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What Happens If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in Manhattan?

Manhatten skyline. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Image: Manhatten skyline. Lucas Jackson / Reuters - March 15th 2017 - Kaveh Waddell

On a quiet afternoon, two medium-sized nuclear blasts level portions of Manhattan.

If this were a movie, hordes of panicked New Yorkers would pour out into the streets, running around and calling out for their loved ones. But reality doesn’t usually line up with Hollywood’s vision of a disaster scene, says William Kennedy, a professor in the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University. 


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U.S. agency offers legal immunity to Ebola vaccine makers

REUTERS                                                                                                                    Dec. 9, 2014

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday offered liability protections to drugmakers rushing to develop Ebola vaccines and urged other countries to follow suit.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell made the announcement as part of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act in a move aimed at encouraging the development and availability of experimental Ebola vaccines.

The declaration provides immunity under U.S. law against legal claims related to the manufacturing, testing, development, distribution, and administration of three vaccines for the Ebola virus. However, it does not provide immunity for a claim brought in a court outside the United States...

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Conflicting Scenarios Exercise

I have been proposing that, rather than trying to foresee the future, we consider accepting and conducting further research on a much more fundamental, all-encompassing and long-term-resilient approach to our built environment.  I have been proposing that such an elemental approach should be structural adaptivity.  I believe that our world must and will give maximum adaptivity to the basic elements of our built environment to adjust to and meet our needs for the unpredictable, rapidly changing world over the next 50-100 years. 



In working on this, I conducted an Exercise.  I experimented with a number of different future conditions, or scenarios, that I think are quite possible.  The first two that drew my strongest concern were the conflicting scenarios of: (1) how planners might address our urban areas after global warming has abated – and the problem is continuous hot weather and more storms – as opposed to (2) how planners are now addressing the need to stop or slow down global warming.  I also experimented with additional scenarios that I do not think we are able to, presently, forecast accurately.  Most of them, however, I believe will surface eventually, in one way or another, and cause huge problems.


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Northeast Hurricane Modeling Outdated

URI professor of oceanography Isaac Ginis. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)

submitted by Sarah Slaughter - by Tim Faulkner - July 26, 2014

NARRAGANSETT — Hurricanes bound for New England will get about 10 percent more powerful by 2100, but the state lacks the tools to access their impacts, according to University of Rhode Island professor Isaac Ginis.

Hurricanes are powered by warm water, and the predicted increase in ocean temperatures caused by climate change is expected to make hurricane season longer and the storms stronger in the years ahead. .

. . . Numerous studies and models suggest the frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes are expected to increase by 81 percent, while the volume of rainfall is expected to increase 20 percent by 2100, Ginis said.

However, a key current modeling method used to measure the impacts of hurricanes and set flood insurance maps is outdated, he said.


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Great Shakeout Earthquake Drills


submitted by Katie Cook

Many areas of the globe are prone to earthquakes. You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school or even on vacation. Are you prepared to survive and to recover quickly?

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes: "Drop, Cover and Hold On." ShakeOut also has been organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to update emergency plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.


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Emergency Capacity Building Project - Tools and Resources

submitted by Tim Siftar

The Project

Disasters and humanitarian emergencies are increasing in magnitude and complexity*. This presents a major challenge to NGOs that respond to these emergencies.

In order to address this challenge, emergency directors from 7 agencies - CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, Save the Children and World Vision International- came together in 2003 to discuss the most persistent obstacles in humanitarian aid delivery. The Inter-Agency Working Group (IWG) on Emergency Capacity that emerged from this meeting launched a systematic analysis, resulting in the publication of a Report on Emergency Capacity in 2004.

Phase II - launched in 2008

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Simulating the Effects of Different Actions to Minimize Disaster’s Consequences

submitted by Linton Wells - June 1, 2012

The European CRISMA project prepares for disasters by developing a decision-support tool to help the authorities, responders, communities, and private parties to prioritize the most important measures for saving lives and mitigating the effects of the crisis.

The CRISMA project, coordinated by VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, is developing a planning tool for crises which have immediate, extensive, and often irreversible consequences to the population and society. Crises of this type include natural disasters, toxic emissions, forest fires, and aircraft accidents.


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X24 - Mexico - Exercise 24

VizCenter - San Diego State University

February 8, 2012 - 8:00am

Purpose of X24 México

Exercise 24 (X24) México is the third iteration of a primarily virtual, open-invitation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exercise with real-world functional components that is hosted by San Diego State University’s “Immersive Visualization Center” (VizCenter).

Participants include DHS/Office of Health Affairs, NORAD-NORTHCOM, US Customs and Border Protection/Global Borders College, Mexican Army and Navy, Mexico Federal Police, Ministry of Defense from Vietnam, India National Disaster Management Agency, World Shipping Council, Red Cross, Pacific Disaster Center, NYK Logistics, National defense University, and growing.

X24 México Goals

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NPS - (RELIEF) Research & Experimentation for Local & International Emergency & First-Responders

submitted by Michael Gresalfi / Sam Bendett


Next Event: RELIEF 12-2, 29 FEBRUARY - 2 MARCH, 2012 at Camp Roberts, Paso Robles, CA. 

To receive our email updates, please contact ***@***.***  


RELIEF provides an environment that fuses interactive community building and knowledge sharing activities with concept-based socio-technological experimentation.

Since 2009, RELIEF has brought humanitarian practitioners, technology developers, federal civilians, and active duty military personnel together for hands-on collaboration. The multi-institutional field setting provides a semi-structured learning environment promoting collaboration and relationship building across an increasingly diverse response network.

The event utilizes different methods of interaction, all of which focus on end user input on disaster response operations. The field environment also provides the opportunity to explore new solutions for crisis responders through hands on interaction and experimentation. 

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Is 'Contagion' Fact or Fiction?

by Kim Carollo - ABC News - September 7, 2011


Jennifer Ehle stars as Dr. Ally Hextall in the film "Contagion." (Courtesy Warner Bros.)

There may not be any zombies, vampires or mutant monsters wreaking bloody havoc on innocent people, but the fact that "Contagion" has a premise that experts say is all too possible may make it the scariest movie of the season.

In the film, a star-studded cast battles a lethal species-jumping virus rapidly spreading sickness and death around the world. Director Steven Soderbergh said in interviews that he aimed for scientific and medical realism in the film. Producers and writers consulted with a number of leading virologists and shot some scenes at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

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