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Number 485 • September 6, 2007 | Past Issues


1) New Quick Response Reports Available from the Natural Hazards Center

With funds from the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Center offers social scientists small grants to travel to the site of a disaster soon after it occurs to gather valuable information concerning immediate impact and response. Grant recipients are then required to submit reports of their findings, which the Center posts online. Three new Quick Response reports are now available at

QR191 Emergency Responses for High Plains Cattle Affected by the December 28-31, 2006, Blizzard, by Bimal Kanti Paul, Deborah Che, and Vicki L. Tinnon. 2007.

Parts of six states in the Great Plains region of the United States experienced severe winter storms in late December 2006. This research explored the effect of the severe winter weather on the cattle industry in the Great Plains region of eastern Colorado and western Kansas. By surveying more than 60 farmers and ranchers, the researchers gathered information on industry-specific problems encountered during the storm, the effectiveness of the response to the blizzard, and what farmers and ranchers hope to see in the response to future severe weather.

QR192 Evaluation of Winter Storm Warnings: A Case Study of the Colorado Front Range December 20-21, 2006, Winter Storm, by Sheldon Drobot.

This research aimed to improve understanding of decision making related to driving in hazardous winter weather conditions, using the December, 2006, Colorado blizzard as a case study. By analyzing responses to a Web-based survey, the researcher examined respondents’ main sources for obtaining weather information, concluding that local broadcast media was by far the preferred method for most respondents. Respondents also felt that the forecast they received was generally accurate. In addition, this research explored factors that influenced respondents’ decisions to drive or stay home.

QR193 The Groundhog Day Florida Tornadoes: A Case Study of High Vulnerability Tornadoes, by Kevin M. Simmons and Daniel Sutter.

On February 2, 2007, a severe thunderstorm moving across central Florida spawned three tornadoes, resulting in 21 deaths in the second-worst tornado outbreak in state history. The outbreak exhibited three vulnerabilities for tornado casualties revealed by prior research: the tornadoes touched down at night, during a fall or winter month, and in an area with a large proportion of manufactured homes. This research combined property and damage characteristics to examine risk factors for fatalities in this high-vulnerability event. The research results indicated that all the fatalities occurred in mobile homes, and that 16 of the 17 fatalities occurred in homes that were leveled. The effects of home construction quality and warnings and sirens were also explored.

Note: Information about applying for 2008 Quick Response funding will be provided on the Center’s Web site next week and in the September 20 Disaster Research e-newsletter.

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2) Hurricane Forecast Team Calls for Heightened Activity

Above-average hurricane activity is expected for the remaining three months of the hurricane season, according to the Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane forecast team.

The individual month of September and the two-month period of October and November are expected to experience five named storms each. In September, the forecast calls for four of the five storms to become hurricanes and two to become major hurricanes. In October and November, the team forecasts two of the five named storms to become hurricanes and one to become a major hurricane.

August had about average numbers of tropical cyclone formations. The one hurricane that formed (Dean) reached Category 5 status and lasted for 3.75 days as a major hurricane. This is the most days that a single major hurricane has accrued during the month of August since Hurricane Frances in 2004.

For more information, including a detailed description of the many detailed forecast factors, visit

The (CSU) team will issue an updated forecast for October-November 2007 Atlantic basin hurricane activity on Oct. 2.

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3) IAEM 2007 Awards Program

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) is calling for nominations for the IAEM 2007 Awards Program.

The following IAEM Awards are now open for nominations from IAEM members (at no charge as an IAEM member benefit) and from non-members with an entry fee.

  • Career Excellence Award
  • Academic Recognition Award
  • Public Awareness Award
  • Technology and Innovation Award
  • Partners in Preparedness Award
  • Business and Industry Preparedness Award

More information on each of the awards, along with the official rules and nomination procedures for the IAEM 2007 Awards Program, can be found at

Nominations must be sent via e-mail to no later than Sept. 20, 2007, using the official nomination form provided at:

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4) Fireproofing Homes Dramatically Reduces Forest Fire Size

A new study, published in the September 4 print edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has modeled the spread of forest fires and concludes that the size and intensity of fires is directly linked with the density and flammability of houses built in the wildland-urban interface.

Since houses are much more flammable per square yard than forests, homes that erupt in flames can propel forest fires to a critical intensity threshold much more quickly. Fireproofing houses in forests can dramatically reduce the size and spread of wildfires, the study states.

