natural disasters


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In the Wake of COVID-19, Congress Must Support Pre-Disaster Mitigation Programs

, Climate Resilience Analyst

As Congress considers formulating economic recovery and relief packages for the nation, robust funding must be targeted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pre-disaster mitigation programs to help prepare and protect communities ahead of time, particularly African American, Latinx and Native American communities that are suffering the brunt of the pandemic in this dire time. Read more >

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Russ Munn/AgStock Images

New UCS Analysis: Coronavirus and Flooding Set to Collide in US

, senior climate scientist

Last week, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its seasonal forecast for the spring flooding season, I was jolted into a reality that some people in the US are already experiencing: extreme weather stops for no virus.  Just days after NOAA’s forecast came out, the flooding arrived:  floodwaters  from heavy rains in central and southern Ohio required the evacuation of dozens of people, leading one local sheriff to state “God knows how we will figure it out with COVID-19.” Read more >

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Shake, Rattle, and Rainout: Federal Support for Disaster Research

Joyce Levine, PhD, AICP, , UCS

Hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes are simply natural events—until humans get in their way. The resulting disasters are particularly devastating in urban areas, due to high concentrations of people and property. Losses from disasters have risen steadily over the past five decades, thanks to increased populations and urban development in high-hazard areas, particularly the coasts. There is also significant evidence that climate change is making weather-related events more frequent and more severe as well. As a result, it is more critical than ever that natural hazards research is being incorporated into emergency planning decisions. Read more >

Graphic: NOAA
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Human Nature and Creeping Environmental Threats

Kenny Broad, Professor, Marine Affairs and Policy
, , UCS

To state the obvious, rare events don’t occur frequently. While this is good in the case of large-scale natural hazards, it may increase our vulnerability in the long run. But why do uncommon events increase our likelihood of taking unnecessary risks, and how do we overcome our own cognitive predispositions? Read more >

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Sandy’s Punch Proves Truth Will Out

, sr. Washington rep., Center for Science & Democracy

Sometimes it’s really difficult to accept that we’re still evolving. In the far distant past, our ancient ancestors could look about them and observe the planets and the stars and the tides. They would experience flood and drought and watch for signs of impending disasters. They might believe that the disasters were caused by angry gods, and their strategies for avoiding calamity may have been limited by their belief systems. Nevertheless, they were guided at least, in part, by what their eyes and senses told them, and relied on their powers of observation to predict what would happen. Read more >

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