The dire future that awaits San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Seattle

Hurricane season starts in one week. Puerto Rico’s emergency plan still isn’t ready

“A preliminary analysis shows that roughly 60% of Hurricane Maria’s victims died in state-licensed facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and diagnostic and treatment centers.” Will patients fare better next time? (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

This year’s hurricane season starts in one week. But in Puerto Rico, where the healthcare system devolved into chaos in the aftermath of Maria last September, there appears to be no comprehensive government plan in case of another natural disaster.

The ravages of Maria laid bare the sorry state of the health sector in the island. Dozens of cases documented by Quartz and the Center for Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico (CPI) paint a picture of chronic disorganization, lack of resources, and general incompetence at the places charged with helping the people in more desperate need after the storm…


Zimbabwe moves to strengthen polices against natural disasters

The Government of Zimbabwe and the African Risk Capacity (ARC) last week held a workshop on Disaster Risk Financing in Harare to discuss critical steps to strengthen the country’s capacity to address natural disaster risk.

The workshop convened government officials, local experts of various disciplines, and development partners to strengthen existing and government-led disaster risk management and financing systems. Development organizations such as the World Bank, Mercy Corps, United Nations Development Programme and the World Food Programme, as well as private sector firms like EcoFarmer and Old Mutual, also attended the workshop…


The dire future that awaits San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Seattle

A memorable scene in the sublime 1947 movie “I Know Where I’m Going” takes place beside a telephone box — a real bright-red British one; it still exists; tourists go there — on the Isle of Mull. The user is trying to make a call while a gigantic waterfall next to the box thunders down, nearly drowning both the caller and the conversation. “They built it in the summer,” he yells in explanation to his bewildered companion, “when the stream was just a trickle.”

As with this famous Western Highlands phone box, so, too, we now realize, with many of the world’s most famous cities. They built New Orleans before anyone properly knew what hurricanes were. They hoisted up San Francisco blissfully unaware that a gigantic crack in the Earth scythed right beneath it. Cathedrals by the spire-load went up around the Tagus, only to be taken down like cornfield chaff when the Lisbon earthquake struck in 1755…



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