The study involved Patrick Bourgeron, a fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research; UCLA Professor Michael Ghil; and graduate student Vassilis Spyratos of the French university Ecole Normale Superieure.

More information is available at

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5) HHS Announces $75 Million in Supplemental Funding to States for Pandemic Flu Preparedness

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the availability of another $75 million to states, territories, and metropolitan areas to help strengthen their capacity to respond to a pandemic influenza outbreak.

The supplemental funding will be used to:

  • Establish or enhance stockpiles of critical medical equipment and supplies
  • Continue development of plans for maintenance, distribution, and sharing of those resources
  • Plan for and develop pandemic alternate care sites
  • Conduct medical surge exercises

The one-time pandemic influenza response planning grants will supplement the $430 million HHS announced on June 28, 2007, to strengthen the ability of hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to bioterror attacks, infectious diseases, and natural disasters that may cause mass casualties.

More information on state and local funding allocations is available at

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6) FEMA Funds Relocation of Residents Displaced by Katrina and Rita

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced last week a reimbursement program that will provide relocation assistance to disaster victims displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The damage and destruction caused by the hurricanes resulted in temporary relocation of many of Louisiana's residents to various locations within and outside the state of Louisiana.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have been displaced from their primary residence in a disaster-declared area as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and have incurred or will incur relocation travel expenses within the defined period.

For more information on FEMA's Relocation Assistance program or to request reimbursement of relocation expenses, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) (TTY: 1-800-462-7585).

To view FEMA’s complete press release, visit

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7) Seeking RNs and MDs Who Responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

The Deputy Director of the Office of Risk Management and Analysis in the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking assistance for a research study entitled “Emergency Preparedness and Professional Competency among Healthcare Providers during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” If you are a physician or nurse who deployed in support of Hurricane Katrina or Rita for at least 14 consecutive days, you are invited to complete a questionnaire addressing your experiences and two medical competency areas that have been identified as important in disaster emergency response. The combined results may be used for the development of policy, training curriculum, exercise programs, and/or publications in the scientific literature.

The questionnaire for this study is Web-based and located at

If you have any questions, please contact Capt. Lynn A. Slepski at or at (202) 282-9697.

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8) Request for Information: Parks and Disasters

Dorothy Ibes is a graduate student researching the creation of parks or natural areas on post-disaster sites (both natural and technological). She is looking for cases where parks/natural areas have been developed on disaster sites, as well as situations where disasters have struck, the areas were rebuilt, and there was a recurrence of a disaster causing further loss of life and/or property. Dorothy is interested in talking to managers and developers who have set up parks in post-disaster sites. Please e-mail if you have any advice or information you would be willing to share.

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9) Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we have discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see]

Natural Disasters More Destructive than Wars: Egeland
Jan Egeland, former United Nations head of humanitarian affairs, said last week that natural disasters devastate seven times more people than war does, and that global climate change will only worsen natural disaster impacts. “Climate change, it’s happening. It’s not a threat,” Egeland said.

Hurricane Could Devastate New York, U.S. Economy, Experts Warn
According to this National Geographic piece, forecasters have warned that a hurricane making landfall near New York City could cause extensive flooding, heavy storm surges, and a potential month-long economic shutdown for the city. Because of New York’s position as a national and international financial center, economic damage could be catastrophic.

Hurricane Katrina: Who’s to Blame for this Unnatural Disaster
Cataloging numerous books written about Hurricane Katrina, this The Nation article explores expert beliefs about who should be blamed for the disaster following the storm, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michael Brown, Mayor Ray Nagin, the Army Corps of Engineers, and President Bush.

EMPOWER (Emergency Management Professional Organization for Women’s Enrichment)
This emergency management organization for women was created to build a platform where professionals can come together to share experiences, build skills, and expand and deepen industry knowledge. EMPOWER helps facilitate the advancement and enrichment of women in emergency management.

L.A. in 1,000-Year Earthquake Lull
An article printed in the September issue of the journal Geology shows that the Los Angeles Basin and the Mojave Desert may be seismically linked, and LiveScience has distilled this research into a short article. The Mojave region has been very seismically active in the past 1,000 years, perhaps explaining why the Los Angeles area hasn’t seen an extremely massive jolt, the article states.

