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SES: Take care of vulnerable locals during natural disasters

Natural disasters affect everyone, but for vulnerable residents an emergency event is particularly challenging. The State Emergency Service (SES) is encouraging residents to get to know their neighbours and assist other residents who may have difficulties during natural disasters. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Lee Johnson said residents who spoke English as a second language, were new to the area, had a disability, or were elderly or isolated may appreciate help from their neighbours. “Get together with your community and make a plan for floods, storms, cyclones and fires, including how you will assist vulnerable residents,” Mr Johnson said. “For example, if one of your neighbours has hearing difficulties, ensure that someone in the community makes contact with them when a weather warning is issued or cancelled…


Typhoon Haiyan won’t keep us Filipinos down for long

Most Filipinos are accustomed to hardship. With 98 million people vying for space and resources, surviving is part of the daily struggle. However, with thousands dead and millions displaced from their homes, Typhoon Haiyan has left us more vulnerable than ever. The Philippines experiences around 20 typhoons and natural-related disasters a year, with another one to hit early next week, and another four due before the end of the year. Filipinos call them bagyo. I’ve experienced my fair share of them. Many of the TV images showed people wading through shoulder-deep water, braving strong winds, trying to get by. I remember being eight or nine years old, travelling through Antipolo and being carried across a swell, rain battering the nearby houses, and men slowly trying to drive their jeeps through. Despite the amount of risk involved, they took it on the chin and kept going…


Expert: When disaster strikes, communities should hit ‘pause’

One of the first steps people take toward rebuilding their communities after a flood, wildfire or other disaster may not be the right step, according to the director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. “When a disaster happens, people feel pressure to rebuild things just as they were before, when in fact a disaster should be a time when there is a pause, when we ask ‘How can we build it back better than it was before?’” said center Director Kathleen Tierney, also a professor of sociology. Along with all of the tragic consequences and costs, a disaster also provides an opportunity, Tierney said. Communities can decide to change land use to keep people, buildings and infrastructure out of harm’s way. They can decide to construct buildings using hazard-resistant designs. And they can make those buildings more energy efficient…


Why the Sharing Economy is Important for Disaster Response

A unique and detailed survey funded by the Rockefeller Foundation confirms the important role that social and community bonds play vis-à-vis disaster resilience. The new study, which focuses on resilience and social capital in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, reveals how disaster-affected communities self-organized, “with reports of many people sharing access to power, food and water, and providing shelter.” This mutual aid was primarily coordinated face-to-face. This may not always be possible, however. So the “Share Economy” can also play an important role in coordinating self-help during disasters…


GIS-based weather model set to predict future disasters

The Asia Pacific region is vulnerable to many types of natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought and tsunamis. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, from 2001-2010, on average, more than 200 million people were affected and more than 70,000 people were killed by natural disasters annually. For Dr. Chul Sohn, a geospatial expert from the High Impact Weather Research Centre (HIWRC) at South Korea’s Gangneung-Wonju National University, the figures cited above prove how important it is to find innovative solutions to save lives and reduce economic losses brought about by natural disasters…



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