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Number 495 • February 14, 2008 | Past Issues


1) 2007 Disasters by the Numbers

The Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has released its report on 2007 disasters. Notable findings include:

  • The world saw an increase in the number of floods, compared with the average of the last seven years.
  • Eight of the ten countries with the highest disaster deaths were in Asia.
  • 4,234 people were killed in Bangladesh by Cyclone Sidr, making it the most deadly disaster of 2007.
  • The United States saw the highest number of reported natural disasters in 2007, with 22.

To view the entire report, visit

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2) U.S. Army Corps Immune in Katrina Case

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be held immune in court for the levee failures that innundated New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, a federal judge ruled this month.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval said the Corps “cast a blind eye” in protecting New Orleans, but because of the Flood Control Act of 1928, which calls for government immunity in failed flood projects, he was forced by law to call the Corps immune.

In his ruling, Duval noted that a legal and bureaucratic change is needed. The Flood Control Act, he said, is “counterproductive” in that “gross incompetence receives the same treatment as simple mistakes.”

To read the entire story, visit

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3) National Response Framework Online Course

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has developed an online introductory training course that focuses on the new National Response Framework (NRF), and aims to introduce participants to the concepts and principles of the NRF. Geared for government executives, private-sector leaders, and emergency management practitioners, participants of this course will learn:

  • The purpose of the NRF.
  • The response doctrine established by the NRF.
  • The roles and responsibilities of entities as specified in the NRF.
  • The actions that support national response.
  • The response organizations used for multi-agency coordination.
  • How planning relates to national preparedness.

This course, which takes about three hours, is available at

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4) IAEM Scholarship Program

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Scholarship Program was established to nurture, promote and develop disaster preparedness and resistance by furthering the education of students studying the field of emergency management.

IAEM scholarships are awarded to students pursuing an associate or diploma baccalaureate, or graduate degree in emergency management or a closely related field.

The 2008 IAEM Scholarship Application Form is now available for download, The first page of the application form includes complete instructions and tips.

Applications are due May 16, 2008.

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5) PERI Conference Scholarship

The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) will award up to 60 $1,000 scholarships to enable representatives of small public jurisdictions and community nonprofits to attend the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) Annual Conference and Expo, which will be held in Anaheim, California, on June 1-4, 2008. The application deadline is March 3, 2008.

Each scholarship recipient receives: $1,000 direct financial assistance to be applied to any costs of attending the conference, including travel, lodging, and registration expenses; a discounted registration fee; and, if not already a PRIMA member, a complimentary one-year membership to PRIMA.

PERI’s Small Entity Scholarship Program is open to employees and elected officials of local governments and schools, and staff and board members of small community nonprofit organizations. Past recipients have included city and town managers, city and county clerks, finance directors, risk managers, police and fire officials, public works, human resources, safety directors, school administrators and business officials, and directors and staff of nonprofit organizations.

Complete eligibility requirements are available on the PERI Web site,

Application deadline is March 3, 2008.

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6) NOAA Announces New Hurricane Center Director

Bill Read, the acting deputy director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center, was named director of the NOAA Tropical Prediction Center on January 25, 2008. The National Hurricane Center is part of the Tropical Prediction Center, and Read will serve as the director of both.

Read has been with NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) for 30 years, and has served as the director of the Houston/Galveston NWS office.

According to the NOAA press release, the Tropical Prediction Center contains three divisions: the National Hurricane Center, which provides forecasts of the movement and strength of tropical weather systems and issues watches and warnings for the U.S. and surrounding areas; the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch, which issues year-round marine forecasts and warnings over the tropical and subtropical North Atlantic and eastern Pacific; and the Technical Support Branch, which provides support for the center’s computer and communications systems and develops new techniques for tropical cyclone and tropical weather analysis and prediction.

To read the entire press release, visit

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7) DHS Announces $3 Billion in Available Grant Funding

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the availability of 14 federal grant programs, “whose collective purpose is to strengthen prevention, protection, response and recovery capabilities at all levels of government.” The grant programs represent more than $3 billion in available funding, about $376 million more than last year.

