Innovation in post-disaster data collection: From the Caribbean to the world (ReliefWeb)

ReliefWeb: Innovation in post-disaster data collection: From the Caribbean to the world. “Responding and rebuilding first requires data on what has been damaged or destroyed, and where. In the past, data collection was a laborious paper-based process that took months or years. After Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused massive destruction in the region in 2017, UNDP and partners launched a new tool to do such assessments in a matter of days. (UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Multi-County Office partnered with WFP, UNICEF, PAHO/WHO and UN Women.) The tool is a mobile app called HBDA, or Household and Building Damage Assessment. It works on a smartphone or tablet.”

Politico: Trump administration might consolidate pandemic response at State Department

Politico: Trump administration might consolidate pandemic response at State Department. “Aides to President Donald Trump are considering a plan to shift the government’s global response to future infectious disease outbreaks to a new unit inside the State Department, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. The proposal, discussed during a National Security Council deputies committee meeting on Thursday, already has set off a turf battle between the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID officials were surprised and perplexed by the idea, which could lead them to lose control of significant funds and authorities.”

Whitmer: Feds told vendors not to send medical supplies to Michigan (Crain’s Detroit Business)

Crain’s Detroit Business: Whitmer: Feds told vendors not to send medical supplies to Michigan. “Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suggested Friday that a growing rift with the White House is affecting shipments of medical supplies to Michigan amid exponential growth in confirmed coronavirus cases.”

9News Australia: World-first 3D map shows smoke plumes from Australian bushfires as captured from space

9News Australia: World-first 3D map shows smoke plumes from Australian bushfires as captured from space. “In a world-first, an interactive map depicting the height of smoke plumes from bushfires during the peak of Australia’s bushfire crisis has been released. It is hoped that the new tool will improve the Bureau of Meteorology’s ability to predict where potentially dangerous smoke haze will move, as well as provide crucial ‘big picture’ information to disaster management agencies.”

International Institute for Environment and Development: IIED publishes archive on post-quake planning in Haiti

International Institute for Environment and Development: IIED publishes archive on post-quake planning in Haiti . “IIED is marking the ten-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake by publishing an online archive documenting post-disaster community planning work in the city of Port-au-Prince. IIED will also launch a working paper summarising the experience gained in Haiti and host a discussion meeting later this month.”

The Leader: Findabed helps Australia’s bushfire evacuees get refuge

The Leader: Findabed helps Australia’s bushfire evacuees get refuge. “Set up just five days ago, Find A Bed is a service aimed at helping those displaced by the bushfire crisis and already scores have been relocated and the service is receiving new offers of assistance every minute. Erin Riley, from Razorback, NSW, set up the service on New Years Eve when she tweeted out that she had paddocks available for anyone in need of relocating their animals. She was overwhelmed by the number of people who also wanted to volunteer their homes and land.”

Daily Dot: People are spreading awareness about the Australia fires on social media

Daily Dot: People are spreading awareness about the Australia fires on social media. “In the hot, dry weather during the summer, Australia quite commonly experiences bush fires. Under ideal weather conditions, bush fires play an integral role in its ecosystem. Eucalyptus trees depend on bush fires to clear away vegetation beneath them, which would otherwise inhibit their growth. Eucalyptus trees, along with other species, also rely on the flames to trigger the release of their seeds. However, in less than ideal conditions–high temperatures, drought, or an overabundance of rain–the fires can turn deadly.”

Tech Xplore: Filtering out social bots can help critical response teams see what’s happening in real time

Tech Xplore: Filtering out social bots can help critical response teams see what’s happening in real time. “Researchers have created an algorithm that distinguishes between misinformation and genuine conversations on Twitter, by detecting messages churned out by social bots. Dr. Mehwish Nasim and colleagues at the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide say the algorithm will make it easier for emergency services to detect major events such as civil unrest, natural disasters, and influenza epidemics in real time.”

