual Conference in Clark County, Nevada – Nov. 15

    New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board publishes book on Katrina 10 years later
    The Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans has published a book titled Katrina 10 Progress ... Devastation to Recovery to Restoration to Rebuilding Ten Years Later. It features the progress through the work of employees to rebuild the water, sewer, drainage, and power infrastructure after Hurricane Katrina. The book documents the personal experiences of employees, as they literally risked their lives and their personal safety to salvage and repair the vital Sewerage & Water Board facilities and equipment. Their efforts made it possible to de-water the city in only 11 days after the levee breeches were repaired, and the book highlights the progress made in rebuilding smarter, stronger, more reliable and more resilient infrastructure. The 149-page Katrina 10 book is available online for download no charge.More

    Study shows smaller cities in developing world often unprepared for disaster
    While many planners focus on the threat of natural disasters to major metropolises around the world, a new study from the University of Colorado Denver shows smaller cities are often even less equipped to handle such catastrophes. "Small cities are often far away from where decisions get made and struggle to insert themselves into the agenda of decision-making bodies," said study author Andrew Rumbach, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning, a major center of timely, topical and relevant research.More

    New study reveals the possibility of hurricanes 'unlike anything you've seen in history'
    The Washington Post
    Recently, the U.S. focused its attention on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history. As bad as the storm was, though, it wasn't the worst storm that could have possibly hit New Orleans. That's true of many, many other places, too. And now, in a new study in Nature Climate Change, Princeton’s Ning Lin and MIT's Kerry Emanuel demonstrate that when it comes to three global cities in particular — Tampa, Florida, Cairns, Australia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates — there could come a storm that is much worse than anything in recent memory (or in any memory).More

    Report examines potential economic losses from storm surge on 6 key coastal cities*
    Homeland Security Today
    On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina battering the Gulf Coast, Florida has declared a state of emergency as tropical storm Erika takes aim at the state — with Tampa and Miami potentially in its path. Erika is expected to make landfall as a tropical storm late Sunday or early Monday, bringing with it heavy rains. The storm comes as a new report by Risk Management Solution, Cities at Risk: A Forward-Looking View of Wind-Driven Storm Surge, 2010-2100, reported that, "Miami and Tampa are the most risk-prone cities in terms of annual likelihood of storm surge loss."More

    Kilo is now a typhoon and a hurricane, see how
    The Weather Network
    Kilo became somewhat of an enigma when it barreled over the International Date Line Tuesday (Eastern time). When that happened, it simultaneously became a typhoon and a hurricane, while simultaneously occurring on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's a bit hard to wrap your head around, but time zones are funny like that.More

    September is National Preparedness Month
    Part of the job emergency managers and first responders do is to educate people on the steps they can take to mitigate and prepare for disasters and emergencies. Encouraging citizens to make a plan, learn how to evacuate safely, how to communicate to their families they are okay, and to physically prepare their property. Sometimes, they fail to look at their own families and properties and practice what they preach. September is National Preparedness Month and the theme for 2015 is "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today." This is a perfect reminder for those working in the Emergency Services Sector to lead by example and ensure their family will be safe during an emergency. Ready.gov has many resources available toward this end including directions for making a plan; information on special groups, how to build a kit, and how to get involved in your community’s preparedness activities. Each week in September will focus on
a different natural or man-made disaster, with Sept. 30 being set aside for the national day of action campaign PrepareAthon! More

    How did Katrina change how we evacuate pets from disaster?
    PBS NewsHour
    It's estimated that thousands of people refused to evacuate New Orleans in advance of Hurricane Katrina for one reason: they weren't willing to leave their dogs or cats behind. At the time, most State and Federal rescue organizations had no formal policy on evacuating animals during disasters, and so many people in need of help were faced with a harrowing choice: They could be saved, but only if they left their animals behind.More

    Face of World Humanitarian Summit to step down*
    The woman leading the UN’s largest attempt in decades to reform emergency aid is resigning, IRIN has learned. The U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed that Jemilah Mahmood, a doctor and founder of MERCY Malaysia, will be stepping down as chief of the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat to take up "a new and exciting opportunity."More

