June 30, 2006


  1. Nationwide Plan Review Released
  2. July 2006 “Observer” Available Online
  3. 2006 Student Paper Competition Winners
  4. EERI Earthquake Hazards Reduction Fellowship
  5. Funding Opportunities from the National Institutes of Health
  6. Call for Abstracts: Disaster Recovery Student Research Symposium
  7. Reader Request: Tales of Disaster Told through Music
  8. Some New Web Resources
  9. Conferences and Training
  10. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

1) Nationwide Plan Review Released

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued results from its national assessment of the country’s catastrophic planning capabilities. Responding to directives from the president and Congress following Hurricane Katrina, the Nationwide Plan Review: Phase 2 Report examines whether existing emergency operations plans for states and urban areas are sufficient for managing a catastrophic event and presents conclusions on actions needed for improvement. These findings and conclusions will be addressed by a new National Preparedness Task Force.

Conducted in all 56 states and territories and 75 urban areas over six months, the review is the most comprehensive assessment of emergency operations plans to date relative to planning for a catastrophic event. The two-phase review began with self-assessments of key planning components followed by peer reviews conducted by teams of former state and local homeland security and emergency management officials. Assessed as “sufficient,” “partially sufficient,” or “not sufficient” to manage a catastrophic event, the majority of components fell into the partially sufficient category.

While the review found that most areas of the country are prepared to handle standard disaster situations, all levels of government need to improve emergency operations plans for catastrophic events such as a major terrorist attack or category 5 hurricane. Several areas, including evacuation, attention to populations with special needs, command structure, and resource management, were noted as needing significant attention.

Download a copy of the report at http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/Prep_NationwidePlanReview.pdf. The press release and two fact sheets, “Nationwide Plan Review” and “Nationwide Plan Review Initial Conclusions,” are available at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?content=5695.

2) July 2006 Observer Available Online

The July 2006 issue of the Natural Hazards Observer is available online at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/o/. This issue’s featured articles are:

  • Fostering Peace in Postdisaster Regions, by Michael Renner and Zoe Chafe
  • IBHS Leads the Way to Safer Living, by Harvey Ryland

Regular features include Washington Update, Conferences and Training, Internet Pages, Contracts and Grants, and Recent Publications.

3) 2006 Student Paper Competition Winners

The Natural Hazards Center is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Hazards and Disasters Paper Competition for Undergraduate and Graduate Students. This year’s submissions reflect the truly interdisciplinary nature of this competition. Papers were received from students studying city and regional planning and policy; disaster and emergency management; engineering science in crisis, risk, and emergency management; environmental studies; geography; history and philosophy of science; mass communication; public affairs; and structural engineering. Topics included Hurricane Katrina, drought, preparedness, flooding, interorganizational processes, earthquakes, and looting.

Papers were judged primarily on originality and content. The winning papers presented a well-organized and logical argument that was engaging and demonstrated the authors’ knowledge and ability to integrate a broad scope of resources and references on a topic. Lindsey Barnes from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took home the undergraduate award for “Public Perceptions of Flash Flood False Alarms: A Denver, Colorado Case Study,” which looked at perceptions among Denver floodplain residents and identified how gender and age affects their perceptions of false alarms. Brooke Fisher Liu from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took home the graduate award for “Preparing the People,” a content analysis of the 50 state emergency management Web sites that identified markers of effective electronic government.

Read the winning papers at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/SPC/. The 2007 call for papers will be announced in January.

4) EERI Earthquake Hazards Reduction Fellowship

Under a cooperative agreement established with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is pleased to offer the 2007 Professional Fellowship to provide an opportunity for practicing professional to gain greater skills and broader expertise in earthquake hazards reduction, either by enhancing knowledge in the applicant’s own field or by broadening the applicant’s knowledge in a related but unfamiliar discipline.

This fellowship is designed to bring together an experienced career professional with other professionals conducting significant research, thereby, providing opportunities to both enrich the applicant’s knowledge and skills and to broaden the research base with challenges faced in practice. The Professional Fellowship is not intended to fund work towards a degree.

The fellowship provides a stipend of $30,000 commencing in January to cover tuition, fees, and relocation and living expenses for a six-month period. The fellowship will be awarded on a project basis, with the proposed work or course of study to be carried out over a period of up to one year. The recipient will have the flexibility to work less than full time with the host institution and academic sponsor with the understanding that the effort will result in a deliverable by the end of 12 months.