FEMA Looks to Private Sector for Disaster Provisions
This Government Executive article shows how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is increasingly outsourcing responsibilities to the private sector, termed “third-party logistics.” FEMA officials claim these arrangements will improve the agency’s response.

FEMA: Gulf Coast Recovery Office
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has created this Web site, devoted solely to matters of recovery from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The site offers information on the progress being made in the region, news and statistics, the latest reports, interactive maps, important phone numbers, and guidelines on preparedness and mitigation.

Video Games as Disaster-Training Tools
A University of Southern California team has developed a prototype project, titled “Game Technology-Enhanced Simulation for Homeland Security,” which is an interactive gaming platform geared for real-world decision makers and first responders who could potentially deal with a weapons of mass destruction attack. This Science Daily article explores the project and its potential benefits.

One in Eight WTC Rescue and Recovery Workers Developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
This press release form the New York City Health Department explains that thousands of World Trade Center (WTC) rescue and recovery workers are still suffering from serious mental health effects, and that one in eight rescue workers exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress disorder in 2003 and 2004.

Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2006
Every year, the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) reports on the effects of disasters on human populations. This first Annual Disaster Statistical Review is an analysis of the disaster figures in 2006 compared to 2005 and 2000-04. The 2006 CRED report of disasters and their damages is available here,

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10) Conferences, Training, and Events

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. For a comprehensive list of upcoming hazards-related meetings, visit our Web site at]

FERMA Risk Management Forum—Geneva, Switzerland: September 30- October 3, 2007. Organizer: Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA). This Forum is the major European conference designed by risk managers to provide risk managers with an opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge, help influence business decisions, and ensure that good risk management standards are integrated into business processes. The Forum is attended by both practitioners and service providers. Visit

7th Annual Meeting of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) and 8 th European Conference on Applications of Meteorology (ECAM)—San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain: October 1-5, 2007. This year marks the fourth time that the EMS and ECAM are organizing their meeting together. These conferences are evolving as a forum for the exchange of ideas on future strategies in meteorology and climatology that involves the atmospheric and related communities, including scientists, service providers, manufacturers, and users. The focus of this year’s meeting is high impact weather. See

8th International Disaster and Emergency Resilience (IDER) Conference and Exhibition)—London, U.K.: October 9-10, 2007. Sponsors: International Association of Emergency Managers, the Institute of Civil Defence and Disaster Studies, and European Training and Simulation Association. This conference showcases best practices and solutions to ensure readiness for, response to, recovery from and resilience for disasters or major emergencies, whether caused by nature, accident, or terrorism. Visit

Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest—Washington, DC: October 11, 2007. This briefing from the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance will feature speakers from Alaska, Washington, and California discussing issues surrounding earthquakes and tsunamis in the Northwest. The briefing will be held October 11 at 3:00 p.m. in 2325 Rayburn.

Disaster Risk Reduction 2007— Western Cape, South Africa: October 17-18, 2007. The Annual Conference of the Disaster Management Institute of Southern Africa is the largest disaster management conference in Africa and routinely attracts more than 300 delegates. The conference provides an annual opportunity for a diverse range of stakeholders in disaster risk management from across Africa to gather and share skills, knowledge, and experience. This year’s conference is hosted/co-hosted by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government: Department of Housing, Local Government and Traditional Affairs and the Cacadu District Municipality. See

United Nations International UN-SPIDER Workshop: Space-based Information and Solutions for Disaster Management and Emergency Response—Bonn, Germany: October 29-31, 2007. The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), through its new program, the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER), and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are organizing this workshop to promote the access and use of space-based technologies and solutions for disaster management and emergency response within the relevant communities. Topics to be discussed at the workshop include identification of relevant space-based information for Disaster Management Support and Emergency Response, definition of a Knowledge Portal to ensure that relevant information is easily accessible and disseminated to all interested end-users, identification of existing and planned Communities of Practice that contribute to bringing together the space-based technology and disaster management communities, and harmonization of the existing initiatives that are contributing to helping developing countries access and use space-based technologies for disaster management and risk reduction.

