April 20, 2006


  1. DHS Releases Performance Review of FEMAís Response to Katrina
  2. FEMA Issues Advisory Flood Data for New Orleans and Surrounding Area
  3. New Quick Response Report from the Natural Hazards Center
  4. Opportunity to Comment on NEHRPís Strategic Plan Update
  5. SBA Requests Input on Disaster Assistance
  6. Call for Manuscripts: Voices of Katrina Symposium
  7. Reader Request: Events for EPIís Summer of Survival
  8. Some New Web Resources
  9. Conferences and Training
  10. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

1) DHS Releases Performance Review of FEMA’s Response to Katrina

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General has released the report A Performance Review of FEMA’s Disaster Management Activities in Response to Hurricane Katrina. The report assesses the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) performance in response to Hurricane Katrina and examines whether laws, regulations, policies, procedures, plans, guidelines, and resources were adequate and operational and whether FEMA’s organizational structure enhanced or hindered its emergency management capabilities.

The report finds that changes are needed to implement the National Incident Management System and the National Response Plan, including adjustments to the use of incident designations, the role of the principal federal official, and the responsibilities of emergency support function coordinators. Improvements in grant programs, staffing, training, and catastrophic planning are called for to better support state emergency management and federal response and recovery. The report also states that “the integration of FEMA, all hazards preparedness, and disaster response and recovery capabilities within DHS require additional attention.”

Thirty-eight recommendations are made in the report, including that DHS and FEMA establish measurable expectations for FEMA and provide the necessary financial, technical, and staff support to meet them. The full report is available online at www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/OIG_06-32_Mar06.pdf.

2) FEMA Issues Advisory Flood Data for New Orleans and Surrounding Area

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced the release of advisory flood data for New Orleans and the majority of the surrounding area. The flood advisories inform residents how to reduce or mitigate flood risks as they begin reconstruction and provide guidance to communities for better and stronger rebuilding. The flood recovery guidance documents provide Advisory Base Flood Elevations, which are interim products to assist communities in their rebuilding efforts while new Flood Insurance Rate Maps are being completed. The documents address two main areas, interior levees and open coast, and take into account newer storm data from the past 35 years, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as coastal land loss, degradation of coastal barriers, and subsidence.

To read more about the advisory flood data, visit www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=25059. The guidance documents are available for downloading at www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/recoverydata/katrina/katrina_la_resources.shtm.

3) New Quick Response Report from the Natural Hazards Center

A new Quick Response report is available online from the Natural Hazards Center at www.colorado.edu/hazards/qr/qrrepts.html.

QR185 Strengthening Resilience of Rural Communities to Wildfire in the Pacific Northwest, by Kathy Lynn and Arleen Hill. 2006. To explore the ways that mitigation programs can integrate place, poverty, and social needs into efforts to address access to information and resources in a rural community, the researchers conducted a survey of residents affected by the 2005 Deer Creek fire in southern Oregon. The survey assessed if response and recovery efforts during and after the wildfire considered the perspectives and needs of the community, whether mitigation programs influenced successes or challenges during the wildfire, and if losses to life, property, natural, or cultural resources resulting from the wildfire were influenced by poverty or geographic isolation.

4) Opportunity to Comment on NEHRP’s Strategic Plan Update

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is the federal government’s program to reduce the risks to life and property from earthquakes. The four agencies making up NEHRP - the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology - will update the NEHRP strategic plan in 2006, targeting NEHRP activities for the next five years (2006-2010).

The NEHRP agencies will update the plan delineated in the March 2003 FEMA Report 383, Expanding and Using Knowledge to Reduce Earthquake Losses: The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Strategic Plan, 2001-2005, available online at www.nehrp.gov/info/nehrp_strategic_plan_March2003.pdf. To help with the updating process, the agencies seek public comments from the earthquake hazards reduction community on any aspect of the 2001-2005 strategic plan and how it might be improved. They are especially interested in receiving comments on the four broad program goals (see pages 17-20); future challenges, opportunities, and priorities (see pages 11-15); and the value-add provided by the program and potential synergies.

Comments should clearly state the issue, indicate the location in the strategic plan (reference page number, paragraph, or sentence), provide a short reason for any suggested change, and provide suggested language for the revision. The preferred method for receiving comments is through the NEHRP Web site using the comment submittal form available at www.nehrp.gov/public_comments.html. Comments also may be submitted by e-mail to info@nehrp.gov, by fax to (301) 975-5433, or by mail to NEHRP Secretariat, attention Jack Hayes, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive Stop 8610, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on May 26, 2006, to be considered. Questions about submitting comments may be e-mailed to info@nehrp.gov.