Applicants must provide a detailed work plan for a research project that would be carried out in the 12-month period. The fellow will be expected to produce a written report upon completion of the project. All applications must be accompanied by a professional resume and letter of nomination from the faculty host(s) at the cooperating educational institution(s). Faculty members should also indicate the institution’s ability to provide research facilities, including library, work space, telephone, and computer access. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.

The deadline to apply is September 5, 2006. More information on the fellowship is available on EERI’s Web site at http://www.eeri.org/home/fellowships_professional.html. Candidates may obtain an application form from EERI, 499 14th Street, Suite 320, Oakland, CA 94612; (510)451-0905; eeri@eeri.org; http://www.eeri.org/home/Profell_application.pdf.

5) Funding Opportunities from the National Institutes of Health

Funding opportunities are available from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the topic of Behavioral and Social Research on Disasters and Health for the purpose of stimulating research in the behavioral and social sciences on the consequences of natural and manmade disasters for the health of children, the elderly, and vulnerable groups, with an ultimate goal of preventing or mitigating harmful consequences.

Three NIH Institutes are sponsoring this program announcement. The National Institute on Aging is interested in research on the elderly in disasters, especially elderly residents of institutions and frail elderly in the community. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development is interested in research on children and other vulnerable populations in disasters. The National Institute of Nursing Research is interested in research that will develop interventions to improve outcomes for persons affected by natural and manmade disasters.

Three award mechanisms are being used: NIH Small Grant (PA-06-453), NIH Research Project Grant (PA-06-454), and NIH Exploratory/Developmental Grant (PA-06-452). The opening date for application submission is September 5, 2006. All announcements can be found online at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/.

6) Call for Abstracts: Disaster Recovery Student Research Symposium

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit abstracts for the Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment Interdisciplinary Student Research Symposium, which will take place at the Texas A&M University College of Architecture in College Station, Texas, October 6-7, 2006. The symposium will bring together students from various disciplines across the nation to explore relevant new research issues and challenges in disaster recovery and redevelopment.

Abstracts are being accepted for presentation on the topics of natural/built environment, social and economic vulnerability, public policy, resource management, design and (re)development, physical planning, and any other related topics. Abstracts are due by July 30, 2006. Authors of outstanding abstracts will be invited to submit full papers for a peer-reviewed journal that will publish the first annual symposium online journal. Authors will be notified by August 15, 2006. Selected abstract presenters will receive free accommodation during the conference. For more information on how to submit an abstract, visit http://archone.tamu.edu/conted/Disaster%20Symposium/Abstract_Guidelines.pdf. For more information on the conference, visit http://archone.tamu.edu/conted/Disaster%20Symposium/description_disaster.htm.

7) Reader Request: Tales of Disaster Told through Music

While doing research on Canadian mass death incidents, my students and I have discovered roughly 100 songs about Canadian disasters. A retired colleague, Dan Pottier, has turned up others, including some French Canadian songs, for example, “La Complainte de Springhill,” on the first of the three Springhill mine disasters, this one in the 19th century. Some songs, like Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” are very well known. Others are by well-known artists (e.g., Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “The Ballad of Springhill” on the third Springhill mine disaster, the Travellers' song about the Frank rockslide that struck a mining village).

Canadian artists have also done songs about U.S. incidents, e.g., Neil Young’s “Let's Roll” about the passengers on the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. A Canadian has already recorded a song about Hurricane Katrina and another one about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Our goal is to compare what the songs say with what actually happened, in an attempt to see if songs add to the many myths about disaster. We seem to be doing well, but we suspect there are a lot more out there and any help would be appreciated. Please send anything you know about, or let us know about any articles on the subject of disaster music or fiction, or the name of anyone you think might help us. Send information to Joe.Scanlon@talk21.com.

Some of you may notice this is not my normal e-mail. I am traveling and worried too many responses might jam my university mail box. By the way, I will be in Boulder, Colorado, in July for the annual hazards conference. Please feel welcome to tell me then about any songs that come to mind.

Joseph Scanlon
Emergency Communications Research Unit
Carleton University
Ottawa, Canada

8) Selected 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/.]

ISDR-BIBLIO 1 - Tsunami
ISDR-BIBLIO is a bibliographic compilation of publications available at the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) System Library and related to a specific hazard or aspect of disaster reduction. The first edition is on tsunami literature in commemoration of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. This catalog lists major academic, technical, and scientific publications on tsunamis as well as reports produced by United Nations agencies. The ISDR System Library will regularly issue ISDR-BIBLIO based on the theme of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign and upon request for a specific event.

