September 21, 1998


  1. Seeking Data on Correlations Between Earthquakes and Other Hazard Events

  2. A New Working Paper from the Hazards Center

  3. FEMA Asks for NFIP Input

  4. Introducing CEPA

  5. More New Resources on the Internet

  6. The IDNDR Early Warning Conference

  7. IDNDR Internet Conference Coming Up

  8. EIIP to Host Virtual Response Exercise

  9. Conferences and Training

Seeking Data on Correlations Between Earthquakes and Other Hazard Events

Dear DR Readers,
I would appreciate to have information on the availability of large databases on natural and environmental events (floods, big fires, ice melting, temperature variations) that could be used to try correlations with earthquake databases. Do you know if these correlations have been already attempted?

Best regards.
Giovanni Varosio
E-mail: giovanni.varosio@dappolonia.it

A New Working Paper from the Hazards Center

The latest on-line working paper from the Natural Hazards Center examines how the network of response agencies and organizations functioned following the February 4, 1998, Afghanistan earthquake. In "Network Without Center? A Case Study of an Organizational Network Responding to an Earthquake," author Aldo A. Benini uses data from that event, as well as insights from theories of disaster management and organizational networks, to examine the efficacy and deficiencies of networks in disaster management. The case study suggests that in networks without a strong center the initial response may be hampered, but organizational learning for later phases may be promoted.

FEMA Asks for NFIP Input

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a "Call for Issues" on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) Director and FEMA Mitigation Director have jointly asked customers of the NFIP to suggest ways to improve the program. This invitation to submit recommendations on how to improve any aspect of the NFIP is extended to all interested individuals, groups, and organizations. Areas of change could involve NFIP laws, regulations, manuals, policy language, coverage, rates, forms, maps, or floodplain management criteria. Each suggestion will be carefully evaluated.

The full text of this "Call for Issues" was published in the Federal Register and is now available on-line (see http://www.fema.gov/nfip). All submissions must be in writing and should be received by October 30, 1998. For further information, contact H. Joseph Coughlin Jr., FIA, (202) 646-3443; or Michael Robinson, FEMA Mitigation Directorate, (202) 646-2716.

Introducing CEPA

[Adapted from an article by Michael Bittle in the August 1998 issue of the "IAEM Bulletin" - the newsletter of the International Association of Emergency Managers]

The Canadian Emergency Preparedness Association (CEPA) constitutes a new national forum for the many Canadian practitioners involved in emergency prevention, planning, response, recovery, and mitigation. CEPA is dedicated to the promotion of knowledge, understanding, and cooperation in emergency preparedness in Canada. The association will encourage the development of national standards and model practices in the field of emergency preparedness and will support the development of a national certification process for emergency managers. CEPA is composed of eight regional chapters and one national chapter made up of emergency practitioners from country-wide organizations. More information is available from the temporary CEPA Web site: The permanent Web address will be: http://www.cepa-acpc.ca. Interested individuals might also contact: Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness, P.O. Box 2911, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3R5; 1-800-965-4608 -or- (905) 546-3911; fax: (905) 546-2340; WWW: http://www.ccep.ca.

More New Resources on the Internet

[These are a few of the newest Internet resources we've encountered. For a list of selected Internet sites dealing with disaster management, see http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/sites/sites.html.]

The Web site of the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which we've mentioned several times before, is an ever-expanding source of information about the human dimensions of all sorts of natural disasters. This latest addition to the site provides information about and an opportunity for interested persons to comment on a two-year National Science Foundation-sponsored project on the use and misuse of scientific information and predictions by policy makers. As the project overview states:

Major financial and intellectual scientific resources are now focused on trying to predict the behavior of natural and human-induced environmental phenomena. Such efforts reflect a demand by policy makers for predictive information that can help guide political decision making on controversial environmental issues that include negotiation of international environmental treaties, disposal of radioactive waste, and control of development in areas prone to natural disasters. However, neither policy makers nor scientists possess information necessary for understanding if, how, and when research focusing on prediction can be productively applied to the policy-making process. Whereas timely, policy-relevant predictions may help policy makers respond to some environmental problems, the misapplication of prediction research to policy problems can undermine policy goals, waste scarce financial and intellectual resources, and undermine the credibility of the scientific enterprise.
This site provides a survey of the project as well as the results of an initial workshop that brought together scientists, policy makers, and policy analysts to examine this issue.

Not surprisingly, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site is one of the best sources on the World Wide Web for information about how home and business owners can protect their property from natural hazards. The FEMA mitigation site, at the URL above, not only covers the various programs available to reduce losses, but also includes numerous on-line publications that individuals can survey and/or download. Two of the latest additions are, "Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways of Protecting Your Home from Flood Damage," and "Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room Inside Your Home." These publications, FEMA #312 and #320 respectively, can also be ordered free from the FEMA Distribution Facility, P.O. Box 2012, Jessup, MD 20794-2012; 1-800-480-2520.

Think you're pretty knowledgeable about natural hazards? Test drive this natural hazards quiz from the National Geophysical Data Center and see if you really do know the difference between a tsunami and a seiche . . .