5) SBA Requests Input on Disaster Assistance

The magnitude of the Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma disasters caused more home and business owners to apply for disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance than in any previous disaster. Generally, the SBA is committed to providing a decision to a disaster applicant within 21 business days upon receipt of their application. However, the 2005 hurricanes pushed the capabilities of the SBA program far beyond normal limits, and the average time to process 85 percent of all applications (the current SBA performance output measure) exceeded that of previous years. As a result, the SBA is soliciting input from interested parties on how the private sector can best support the delivery of SBA disaster assistance. The goal is to initiate policy discussions about the potential role and capability of the private sector to deliver disaster assistance to disaster victims in the United States.

There are two general models for processing disaster loan applications. The first is the current model in which the federal government makes direct loans. The second model allows the federal government to guarantee loans issued by banks and other lending institutions. The SBA seeks ideas and options for complementing existing resources and comments on implementing one or both of the two models described.

Comments should specifically address the following needs of the federal government:

  1. The ability to process and close an extremely high volume of applications (i.e., 400,000 or more), which may be in multiple, disparate geographic locations or across a large region of the country;
  2. The ability to process 85 percent of applications in 21 days; and
  3. The ability to process applications in a cost-effective manner.

While the SBA does not expect responses to provide a specific proposal for delivering services, they should include a discussion of estimated costs of a new or complementary system.

Responses should be submitted to the SBA Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) before 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on May 2, 2006. Electronic responses are preferred and should be e-mailed to RFIResponse@sba.gov with “COO RFI Responses” in the subject line. Responses will also be accepted by mail to Office of the COO, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 3rd Street SW, Washington, DC 20416. View the complete request for information online at www.fbo.gov/spg/SBA/OOA/OPGM/SBAHQ%2D06%2DI%2D0001/SynopsisR.html.

6) Call for Manuscripts: Voices of Katrina Symposium

The Journal of Public Management and Social Policy (JPMSP) is looking for manuscripts devoted to narratives of Hurricane Katrina for a symposium in fall 2006. Manuscripts are welcome on qualitative studies of survivors and others who experienced the disaster. Although emphasis is on capturing some of the “voices of Katrina,” the paper should also have a solid conceptual framework.

Manuscripts must include the title, name, address, and organizational affiliation on the first page and include the title, abstract, keywords, and begin the text on the second page. Papers accepted for publication must follow the Chicago Manual of Style and be no more than 35 pages in length. Submission to JPMSP implies that the article has not been simultaneously submitted to other journals or previously published elsewhere. The blind, peer review process normally takes up to eight weeks.

E-mail proposals to Duane Gill, duane.gill@ssrc.msstate.edu, or Liesel Ritchie, liesel.ritchie@wmich.edu, by July 15, 2006.

7) Reader Request: Events for EPI’s Summer of Survival

As part of the 12-Months of Preparedness education series and the Partners in Preparedness campaign, the Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI) of the National Organization on Disability will begin the “Summer of Survival” initiative. Beginning in May and continuing through the summer, EPI will provide additional readiness information appropriate for people with disabilities and their care providers and family members. To help emergency managers and disability service providers share information on their upcoming education programs for hurricane preparedness, wildfire prevention, and other natural hazards that increase over the summer months, we encourage you to share with us any events or programs you have planned to specifically address the preparedness needs of people with disabilities. Please forward the event description (conference, townhall meeting, webcast, CERT training, mailing, exercise, drill, etc.), date, location, point of contact, and hyperlink information to epi@nod.org, and EPI will host this information on their Web site.

Ideally, I would like to see educational opportunities in every state. As you work to get your citizens prepared for disasters, please do not forget that EPI can provide you with pamphlets for distribution at events. Whether it is a town hall meeting or door-to-door distribution by a local scout troop, help us make this a summer of survival.

Hilary Styron, Director
Emergency Preparedness Initiative
National Organization on Disability
910 16th Street NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20006

8) Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we've discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see www.colorado.edu/hazards/resources/.]

Guidelines for Developing an Earthquake Scenario
This new tool from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute presents the basic steps needed to create a scenario in any community facing seismic risk to help increase public awareness and stimulate community mitigation planning.

2006 State Homeland Security Directors Survey
This issue brief discusses the findings from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices second annual survey of state homeland security directors conducted during December 2005 and January 2006.

Guide for an Action Plan to Develop Regional Disaster Resilience
The Infrastructure Security Project has released this guide developed by a task force of more than 100 practitioners, policy makers, and technical and scientific experts. It provides a strategy for communities to develop the necessary level of preparedness to manage major disasters.

CDC Report on Health Effects of the World Trade Center Disaster
The April 7 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report features the report “Surveillance for World Trade Center Disaster Health Effects Among Survivors of Collapsed and Damaged Buildings.” The report presents the initial findings from the World Trade Center Health Registry, which was established to monitor the status of September 11 survivors, and details a variety of health concerns from the more than 70,000 enrollees.