    FEMA announces FY 2016 schedule for Virtual Table Top Exercises Program
    The FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) has announced its Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) Program for Fiscal Year 2016. The first VTTX series will occur on Oct. 6, 7, and 8, 2015, focusing on a cyber-related scenario. The second VTTX series will occur on Oct. 20, 21, and 22, 2015, focusing on public health. Subsequent broadcasts will highlight winter storms on Nov. 3, 4, and 5, and power outages on Nov. 17, 18, and 19. Broadcasts will occur from 12-4 p.m. Eastern. EMI conducts a monthly series of VTTX using a video teleconference platform to provide a virtual forum for disaster training and discussion for community-based audiences around the country. The VTTX programs are designed for a community-based group of ten or more personnel from local, state, or tribal emergency management organizations with representatives from other disciplines such as public safety, public works, public health, health care, government, administrative, communications, military, private sector, non-governmental, and other whole community partners. See complete details about program, and to apply for participation, contact Doug Kahn. The application deadline is four weeks prior to the start date. In addition to the 2016 schedule, there are 15 VTTX events scheduled for 2015, and information about them is posted on the IAEM Calendar.More

    Make sure that your organization is prepared should disaster strike: attend the National Preparedness Month Webinar Series
    The U.S. Small Business Association and Agility Recovery, in collaboration with FEMA's Ready Campaign, will be hosting a free National Preparedness Month webinar series to help get your organization ready for any kind of disaster. The 2015 National Preparedness Month theme is "Don't wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today." The 30-minute webinars will be presented at 2:00 p.m. EDT each Wednesday in September. The dates and topics are: Sept. 9 — The Keystone to Disaster Recovery: Communications; Sept. 16 — Recover from the Most Likely Disaster: Power Outage; Sept 23 — Protect your Most Valuable Asset: Prepare your Employees; and Sept. 30 — If You Do Nothing Else This Year (simple tips to build your organization’s resilience). Register online for one or more of these webinars.More

    Hurricane season heats up with 3 in the Pacific and 1 in the Atlantic
    USA Today
    The tropics are heating up, just as the typical peak of hurricane season begins. Three hurricanes were roaring in the Pacific Ocean. And a fourth hurricane churned far out in the Atlantic. It's the most powerful hurricane season in the central Pacific since 1994, according to Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach. Late August and early September are the typical peak of hurricane season.More

    Dominica pleads for help as storm death toll tops 30
    Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News
    Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is pleading with world leaders to come to the rescue of his Caribbean island nation after it was battered by a tropical storm that killed at least 31 people. Another two dozen remain missing, including two French nationals, after Tropical Storm Erika barreled her way through late last week. The death toll has risen steadily since the storm hit the island of 72,000.More

    Waves up to 20-feet-tall pound Hawaii as hurricane moves north
    Fox News
    Big surf began to pick up around Hilo on Hawaii's Big Island as weakening Hurricane Ignacio moved to the north of the state with 100 mph winds. Hawaii missed the brunt of the storm, now a category 2, but the state can expect dangerously high surf through midweek, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. There could also be some heavy winds and rain, according to forecasters. More

    Wildfires have now burned a massive 8 million acres across the US
    The Washington Post
    According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 8 million acres have burned in U.S. wildfires in 2015. 8,202,557 of them, to be precise. That's an area larger than the state of Maryland. And the numbers are still growing: 65 large fires are currently raging across the country, particularly in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. That includes three Washington state fires or fire complexes that are larger than 100,000 acres burned.More

    It could take weeks to clean up Vancouver after 'unprecedented' storm battered BC
    National Post
    British Columbia Hydro linemen Colin Cadger and Aaron Seaton got the call Saturday night, after an "unprecedented" storm battered the province, plunging thousands into darkness and felling trees. "This is the gig," Cadger said, about halfway through his 16-hour shift repairing power lines on Shellmont Street near Simon Fraser University. "It disrupts stuff a little bit at home, but it's pretty fun work." More

    European 'extreme weather belt' linked to worst drought since 2003
    The Guardian
    A swathe of central Europe has suffered the most severe drought since 2003 in what EU climate experts see as a harbinger of climate changes to come. Rainless weeks and relentless heat desiccated a vast tract of central European land separating the continent's drier south from its wetter north, according to a report by the European drought observatory.More

    Death toll rises to 158 in blasts at China's Tianjin port
    The Associated Press via ABC News
    The death toll rose to 158 from massive explosions of chemical warehouses in the Chinese port of Tianjin, where cleanup crews were grappling with cyanide contamination caused by the blasts. About 15 people remain missing, authorities said. The Tianjin government's official microblog said the confirmed toll rose from 150, but it wasn't clear how the tally increased. Calls to the city's information center rang unanswered. Among the dead were 94 firefighters, 11 policemen and 53 civilians, and the missing included 10 firefighters, the Tianjin government said.More