homelandsecuritynewswire.com - by Anders Sandberg - August 12, 2014
In 1962, a high-altitude Pacific nuclear test caused electrical damage 1,400 km away in Hawaii. A powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) – created either by a solar storm or a high-altitude nuclear explosion — poses a threat to regions dependent on electricity, as such pulses could cause outages lasting from two weeks to two years. The main problem is the availability of spare transformers. Superstorm Sandy’s worst effects were in a single location. In the case of a big EMP surge, replacement transformers would be needed in hundreds of locations at the same time. The cost of an EMP pulse to the U.S. economy would likely be in the range of $500 million to $2.6 trillion. A report by the U.S. National Academies was even more pessimistic, guessing at a higher range and a multi-year recovery. Besides disrupting electricity such storms can also destroy satellites, disrupt GPS navigation, and make other parts of the infrastructure fail.
Image: Social media and increasingly accessible smartphones help groups mobilise around the world. Photograph: Prasit Chansareekorn/Flickr Vision
theguardian.org - March 13th, 2014 - Hansdeep Singh, Jaspreet Singh and Linda Raftree
Technology has huge potential to be used for social good. Mobiles and mapping software can be used to gather data, and visualise patterns and trends; predictive analytics can be used to help translate 'big data' into useful statistics; unmanned aerial vehicles can monitor real-time crises; and social media helps mobilise groups around the world.
International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies
The World Disasters Report 2013 examines the profound impact of technological innovations on humanitarian action, how humanitarians employ technology in new and creative ways, and what risks and opportunities may emerge as a result of technological innovations.
The responsible use of technology offers concrete ways to make humanitarian assistance more effective, efficient and accountable and can, in turn, directly reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience. Finding ways for advances in technology to serve the most vulnerable is a moral imperative; a responsibility, not a choice.
Published annually since 1993, the World Disasters Report brings together the latest trends, facts and analysis of contemporary catastrophes and their effect on vulnerable populations worldwide. Initiated by the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, it convenes eminent researchers, authors and development and humanitarian aid practitioners to highlight contemporary issues on a yearly basis.
Indian villagers stand on the breached embankment of a swollen river. The widespread use of technology played a huge role in preventing a large loss of life when cyclone Phailin hit the country. Photograph: AP
Technology can greatly enhance the ability of disaster-affected communities to help themselves, says world disasters report
theguardian.com - by Mark Tran October 17, 2013
Lack of access to information and technology has a major bearing on people's ability to prepare for, survive and recover from disasters, according to the 2013 world disasters report.
While new technologies greatly enhance the ability of disaster-affected communities to help themselves, the report, published by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva . . . says access to technology is deeply unequal. This digital divide is prominent in the most disaster-prone countries around the world.
The Doomsday scenario we should have been worrying about
theregister.co.uk - by Iain Thomson - March 19, 2014
Video - A new analysis of data from NASA's Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) by Chinese and Berkeley helioboffins shows that a July 2012 solar storm of unprecedented size would have wiped out global electronic systems if it had occurred just nine days earlier.
"Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous," said UC Berkeley research physicist Janet Luhmann.
The 1859 storm, also known as the Carrington Event, after the British astronomer who recorded it, swept over the Earth at the end of August and is the largest recorded solar storm in history.
After 4 days without power thanks to Hurricane Sandy, something arrived today that will help keep my mobile devices fully charged and connected to the web. I backed a Fenix ReadySet on Kickstarter, which is a large battery that charges with an included solar panel.
In light of Typhoon Haiyan, the Yale-Tulane ESF #8 Planning and Response Program has produced special reports for current efforts. To access these reports, click here.
The Yale-Tulane ESF #8 Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-center, graduate-level program designed to produce ESF #8 planners and responders with standardized skill sets that are consistent with evolving public policy, technologies, and best practices. The group that produced this summary and analysis of the current situation are graduate students from Yale and Tulane Universities. It was compiled entirely from open source materials.