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Resilience

Puerto Rico's Storm of Misery

cbsnews.com - by Steve Kroft - November 5, 2017

Many Puerto Ricans have endured the longest blackout in American history following a direct hit from Hurricane Maria. Due to a multitude of factors, some say the lights won't be coming back on anytime soon.

It's safe to say that of all the places in the country, the one that is suffering the most right now is the hurricane-ravaged island of Puerto Rico . . . For the past 46 days, most of them have been without power, the longest blackout in American history. FEMA says it has distributed more food and water there than any disaster its ever been involved in.

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How a Seed Bank, Almost Lost in Syria’s War, Could Help Feed a Warming Planet

Ali Shehadeh, a plant conservationist from Syria who fled the war in his country, at work in Terbol, Lebanon. Credit Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

Image: Ali Shehadeh, a plant conservationist from Syria who fled the war in his country, at work in Terbol, Lebanon. Credit Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

nytimes.com - Somini Sengupta - October 13th 2017

Ali Shehadeh, a seed hunter, opened the folders with the greatest of care. Inside each was a carefully dried and pressed seed pod: a sweet clover from Egypt, a wild wheat found only in northern Syria, an ancient variety of bread wheat. He had thousands of these folders stacked neatly in a windowless office, a precious herbarium, containing seeds foraged from across the hot, arid and increasingly inhospitable region known as the Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of farming.

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Free Resources for Disaster Resilience

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No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses, and recent events have proven that even prepared communities can be overwhelmed in a state of emergency. Our reports provide guidelines and targeted resources for all stakeholders in a disaster response, including state and local governments, emergency medical services and health care centers. Read these online for free.
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‘Resilience Bonds’: A Secret Weapon Against Catastrophe

           

Resilience bonds could help places vulnerable to natural disasters, like Mexico, better prepare for catastrophe - not just help clean up after it. (Credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

The costs of natural disasters are becoming too much to bear – and it’s driving up premiums no matter where you live. The solution may be a transformative type of insurance never seen before.

bbc.com - by Amanda Ruggeri - May 16, 2017

 . . . People will have to shift their entire thinking about how disaster recovery is funded – and by whom, experts say. “There’s a perception that, following a disaster, the federal government’s role is to make you whole and rebuild homes and infrastructure and community at the federal taxpayer’s expense. And that is simply not true,” Medlock says. “There are limits to what the federal government can – and should – do.”

 . . . Enter a new idea that could transform not only the global economy, but how disasters affect us: a resilience bond. As well as guaranteeing help to communities after a catastrophe, it would help fund projects and strategies they need to become less vulnerable to begin with . . .

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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

Image:  The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

theguardian.com - May 19th 2017 - Damian Carrington

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. 

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Compassion and Resilience in Haiti

Southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew–October, 2016
(Photo by John Carroll)

blogs.pjstar.com - by John Carroll, MD - March 31, 2017

The Gallup Poll recently reported that “even before Hurricane Matthew ravaged Southern Haiti in late 2016, the small Caribbean nation was already in deep distress, with more than four in 10 Haitians (43%) rating their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering”. The only country suffering more than Haiti in the world is South Sudan where famine already has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, and 1 million people there are on the brink of dying from a lack of food. Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti last October; according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the storm left nearly 140,000 Haitians homeless . . .

 . . . The hurricane took the people’s lives, homes, chickens, goats, crops, trees, schools, and churches. They had little food and water. They had no money. What was left? . . . 

 . . . a plea for us to find humanity again.  With compassion, followed by action, we would create resilient societies which care for one another.

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The 'Anticipatory Anxiety' of Waiting for Disaster

The Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the world's highest active volcanoes in Ecuador (Guillermo Granja / Reuters)

IMAGE: The Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the world's highest active volcanoes in Ecuador (Guillermo Granja / Reuters)

theatlantic.com - March 16th 2017 - Melody Schreiber

In April 2015, a volcano in Ecuador awoke from its restless slumber. The mountain shook with hundreds of earthquakes, and a thin tendril of steam escaped from Cotopaxi’s core. Each day, locals could see smoke and ash spiraling above the peak as seismic activity ramped up.

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Rising Humanitarian Needs Call for a New Way of Working

           

portland-communications.com - by Stephen O'Brien - March 14, 2017

Today, a record 135 million people across 35 countries need humanitarian aid to survive. The scale of humanitarian suffering continues to grow exponentially as complex, inter-connected conflicts last for years without resolution, and protracted natural disasters, compounded by climate change, throw vulnerable people into a state of perpetual crisis.

This year a complex combination of human-made and environmental factors has put a staggering 20 million people in four countries alone – Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – at risk of famine.  To provide sustainable solutions to saving lives and building resilience in these countries and globally, the international community needs to shift its approach by putting vulnerability reduction at the centre of our collaboration.

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Coastal Resilience - Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

coastalresilience.org

Nature holds some of the world’s best and most practical solutions to climate change, solutions that keep nature and people healthy, safe, and secure.

The goal of this project is to work alongside the governments and communities of small island states to enhance their resilience to climate change by protecting, restoring, and managing marine and coastal ecosystems and strengthening local capacity for adaptation.

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Evaptainers - Evaporative Cooling - Refrigeration Solutions for Developing Markets

Evaptainers are electricity-free mobile refrigeration units which run at low-cost. Utilizing the phenomenon of evaporative cooling, rather than more energy-intensive vapor compression refrigeration, they are ideal for use in off-grid rural areas with low relative humidity.

Evaporative cooling has been employed successfully for centuries in products like the Zeer Pot. Proven to be effective for agricultural use, these products have been known to triple or quadruple the shelf-life of most produce. The company has taken these inventions and upgraded them for modern and commercial use. Using state-of-the art materials and improved design, they have created more effective, more durable, easier to use, mass-producible units. The units reach the same thermal efficiency as the Zeer Pot and have extended storage times of fresh food from days to weeks in pilot program tests.

The Evaptainer has a wide range of applicability and potential markets given the current post-harvest food spoilage levels in developing markets.

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