Getty Iris: After the Fire, Getty Works to Protect Hillsides and Neighbors

Getty Iris: After the Fire, Getty Works to Protect Hillsides and Neighbors. “Less than 24 hours after the fire began, Getty had a post-fire mitigation team on the ground, working with contractors to stabilize the steep terrain and install state-of-the-art steel barriers across the canyons. The barriers act like large metal nets to collect falling rocks, partially burned brush, tree stumps and limbs and other debris loosened by the fire. Water can pass through the nets, but large objects cannot move downhill toward homes.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom: Governor Newsom Launches Resource Website for Californians Impacted by Wildfires and Power Shutoffs

California Governor Gavin Newsom: Governor Newsom Launches Resource Website for Californians Impacted by Wildfires and Power Shutoffs. “RESPONSE.CA.GOV provides Californians with information and resources for current incidents, transportation impacts, vital health services information, shelter and housing locations, unemployment assistance and other state information. The website also directs users to Public Safety Power Shutoff information and preparedness tips. As incidents continue to evolve, the portal will be updated to reflect the latest information and any additional resources the state may develop.”

The Getty Iris: Getty Center Safe and Secure after Mass Efforts in Getty Fire

The Getty Iris: Getty Center Safe and Secure after Mass Efforts in Getty Fire . “Dozens of news media reported on the fire, taking particular interest in Getty fire prevention measures. The Getty Center is well protected from fire due to its construction and architecture, with our 1.5 million feet of travertine stone walls and floors, cement and steel construction, and stone on rooftops that prevents wind-blown embers from igniting. Additional fire-prevention measures include water storage on-site to provide for grounds irrigation.” That on-site water storage includes a million-gallon water tank.

Fired Up: A Woman’s Upbringing Is Informing Better Fire Response (Cal Alumni Association)

Cal Alumni Association: Fired Up: A Woman’s Upbringing Is Informing Better Fire Response. “[Bailey] Farren joined forces with several other Cal alums—including Trevor Greenan, who lost his family home in the Tubbs Fire—to develop Perimeter, a fire modeling and simulation platform. It integrates satellite-generated information and images with data on weather, terrain, road closures, possible evacuation routes, and suppression resources—all in real time, with rapid refresh capability. The platform is undergoing beta testing through the current fire season.”

Bing Blogs: Microsoft releases 18M building footprints in Africa to enable AI Assisted Mapping

Bing Blogs: Microsoft releases 18M building footprints in Africa to enable AI Assisted Mapping. “Since the inception of Tasking Manager, the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) community has mapped at an incredible rate with 11 million square kilometers mapped in Africa alone. However, large parts of Africa with populations prone to disasters still remain unmapped — 60% of the 30 million square kilometers. Under Microsoft’s AI for Humanitarian Action program, Bing Maps together with Microsoft Philanthropies is partnering with HOT on an initiative to bring AI Assistance as a resource in open map building. The initiative focuses on incorporating design updates, integrating machine learning, and bringing new open building datasets into Tasking Manager.”

University of Southern Mississippi: “War Stories” Project to Capture the Experiences of National Guard Soldiers’ Service in Global War on Terror

University of Southern Mississippi: “War Stories” Project to Capture the Experiences of National Guard Soldiers’ Service in Global War on Terror. “A new initiative of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will capture and preserve the oral and written story of Mississippi’s National Guard and its service in America’s 21st century military exploits, including the Global War on Terror and managing recovery operations following Hurricane Katrina.”

University of California Riverside: When disaster strikes, a search website for first responders will save lives

University of California Riverside: When disaster strikes, a search website for first responders will save lives. “When Mount Vesuvius erupted almost 2,000 years ago, it took hours for a single message from Pompeii to reach rescuers 18 miles away. Today we have the opposite problem during disasters: too much rapid information from many sources, with consequences just as fatal for some people. Engineers at the University of California, Riverside are working to change this with a tool that searches real-time text, photo and video from social media and surveillance cameras alongside data from sensors, like fire detectors and security alarms. With the tool, for example, firefighters could search the terms ‘fire’ and ‘crowds’ in a particular location and time and receive data from multiple sources.”