The grant programs for 2008 include:

  • Homeland Security Grant Program ($1.69 billion)
  • Infrastructure Protection Program ($852.4 million)
  • Emergency Management Performance Grants ($291.4 million)
  • Operation Stonegarden Grants ($60 million)
  • Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program ($60 million)
  • REAL ID Systems Integration and Data Verification Grant Program ($48.5 million)
  • UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program ($15 million)

More information on each of these programs, including their associated sub-programs, is available in this DHS press release,

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8) 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]

Management of Dead Bodies After Disasters: A Field Manual for First Responders
Realizing that care of the dead is often overlooked in disaster planning, this peer-reviewed manual presents simple recommendations for emergency management practitioners to manage the recovery, basic identification, and storage of dead bodies. This manual was prepared by the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

What’s New in the National Response Framework
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveiled the National Response Framework (NRF), the guidelines for domestic incident response roles, responsibilities, and relationships. The NRF replaces the National Response Plan, and this four-page fact sheet from DHS explains the differences between the documents.

Major Management Challenges Facing the Department of Homeland Security (Excerpts from the FY 2007 DHS Annual Financial Report)
This report, issued by the DHS Office of Inspector General, identifies large-scale management challenges facing the department, including problems with acquisition management, grants and financial management, catastrophic disaster response and recovery, IT management, and border security.

Ensuring Safe and Effective Housing Programs in the Wake of Disasters
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing January 29, 2008, that took a critical look at housing issues that arise during and after disaster. The complete testimony of all the witnesses, including from the director of the Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from the assistant administrator for the Disaster Assistance Directorate at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are available on the Web site. A video of the hearing is also available.

National Flood Insurance Program: Greater Transparency and Oversight of Wind and Flood Damage Determinations Are Needed
The Government Accountability Office released this study earlier this month that results from the numerous disputes, many still unsolved, between policy holders and insurers after the 2005 hurricane season. The report specifically looks at issues that result when claims for damage are made to multiple insurers, including the NFIP. Additionally, the report reviews the information that the NFIP uses to asses damages and payment.

Stormy Weather: Experts Still Divided on the Link Between Climate Change and Hurricanes
This Nature News article relates the findings of a study published in Nature that concludes that hurricanes have become more frequent and more devastating. For the first time, this study makes the claim that rising sea temperatures are responsible for the increase in hurricane activity, noting that rising sea surface temperature can be credited for about 40% of the increase in hurricanes. The link between climate change and hurricane activity is hotly debated in the scientific community.

EIIP Virtual Forum Transcript: Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government
The Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership (EIIP) held a virtual forum January 30, 2008, on a new book from the International City/County Management Association entitled “Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government.” The book was edited by Dr. William Waugh, Professor of Public Administration, Urban Studies, and Political Science at Georgia State University, and Dr. Kathleen Tierney, Director of the Natural Hazards Center and Professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado. The two editors participated in the forum, and the transcript of the discussion is available from the Web site above.

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9) 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]

GeoCongress 2008: The Challenge of Sustainability in the Geoenvironment— New Orleans, Louisiana: March 9-12, 2008. Organizer: Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This conference focuses on the role of geoengineers and geoscientists in protecting and preserving the environment and highlights the expansive and interdisciplinary nature of geoenvironmental issues. Practitioners, consultants, regulators, policy makers, researchers, educators, and students will have numerous opportunities to learn about innovative and emerging scientific advances and technologies that are needed to address a wide range of geoenvironmental issues. Topics will include sustainability, geohazard mitigation, waste management, and site assessment and remediation. See

2nd International Joint Emergency Preparedness and Response & Robotics and Remote Systems Topical Meeting—Albuquerque, New Mexico: March 9-12, 2008. This bi-annual conference is a forum for the discussion of the social, regulatory, scientific, and technical aspects of emergency management and robotics for hazardous environment applications. Visit

