Archive for the ‘natural disasters’ Category

Trauma, Grief and the Social Model: Practice Guidelines for Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Wake of Disasters

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Trauma, Grief and the Social Model: Practice Guidelines for Working with Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Wake of Disasters
Source: Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal

Formulating personal needs assessments and plans for self-protection have been the recent focus of disaster preparedness manuals for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers. Interventions to address the minimization of psychological ill effects of trauma and grief in the aftermath of disasters for this population, however, remain largely unexplored. In the wake of such events, persons with intellectual disabilities require trained mental health professionals to assist them in identifying and coping with trauma exposure and its associated, often sudden losses. Intervention should be based on the unique needs of this population within the context of disaster and each individual’s cognitive strengths and capacities. Coupled with reviews of research and practice in the area of disaster mental health, the social model of disability served as a foundation for the formulation of best practice guidelines for tertiary interventions with adults with intellectual disabilities. The guidelines suggest approaches that will enable professionals to identify and minimize acute and chronic responses to disasters as well as foster resilience and enhance the valuable contributions of adults with intellectual disabilities in disaster-affected communities.

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Hashtag Standards For Emergencies (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Key Messages

• The public is using Twitter for real-time information exchange and for expressing emotional support during a variety of crises, such as wildfires,1-3 earthquakes,4-6 floods,3,13 hurricanes,21 political protests,11, 25-27 mass shootings,15, 17 and communicable-disease tracking.31 By encouraging proactive standardization of hashtags, emergency responders may be able to reduce a big-data challenge and better leverage crowdsourced information for operational planning and response.

• Twitter is the primary social media platform discussed in this Think Brief. However, the use of hashtags has spread to other social media platforms, including Sina Weibo, Facebook, Google+ and Diaspora. As a result, the ideas behind hashtag standardization may have a much larger sphere of influence than just this one platform.

• Three hashtag standards are encouraged and discussed: early standardization of the disaster name (e.g., #Fay), how to report non-emergency needs (e.g., #PublicRep) and requesting emergency assistance (e.g., #911US).

• As well as standardizing hashtags, emergency response agencies should encourage the public to enable Global Positioning System (GPS) when tweeting during an emergency. This will provide highly detailed information to facilitate response.

• Non-governmental groups, national agencies and international organizations should discuss the potential added value of monitoring social media during emergencies. These groups need to agree who is establishing the standards for a given country or event, which agency disseminates these prescriptive messages, and who is collecting and validating the incoming crowdsourced reports.

• Additional efforts should be pursued regarding how to best link crowdsourced information into emergency response operations and logistics. . If this information will be collected, the teams should be ready to act on it in a timely manner.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

CRS — Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview (December 22, 2014)

January 14, 2015 Comments off

Human-Induced Earthquakes from Deep-Well Injection: A Brief Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The development of unconventional oil and natural gas resources using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has created new demand for wastewater disposal wells that inject waste fluids into deep geologic strata. An increasing concern in the United States is that injection of these fluids may be responsible for increasing rates of seismic activity. The number of earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in the central and eastern United States has increased dramatically since about 2009, from an average of approximately 20 per year between 1970 and 2000 to over 100 per year in the period 2010-2013. Some of these earthquakes may be felt at the surface. For example, 20 earthquakes of magnitudes 4.0 to 4.8 have struck central Oklahoma since 2009. The largest earthquake in Oklahoma history (magnitude 5.6) occurred on November 5, 2011, near Prague, causing damage to several structures nearby. Central and northern Oklahoma were seismically active regions before the recent increase in the volume of waste fluid injection through deep wells. However, the recent earthquake swarm does not seem to be due to typical, random, changes in the rate of seismicity, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The relationship between earthquake activity and the timing of injection, the amount and rate of fluid injected, and other factors are still uncertain and are current research topics. Despite increasing evidence linking some deep-well disposal activities with human-induced earthquakes, only a small fraction of the more than 30,000 U.S. wastewater disposal wells appears to be associated with damaging earthquakes.

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview
Source: NOAA

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the Nation’s Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCDC tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCDC is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2014. The U.S. has sustained 178 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2014). The total cost of these 178 events exceeds $1 trillion.

Natural Hazards of 2014

January 8, 2015 Comments off

Natural Hazards of 2014
Source: USGS

Going into the New Year, the USGS reflects on the natural hazards of 2014 as a reminder of the dangers we face and the need for preparedness to save lives and property.

In 2014, several damaging natural earthquakes occurred around the world. A devastating landslide occurred in Washington State, while heavy rains and landslides also hit California. Notable volcanic activity occurred in Alaska, Hawaii and Iceland, with some alerts and eruptions still ongoing. A drought state of emergency was declared in California, and sinkholes have continued to be of heightened interest. USGS scientists also analyzed seismic data to help focus investigations on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

ASTHO Announces Release of 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index™

December 15, 2014 Comments off

ASTHO Announces Release of 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index™
Source: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and CDC

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more than 35 development partners, released today the 2014 National Health Security Preparedness Index™ (NHSPI™), which measures and advances the nation’s readiness to protect people during a health emergency or disaster. The 2014 Index includes updated data and new content, especially in the areas of healthcare delivery and environmental health.

The 2014 national result,7.4 on a scale of 10, suggests that substantial health security preparedness capability exists across the nation with progress to sustain and build upon. It also suggests significant work still needs to be done. As with 2013 findings, 2014 areas of relative strength include Countermeasure Management, Incident & Information Management, and Health Security Surveillance. Areas suggesting need for greater development include the new domain of Environmental & Occupational Health, and Healthcare Delivery (previously Surge Management) and Community Planning & Engagement.

New From the GAO

December 12, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Health Care: Information on Coverage Choices for Servicemembers, Former Servicemembers, and Dependents. GAO-15-4, December 12.
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2. Hurricane Sandy: FEMA Has Improved Disaster Aid Verification but Could Act to Further Limit Improper Assistance. GAO-15-15, December 12.
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3. VA Health Care: Improvements Needed in Monitoring Antidepressant Use for Major Depressive Disorder and in Increasing Accuracy of Suicide Data. GAO-15-55, November 12.
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4. College-and-Career Readiness: States Have Made Progress in Implementing New Standards and Assessments, but Challenges Remain. GAO-15-104R, December 12.

5. Grants Management: Programs at HHS and HUD Collect Administrative Cost Information but Differences in Cost Caps and Definitions Create Challenges. GAO-15-118, December 12.
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6. Grant Program Consolidations: Lessons Learned and Implications for Congressional Oversight. GAO-15-125, December 12.
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7. Aviation Security: Rapid Growth in Expedited Passenger Screening Highlights Need to Plan Effective Security Assessments. GAO-15-150, December 12.
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Podcast –

8. Medicaid: Federal Funds Aid Eligibility IT System Changes, but Implementation Challenges Persist. GAO-15-169, December 12.
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9. Missile Defense: Cost Estimating Practices Have Improved, and Continued Evaluation Will Determine Effectiveness. GAO-15-210R, December 12.


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