It’s good to see you back at Disaster Discourse Monthly. Here in our October issue, we look back at the California wildfires of 2017 and forward as communities begin to recover from hurricanes Florence and Michael. As always, if this is one more email than you’d like to receive, please unsubscribe here. Please enjoy this issue and any of our past issues, and we’ll see you in November for our one year anniversary of this e-newsletter.
In the fall of 2017, wildfires destroyed many communities in California. The intensity of these disasters has raised questions about how and if communities should rebuild in these areas. Some communities, such as Coffey Park, are building back stronger community ties and serving as an example for other affected communities. Another community looking to improve following the disasters of last year is Santa Barbara County. After reviewing their response, Hagerty Consulting, Inc.’s Director of Operations Katie Freeman says that “it was a herculean effort” and applauded the County’s distribution of information. She also offered some lessons learned for the County to consider for future responses. With climate change exacerbating the frequency and intensity of wildfires, it’s more important than ever for these communities to focus on preparedness efforts.
The ongoing 2018 Hurricane Season has left devastation across the southern United States. As communities begin to rebuild from Hurricane Florence and as the hurricane season continues, we look back at Florence with a unique behind-the-scenes look at FEMA’s response as the storm developed and made landfall. Meanwhile, images from NASA show the widespread power outages from Hurricane Michael in northern Florida and Georgia, while others show the damage to the Tyndall Air Force Base. As communities begin to shift from response to recovery following Michael, many citizens fear the loss of these relief efforts, while others struggle with mental health. Following these storms, many are looking to FEMA and wondering how to maximize the mitigative potential of recovery funds, instead of continuing a “cycle of damage and repair.”
The Zika virus spread fear when it surged in 2015, but now it seems as though the disease could become a cure. Though in its early stages of testing, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch have found that Zika could potentially be used to “treat and prevent” deadly brain cancers. Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is leading a different charge – against sugar – calling on food companies to reduce the ingredient by as much as 40 percent in certain packaged food items. If you want to stay healthy as we head into this flu season, it may be smart to consider the flu shot; according to the CDC, last year was “the deadliest flu season since 1976.”
An oil spill that has quietly been polluting the Gulf of Mexico since 2004 has almost overtaken the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster as the worst in United States history. If you don’t think climate change is a big deal, consider this – the Global Challenges Foundation includes it as one of the top three threats to humanity in 2018. Fortunately, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that governments could avoid catastrophic climate change should they take action now and ultimately prevent “extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages.”