International Symposium on Mitigative Measures on Snow Avalanches— Egilsstadir, Iceland: March 11-15, 2008. Organizer: Association of Chartered Engineers in Iceland. The aim of this symposium is to connect three themes: snow engineering, environment, and society. The goal of the meeting is to get a glimpse of the future, facilitate exchange of experience and ideas, and find ways of cooperating in order to improve living in areas threatened by avalanches. Visit

Natural Disasters in Small Communities: How Can We Help?—Buffalo, New York: March 29-30, 2008. The University at Buffalo's Center for GeoHazards Studies is hosting its first annual conference, which will be held adjacent to the UB campus in Buffalo, New York. Sessions will focus on the following themes: modeling and uncertainty of geohazards, geohazard analysis and management using remote sensing and geographic information science, case studies of natural disasters, and communicating the danger to stakeholders. See

2008 Annual Emergency Preparedness Conference—Alexandria, Virginia: April 8-9, 2008. This conference focuses on planning for circumstances in which health care facilities may be destroyed, rendered unusable, or stretched beyond capacity. Adequate instruction in disaster-specific content, as well as pertinent clinical topics, will be addressed. Because each health care organization and community are unique in the emergencies they face and the resources they possess, this conference will provide the foundation from which each participant can build and/or enhance their state of readiness through the knowledge they gain and the tools provided. Visit

2008 APWA North American Snow Conference—Louisville, Kentucky: April 13-16, 2008. The American Public Works Association’s (APWA) North American Snow Conference combines four days of educational programs and technical tours with opportunities to network with manufacturers, distributors, consultants, and other public works professionals. More than 120 companies will showcase equipment, technology, products, and services needed for snow and ice removal. More than 40 educational sessions, roundtables, and technical tours are designed to help attendees stay abreast of the latest state-of-the-art practices and procedures in snow and ice control and winter road maintenance. See

International Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Mitigation— Jakarta, Indonesia: April 14-15, 2008. Organizers: Indonesian Earthquake Engineering Association (IEEA) and Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). This international conference, titled Earthquake Disaster Risk Reduction: Engineering Challenges after Recent Disasters, will provide an opportunity to share views and experiences regarding lessons learned from recent and past earthquakes, enabling scientists, practicing engineers, and government officials to formulate action plans for anticipating future earthquakes. Session topics will include advances in earthquake engineering, seismic and tsunami - from hazard to risk assessments; disaster mitigation and management, rehabilitation, and reconstruction; case-histories; on-shore and off-shore earthquake resistant facilities; tsunami warning system; and other related subjects. Two optional post-conference activities will be provided. Visit

2008 Meeting of the AAG—Boston, Massachusetts: April 15-19, 2008. Organizer: Association of American Geographers (AAG). This annual meeting attracts more than 6,500 geographers and related professionals from the United States, Canada, and abroad and stimulates discussion about research, education, accomplishments, and developments in geography. See

Disaster Management 2008: An Endeavour to Combat Disaster—Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India: April 16-18, 2008. This event focuses on several aspects of disaster management involving prevention, mitigation, and preparedness in early disaster-phase and post-disaster relief, rehabilitation, and crisis management. The exhibition provides a platform/opportunity where buyers and sellers in the disaster industry can plan, prepare, and update the latest techniques and technologies and exchange and share ideas to combat disasters. See

4th International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Congress 2008— Cape Town, South Africa: May 4-9, 2008. The theme for this congress will be Sustainable Livelihood in a Changing Earth System. The overall objectives are to seek advice in order to refine the IGBP scientific agenda for 2008–2013; to begin the mid-term synthesis in light of International Council for Sciences’ (ICSU) IGBP review; to broaden outreach efforts toward agencies, corporations, and civil society by developing communication tools that deal with risk and vulnerability in global change; and to question where IGBP work is contributing to the effort needed to address mitigation and adaptation, large-scale pilot projects on sustainability science, and specific institutional networking among its user communities. See

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10) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Post-Doctoral Positions in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts

Applications are being accepted for two post-doctoral positions in the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group at Harvard University. These positions involve analysis of satellite data (TES, MISR, and others) using the GEOS-Chem global chemistry transport model on topics including atmospheric oxidants, and analysis and interpretation of interannual variability in trace gases. The successful applicants will join a diverse research group that is addressing a range of problems in global and regional tropospheric chemistry and climate.

Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in atmospheric science or related field. Send curriculum vitae, brief statement of research experience and goals, and contact information for three references as one pdf file to Dr. Jennifer Logan at,

Assistant/Associate Professor of Sustainability Science and Engineering
University of California; Merced, California

The University of California, Merced invites applications for a tenure track Assistant or Associate Professor in the area of environmental engineering focused on sustainability science. The university seeks a multidisciplinary scholar pursuing pioneering and high-impact research that considers coupled human-natural systems, particularly in the area of energy and sustainability. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the energy intensity of development, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation strategies; availability of natural energy sources; large-scale implementation of renewable and distributed energy sources; and improving end-use and production efficiencies. For details and to apply see,

Executive Director
Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency; Cranston, Rhode Island

This position is responsible for the agency’s daily operations; administrative and technical responsibility for the development and training of staff to facilitate and execute effective crisis management and consequence management plan; to ensure that the agency plans and resources are executed and follow federal, state laws, rules, and regulations. For complete details or to apply see,

Disaster and Development Centre Manager
Northumbria University; Newcastle, United Kingdom


Under the leadership of the Centre Director, to initiate, lead, and oversee research and consultancy projects on behalf of DDC.


Support the Centre Director with strategic and business planning and take forward agreed developments through the achievement of appropriate objectives and targets. Under the direction of the Centre Director, to play a major role in the management of the Disaster and Development Centre, including overall project and financial management tasks. The Manager is responsible for the line management of staff by planning workloads to ensure the effective delivery of all DDC activities. Identify and undertake externally funded research and / or consultancy projects, and ensure effective planning and resourcing of these projects. To contribute to the delivery, and potentially to the further development of the MSc Disaster Management and Sustainable Development Program and other related teaching programs of the School of Applied Sciences, such as environmental management, geography, forensics, or allied health disciplines. The manager is expected to uphold the values of the Disaster and Development Centre, contributing to the development of an active international community of disaster and development scholars, both in the UK and elsewhere. Represent the DDC (and Division for teaching responsibilities), School, and wider University in a range of forums as required.

For full details on this position or to apply see,

Modeler for Catastrophe Research Team
PartnerRe; Zurich, Switzerland

The person will be part of the storms team, where they will share responsibility for the in-house tropical windstorm model, with emphasis on calibration, testing, maintenance, and further development of the hazard component. In cooperation with the storms team, applicant will share responsibility for our in-house tropical windstorm model, with emphasis on calibration, testing, maintenance, and further development of the hazard component. Candidate will participate in loss estimation and reporting on major windstorm events, and support of underwriters in pricing particular submissions.


University degree in the fields of Atmospheric Science, Meteorology, or Climatology, with a strong statistical background.


1) Strong knowledge of tropical meteorology and statistical climatology. Having an overview of the current state of research in atmospheric science with regard to extreme events and an overview of climate change is favorable. Knowledge in risk assessment of natural perils and experience in Cat modeling would be a plus. 2) Experience in programming is essential; some knowledge of database applications would be a plus. Experience in insurance/reinsurance or the ability to quickly become acquainted with the reinsurance environment. Preferably applicant will have experience in project management, and the ability to take on new roles as required by changes in focus of model development. 3) Team player with good communication skills with the ability to present and explain complex technical topics to a non-technical audience. Fluent (written and verbal) in English, other languages a plus, preferably German or French.

