Looking back at 2012, and ahead to 2013
Disasters are indiscriminate in their ability to affect the lives of wealthy and poor; old and young; educated and not; and those living in developed nations and those living in underdeveloped countries. We know from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) that disasters are on the rise because of issues relating to climate change, population migration and displacement, and our changing coastlines and increased population along those coastlines.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy, in an incubation stage since 2010, but not birthed officially until August of 2012, carefully monitors the rise and fall of disasters globally and tracks philanthropic response to those disasters. We endeavor to bring greater attention to preparedness and recovery initiatives, to provide timely and relevant disaster related information, and to create a unified platform of resources for disaster philanthropists.
We work to be a reliable platform for all of our constituents, and do so with the heart-felt belief that no one should have to suffer the negative effects of a disaster for one more day or night than humanly possible.
On our shores, the Center brought to light the critical needs presented by the wildfires that raged across the western United States from July to October in 2012, burning more than 14,000 acres of land. The Mid-Atlantic Derecho claimed over 22 lives when it swept across Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and Washington DC. Outages left up to 3.6 million without power at landfall on June 29.
Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana close to the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, deluging New Orleans and surrounding areas with inches of rain, and damaging over 59,000 homes. Much of our focus has been on Hurricane Sandy since the superstorm made landfall on October 29. We have covered the activities and operations of the NGO community on the ground providing lifesaving assistance, and we have tracked the critical donations provided by the private donor community working to ensure that lives are restored.
To support our global community, the Center sought to shine a spotlight on the conflict in Syria, the humanitarian crises across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, and the typhoons in the Philippines, including Typhoon Bopha, the deadliest since the 1960s. We aim to bring information to our community, with an emphasis on practical ways to respond to the human suffering that occurs around the world. In the months since our organization has launched, we feel incredibly thankful for the relationships we have with NGOs domestically and internationally. The analysis we provide on our website and in our daily interactions is enhanced tremendously by the insights they bring to bear.
As we bound into 2013, those of us at the Center are continuing to monitor the recovery efforts of Hurricane Sandy, and to begin to chart our course of how best to provide information and analysis that you find relevant to your work and interests, and that we think is a “must know” within the disaster and humanitarian assistance field. This year on the domestic front, we are paying close attention to the 2013 Hurricane Season which is predicted to be more active than 2012 depending upon El Niño.
We are keeping our ears to the ground about the drought that has hit the Midwest and Western United states and will work to keep you updated on how you can help to mitigate the crisis. We will be recovering from Hurricane Sandy for at least the next several years, and you can be sure that the Center is committed to supporting that recovery process through our CDP Hurricane Sandy Disaster Fund and by ensuring that we report on the recovery process and those key players involved in rebuilding communities.
Globally, we will work to provide you with sound and sage advice on how to address the acute needs of conflict-affected populations in Mali and Syria. We’ll also continue to apprise you on the famine situations in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. With the high disaster prevalence in Asia in 2012, we believe that meteorological disasters will continue to impact the continent in 2013.
While I have just laid out the specific hotspots that our team will focus on, we also hope to tackle additional issue areas. Over the course of this year, we’ll increase our focus on disaster risk reduction and the effective use of technology and data. We will work to encourage smart pooling of resources, and look for increased accountability for every dollar raised.
As I said earlier, our focus is the human impact of disasters. To that end we will explore issues like mental health which we know becomes an issue six to nine months after a disaster hits. We will consider how vulnerable populations such as the elderly and children are hardest hit by disasters and take the longest to recover and how we can help. We will look at medium and long-term housing solutions for disaster- displaced populations, which are critically important to the recovery process. Plus we will look at the economic impact—from small East Coast businesses hit by Hurricane Sandy that do not have the resources to reopen to the tens of thousands of agricultural workers in the Philippines who are without jobs because the banana crops have washed away.
As we shape up our plans for 2013, tell us what you want to know more about. What do you wish to impact and how we can help you better understand where you can make the most difference?