RMS Report on Global Tsunami Hazard
Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has published this report, Managing Tsunami Risk in the Aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, which provides an in-depth analysis of the global tsunami hazard and mitigating coastal risk.

RMS Report on U.S. and Caribbean Hurricane Activity Rates
This white paper by Risk Management Solutions (RMS) describes the rationale, methodology, and implications of the inclusion of a new understanding of the activity rates of landfalling hurricanes in upgraded hurricane models. The impact of these changes in hurricane activity rates are predicted to increase average annual losses by approximately 40 percent across the Gulf Coast, Florida, and the Southeast, and by 25-30 percent in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastal regions of the United States.

HUD Research and Resources for Rebuilding
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research developed this list of publications and ordinances to assist officials, builders/developers, and others involved in the Gulf Coast hurricane recovery in their efforts to develop sound, affordable housing that can be produced relatively quickly.

Louisiana Sea Grant Hurricane Recovery Resources
The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program developed this Web site in response to recent hurricanes. It offers information on wetlands, seafood, water quality, ports, economic impacts, and rebuilding and recovery. Experts in a variety of fields have contributed information to the site and updates will be made as new data becomes available.

Louisiana Speaks.org
Louisiana Speaks is a multifaceted planning process endorsed by the Louisiana Recovery Authority to develop a sustainable, long-term vision for south Louisiana in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Web site includes information on the planning process and the Parish Planning Recovery Tool. This tool allows the public to view parish-specific plans and project lists that can be updated as communities identify new needs and as projects move forward.

UTC Report on Critical Infrastructure Communications
The United Telecom Council (UTC), the international trade association representing the telecommunications interests of critical infrastructure industries, conducted a formal survey of Gulf Coast electric, gas, and water utilities of all sizes after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. This report, Hurricanes of 2005: Performance of Gulf Coast Critical Infrastructure Communications Networks, contains their findings.

NOAA Podcasts
Short reports on science and research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are available on their Web site in the form of mp3 files for downloading.

Past Weather Data Available on NOAA Weather Portal
NOWData (NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Online Weather Data), a tool from the National Weather Service (NWS), provides climate information, such as past weather conditions and temperature and precipitation averages and extremes. By visiting this climate Web portal of the NWS, users can click a desired location on a national map and be taken directly to the local climate page of the appropriate forecast office. Then, by clicking on the NOWData tab, users can access a wide range of climate products for nearly 3,900 locations.

EIIP Virtual Forum: Evacuation Behavior in Graniteville Chlorine Spill
A transcript of the Emergency Information and Infrastructure Program (EIIP) Virtual Forum presentation titled “The Graniteville South Carolina Chlorine Spill: A Study of Evacuation Behavior” may be found here.

Do 1 Thing Preparedness Program
Do 1 Thing is a 12-month preparedness program developed by a collaboration of governments and nongovernmental organizations in three counties in Michigan. The program focuses on a different area of emergency preparedness each month and provides a range of preparedness options for each topic. It is designed to improve community disaster resiliency by moving individuals through the process of disaster preparedness from awareness to intention to action.

9) Conferences and Trainings

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

National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) 70th Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition. San Antonio, Texas: June 25-28, 2006. The focus of this conference is environmental health and protection. It will include 20 sessions on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and 19 disaster and emergency response and preparedness sessions. For further information, contact NEHA, 720 South Colorado Boulevard, Suite 970-S, Denver, CO 80246; (303) 756-9090; e-mail: staff@neha.org; www.neha.org/AEC/2006/.

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Annual Meeting. Portland, Oregon: August 4-7, 2006. Doctors for Disaster Preparedness promotes homeland defense and preparedness for disasters of all kinds, including war and terrorism. The annual meeting brings together experts on strategic and civil defense and prominent scientists to speak about real threats and manufactured scares. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Challenges Ahead: Will Sound Science Prevail?” For further information, contact Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, 1601 North Tucson Boulevard #9, Tucson, AZ 85716; (520) 325-2680; www.oism.org/ddp/.

30th International Conference on Coastal Engineering (ICCE). San Diego, California: September 3-8, 2006. Organizers: Local Organizing Committee of ICCE 2006 and the Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. This conference will bring together coastal engineers from around the world to discuss coastal engineering-related research, design, and case studies. For further information, contact the ICCE Conference Secretariat, Diane Dennell, BETA, Inc., PO Box 4219, Santa Barbara, CA 93140-4219; (805) 965-6210; e-mail: info@icce2006.com; www.icce2006.com/.

