resilience reporter

resilience starts with information

What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?

Hurricane Harvey victims face toxic contamination

It has been a month since Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of southern Texas.

While a great deal of attention was focused on Houston, smaller towns and cities to the east were also inundated by the flood waters.

A place called Port Arthur was hit particularly hard.

It is home to the largest oil refinery in the US and residents are worried about the possibility of toxic contamination…

 

What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?

They call it “pave, pipe, and pump”: the mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century.

Along with the explosion of the motorcar in the early 20th century came paved surfaces. Rainwater – instead of being sucked up by plants, evaporating, or filtering through the ground back to rivers and lakes – was suddenly forced to slide over pavements and roads into drains, pipes and sewers.

Their maximum capacities are based on scenarios such as 10-year storms. And once they clog, the water – with nowhere else to go – simply rises.

The reality of climate change and more frequent and intense downpours has exposed the hubris of this approach. As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it’s not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms…

 

Full extent of Puerto Rico hurricane damage finally coming to light

puerto rico

Local residents navigate a flooded street close to the dam at Guajataca Lake, Puerto Rico, on Saturday.

The full scope of Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico began to emerge as many of the island’s 78 mayors, some of them cut off since the storm, met this weekend with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló for the first time bringing reports of ruined homes and destroyed infrastructure.

Four days after the storm, Rosselló said the number of refugees in government shelters around the island numbered around 15,000.

At least 10 people have died as a result of the hurricane, the second major storm to wallop the U.S. territory within the past two weeks. Rosselló said it would take a long time for Puerto Rico to return to any sort of normalcy as it deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the worst storm to hit the island since 1928.

Government engineers continued to monitor a dam on Guanataca Lake in the northwestern part of the island which has suffered a breach. An unknown number of people among the 70,000 who live in the area…

 

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