HazMat Explo 2007 Conference and Exposition—Las Vegas, Nevada: November 5-8, 2007. This meeting focuses on strategies for dealing with hazardous materials issues. Through experienced instructors and demonstrations, the conference will feature educational tracks related to first responders, emergency planners, medical personnel, environmental workers, industry personnel, radiological and homeland security workers. Visit

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11) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Planner I
Division of Emergency Services; San Francisco, California

Download the job description here,

Post-doctoral Research Scholar (Urban Energy)
Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy at Columbia University ; New York City, New York

The Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy (CEMTPP) at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs is seeking one Postdoctoral Research Scholar to contribute to and support the Center's expanding research program on urban energy issues. This appointment will be initially for one year, with the expectation that it will be renewed for a second and final year, assuming satisfactory performance. An annual stipend of $66,000 plus fringe benefits is provided.

The Center is a focal point for the study of economic, environmental, political, technological and other factors that affect the global production, transportation and consumption of energy. It builds upon the School's strengths in international affairs and economics, public policy and quantitative techniques for analyzing policy and management. In addition, the Center draws on resources elsewhere at Columbia, including the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Business and Law Schools. The Center also benefits from Columbia's location in New York, the center of global finance and media.

Urban Energy Project: Because cities are where the bulk of all energy is consumed globally, the Center's new Urban Energy Project seeks to understand urban energy flows, markets, regulation, policy, and politics. We seek post-doctoral researchers who specialize in one of the following areas:

-The influence of energy markets, technology, and regulation on the growth of cities in developing nations - the vast majority of urban growth over the next several decades will occur in developing nations. We seek researchers who can help us understand how different forms of energy or energy-using technologies are shaping how and where this growth occurs, the types of economies that are developing, and urban form.

-Linkages between energy and greenhouse gas flow modeling and local energy policymaking - local governments are increasingly seeking to inventory local energy supply/use or greenhouse gas emission flows as a precursor to the development of local climate or sustainability policies. We seek researchers who are conversant in energy/GHG modeling and/or local energy governance issues to help us better understand how (or whether) the results of these modeling efforts link up to policymaking efforts in large cities in China, Europe, and North America.

The Postdoctoral Research Scholar will be involved in all aspects of the development of the Center's Urban Energy Program, including establishing linkages with researchers at other universities around the world and various funding organizations. The Postdoctoral Research Scholar will be expected to pursue an individual research project(s) that is compatible with the mission of the Center and is approved by the Director of the Urban Energy Program. In addition, the Postdoctoral Scholar will be expected to help develop and coordinate the Urban Energy Program's research agenda (up to approximately 40% of the Postodoctoral Scholar's time). Depending on the Center's needs and the candidate's needs and interests, the Postdoctoral Scholar may also be expected to teach a partial or full course each year.

Candidates with an earned doctorate in economics, public policy, urban planning, or political science/government are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have recently received their PhD or have the degree awarded prior to the commencement of their appointment, although this may be no later than December 2007. The appointment will begin no later than January 1, 2008.

Application Process: The deadline for applications is September 1, 2007; review of all application materials will begin immediately upon receipt.

Submit cover letter explaining your proposed research plan, CV, three letters of support from graduate advisors, a one-page description of a course you propose to teach, and two writing samples.

Columbia University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Various Positions
Office of Emergency Preparedness; New Orleans, Louisiana

The City of New Orleans, LA Office of Emergency Preparedness is seeking applicants for 4 newly formed positions in Emergency Management. These positions are Logistics Coordinator, Operations and Training Coordinator, Planner, and Communications & Information Specialist. These are highly professional positions and the person selected will assist the director in preparing for and responding to all hazards. Applicants should have a strong background and working knowledge in the emergency management field they are applying for.

Applicants must possess a minimum of a Bachelors degree in any field (or equivalent experience and special skills) and three years of progressive, highly responsible professional work in an Emergency Management program.

This is a civil service position with group health insurance, accrued annual and sick leave, ten paid holidays per year, and life insurance.

Applicants must submit a resume and a cover letter describing their qualifications for the position to LtCol Jerry Sneed, USMC (RET), Director, Room 8E15, City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, FAX at (504) 658-8701, or e-mail . Applicant must also submit the same to the Civil Service Department at City Hall, room 7W03.

