Louisiana Flood Risk Maps Badly Outdated

The flood risk maps that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relied on when it released its long-awaited guidelines for rebuilding homes and businesses in New Orleans in mid-April are badly outdated—in some cases two decades old—and thus grossly underestimate the hazards of rebuilding.

Louisiana Counties Hit Hardest by Hurricane Katrina Suffer Massive Population Loss

A June U.S. Census Bureau report found that, as of January 2006, Louisiana’s hardest hit counties had lost 385,000 people, about 39 percent of its total population. Orleans Parish lost a whopping 64 percent, while the smaller St. Bernard Parish was almost totally depopulated, losing 95 percent.

New Worldwatch Article on Peacemaking after Disasters

When disaster strikes a country already reeling from conflict, international aid and development agencies must be mindful of those who will profit from continuing conflict, write Worldwatch researchers Michael Renner and Zoë Chafe in a new article published in the Natural Hazards Observer journal.

Report: In the Wake of the Storm: Environment, Disaster, and Race After Katrina

This interdisciplinary report, written by professors from around the country, illuminates the environmental justice implications of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The researchers focus on race disparities and linkages to environmental quality in the US, and the ways in which these disparities influence the preparation and relief efforts: before, during, and after a disaster.

MAP Indonesia Helps With Earthquake Relief Via Bamboo Construction

For reconstruction, turn to bamboo to save tropical forests, writes the Mangrove Action Project’s Indonesia team. By using bamboo to construct buildings and furniture, the demand for sensitive hardwoods decreases. Though it is considered an invasive species in many environments, bamboo is a renewable resource that grows rapidly and can be reharvested in quick succession.

Kyoto: Impossible Goal or Economic Opportunity?

smokestackMany wealthy countries that signed on to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008–12 are now wavering in their commitments.

Rights Groups Condemn Slow Response to Death Threats Against Brazilian Environmental Champion

VilmarReporters Without Borders (RSF), an international press freedom organization, and the Environmental Communications Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (RedCalc), a group of environmental journalists and communicators from more than 15 countries, have formally condemned the slow response of local police to death threats against renowned Brazilian environmental journalist Vilmar Berna.

Business Interests Win Out Over the Poor in Post-Katrina New Orleans

Some eight months after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, about 125,000 homes remain damaged and unoccupied. More than 60 percent of its residents—but an estimated 80 percent of the city’s pre-storm African-American population—are scattered in trailers and temporary accommodations.

Extortion Has Substantial Impact on Post-Tsunami Reconstruction in Aceh

Bribes, extortion, and other illegal payments that truck drivers pay on the road connecting Banda Aceh and the capital of neighboring North Sumatra province, Medan, constitute a major cost to doing business in Aceh and have a substantial impact on tsunami reconstruction.

Rising Costs and Scarcity of Materials and Labor Will Lead to Delays in Completing USAID Tsunami Reconstruction Projects

In May 2005, the U.S. Congress appropriated $908 million for tsunami relief, reconstruction, and related programs. Some $327 million was budgeted for immediate needs after the disaster struck, and $496 million for longer-term reconstruction ($349 million in Indonesia and $85 million in Sri Lanka), administered by USAID.
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