Fire-Rescue International 2006. Dallas, Texas: September 14-16, 2006. Presenter: International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). This national conference is structured to meet the needs of all levels of the fire service. Workshops will focus on improving firefighter health and safety and fire and rescue roles in major disasters. For more information, contact Megan Kutner, IAFC; (703) 273-9815 x341; e-mail: conferences@iafc.org; www.iafc.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=356.

International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW). Telluride, Colorado: October 1-6, 2006. Organizer: San Juan Field School. This workshop will bring together snow scientists and avalanche practitioners to discuss theories, present papers, and explore innovative new research topics. The theme of this year’s workshop is “A Merging of Theory and Practice.” For further information, contact ISSW, PO Box 3260, Telluride, CO 81435; (970) 728-3829; e-mail: info@issw.net; www.issworkshop.org/.

Fourth International Conference on Earthquake Engineering. Taipei, Taiwan: October 12-13, 2006. Organizer: National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (Taiwan). The purpose of this conference is to promote international collaboration and facilitate the exchange of research findings in earthquake preparedness, response, and recovery. The conference will cover earthquake engineering, structural control, smart structures, and structural health monitoring to integrate enabling technologies and improve the hazards resilience of civil infrastructure systems. For further information, contact Chiun-lin Wu, National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering; +886-2-6630-0891; e-mail: icee@ncree.org.tw; http://conf.ncree.org.tw/index_eng.aspx?conf_id=i0951012.

Eighth Regional Training Course on Flood Disaster Risk Management. Organizer: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). Bangkok, Thailand: October 16-27, 2006. This course offers an integrated approach to the development of flood risk reduction strategies that involves engineering, settlement, development, public administration, community-based strategies, and land use planning (with environmental considerations). For more information, contact the Training and Education Division, ADPC, Asian Institute of Technology, PO Box 4 Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand; e-mail: tedadpc@adpc.net; www.adpc.net/trg/trg_files/brochureFDRM-8.pdf.

10) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Tsunami Recovery Manager
Lutheran World Relief: Baltimore, Maryland

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) seeks a tsunami recovery manager who will lead their overall tsunami recovery strategy and provide technical leadership on recovery and rehabilitation activities to LWR’s tsunami country offices. The manager will coordinate LWR’s tsunami headquarters and field operations; develop strategy, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation; and develop/support related grant initiatives. The position is also the focal point for integrating risk management methodology into LWR’s tsunami recovery programs and bringing a development perspective to the tsunami recovery strategy.

The candidate must have prior experience dealing with international relief and risk management as well as experience in supporting crisis and postcrisis interventions designed to support recovery. The candidate must be able to travel internationally for up to 40 percent of work time.

View the complete position description and application instructions at www.lwr.org/jobs/description.asp?jobID=17. To apply, send a cover letter and resume via e-mail, fax, or postal mail to Human Resources Department, Lutheran World Relief, 700 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230; fax: (410) 230-2844; e-mail: hr@lwr.org.

Assistant Professor of Planning, Environmental Policy, and Emergency Management.
Western Washington University: Bellingham, Washington

Huxley College of the Environment Department of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University seeks candidates at the assistant professor level for a full-time, tenure-track position beginning as soon as possible and no later than the 2007 winter quarter.

Applicants must have a PhD or terminal degree by the start date in urban/regional planning, hazards planning, emergency management, or related field as well as relevant teaching experience. Professional experience in emergency management/hazards planning and certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners is preferred. Skills in geographic information system (GIS) applications to hazards management are desirable. The successful candidate must be able to teach undergraduate courses in emergency management and planning, including principles, methods, communications, and organizational management. Applicants must demonstrate evidence of the ability to establish a successful research program. The position involves advising graduate and undergraduate students in various fields of environmental studies.

Interested candidates should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and letters from three references by July 14, 2006. Write, e-mail, or fax application materials to Beverly Cruea, Hazards Planning Search Committee, Department of Environmental Studies, MS-9085 Huxley College of the Environment Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9085; fax: (360) 650-7702; e-mail: Beverly.Cruea@wwu.edu. For a complete job description, visit www.ac.wwu.edu/cgi-bin/~wwujobs/faculty/.

Multiple Positions
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance: Washington, DC and Abroad

The U.S. Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) responds to a variety of international crises, including natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies, and complex disasters. OFDA is currently seeking applications for multiple positions in Washington, DC and abroad, including operations support coordinator in the Office of the Director and humanitarian protection and internally displaced persons specialists. To learn more about available positions and how to apply, visit www.globalcorps.com/. Address questions to Amy Feldman at (202) 661-9377 or afeldman@globalcorps.com.

Questions for the readership and contributions to this e-newsletter are encouraged. Questions and messages should be indicated as such and sent to hazctr@colorado.edu.

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