ESRI White Paper: GIS and Emergency Management in Tsunami Disaster
ESRI prepared this white paper, GIS and Emergency Management in Indian Ocean Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster, which addresses the utility of geographic information system (GIS) technology in support of the Indian Ocean tsunami relief efforts.

GAO Report: Katrina and Rita Fraudulent Disaster Relief
“Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Disaster Relief: Improper and Potentially Fraudulent Individual Assistance Payments Estimated to Be Between $600 Million and $1.4 Billion” is a statement of the testimony of investigators from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) before the Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security of the U.S. House of Representatives.

CRS Report: Homeland Security Department: FY2007 Appropriations
This report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) describes the fiscal year 2007 appropriations for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

CRS Report: Disaster Debris Removal After Hurricane Katrina
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Disaster Debris Removal After Hurricane Katrina: Status and Associated Issues, provides the background and information necessary to understand why, if cleanup is to continue, additional funding of debris removal activities will likely be needed for months to come, as well as factors that make debris removal a costly, complex, and lengthy operation.

U.S. Census Bureau: Hurricane Data and Emergency Preparedness
Two products from the U.S. Census Bureau provide information on the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast: special population estimates provide a before and after look at the population size of the impacted Gulf Coast area and data from the 2005 American Community Survey show before and after characteristics of the population and housing along the Gulf Coast.

Brookings Analysis of Katrina Census Findings
The report Katrina and Rita Impacts on Gulf Coast Populations: First Census Findings from the Brookings Institute provides a “baseline” portrait of the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on population shifts and changing characteristics in the Gulf Region in the immediate months after the storms hit.

South Louisiana Recovery Survey
The Louisiana Recovery Authority funded this study of regional issues and perceptions since the 2005 hurricanes. The study included 2,500 total interviews completed between February 15 and April 30, 2006. Results can be found in the report South Louisiana Recovery Survey: Citizen and Civic Leader Research Summary of Findings Project.

Federalism after Hurricane Katrina
Federalism after Hurricane Katrina: How Can Social Programs Respond to a Major Disaster? a report from the Urban Institute summarizes key findings from the responses of four programs to Hurricane Katrina: housing assistance provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and through the Federal Emergency Management Agency; income replacement through Unemployment Insurance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance; health care through Medicaid; and cash assistance through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It also describes the central features of ‘normal’ program structures prior to the disaster, identifies particular challenges Katrina posed to these programs, explores the key policy responses to the crisis within each program, and finally offers recommendations to enable more effective disaster responses in the future.

National Academies Report on Hurricane Protection Projects
The Second Report of the National Academy of Engineering/National Research Council Committee on New Orleans Regional Hurricane Protection Projects can be found here.

Hurricane Hector Tabletop Exercise
Hurricane Hector is a human services organization tabletop exercise developed by the American Red Cross to bring North Florida’s human service organizations together to work through how staff and volunteers should collectively help the workplace plan and prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of a hurricane.

EPA Excessive Heat Events Guidebook
The Excessive Heat Events Guidebook, released in June from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is designed to help community officials, emergency managers, meteorologists, and others plan for and respond to excessive heat events. Developed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, it highlights best practices that have been employed to save lives during excessive heat events in different urban areas and provides a menu of options that officials can use to respond to these events in their communities.

EPA Hurricane Preparedness Information in Spanish
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new hurricane preparedness Web page in Spanish to provide information to Spanish speakers and Hispanic businesses nationwide.

Simplified Guide to the Incident Command System for Transportation Professionals
The purpose of this guide is to introduce the Incident Command System (ICS) to stakeholders, who may be called upon to provide specific expertise, assistance, or material during highway incidents, but who may be largely unfamiliar with ICS organization and operations. These stakeholders include transportation agencies and companies involved in towing and recovery as well as elected officials and government agency managers at all levels. This document may also be beneficial to public safety professionals, who are familiar with ICS, but may not fully understand how ICS concepts are applicable to transportation agencies.

Communicating with the Traveling Public during Disasters
Communicating with the Public Using ATIS During Disasters: Concept of Operations details a concept of operations for the dissemination of information to the traveling public during disaster events. The document is part of a study being conducted by Battelle for the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

IBHS Water Damage Recovery Guide
The Water Damage Recovery Guide from the Institute for Building and Home Safety (IBHS) offers tips on handling a water-related catastrophe. The guide includes a damage inspection checklist for homeowners and business owners to use after suffering water damage.