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Web site not only provides information about the society but also includes an "Issues" section that includes several papers and presentations on human advocacy, a "Code of Conduct" for nongovernmental organizations involved in disaster relief, presentations from the "Humanitarian Agencies Forum" - a monthly meeting hosted by the IFRC, and information about the "Sphere Project" - an effort to develop standards in humanitarian assistance.

At the currently ongoing 1998 Pan American Sanitary Conference hosted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), participants will consider a report summarizing existing knowledge regarding the effects of El Nino on health and outlining the need to develop a scientific agenda to examine the impacts of extreme events such as El Nino on human health and health infrastructure and services. Interested persons can download a copy of the report from the URL above; it is a PDF file and requires an Adobe Acrobat reader to view. The text, in MS-Word format, can also be requested by e-mail from disaster@paho.org.

The Caribbean Red Cross Society has launched this new Web site designed to inform the Caribbean community and interested persons outside the area of the aims, programs, and ongoing work of the Red Cross in that region. The site also provides practical information for families on preventing, preparing for, and coping with emergencies; as well as the latest disaster news of the region and ongoing advisories about emerging situations.

The U.K. Emergency Planning Society is now on the Internet at the URL above. The society is "the U.K.'s foremost professional body for all those with an involvement with any form of crisis, emergency or disaster planning and management." Its approximately 850 members are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, including local government, industry, utilities, emergency services, volunteer organizations, educational establishments, the legal profession, and independent consultants. The society produces independent advice and guidance for its members and for others through a series of sub groups. Their areas of interest include business continuity, oil pollution, evacuation and welfare, Year 2000 issues, nuclear and other hazardous sites, and civil protection in Europe. Much information about these issues is now available from this site.

The U.K. Home Office, Emergency Planning Division (roughly the U.K. version of FEMA), now offers this Web site, with information about emergency planning in England and Wales, as well as about the U.K. contribution to civil protection in the European and international context. The division's responsibility involves planning for peacetime emergencies and civil defence. The site includes sections on Publications, Organisational Structure, and Bulletin Boards.

ListDPRA - Discussion/News of Disaster Prevention/Recovery
"ListDPRA" has been established by the Disaster Prevention & Recovery Alliance for the discussion of business interruption scenarios and disaster prevention, planning, and recovery generally. Interested persons are welcome to start a conversational thread, respond to a previous post, or ask a specific question on any subject concerning human-caused and natural disasters, protection of business assets, management and employee training, hazards safety, or similar subjects that might be of interest to other group members. This list is for the sharing of information and the announcement of new products and services of DPRA and its members. To subscribe to ListDPRA, send a blank e-mail to: listdpra-subscribe@egroups.com. For more information see: http://www.DPRA.net/index.htm.

The IDNDR Early Warning Conference

The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Conference on Early Warning Systems, held in Potsdam, Germany, September 7-11, 1998, brought together scientists and public officials; representatives of the United Nations system, nongovernmental and international organizations; and diverse professional, commercial, and civic individuals from 86 countries. The Potsdam Early Warning Conference represented the first major event in IDNDR's concluding evaluation and resulted in recommendations to ensure disaster reduction into the 21st Century. The conference dealt with an essential goal of the IDNDR - to improve early warning within all participating IDNDR nations.

The participants concluded that there is now a need to ensure that early warning of natural disasters becomes an integral part of government policy in every disaster-prone country. Specifically, they identified major strengths and weaknesses in early warning capacities around the world, and drew up the following conclusions regarding further action:

For more information about the results of this meeting and planned future actions, contact: Scott Weber or Terry Jeggle, IDNDR Secretariat, United Nations, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; (41 22) 740-0377; fax: (41 22) 733-8695; e-mail: scott.weber@dha.unicc.org -or- terry.jeggle@dha.unicc.org.

Mark your calendars . . .

IDNDR Internet Conference Coming Up

The United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Secretariat is currently organizing its third annual Internet conference, to begin September 28. Reflecting the 1998 IDNDR theme "Disasters and the Media," the title of this year's Internet conference is "Natural Disaster Prevention Begins with Information." As the organizers note, "Communication and information for disaster prevention is a complex process involving disaster managers and scientists . . . and communicators, such as journalists and public information professionals, to ensure the right messages reach those people in need. The challenge we face is to sell the validity of the disaster prevention message, to find the right means and tools, to get the right information at the right time in an appropriate language."

The goal of this year's Internet conference is to share experience and make progress on these issues. Persons interested in participating should subscribe to the conference discussion list by sending an e-mail message to listserv@thecity.sfsu.edu with the single message: subscribe risk [your name]

Individuals can also follow the conference on the World Wide Web at http://www.quipu.net:1998/. For more information, contact Madeleine Moulin-Acevedo, Promotion and Public Information Unit, IDNDR Secretariat, United Nations, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; (41 22) 798 68 94; fax: (41 22) 733 86 95. e-mail: idndr@dha.unicc.org.

