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Emergency Management

Combining Indigenous Knowledge with Scientific Expertise Can help Mitigate Disaster Risks

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse


PAHO/WHO calls for more collaboration between governments and indigenous communities in preparing for emergencies and disasters

Washington, D.C., 6 October 2015 (PAHO/WHO) -- Involving indigenous communities in disaster risk reduction activities can save lives during catastrophes, experts with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) said on the eve of the International Day for Disaster Reduction 2015.

Building on a growing recognition that mainstream methods of disaster preparedness and mitigation have left indigenous people and their deep knowledge on the sidelines, PAHO/WHO is calling for new disaster risk reduction models based on close collaboration with the communities often most affected by catastrophes, both natural and man-made.



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Humanitarian UAV (“Drone”) Experts Meet at MIT

submitted by Andrew Schroeder

  - by Andrew Schroeder - October 14, 2015

Early Fall mornings in Cambridge, MA have the feeling practically of American myth. The sun rises over the mist that hangs like a blanket on the Charles River, lighting the water with a pale glow that filters through multi-colored leaves and glints off the steel and glass fronts of the buildings which line the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I’m hurrying down Massachusetts Ave towards Technology Square, wind in my face and coffee in hand, to arrive for the start of the second annual Humanitarian UAV (drone) Experts Meeting happening at MIT Lincoln Labs’ Beaver Works. The meeting is hosted by UAViators (Humanitarian UAV Network), a brainchild of my friend and colleague Patrick Meier.


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New Orleans Area's Upgraded Levees Not Enough for Next 'Katrina,' Engineers Say


The Lake Borgne Surge Barrier, which rises 26 feet above sea level, is designed to be overtopped by storm surges created by a hurricane with a 1 percent chance of occurring in any year, the so-called 100-year storm, hits the area. The overtopping water will be stored in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Industrial Canal in New Orleans. Larger storms will cause even more water to overtop the wall. - by Mark Schleifstein - August 18, 2015

The rebuilt New Orleans area hurricane levee system remains inadequate to protect the heart of the nation's 45th largest metropolitan area from another Hurricane Katrina or larger storm, nationally-known engineers and scientists said almost a decade after the 2005 storm.

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U.S. Army Troops Mobilized to Help Fight Western Wildfires


Firefighters prepare to battle the Wolverine wildfire near Chelan, Washington, in this U.S. Forest Service picture taken August 16, 2015.  REUTERS/US FOREST SERVICE/HANDOUT - by Lucy Perkins - August 17, 2015

The Army is deploying 200 soldiers to help fight wildfires that are burning through about 1.1 million acres across the Western United States. That's according to a press release from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

"It's been nine years since wildfire was so widespread all at once that active military troops joined firefighters battling blazes," NPR's Howard Berkes reports. "Four military C-130 cargo planes are also in use as air tankers."

A group at the fire center in Boise submitted the request to the Department of Defense, according to the press release, which cites about 95 large wildfires in seven states.

The DOD approved deployment of soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. They'll be organized into 10 crews, all sent to the same fire, which has yet to be announced.

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Crews in California Fight to Contain 21 Wildfires

Video: National Guard drops water on the wildfire in Lake County, California over the weekend. Video by Storyful Editor - August 3rd, 2015 - Christine Hauser

National Guard forces dropped water along the edges of a raging wildfire over the weekend as more than 2,000 firefighters in Northern California tried to contain a blaze that has already scorched 60,000 acres.

The wildfire, nicknamed the Rocky Fire, started on Wednesday. It is the largest in the drought-parched state, where more than 9,000 firefighters are struggling to contain it and 20 other active wildfires, some caused by lightning strikes, according to a statewide summary published on Sunday.

The Rocky Fire has now spread to three counties — Colusa, Lake and Yolo — and prompted the mandatory evacuation of about 12,000 people.


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FEMA Launches Innovative National Volunteer Program to Enhance Disaster Response and Recovery Efforts Nationwide


Release date: 
June 17, 2015
Release Number: 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with seven technology organizations to provide state, local, tribal and territorial governments with technology resources during a disaster to expedite response and recovery. Cisco Systems, Google, Humanity Road, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, Intel, Joint Communications Task Force and Microsoft have joined FEMA’s new Tech Corps program – a nationwide network of skilled, trained technology volunteers who can address critical technology gaps during a disaster.

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Texas - Catastrophic and Historic Flooding

                            Wimberley, Texas                                                    San Marcos, Texas


                          Austin, Texas                                                                Houston, Texas



CLICK HERE -President Declares Disaster for Texas

CLICK HERE - Federal Aid Programs for State of Texas Declaration

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of Public Safety - Emergency Management - Situation Reports

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'Possibly Catastrophic': Texas Braces for Even More Flooding


People canoe through floodwaters in Houston on Saturday, May 30.  Torrential rains have given Texas the wettest month on record, according to Texas A&M climatologists.  In all, 37.3 trillion gallons of water have fallen over the state in May, the National Weather Service said. - by Kevin Conlon - June 14, 2015

(CNN) For portions of rain-battered Texas, the warnings issued by the National Weather Service on Sunday must have seemed like a cruel joke: a tropical storm that is potentially forming in the Gulf of Mexico is headed straight for them.

"Through Wednesday, widespread rainfall totals could easily average 6 to 8 inches with some amounts exceeding 10 inches," read the ominous forecast issued by the weather service office in Houston. "This will obviously lead to a dangerous flood situation."

Local officials sounded even more alarmed, calling the event "possibly catastrophic."


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DHS Successfully Transitions Search and Rescue Tool That Pinpoints Buried Victims - May 7, 2015

Washington, D.C.– The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced today the transition of the final prototype of the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) technology to the commercial market.  FINDER is a radar technology designed to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Two commercial partners have been licensed to manufacture the device: R4 Inc. of Eatontown, N.J. and SpecOps Group Inc. of Sarasota, Fla.

Earlier today, S&T and NASA demonstrated its newest capabilities at the Virginia Task Force One  (VA-TF1) Training Facility in Lorton, Va., finding “survivors” in a simulated disaster. This is thanks to the new locator feature, which can help pinpoint the location of the victim to within about five feet – depending on the type of rubble. This key change saves rescuers time, increasing chances for locating survivors.

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