Resilience in Recovery

Article from GovTech: NIST Issues Disaster Recovery Playbook for Community Resilience. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a guide to help emergency managers and community stakeholders ask the right questions to maintain and restore vital services after a disaster.


Climate Change and Health

From the HSDL: Climate Change & Health: Assessing State Preparedness

A new report titled Climate Change & Health: Assessing State Preparedness has just been released by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health along with Trust for America’s Health. In the report, all 50 states and Washington D.C. were studied to evaluate how vulnerable they are to climate change.

In order to make their assessments, the researches developed three “domains of inquiry” that would be measured:Climate change’s disastrous effect on the planet
Vulnerability: the degree to which physical, biological, and socioeconomic systems are susceptible to and unable to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.

Public health preparedness: actions taken to build, apply, and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, and ameliorate negative effects from public health emergencies. Climate-related adaptation: adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities or moderates negative effects.

According to the study, Utah, Maryland, and Colorado rank among the states that are the least vulnerable and the most prepared; whereas Texas, Mississippi, and West Virginia are among the states that are most vulnerable and least prepared.

Making Infrastructure Safer

From HSWire: Resilience: Making Our Infrastructure Safer. “Saurabh Amin, a systems engineer at MIT, focuses on making transportation, electricity, and water infrastructure more resilient against disruptions. “There are a lot of commonalities among these networks — they are built and operated by human actors, but their functionality is governed by physical laws. So, that is what drives me forward,” Amin says.”

Expecting Refugees from Disaster Impacted Countries

From the NYTimes: 2 Hurricanes Devastated Central America. Will the Ruin Spur a Migration Wave? The storms displaced hundreds of thousands of people, creating a new class of refugees with more reason than ever to migrate north and setting up an early test for the incoming Biden administration.

Update: A related article from ForeignPolicy: Honduras and Nicaragua Have Been Hit By Some of the Worst Natural Disasters in Decades. If Biden gets the response right, he could put the region on better footing for years to come.

Personnel Problems at FEMA

From the AP: Survey finds race- and sex-based harassment ‘common’ at FEMA.

“More than a quarter of employees at the Federal Emergency Management Agency said they were harassed or discriminated against based on their gender or race, according to a survey released Wednesday as part of the fallout from allegations of sexual harassment by a senior official at the organization.

The survey by the RAND Corp. found that such civil rights violations were “common” at FEMA, reported by about 29% of the employees surveyed last year.

FEMA requested the survey in response to an internal report that found that the former head of the agency’s personnel office had improper sexual relationships with subordinates and created a “toxic” work environment, including by giving preferential treatment to his fraternity brothers.”