EIIP to Host Virtual Response Exercise - Seeks Thespians

The Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP), in cooperation with National Fire & Rescue Magazine and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will hold the first ever WEBEX - a Virtual On-Line Table Top Exercise - in conjunction with the Virtual Fire & Rescue Exposition (VFRE), November 5, 1998.

The scenario will be a train derailment involving fire and hazardous materials. The organizers are seeking your assistance in identifying potential role players and would like to hear from you about exceptional individuals who you think might enjoy being included in what may prove to be a landmark event. We would like to fill the following roles with real-life counterparts:

If you would like to nominate an individual, please forward name and contact information to amoore@emforum.org, and include a brief summary about the individual's background. Participants must be able to access the Internet during evening hours.
Thank you.

Conferences and Training

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. A comprehensive list of upcoming disaster-related meetings and training is available from our World Wide Web site: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/conf.html]

Earthquake Preparedness Program: Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Open House to Introduce the "On Shaky Ground - Supplement" (ABAG'S guide to earthquake hazards in the Bay Area). Oakland, California: September 24, 1998, 9:45-noon. Contact: Michelle Fadelli, ABAG, P.O. Box 2050, Oakland, CA 94694-2050; (510) 464-7922; WWW: http://quake.abag.ca.gov.

USGS Geologic Hazards Team, 1998 Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecture: "Earthquakes and Natural Disaster Insurance," by Dr. Thomas L. Holzer, USGS Earthquake Hazards Team, Menlo Park, California. Sponsored by: Association of Engineering Geologists and Geological Society of America. September, 28, 1998, 2:00 p.m.: USGS Geologic Hazards Team, Fourth Floor Conference Room, 1711 Illinois Street, Colorado School of Mines Campus, Golden, Colorado. Contact: Anthony J. Crone, U.S. Geological Survey, MS 966, Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225-0046; (303) 273-8591; fax: (303) 273-8600; e-mail: crone@gldvxa.cr.usgs.gov.

Worldaid '98: Global Expo and Conference on Aid in Action. Geneva, Switzerland:; October 6-8, 1998. Contact: WorldAid Secretariat, c/o Palexpo, Orgexpo, P.O. Box 112, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland; tel: +41 (22) 761 11 11; fax: +41 (22) 798 01 00; e-mail: info@worldaid.org; WWW: http://www.worldaid.org.

First Due Fire and Rescue. Presented by: Fire Rescue Magazine, Jems Communications. Las Vegas, Nevada: October 7-10, 1998. Contact: Jems Communications, P.O. Box 2789, Carlsbad, CA 92018-2789; 1-800-266-5367 -or- (760) 431-9797; fax: (760) 431-8135; WWW: http://www.jems.com.

NMEHC-98: New Mexico Environmental Health Conference. Albuquerque, New Mexico: October 12-15, 1998. Includes session on "Natural Disasters: Public Health and Environmental Responsibility." Contact" NMEHC-98, P.O. Box 27176, Albuquerque, NM 87125-7176.

Business Continuity and Information Security: Prepare for the Coming Millennium. Sponsor: AIT Global Inc. New York City: October 13-14, 1998. Contact: AIT Global Inc., 9 Byrd Court, Kings Park, NY 11754; (516) 269-6713; fax: (516) 269-3881.

Institute of Civil Defence and Disaster Studies and Disaster Management Forum Annual Conference: "Dealing with Disasters in the 21st Century." Feltham, Middlesex, U.K.: October 22-23, 1998. Contact: Disaster Management Forum, P.O. Box 135, Bromley, Kent BR1 1ZN, U.K.; tel: +44 (0) 181 313 3999; fax: +44 (0) 181 313 3998.

River Basin Management to Meet Competing Needs. Sponsored by: U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (USCID). Park City, Utah: October 28-31, 1998. Contact: USCID, 1616 Seventeenth Street, Suite 483, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 628-5430; fax: (303) 628-5431; e-mail: stephens@uscid.org; WWW: http://www.uscid.org/~uscid.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) 51st Annual Meeting. San Diego, California: February 3-6, 1999. Contact: EERI, 499 14th Street, Suite 320, Oakland, CA 94612-1934; (510) 451-0905; fax: (510) 451-5411; e-mail: eeri@eeri.org; WWW: http://www.eeri.org.

Fifth U.S. Conference on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering. Sponsor: American Society of Civil Engineers Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering. Seattle, Washington: August 12-14, 1999. The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to October 2, 1998. For information on the conference programs, contact: Don Ballantyne, EQE International, 1411 4th Avenue Building, Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98101; (206) 442-0695; fax: (206) 624-8268; e-mail: dbballan@eqe.com -or- Tom O'Rourke, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 273 Hollister Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853- 3501; (607) 255-6470; fax: (607) 255-9004; e-mail: tdo1@cornell.edu. For information about conference registration and logistics, contact Andrea Dargush, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), Red Jacket Quadrangle, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14261-0025; (716) 645-3391; fax: (716) 645- 3399; e-mail: dargush@acsu.buffalo.edu.

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