Catherine Hooper's Blog
Disaster Advice for Governments
Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:23

Jim Yong Kim is the 12th president of the World Bank Group. Over the past year, he’s been writing a series of compelling opinion articles for Bloomberg View. In his most recent article, Kim offers advice to governments on how to mitigate risk from natural disasters. His seven steps are all sound pieces of advice, back up with real world examples.  They include:

  1. Identify risk
  2. Focus on - and highlight - prevention
  3. Conduct risk assessments using up-to-date modeling
  4. Free access to danger info & data
  5. Build healthy ecosystems
  6. Find political champions & willpower
  7. Build back better
Ukrainian Protest Tactics
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 21:51

If you’ve been following the civil unrest and revolution in Ukraine, you know that the Euromaidan protesters have taken control of Kiev and [ex] President Yanukovych has been ousted. The Ukrainian revolution moved quickly, lasting just under a week.

So how were protesters in Kiev able to combat trained Ukrainian armed forces?  An article on describes the medieval tactics used by the rebels, including makeshift weaponry and shielding devices. Perhaps more importantly, the protesters had a highly effective and well-organized support network that provided food and supplies, proving the old adage that “logistics wins wars.”

Disaster Design
Thursday, 20 February 2014 20:23

During Hurricane Sandy, FEMA enlisted the help of a design firm to make boots on the ground observations and recommendations on how to effectively provide disaster relief.  It was the first time a federal agency has ever enlisted a design team to innovate in real time during a disaster.

The team made several suggestions for effectively improving disaster relief, such as keeping empathy for the survivor at the forefront of all relief (which tends to be bureaucratic) and utilizing design-friendly signage at Disaster Relief Centers.

Pandemic Early Warning System
Friday, 14 February 2014 17:09

World Airline Route Map

(world airline route map)

In what amounts to a huge win for public health and pandemic preparedness, the U.S. is spearheading efforts to create a global early warning system under the Global Health Security Agenda.  The initiative will create a biosurveillance structure for detecting epidemics; 26 countries and the World Health Organization have signed on.

Global health security is often passed over for “sexier” security concerns like terrorism and cybersecurity.  However, it appears the current administration is taking the threat of a pandemic seriously; the new initiative is backed by both health and homeland security officials.

Why is pandemic preparedness and global health important? The risk is greater than ever (China’s bird flu is showing genetic mutations that may increase the risk of a pandemic).

More Snow
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 21:33

We’re exhausted just writing about it, but it looks like the northeast is in line for more snow. A historic ice storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people across the southern U.S. earlier today, with eight states declaring states of emergency. Media outlets are reporting this winter’s familiar story of rare snow in the south: abandoned cars on the highway, ransacked grocery stores and flight cancellations.

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