LGBTQ People Are at Higher Risk in Disasters

The Top 10 Extreme Weather and Climate Events of 2020

Calendar year 2020 was an extreme and abnormal year, in so many ways. The global coronavirus pandemic altered people’s lives around the world, as did extreme weather and climate events. Let’s review the year’s top 10 such events…

Taiwan may face fewer typhoons – but harsher drought – as planet warms

When Typhoon Morakot hit indigenous villages in Taiwan’s mountains 11 years ago, former army officer Chen Cheng-nan was stunned at the devastation.

“The mountain forest landscape changed overnight. In a blink of an eye, the forested river valleys went bare. It was a terrible sight. The dike broke and Qishan town was completely swept away,” he remembered.

But as global temperatures rise due to planet-warming emissions, something odd is happening in Taiwan: devastating typhoons appear to be gradually disappearing.

The self-ruled western Pacific island, claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory, has historically seen three or four typhoons a year, but since 2010 the number making landfall has fallen to 2.5 a year on average.

In 2020 not a single storm hit for the first time in more than a half century. “After Morakot, the number of disasters per year has generally decreased,” Chen noted, adding he believed climate change was playing a role…

LGBTQ People Are at Higher Risk in Disasters

An aerial view of flood waters from Hurricane Delta surrounding structures destroyed by Hurricane Laura on October 10, 2020 in Creole, Louisiana. Credit: Mario Tama Getty Images

The Federal Emergency Management Agency warned yesterday that minorities; single parents; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are “more likely than others to be severely impacted by disasters” and may need extra help.

FEMA’s annual National Preparedness Report, which historically has focused on threats including flooding, terrorism and the nation’s vulnerability, breaks precedent by drawing attention to classes of individuals who may lack the financial and social resources to withstand a disaster.

It’s the first time that the preparedness report, published annually since 2012, used the words “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual” and “transgender.” The report does not mention climate change…

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