Complete details at:

Assistant Professor of Public Administration/Public Policy: Emergency Management
University of South Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina

The Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position beginning in August 2008 focused on Emergency Management, local and state government and agencies, first responders, and others in responding to extreme events. This search is being conducted jointly in Geography and in Political Science; candidates will be considered for a tenure-track appointment either in the Department of Geography or in the Department of Political Science. The position is intended to enhance the department’s contribution to an emerging collaborative, interdisciplinary effort focusing on Security Studies and Crisis Response. Successful candidates will contribute to the interdisciplinary research and teaching programs in the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute in the Department of Geography, the Master’s Program in Public Administration in the Department of Political Science, as well as research initiatives and graduate education underway across the entire campus.

For full consideration, applications must be received by October 15, 2007. Send vita, three letters of recommendation, teaching evaluations, and samples of published or unpublished research to: Emergency Management Search, Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, 437 Gambrell Hall, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

The University of South Carolina is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Minorities and women are especially encouraged toa pply. The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.

Assistant Professor of U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy
University of South Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina

The Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in U.S. national security and foreign policy, to begin in August, 2008. The position is intended to enhance the department’s contribution to an emerging collaborative, interdisciplinary effort focusing on Security Studies and Crisis Response, and to meet existing demand for undergraduate and graduate courses on U.S. foreign policy and national security. Competence in risk assessment, strategic intelligence, Homeland Security, and the politics of interagency and inter-branch formation and implementation of U.S. national security policy are especially desired.

For full consideration, applications must be received by October 31, 2008. Send vita, three letters of recommendation, teaching evaluations, and samples of published or unpublished research to: Foreign Policy Search, Department of Political Science, Gambrell Hall, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

The University of South Carolina is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Minorities and women are especially encouraged to apply. The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.

Manager of Emergency Preparedness
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis; Indianapolis, Indiana

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis is currently seeking applications through September 14th, for the newly created position of Manager of Emergency Preparedness.

A brief description:

This position manages, develops, analyzes, organizes, implements, assesses and continuously improves a comprehensive emergency management program involving complex and hazardous situations created in an intensive, dynamic, research and educational environment. This position will be responsible for considering all types of emergencies, including but not limited to: pandemic flu, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, floods, medical, acts of terrorism, public health, and hazardous materials.

REQUIRED: Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in Emergency Preparedness, Fire Science, Environmental Science, Health and Safety, Biological Sciences, Public Safety, Engineering, Chemistry or related field. Plus five years experience in emergency planning, disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; OR a Bachelor's degree in any other field plus eight years' experience in the field. University-based experience is desired.

PREFERRED: Possession of training/certifications in NIMS, Certified Emergency Manager, Fire Inspector I, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations, Hazmat Incident Command, Certified Business Continuity Planner or Master Business Continuity Planner, Emergency Exercise Designer, and/or other FEMA courses in Emergency Preparedness.

IUPUI is a campus of 29,000 students with a medical school and several hospitals on and adjacent to a campus that is near the vibrant downtown of Indianapolis.

To apply, go to: .

For additional information you may contact:

Rich Strong, Director
IUPUI Environmental Health & Safety
620 Union Drive, Room 043
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone 317.274.1388
Fax 317.278.2158

Emergency Management Coordinator II
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; West Bank, Louisiana

Kind of Work:
Performs highly responsible, technical and management work in writing, implementing and maintaining emergency management programs such as emergency sheltering and pre-disaster planning. Duties include assisting in the planning, training, coordination and preparation among all constituencies of Jefferson Parish with regard to emergency preparedness. Plans and conducts training exercises with parish, state and federal agencies and conducts on site inspections of parish shelters and potential shelters. Performs related work as required.

Minimum Qualifications For Admission to Examination:
Current employment and permanent civil service status in the class of Emergency Management Coordinator I;
Possession of a high school diploma or equivalent, plus ONE of the following:
1. Considerable (approximately three years) work experience in emergency management administrative operations, emergency planning/procedures, emergency communications, hazards analysis, personnel supervision, and record keeping/reporting
2. Considerable (approximately three years) work experience as a first responder or higher in fire, law enforcement or emergency services.

Kind of Examination:
(Entrance and Promotional)

The examination may consist of either a written test, a rating of training and experience, an oral panel interview or any combination thereof. Acceptable applicants will be notified of the time, date, and place of any assembled test(s) which may be used.

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If you or your organization would like to add a job posting here in the DR, please feel free to e-mail the information to

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

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Natural Hazards Center
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