Here at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, we’re constantly scouring disaster-related media coverage for updates on recovery and unmet needs, the long-term effects of disasters, and the latest disaster data and predictions about the changing global climate. Below are some of the articles we’ve found thought-provoking and informative.

To stay informed on status of disasters worldwide, we also invite you to check out our What We’re Watching: Weekly Disaster Update blog every Tuesday for updates on new, ongoing and past disasters.

Recovery Updates

  • Mexico Beach Still in Ruins as Next Hurricane Season Looms – Fox News: “Last October, Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc along the Florida panhandle as a Category 5 storm, destroying 80 percent of this city and parts of neighboring Panama City. In less than two weeks, hurricane season officially gets underway, yet Mexico Beach is still struggling to rebuild and parts of the once idyllic beach resort remain a debris-cluttered wasteland.”
  • Six Months After California’s Camp Fire, Survivors Still Struggle to Find Temporary Homes – CNBC: “The Camp Fire disaster in November 2018 displaced nearly 35,000 residents in the Paradise, California area, and even six months later, a large number of families are still unable to find homes. The blaze in Northern California’s Butte County killed 86 people, destroyed about 14,000 homes and left most of the town of Paradise in ruins. It ranks as the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.”
  • ‘We’re in Constant Crisis’: Cyclone-hit Reservation Forced to Recover on its Own – The Guardian: “Donald Trump approved a national disaster declaration for Nebraska and Iowa in March after the cyclone hit the region, providing federal funding to impacted individuals and communities in those states. But in South Dakota, Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Reservation hit by the same storm have been forced to try to recover on their own.”
  • Sadly, Puerto Rico Recovery Plan Favors the Affluent Over the Poor – The Hill: A look at the disparate recovery taking place on the island.
  • “Disaster Recovery Through the Lens of Justice,” a book by Alessandra Jerolleman, provides an in-depth analysis of the nexus between justice and post-disaster recovery at the household and community level. It discusses how current federal policies and frameworks, along with state level implementation, perpetuate and exacerbate inequalities following a disaster. It also suggests a proposed path forward for nongovernmental organizations, government and others to better integrate justice into recovery.

Disasters and Vulnerable Populations

  • Climate Change and Poverty – Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: “Climate change will have devastating consequences for people in poverty. Even under the best-case scenario, hundreds of millions will face food insecurity, forced migration, disease, and death. Climate change threatens the future of human rights and risks undoing the last fifty years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction.”
  • Hurricane Maria’s Lasting Impact on Puerto Rico’s Children Revealed in Report – The Guardian: “More than half of young people in Puerto Rico saw a friend or family member leave the island after Hurricane Maria, according to a study published on Friday which reveals the dramatic extent to which young Puerto Ricans were exposed to damaged homes, shortages of food and water and threats to their lives.”
  • The Trauma of Puerto Rico’s ‘Maria Generation’ – ABC News: A video and text explaining the severe impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico’s children.
  • Natural disasters leave their mark on kids who live through them – Popular ScienceResearchers studying natural disasters’ effects on kids have found that years later, there were lingering impacts on health and academic performance.
  • How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich – NPR: “. . .an NPR investigation has found that across the country, white Americans and those with more wealth often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than do minorities and those with less wealth.”
  • How Natural Disasters Spur Gentrification – City Lab: Richard Florida summarizes a new paper in the Urban Affairs journal which found, ”with a high degree of consistency across specifications. . .our models suggest that those neighborhoods with a higher percentage of physical building damage were more likely to have gentrified one decade after the storm.”
  • Disability Rights Advocates Work for Inclusion in Disaster Planning Process – Public Radio East: Inaccessible shelters, untrained shelter staff and limited services and resources created unnecessary challenges for people with disabilities during and after Hurricane Florence. Disability Rights North Carolina, the state’s disability rights monitoring group, released a report in February describing these findings. Advocates are now working to elevate the voices of people with disabilities and their caregivers to ensure that their needs aren’t overlooked when planning for the next disaster.”

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

  • Power Moves: Executive Summary – National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy“Your essential philanthropy assessment guide for equity and justice gives you the first-ever set of practical tools to determine how well you are leveraging the three dimensions of power and how to improve strategies and practices to boost effectiveness:

Build power to catalyze equitable, long-term, community-driven solutions instead of temporary fixes.

