Billion Dollar Disasters

Billion-dollar disasters on the increase in United States

As the atmosphere continues to warm, we are seeing more and more billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the United States. Thru September, there had already been 11 such events in the Lower 48 according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This number will likely rise once the final calculations are completed for Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires. If these two disasters wind up being added, we will have a total of 13 billion-dollar disasters for the year, making it one of the worst years in U.S. history, behind only 2017, 2011 and 2016. For perspective, the average year sees about six billion-dollar disasters.

“Restoring Lifeline Services”

FEMA and its emergency management partner organizations today released Philip Mann’s PrepTalk “Public Works & Emergency Management: Restoring Lifeline Services,” the fourth PrepTalk release from the Sept. 6, 2018 symposium. Mann is the Public Works Director for Gainesville, Florida. He is the past Chair of the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) Emergency Management Committee and is APWA’s representative to the Public Safety Advisory Committee working on the FirstNet project.

In his PrepTalk Mann shares a career’s worth of public works experience, including response and recovery from many disasters. Mann explains that the lifelines managed by a public works department are essential to “allow the community to survive” before and after a disaster. These systems include transportation; supporting utilities to restore power and communications; water for homes, businesses, and fire suppression; waste and stormwater management; and solid waste management including debris removal.


A New Take on EM History in the U.S.

Article in Wash. Post on Dec. 4: How the federal government became responsible for disaster relief. The Alaska earthquake that put Washington in charge of natural disasters.

As readers know, the Diva is an emergency management history buff.  This article adds an interesting element to the emergence of the federal government in emergency management, but I think there are many other factors that contributed as well. Reference: Emergency Management; the American Experience, 1900-2010.


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Alaska Earthquake

The Anchorage Earthquake Was Terrifying. But the Damage Could’ve Been Much Worse.

Experts said that while the quake was significantly less intense than the one in 1964, which was magnitude 9.2, its limited destruction was the result of the region’s growing smarter and much more resilient in the years since. Anchorage was much better prepared for a major earthquake; other cities may not have fared so well.

The Diva looked for TV coverage of the earthquake, but there was little to see over the past few days.  News of the G20 Summit and the death of Pres. Bush got all the attention.