Progress re H. Sandy Outcomes

There were two news items this week regarding improvements in efficiency of the Build Back program in NY and at FEMA with regard to payouts to victims: See

(1) Progress on Rebuiding in NY.  According to this Staten Island news article, progress is now being make on payments to Sandy victims whose homes were damaged — Hurricane Sandy victims see some relief (commentary).

(2) GAO Report on FEMA:  See Hurricane Sandy: FEMA Has Improved Disaster Aid Verification but Could Act to Further Limit Improper Assistance. GAO-15-15: Dec 12, 2014.


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Health Problems After H. Sandy

It probably is not a surprise to many people familiar with how stressful disasters can be. See this article titled Hurricane Sandy Increase Incident of Heart Attacks and Strokes in N.J.

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New NAS Booklets on Climate Change: Evidence and Causes

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes: Set of 5 Booklets (2014); download is 36 pages. Actually, the docs were produced by both the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society.

One can either purchase a hard copy or download for free all documents issued by the National Academy of Sciences.

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Resilience by Design

See the posting titled Resiliency by Design, which discusses the plans being made by the City of Los Angeles regarding future earthquakes.(Full report is 126 pp.) Source of this posting is

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CA Drought – not due to climate change

For a change, one hazard is not attributed to climate change.

See: New Study: California’s Epic Drought Probably Wasn’t Caused by Climate Change; But rising temperatures might be making it worse.

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Economic Impacts of H. Katrina – not what you think!

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently issued a Working Paper titled: The Economic Impact of Hurricane Katrina on its Victims: Evidence from Individual Tax Returns” by Tatyana Deryugina, Laura Kawano, Steven Levitt. A key finding”:

“…at least in this particular disaster, aid to cover destroyed assets and short-run income declines was sufficient to make victims finally whole. Our results provide some optimism regarding the costs of climate-change drive dislocation, especially when adverse events can be anticipated well in advance.”

It was written up in the Washington Post, but I have to say this is not one of the Post’s best reporting jobs, since one cannot even find the full title and source of the paper. Their title is: Incomes actually went up after Hurricane Katrina. But economists don’t know why. Surprising new research shows that people living in New Orleans were financially better off after Katrina.

The full paper, 47 pages, is available from NBER for a modest fee. The Diva has a copy she can share upon request, for educational use.

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DHS Morale Still Low

See this article in the Washington Post today: Feds unhappy with leaders, new government survey finds. Of the 19 agencies rated, DHS was #19. Here are some excerpts:

Federal workers are increasingly dismayed by what they see as weak leadership across government, according to a survey released Tuesday that finds employees’ job satisfaction at its lowest point since Congress required the first workplace appraisal 11 years ago.

Despite continued positive feedback at some agencies and improving morale at others, just 56.9 percent of employees are happy with their jobs and would recommend their agencies as places to work, the annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings say.

For example, the Department of Homeland Security, the agency tasked with providing administrative relief and work permits to as many as 3.7 million undocumented parents and 300,000 children, ranked at the bottom of large agencies for a third year running, with employee satisfaction and commitment at 44 percent.

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