27 Storms: Arlene to Zeta
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Flight Data Center developed this five-minute visualization and audio presentation showing all 27 named storms of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

The Long Island Express: The Great Hurricane of 1938
This Web site, developed by professor Scott Mandia at Suffolk County Community College, includes the storm history with photos and personal stories, animated storm surge maps that can be configured for location, and the probabilities for future damaging hurricanes.

FEMA 526: Earthquake Safety Checklist
This booklet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is designed to help individuals and families plan for and survive a major earthquake.

Benfield Hazards Research Center Working Paper
Working Paper 14, Operational Framework for Integrating Risk Reduction for Aid Organisations Working in Human Settlement Development, provides general guidance for all types of development aid organizations working in human settlements for the integration of risk reduction within their ‘normal’ work. It is usable within a variety of cultural and geographical contexts and is relevant to all types of natural hazards and disasters.

Disaster Watch is an initiative by the Huairou Commission to support the growth and development of women-centered, community-based postdisaster response. The Web site includes readings, assessment reports, short films, and information on projects, programs, and activities.

NOAA Economics and Social Sciences
This site is intended to be a resource for those within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and those outside of it to communicate the importance of economic and social sciences perspectives. The site includes a library of papers, articles, and analyses on the socioeconomic impacts of oceanic and atmospheric science and related technologies.

The NOAAWatch Web site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a Web portal offering information about ongoing environmental events and the role of NOAA in prediction, monitoring, warnings, and recovery from environmental hazards. It provides public access to current information on a number of environmental threats such as oil spills, hurricanes and tsunamis, and space weather.

Struckbylightning.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting lightning and electrical safety education. Their Web site includes safety information for children, white papers, a strike database, and links to many partner organizations.

EDEN: Children and Disasters
This Web page of the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) provides links to resources useful for the whole family in addressing disaster preparedness, responding and recovering from disasters, and reducing vulnerability to certain disasters.

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.]

Disaster Response Challenge. Bramley, Hampshire, United Kingdom: September 15-17, 2006. Presenter: British Red Cross. This event will provide an opportunity for participants to experience firsthand the issues and decisions faced by the British Red Cross Emergency Response Unit through a hypothetical disaster that unfolds in real time. Areas covered will include logistics, communications, first aid, casualty evacuation, and security delegation. To learn more, contact Clare Murray, British Red Cross; +020 7382 4653; cmurray@redcross.org.uk; http://www.redcross.org.uk/events_page.asp?id=52474&ONav=52466.

Dealing with Disasters Conference: Planning, Response and Investigation. Middlesbrough, United Kingdom: September 20-21, 2006. Organizers: University of Teeside Centre for Forensic Investigation and Northumbria University Disaster and Development Centre. This joint conference seeks to bring the expertise of both centers together with regional and government agencies and emergency services personnel to explore and highlight the planning, response, and investigation requirements for dealing with both natural and manmade disasters. More information can be obtained from Graham Thompson, University of Teesside; +01642 342427; disasters@tees.ac.uk; http://www.tees.ac.uk/disasters/.

Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment: Interdisciplinary Student Research Symposium. College Station, Texas: October 6-7, 2006. Organizer: Texas A&M University Urban and Regional Science Student Organization. This symposium is specially designed for students and researchers involved in disaster recovery and redevelopment efforts. Undergraduate and graduate (master and PhD) students who wish to share their research and ideas pertaining to disaster management with respect to urban and regional planning are encouraged to attend. Abstracts are due July 30, 2006. For further information, contact Praveen Maghelal, Texas A&M University; (979) 575-9156; ursso@stuorg.tamu.edu; http://archone.tamu.edu/conted/Disaster%20Symposium/description_disaster.htm.

8th Asia Pacific Conference on Disaster Medicine. Tokyo, Japan: November 20-22, 2006. The theme of this conference is “Global Collaboration for Disaster Response.” Topics will include governmental and nongovernmental collaboration in major disasters, new disasters due to global environmental and climate changes, new technologies in disaster relief and management, responding to pandemic emergencies, drug management in international disasters, and more. The deadline to submit abstracts is August 1, 2006. For further information, e-mail 8apcdm@covention.co.jp; http://www2.convention.co.jp/8apcdm/.

