IAEM Dispatch
Dec. 23, 2014

10 cities most at risk of being hit by natural disasters
Business Insider
From April 3: Swiss Re, a global reinsurance company, has analyzed the disaster potential for 616 of the world's largest cities. Each city is ranked according to its potential for earthquakes, storms, storm surges, tsunamis, and river floods. For each type of disaster, Swiss Re devised an extreme weather scenario in which defenses fail and the human and economic toll can be enormous. More

US citing 'urgent' need, calls on hospitals to improve disaster plans
The New York Times
From March 13: Federal officials are proposing sweeping new requirements for American health care facilities — from large hospitals to small group homes for the mentally disabled — intended to ensure their readiness to care for patients during disasters. Describing emergency preparedness as an "urgent public health issue," the proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services offers regulations aimed at preventing the severe disruptions to health care that followed Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.More

Obama climate change: President announces $1 billion climate 'resilience' fund to help communities prepare for natural disasters
International Business Times
From June 19: President Barack Obama's climate change proposal goes beyond the standard federal aid that flows to communities clobbered by flood, drought, tornadoes or hurricanes. Instead of waiting for catastrophe to hit, the Obama administration says it will dole out nearly $1 billion in federal aid to push states and cities to prepare ahead of time for the impact of climate change.More

Fukushima radiation could reach Pacific coast by April
San Francisco Chronicle
From Feb. 26: Radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster has not yet reached ocean waters along the Pacific coast, but low levels of radioactive cesium from the stricken Japanese power plant could arrive by April, scientists reported. The report came even as some Internet sites continue claiming that dangerously radioactive ocean water from Fukushima is showing up along California beaches — reports that have been denied by health officials and scientists since they first surfaced more than a month ago.More

What other cities can learn from Atlanta's ice debacle
From Feb. 6: The finger-pointing began almost immediately -- and with good reason. A mere few inches of snow had shut down Atlanta, forcing children to spend the night at schools, stranding drivers on interstates and making the city a laughingstock to the country. Why did this happen? Who's to blame? And, more importantly, could this happen elsewhere? Perhaps. Unlike Boston and New York, with their long-established infrastructures and diverse mass transit systems, Atlanta resembles the new American city.More

Report: 21 states don't meet emergency standards for kids
USA Today
From Sept. 4: Dropping your child off at day care or seeing them onto the school bus can be difficult — but what are your plans if the unthinkable happens? Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia do not meet emergency planning standards for schools and child care providers, according to a new report from Save the Children. However, for the first time this year, more than half of states — 29 — reach the non-governmental disaster relief organization's standards in its laws and regulations.More

Facebook's new tool tells friends you're safe during natural disasters
From Oct. 23: In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011, a team of Japanese Facebook engineers went to work on tools that would help people connect and communicate with friends and family in the event of other natural disasters. These tools were available only in Japan, but now, this same work has spawned a new Facebook feature meant to provide help in the event of any natural disaster, worldwide.More

It's mid-August. Where are all the Atlantic hurricanes?
From Aug. 14: It's almost the middle of August, and the Pacific has been cranking out hurricanes and typhoons all over the place. So, what's with the Atlantic? After just about two and half months, hurricanes Arthur and Bertha are all the Atlantic has managed to come up with.More

FEMA promises to revise state disaster planning guidance to require consideration of climate change impacts
Natural Resources Defense Council
From Jan. 30: NRDC got encouraging news from the Federal Emergency Management Agency about its intentions to update its guidance for state hazard mitigation planning: the agency will be revising the guidance to more explicitly require state governments to consider the impacts of climate change and prioritize preparedness. A revised draft from FEMA is expected to be available for public review and comment as early as this summer.More

US ill-prepared for effects of major quake in large urban area
UB Reporter
From Aug. 7: MCEER Director Andrew Whittaker told Congress that the United States is not prepared for the effects of a major earthquake in a large urban area. He did so at a hearing to review the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program held by the Subcommittee on Research and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology.More