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Author: Gelin Gil Roman
View in FEMA Multimedia LibraryAs Carmen Delgado hammers vigorously to knock down a wall, her brother José E. Delgado shovels and mixes concrete, while their father Don José Delgado works alongside to repair their two homes in the city’s Hato Abajo neighborhood. Their homes were severely damaged when Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico last September.“This young man,” said Carmen, pointing to her dad, “taught us that we can’t just sit and wait, but that we must get started and welcome whatever comes next.”Already equipped with the natural resiliency...
Posted On: February 23, 2018
Author: Jacob Vawter
FEMA’s partnerships are critical to executing our mission before, during, and after a disaster. During the response to hurricanes Irma and Maria, the contributions of the Danish Emergency Management Agency in the U.S. Virgin Islands highlighted the potential of international partnerships in disaster response and recovery.From early October through mid-December, Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) staff supported the official hurricane response in the U.S. Virgin Islands.The Danish team performed reconstruction work on more than 30 healthcare and educational facilities across the...
Posted On: February 16, 2018
Author: Jessica Stapf
What lies beneath the ashes of any wildfire-torn community? Stories. The stories of heirlooms destroyed. Families lost and displaced. The sadness and hopelessness we all would expect when everything is lost. When black soot is all you can see and smell, with the remnants of what once was a kitchen crumbling beneath your sneakers. What else lies beneath those ashes? Hope. Resilience. Community pride.Over the course of the last year, many communities have been faced with the ashes and destruction left behind by savage wildfires. But, in the face of these adversities, communities have come...
Posted On: January 31, 2018
Author: Daniel Kaniewski, PhD
Major disasters persistently test our nation’s capacity to recover and adapt. As the 2017 calendar year came to a close, more than 25 million Americans (nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population) had been affected by unprecedented disasters.  The range of disasters from flooding, hurricanes or wildfires and the significant losses didn’t affect just one person or one family, the impact of these events is felt by us all.More than anything else, 2017 highlighted the need for the nation to change the way we prepare for and mitigate against future hazards. We need to change the way...
Posted On: January 11, 2018
Author: Jocelyn Norman
How did we deliver more than 3,500 pounds of food and water to an isolated community in central Puerto Rico cut off from the rest of the island due to a collapsed bridge? The obvious answer is by helicopter, but when the only safe place to land is a mile away from the town and the vehicles needed to transport the supplies are out of gas, what then?A shopping cart turned out to be the key.But this was no ordinary shopping cart. The people of Rio Abajo, a community in Utuado, put their ingenuity to use by creating a pulley system with the cart to span the void left by the collapsed bridge.After...
Posted On: January 9, 2018
Author: Jocelyn Norman
People didn’t expect Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to be an innovator in a disaster, yet that is exactly what happened during the Hurricane Maria response.“Anytime, anywhere,” probably doesn’t mean much for most people, but for the more than 6,000 employees of Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security, it is a promise to help no matter the circumstances.When FEMA activated thousands of federal responders, 268 members of 17 investigation teams from 14 cities answered...
Posted On: January 8, 2018
Author: Roy Wright
After last year’s devastating floods in Texas and Florida, I saw firsthand how critical flood insurance is for recovery after extreme events. But too few Americans have the proper coverage for their homes. As we shift the nation’s mindset about preparedness, closing the insurance coverage gap for homeowners and renters stands as a critical path for each of us to consider. It is time to think beyond our standard, historical approaches and work towards much needed growth and resiliency in the flood insurance market.In 2017, FEMA took a significant step to shift the conventional...
Posted On: January 5, 2018
Author: Jessica Stapf
In the early-to-mid nineties, the term “bomb” was slang for something that was awesome or really cool. Now, all my “fellow kids” are using it (and other flowery terms) to describe what is a rapidly intensifying nor’easter: the “bomb cyclone.”According to the National Weather Service, a nor’easter is:“A strong low pressure system that affects the Mid-Atlantic and New England States. It can form over land or over the coastal waters. These winter weather events are notorious for producing heavy snow, rain, and tremendous waves that crash onto...
Posted On: January 4, 2018
Author: Jessica Stapf
Year in review. Top 100 [albums or songs or articles—you name it, there’s a list]. It’s, once again, the time of year where publications big and small, and even individuals take a step back and look at the last twelve months and all that has happened.2017, to put it in the most rudimentary terms, has been monumental, particularly as it pertains to disasters; it was one for the record books.With the first storm of the year occurring in late April with Arlene, prior to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, the stage was set for a season that would be out of the...
Posted On: January 3, 2018
Author: Jessica Stapf
Over the last two days, parts of southern California have been wrought by sudden, violent wildfires. This may sound eerily familiar, as other parts of the state faced similar, sudden onset fire emergencies earlier this year.The southern California fires, the Thomas fire in Ventura County and the Creek and Rye fires in Los Angeles County, have been raging and swiftly heading toward areas that are heavily populated and full of rich cultural history. However, those facts don’t matter to fires.  Local officials have issued evacuation orders for places they believe these fires may be...
Posted On: December 6, 2017