Share power to earn the trust of peers, partners and the communities you serve.

Wield power to be a legitimate, influential and relevant voice on issues you care about.”

  • In the Eye of the Storm: A People’s Guide to Transforming Crisis and Advancing Equity in the Disaster Continuum Toolkit – NAACP“The ‘eye’ refers to how some communities, due to pre-existing vulnerabilities, find themselves more in the crosshairs than others. And it also refers to the need for watchful vigilance as we document and take action on inequities. This 190-page manual prepares frontline communities to be first responders in disasters as well as to serve as monitors for equity in disaster response, and to advance an equitable disaster policy platform. “

Disaster Data, Predictions and the Impact of Climate Change

  • What We Learned in Texas after Hurricane Harvey – Politico: “The 2019 hurricane season in the Atlantic is underway and with it brings the threat of dangerous winds, storm surges and flooding to many coastal states…But as I discovered leading the housing assistance mission after Hurricane Harvey, even though we are a nation of innovation, the federal disaster recovery process remains outdated, cumbersome and costly.”
  • Louisiana’s New Climate Plan Prepares for Resilience and Retreat as Sea Level Rises – Inside Climate News: “When the storms keep coming, when the land below your feet erodes and the industry that has sustained you starts to disappear, how do you stay in the place you call home? How do you leave—where do you even go? Since Hurricane Katrina battered Louisiana in 2005, followed by a series of disasters linked to climate change and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, these questions have plagued coastal parts of the state. In a sweeping plan released Wednesday, the state issued a blueprint for coping with the impacts of a warming planet, including a human migration that has already begun. ‘Louisiana is in the midst of an existential crisis,’” the report says. “Its response to this crisis can either lead to a prosperous renaissance or to a continued and sustained cycle of disaster and recovery.’”
  • 77% of Americans Say Federally Funded Infrastructure Must Be Flood Ready – Pew Trusts“More than three-quarters of Americans—77 percent—support a requirement that federally funded infrastructure in flood-prone areas be constructed to better withstand the impacts of flooding, according to a poll released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The overwhelming support comes from across the political spectrum and adds to the growing chorus of those calling on Congress to ensure the smart use of taxpayer dollars when investing in infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals, and other public assets.”
  • New EPA Document Tells Communities to Brace for Climate Change Impacts – Washington Post: “The Environmental Protection Agency published a 150-page document this past week with a straightforward message for coping with the fallout from natural disasters across the country: Start planning for the fact that climate change is going to make these catastrophes worse.”
  • Hurricane Harvey Provides Lessons Learned for Flood Resiliency Plans – Science Daily: Scientists used satellite data to map the Houston-Galveston area impacted by Hurricane Harvey to understand why the flooding was so severe and widespread.”
  • AccuWeather’s U.S. Tornado Forecast Shows Four States Face the Highest Risk This Year Is Your State One of Them? Accuweather predicts there will be 1,075 tornadoes in 2019, which is nine percent more than the 987 tornadoes in 2018.”
  • Earth just experienced one of the warmest years on record – CNN and It’s Official: 2018 Was the Fourth-Warmest Year on Record – NY Times – Both provide information on temperatures and precipitation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.
  • Goodbye Venice, goodbye Ravenna, goodbye Ferrara, goodbye Carthage? Many World Heritage Sites around the Mediterranean are at grave risk from sea-level rise by 2100, report says – The Art Newspaper
  • Munich Re released their 2018 disaster data. This is a great source of information on the international impacts of disasters in the previous year.
  • A Devastating Arctic Temperature Rise that Could Submerge Coastal Cities and Trigger Species Extinction is Now Locked In – Business Insider:A new report from the UN Environment Assembly delivers another blow to humanity’s collective hopes of reining in rising temperatures on a rapidly warming planet. Even if global greenhouse gas emissions were to stop overnight, wintertime temperatures in the Arctic would still go up by 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, the report found.”
  • Why Disaster Relief Is So Hard – Vox: …disaster relief, especially in the immediate aftermath of disasters like Cyclone Idai and the floods in the Midwest, can be difficult to do effectively. People who donate in those situations may be disappointed to learn that their donations haven’t been especially useful . . .But these problems with disaster relief don’t have to lead to paralysis. For the potential donor, effective giving in response to disasters requires looking at potential charities with an eye for where your money matters.”