Applications, including a cover letter, resume and a statement addressing the job requirements should be received by Thursday 21st February addressed to:

Malcolm Haylock,
Partner Reinsurance Company, Zurich Branch
Bellerivestrasse 36
CH-8034 Zurich, Switzerland

Applications will also be accepted electronically (PDF only) by email to

Any queries can be addressed to Malcolm Haylock by email or phone +41-44-385 36 96

Assistant/Associate/Full Professor of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Savannah, Georgia

This full-time faculty position is in the only undergraduate Homeland Security & Emergency Management degree program in the state of Georgia. The successful candidate will have research interests and professional qualifications in emergency management and will teach courses at the undergraduate level; potential also exists for teaching graduate courses in public administration or urban studies. Interest and qualifications to conduct research in and teach disaster policy, research methods, technology applications, disaster response, hazardous materials policy and management, public health and disasters, and/or homeland security preferred. Doctorate preferred; master’s plus appropriate experience acceptable; understanding of HBCU mission and values important. Review of applications begins January 31, 2008, and will continue until filled. Submit three copies of cover letter, application (available on SSU web site), vita and three references with contact information to Chair, HSEM Faculty Search.

Mail to:

Dean of CLASS
Savannah State University
P.O. Box 20059
Kennedy Fine Arts Bldg Room 213
Savannah , GA 31404

Project Manager
Circle Point; Oakland, California

The position is based out of our Oakland City Center office. Regular local travel to all Bay Area counties is required.

Responsibilities: Developing and implementing project strategies; managing project teams; and ensuring quality work and client satisfaction. This position requires managing overall project scopes and approaches, schedules, budgets and deliverables; successful client relations; staff supervision, team building, mentoring and development; and marketing and business development activities such as writing proposals, scopes, and budgets. Seventy-five percent of the successful candidate’s time would be spent managing and supporting the work of CirclePoint staff in various Bay Area counties that comprise a project team facilitating stakeholder participation in a regional planning process designed to enhance the Bay Area’s capability to respond to emergencies and disasters (see The selected candidate also will manage or serve on other CirclePoint project teams.

Requirements: Minimum of three years of project management experience that includes project team management. Consulting experience and industry-specific work experience are preferred in emergency management or in one or more of the following areas: water resources, transportation, natural resources, utilities, and land use planning. Candidate must have excellent written and oral communications skills and be proficient in Windows, Microsoft Office Suite, and Outlook.

Fax cover letter with salary requirements and resume to:

Fax: 415.227.1110

Humanitarian Support Personnel: Programme Quality & Learning Officer
OXFAM; United Kingdom

TEAM PURPOSE: To ensure Oxfam has the management, technical and logistical capacity to both scale up and to respond rapidly to major humanitarian emergencies anywhere in the world.

JOB PURPOSE: To strengthen Oxfam's response to humanitarian emergencies by assisting field managers in the setting up, implementation and monitoring of programs, and our learning from them.

REPORTING LINES: Humanitarian Support Personnel: Program Quality & Learning Officer reports to: A designated Oxford-based Program Learning and Support Lead for overall management and technical support. Whilst on deployment, will report to Humanitarian Program Manager or Program Coordinator at country level, as designated. Staff reporting to this post: Will vary according to deployment.

BUDGET RESPONSIBILITY: May be responsible for project/program budget lines whilst on deployment.

The Humanitarian Support Personnel: Program Quality & Learning Officer is deployed in response to requests from humanitarian field managers. The prime purpose of this flexible resource is to assist management in ensuring the essentials of humanitarian program quality are considered, prioritized and resourced in program set-up, development and learning processes and systems.

Currently, one post holder provides support for program learning. The post we are recruiting for will focus on gender equity, protection and/or gender-based violence.

The post holder would be expected to spend up to 70% of time on deployments and must be wiling and able to be deployed to an emergency situation within 72 hours of notification.

For information or to apply see,

Maria Caterina Ciampi
Programme Learning Support Advisor
Gender Equity and Gender-Based Violence Lead
Oxfam Humanitarian Department
John Smith Drive
Cowley, Oxford
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 47 3814
Mobile: +44 (0) 7503 126 460

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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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