Friday, January 29, 2010

Earthquakes caused the deadliest disasters in the past decade

In the past decade, nearly 60 per cent of the people killed by disasters died because of
earthquakes, the Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) reported today in a
joint press conference with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction


UNISDR Press Release


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Haiti: Poor construction the real disaster

The audience at a recent UC Berkeley lecture given by Eduardo Fierro, one of the first U.S. earthquake engineers to visit post-quake Haiti, collectively cringed as Fierro showed slide after slide of haphazard columns, brittle frames, and slipshod rods and joints. “This was not an earthquake disaster,” Fierro said. “This was caused by people that didn’t know how to use codes, that built things in bad shape. These were the people that caused the tragedy.”


Opinion ... I think Prof. Fierro ignores the total picture in Haiti. I suspect the primary risk in Haiti is hurricanes, where Haiti's "houses and buildings constructed with unwieldy slabs of concrete and cinder blocks" are ideal. This is little different than the wildfire situation in Southern California. Most houses there are wood frame construction because this is a good construction type in earthquake country. However these same houses are a worst case situation when it comes to wildfires. The real question will be when reconstruction occurs will Haiti address all-hazards.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

California hospitals HAZUS update


The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has been implementing a voluntary program to re-evaluate the seismic risk of California's hospital buildings classified as Structural Performance Category (SPC-1). These buildings are considered hazardous and at risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake and under California law must be retrofitted, replaced or removed from providing acute care services by 2013.

OSHPD is using HAZARDS U.S. (HAZUS) to reassess the seismic risk of SPC-1 buildings and those that are determined to pose a low seismic risk may be reclassified to SPC-2. The SPC-2 buildings would have until 2030 to comply with the structural seismic safety standards. Participation in the HAZUS program is optional for hospital owners wishing to have their SPC-1 building(s) re-evaluated.


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Monday, January 25, 2010

The Role of Remote Sensing in Predicting and Assessing Coastal Storm Impacts

In “The Role of Remote Sensing in Predicting and Assessing Coastal Storm Impacts,” in the November issue of the Journal of Coastal Research, Victor Klemas discusses a variety of remote sensing systems and how the proper ones must be chosen to collect specific data necessary to track a hurricane, predict its future behavior, and survey the destruction it has caused. By studying Hurricane Katrina’s impact profile, scientists and emergency managers were able to refine prediction models, engineer stronger coastal infrastructure, and facilitate more efficient hurricane emergency management strategies. Download Article (.pdf)...


HAZUS risk assessment related posters selected for the 2010 ESRI Map Book

Two of the FEMA Mitigation Directorate's maps, entitled "Sugar House Earthquake Mitigation Return-On-Investment" and "ShakeMap-Based HAZUS-MH Loss Estimation Maps," have been selected for publication in the 2010 ESRI Map Book, Volume 25.

Published annually since 1984, the ESRI Map Book series is dedicated to acknowledging the important and innovative accomplishments of Geographic Information System (GIS) users around the world. Each volume of the ESRI Map Book showcases a small portion of the work presented at the Map Gallery exhibition at the annual ESRI International User Conference. READ MORE

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

PERI’s Floodplain Management Survey

Is flooding an issue for your community? Would you like to have your voice heard by floodplain policy makers? Take just a few minutes to participate in PERI’s short floodplain management survey and have your voice heard at the Third Assembly of the Gilbert F. White National Flood Policy Forum in March 2010. PERI will prepare a paper for attendees summarizing responses to this very brief survey. No names will be used in the paper. Please complete the survey by January 25, 2010. MORE...


Ushahidi Digital Mapmakers Help Haitian Rescue Efforts

"Right now it's about getting information out as much as possible," says Patrick Meier, the humanitarian response and crisis mapping specialist in Ushahidi's 10-person team and a PhD student at Tufts University, where Ushahidi's situation room for the Haiti earthquake aftermath is based. In this situation room, 10-20 volunteers work around the clock to find, evaluate and post relevant information. As of this morning, the Haiti earthquake site on Ushahidi had about 300 pieces of information. READ MORE

Ushahidi Haiti web site ...

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

HAZUS-MH at Delaware GIS 2010

Integrating GIS Functionality into Transportation Infrastructure Decision Support Systems: A Case Study - A presentation, by Silvana V. Croope, University of Delaware/Delaware Department of Transportation. February 10, 2010 at the at Delaware GIS 2010 conference.

Integrating the products of a GIS analysis into a decision support framework is demonstrated through a case study. The case study focuses on the impacts of flooding on the transportation infrastructure, in June 2006 in Seaford, Sussex County, Delaware.

The data and analyses are needed to support decisions related to infrastructure repair and improvement and ultimately mitigation. ArcInfo (ESRI) and HAZUS-MH (FEMA) are used to explore the impacts that are then imported into decision support system that focuses on the resilience of the infrastructure. Integrating the products of a GIS analysis into a decision support framework is demonstrated through the named case study. The GIS data and analyses are needed to support decisions related to infrastructure repair and improvement and ultimately mitigation of future floods. Options include policies, infrastructure investment and financial tradeoffs. The benefits of using the spatial decision support system and its limitations are shown.

More Info...

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Monday, January 4, 2010

HAZUS Training: Comprehensive Data Management for HAZUS-MH (L317)

1/14/2010 - 1/15/2010

Location: Boston, MA

Comprehensive Data Management for HAZUS-MH (L317)

This is a 4 day course