3rd National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration. New Orleans, Louisiana: December 9-13, 2006. Presenter: Restore America’s Estuaries. This conference will offer presentations on best practices in the science, planning, practice, and policies of coastal ecosystem restoration throughout the United States and, especially, in coastal Louisiana and the northern Gulf Coast. It will showcase habitat restoration at all scales and the latest advances in ecosystem and community-based restoration. To learn more, contact Steve Emmett-Mattox; (303) 652-0381; sem@estuaries.org; http://www.estuaries.org/?id=4.

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. San Francisco, California: December 11-15, 2006. The Fall Meeting provides an opportunity for more than 12,000 researchers, teachers, students, and consultants to present and review the latest issues affecting the Earth, the planets, and their environments in space. This meeting will cover topics in all areas of Earth and space sciences, including seismology, volcanology, atmospheric sciences, hydrology, and ocean sciences. For further information, contact AGU Meetings Department, 2000 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009; (800) 966–2481; fm-help@agu.org; http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm06/.

An International Perspective on Environmental and Water Resources. New Delhi, India: December 18-20, 2006. Organizer: Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This conference will feature a wide variety of sessions related to water resources and the environment, such as Global Climate Change and Effect on Water Resources and the Environment, 2004 Tsunami: Impacts on Water Resources and the Environment, and Socioeconomic Issues in Water Resources Development. While technical sessions will include topics on both developed and developing countries, much of the focus will be on water resources and the environment in developing countries, especially in Asia. Participants will include engineers, scientists, and planners from around the world. For more information, e-mail ewri@asce.org; http://www.asce.org/conferences/india06/.

10) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Director, Disaster Research Center
University of Delaware: Newark, Delaware

The College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware invites applications for the position of director of the Disaster Research Center (DRC). The candidate sought is an energetic and charismatic person who will guide DRC in its present-day transformation into a university-wide interdisciplinary research center, and who will also cooperate in the ongoing efforts with university colleges to develop a university-wide interdisciplinary graduate program in the area of disasters.

The position is at the rank of full professor, and a PhD in a social science discipline is preferred. The successful applicant will have a strong social science background with a distinguished record of scholarly accomplishments in the social aspects of disasters, administrative and grants management experience, a strong record of teaching and service, and an active research agenda that demonstrates familiarity with external government and private sources of funding. The successful applicant will be offered a tenured appointment in the appropriate department of his or her discipline.

Founded at Ohio State University in 1963 and moved to the University of Delaware in 1985, the DRC is central to the international network of research on the social aspects of disasters and crises. DRC has received funding from various governmental and private agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Sea Grant Program, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The director manages center operations, supervises a staff that includes graduate research assistants and undergraduates, and represents DRC to funding agencies and other constituencies. The appointment also includes opportunities for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses related to disasters.

The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity employer that encourages applications from minority group members and women. The committee will begin reviewing applications on October 1, 2006. Applicants should send a statement of interest, curriculum vitae including names and contact information of three referees, and reprints of recent publications to Sue McNeil, Disaster Research Search Committee, College of Arts and Sciences, 4 Kent Way, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716. For more information on the DRC, visit http://www.udel.edu/DRC/.

Coordinator, UN World Water Assessment Programme
UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
Perugia, Italy

The coordinator of the United Nations (UN) World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) will be in charge of the management of the activities of the UN WWAP, particularly the production of the World Water Development Report (WWDR). In carrying out these functions, the coordinator will lead the WWAP Secretariat, located in Perugia, Italy. The coordinator will manage the development of overall strategies and work plans for WWAP, including the development of WWDRs and an overall communication strategy; coordinate all activities of UN partner organizations and external partners, through appropriate and effective channels, leading to the timely production of the periodic WWDRs; promote the WWAP and the WWDR as activities and products of UN-Water through the media and presentations, as well as the preparation of detailed implementation plans, including work plans and budget.

The tasks will also include developing and maintaining relations with the international and local water research community and relevant administrative authorities of the host country; preparing an annual progress report for consideration by UN-Water, and as required by the donor community; as well as coordinating with the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO concerning the conflict resolution component of the WWAP. The incumbent will maintain close consultative relations with the chairperson of UN-Water.

The application deadline is August 1, 2006. For more information on qualifications, competencies, and how to apply, visit http://recrutweb.unesco.org/pdf/SC938.PDF. To apply, visit http://www.unesco.org/employment.

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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