Archive

Archive for the ‘natural disasters’ Category

Joblessness, Inequality the New Normal as Geopolitical Trends Climb Global Agenda

November 10, 2014 Comments off

Joblessness, Inequality the New Normal as Geopolitical Trends Climb Global Agenda
Source: World Economic Forum

Deepening income inequality and jobless growth head the Top 10 trends for 2015, according to the Outlook on the Global Agenda, which is published today. These long-standing economic challenges are joined in this year’s survey by growing political and environmental concerns.

The trends are based on a survey of almost 1,800 experts from the Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils as well as other communities within the World Economic Forum on what they believe will preoccupy leaders over the coming 12-18 months.

The Top 10 Trends for 2015 are:

  1. Deepening income inequality
  2. Persistent jobless growth
  3. Lack of leadership
  4. Rising geostrategic competition
  5. Weakening of representative democracy
  6. Rising pollution in the developing world
  7. Increasing occurrence of severe weather events
  8. Intensifying nationalism
  9. Increasing water stress
  10. Growing importance of health in the economy

The prominence of inequality and unemployment at the top of the list signifies that they are viewed even more severely than in previous years, with stagnating wages contributing to a vicious cycle of entrenched inequality through suppressed growth and employment prospects.

About these ads

Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Related Treatments for Victims of Natural Disasters: A Worldwide Problem

November 7, 2014 Comments off

Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Related Treatments for Victims of Natural Disasters: A Worldwide Problem
Source: PLoS ONE

Natural disasters can have devastating consequences. Each year, about 225 million people are victims of natural disasters worldwide, and up to 13,5 million of these people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the first or second year following the disaster. Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is the first-choice treatment for this disorder. In order to evaluate the efficacy of psychotherapeutic treatment based on cognitive-behavior therapy for people who developed post traumatic stress disorder after natural disasters we conducted a systematic search of published studies. We used the terms reported below in the electronic databases ISI Web of Science, PsycINFO, PubMed, PILOTS and Scopus with no restrictions of language or publication date. Articles that described randomized controlled, non-randomized controlled and non controlled studies on the efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy for individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after exposure to a natural disaster were eligible for inclusion. The studies were required to use a standardized measure of effectiveness before and after the intervention and have a group of patients who had used cognitive-behavior therapy as the only intervention. Our search identified 820 studies, and 11 were selected for this review. These 11 studies involved 742 subjects, 10 related to earthquakes and 1 to a hurricane. The cognitive-behavior therapy techniques used were various: 7 studies used exposure therapy, 2 studies used problem solving, and the only 2 studies with adolescents used techniques including reconstructions and reprocessing of the traumatic experience. As limitations, the search involved only five electronic databases, no experts in the field were consulted, and the heterogeneity of the findings made it impossible to perform a meta-analysis. The results suggest the efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy, particularly exposure techniques, for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder after earthquakes. However, further studies with stronger methodologies, i.e. randomized-control trials and non-randomized controlled trials, are needed.

Insurance — Residual Market Property Plans: From Markets of Last Resort to Markets of First Choice – 2014

November 3, 2014 Comments off

Residual Market Property Plans: From Markets of Last Resort to Markets of First Choice – 2014
Source: Insurance Information Institute

Executive Summary

  • The exposure value of the residual property market in hurricane-exposed states has declined significantly from the peak levels seen in 2011. In fact between 2011 and 2013, total exposure to loss in the plans fell by almost 30 percent to $639 billion. Policy counts in 2013—at around 3.2 million—are also down from their 2011 highs.
  • While attempts by certain states to reduce the size of their plans appear to be paying off, the fact that many of the plans charge rates that are not actuarially sound and do not accurately reflect the risk of loss means that a major hurricane could expose residents in certain states to billions of dollars in post-storm assessments.
  • Increased appetite for these risks from the capital markets—highlighted by Florida Citizens Property Insurance Corp’s record-setting $1.5 billion catastrophe bond issued in 2014 (the largest single catastrophe bond issuance in history)—should not detract from the core concerns that this concentration of risk represents.
  • As long as the plans continue to grow and their coverage remains underpriced, state finances will remain under threat, while policyholders and ultimately taxpayers, many of whom live nowhere near the coast, will continue to face the prospect of increased assessments in the years ahead.

DHS OIG — FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster

October 27, 2014 Comments off

FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System May Not Be Effective During a Catastrophic Disaster (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

We audited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Logistics Supply Chain Management System program. According to FEMA, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System replaced its earlier logistics operations systems to automate and track distribution better and deliver emergency supplies more dependably. FEMA also intended for the system to help track supplies provided by partners in other Federal agencies; nongovernmental organizations; state, local, and tribal governments; and the private sector. Our audit objective was to determine whether FEMA’s Logistics Supply Chain Management System is able to support Federal logistics operations effectively in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

After spending about $247 million over 9 years, FEMA cannot be certain that its supply chain management system will be effective during a catastrophic disaster. FEMA estimated that the life cycle cost of the system would be about $556 million—$231 million more than the original life cycle cost estimate. According to FEMA, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System became fully operational in January 2013, which was about 19 months behind schedule. However, the system could not perform as originally planned. Specifically, it cannot interface with the logistics management systems of FEMA’s partners, nor does FEMA have realͲtime visibility over all supplies shipped by its partners. As of March 2014, the Logistics Supply Chain Management System still had not achieved full operational capability. We attribute these deficiencies to inadequate program management and oversight by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FEMA. As a result, FEMA may not be able to efficiently and effectively aid survivors of catastrophic disaster.

New From the GAO

October 23, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Small Business Administration: Additional Steps Needed to Help Ensure More Timely Disaster Assistance. GAO-14-760, September 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-760
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666218.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666521

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 From a Climate Perspective (PDF)
Source: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Attribution of extreme events is a challenging science and one that is currently undergoing considerable evolution. In this paper, 20 different research groups explored the causes of 16 different events that occurred in 2013. The findings indicate that human-caused climate change greatly increased the risk for the extreme heat waves assessed in this report. How human influence affected other types of events such as droughts, heavy rain events, and storms was less clear, indicating that natural variability likely played a much larger role in these extremes. Multiple groups chose to look at both the Australian heat waves and the California drought, providing an opportunity to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies. There was considerable agreement about the role anthropogenic climate change played in the events between the different assessments. This year three analyses were of severe storms and none found an anthropogenic signal. However, attribution assessments of these types of events pose unique challenges due to the often limited observational record. When human-influence for an event is not identified with the scientific tools available to us today, this means that if there is a human contribution, it cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability.

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action
Source: Georgetown Climate Center

The Georgetown Climate Center released 100 recommendations today to improve federal programs that could be used to prepare for climate change. The new report will inform the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

The report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action, draws from a series of workshops with leading federal, state and local officials and builds upon lessons learned post-disaster in New Orleans (following Hurricane Katrina), New York (following Hurricane Sandy) and Vermont (after Hurricane Irene). The report identifies more than 30 federal programs, initiatives and laws that can be used to prepare for extreme events such as storms, floods and heat waves as well as rising seas.

The report recognizes that recent extreme weather events and the mounting economic losses from such events have shown how vulnerable many states and communities are to climate change. Although state and local governments will be the primary actors when it comes to preparing for climate change impacts, the federal government can boost – or impede – preparedness.

See also: State and Local Adaptation Plans

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 961 other followers