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In the immediate aftermath of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, the Foundation Center surveyed members of its Grantmaker Leadership Panel to gauge the reaction of top U.S. funders to the unfolding crisis. Findings suggest that a number of leading funders are considering a direct response to the crisis, with a primary focus on providing emergency assistance.
Administrative Science Quarterly;
This article focuses on geographic communities as fields in which human-made and natural events occasionally disrupt the lives of organizations. We develop an institutional perspective to unpack how and why major events within communities affect organizations in the context of corporate philanthropy. To test this framework, we examine how different types of mega-events (the Olympics, the Super Bowl, political conventions) and natural disasters (such as floods and hurricanes) affected the philanthropic spending of locally headquartered Fortune 1000 firms between 1980 and 2006. Results show that philanthropic spending fluctuated dramatically as mega-events generally led to a punctuated increase in otherwise relatively stable patterns of giving by local corporations. The impact of natural disasters depended on the severity of damage: while major disasters had a negative effect, smaller-scale disasters had a positive impact. Firms' philanthropic history and communities' intercorporate network cohesion moderated some of these effects. This study extends the institutional and community literatures by illuminating the geographic distribution of punctuating events as a central mechanism for community influences on organizations, shedding new light on the temporal dynamics of both endogenous and exogenous punctuating events and providing a more nuanced understanding of corporate-community relations.
Center for Strategic and International Studies;
In recent years, the United States has faced a growing number of severe natural disasters presenting a variety of challenges for the nation -- spanning the spectrum from federal to state to municipal and community levels -- and its disaster response, relief, and recovery architecture. On average, the United States experiences ten severe weather events per year exceeding one billion dollars in damage, compared to an annual average of only two such events throughout the 1980s.
In addition, the costs of response, relief, and recovery efforts associated with these kinds of natural disasters have increased considerably over time. Recent reports indicate that from 2010 to today, the U.S. federal government has spent an average of approximately $85 billion per year in response to severe weather events. This figure is more than double average yearly spending on such events in 2000-2009.
While there is significant debate about the reason for this increase, some experts have noted that an overall increase in the number of disasters, an increase in their severity, and an increase in the amount of vulnerable infrastructure may be factors.
Given the growing cost of disaster response efforts, the United States should consider steps that would enhance the nation's disaster preparedness and resilience. By emphasizing planning, partnerships, and capabilities development that improve preparedness and resilience, the United States may be able to mitigate some ofthe effects and costs of natural disasters.
Meaningful progress will require reform at several levels, including but not limited to changes to federal executive branch policy, additional action by the U.S. Congress, and closer partnerships and cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The recommendations are the product of a dialogue hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program and the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, who are partners -- with support from Walmart -- in the CSISPennington Family Foundation Series on Community Resilience. Launched in September 2012,
This series has proven to be a valuable forum for government officials, subject matter experts, academics, philanthropists, nongovernmental organizations, and business and community leaders to discuss strengthening the resilience of communities in disaster-prone areas. Each of these groups offers a unique perspective -- whether from a philanthropic, business, or policy point of view -- and unique capabilities. Reflecting thoughts, findings, and viewpoints gleaned from CSIS-Pennington Family Foundation Series events and discussions, these recommendations provide guidance for those officials who want to make meaningful forward progress to bolster U.S. planning, partnerships, and capabilities to address the real, localized, and oftentimes devastating effects of natural disasters.
Examines the potential impact of climate change, including more disasters, economic stress, and social pressures, with respect to civilian and military response efforts. Calls for a coherent government approach and a strategic emphasis on long-term effect
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs;
Outlines the challenges of and recommendations for creating an effective interface between humanitarian groups and volunteer and technical communities aggregating, visualizing, and analyzing data on and from affected communities to support relief efforts.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
Between 1914 and the 1950s, U.S. food nourished many European civilians during war and its aftermath. Upon the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, millions of Americans in a neutral nation mobilized to relieve the suffering of civilians in Europe through substantial contributions of money, food, and clothing, thus beginning a long relationship between Americans and Europeans. Non-profit organizations and U.S. government loans fed much of the population of Belgium and Northern France in 1914, using tens of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of millions of dollars under the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB), until the U.S. entry into the war in 1917.
Save the Children;
In response to concerted advocacy by Save the Children and many child advocacy groups, President George W. Bush and Congress created the National Commission on Children and Disasters to assess the gaps in federal planning that put children at risk, and to formulate recommendations that could guide a national movement to close those gaps and help states better protect our children. The commission's comprehensive assessment found that "children were more often an afterthought than a priority" across 11 functional areas of U.S. disaster planning. In 2010, the commission issued its final report, with 81 recommendations and sub-recommendations aimed at ensuring children's unique needs are accounted for in U.S. disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
Now, 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, Save the Children has commissioned research to determine progress made on these recommendations. While the federal government has made progress in addressing the commission's recommendations, our research indicates that nearly four in five of the recommendations have not been fully met.
Rebuild by Design (RBD) was formally launched on June 20, 2013, to ensure that the rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy incorporated designs that built in resilience. RBD was launched with strong public leadership, philanthropic support and professional interest within the design community. The early enthusiasm for RBD came as much from curiosity about RBD's vision and ambition as from the substantial size of the implementation awards from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds that Congress appropriated to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hurricane Sandy Recovery. Phase I of RBD held true to the vision of iteratively responding to science-based evidence and to local citizens and community groups through open-ended design techniques. These activities unfolded in various ways and to different ends throughout Phase I's three stages – Stage 1: team selection, Stage 2: research, and Stage 3: community engagement. RBD managers also kept an eye on the feasibility of design proposals from technical, financial and political perspectives – parameters that have all been heavily shaped by RBD's post-Sandy New York context. As part of its ongoing commitment to learn from the work it supports, the Rockefeller Foundation provided funding for the Urban Institute to evaluate the design competition component of Phase 1 of RBD, including its innovative aspects, partnerships and community engagement. The highly positive findings of the evaluation indicate that even though RBD itself is limited in scope to the Sandy recovery area, it has the potential to be transformational in the way disaster recovery efforts are designed, funded and implemented at a broader scale in the US. With the caveat that the evaluation looked only at the design competition phase, RBD brings hope and inspiration that collectively communities and decision makers can 'build back better' by responding in innovative and creative ways and working as a region to become more resilient. In sum, RBD has moved the mark on resilience action in the U.S.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
Climate change threatens to force population displacement on a scale never seen before. Unfortunately, many governments, international organizations, and institutions are currently ill-prepared and unequipped to respond to this challenge. To buffer the United States from these potentially seismic shifts, it is advisable that the plight of environmental migrants receive serious consideration and advanced planning.
Oxfam Hong Kong;
On 12 May 2008, the worst earthquake to hit China in 50 years destroyed lives and livelihoods in western China. Centered on Wenchuan in Sichuan Province, it also seriously affected people in the neighboring provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi.
Oxfam Hong Kong responded with relief work in the first few months following the disaster, bringing relief supplies to 125 impoverished communities and getting children back into safe, temporary schools. As of 31 March 2009, we have worked alongside 20 organizations in 3 provinces, supporting about 700,000 people as they rebuild their communities; allocation for these 37 relief and reconstruction projects total over HK$33 million (USD$ 4.3 million).
One year on from that terrible morning, the relief phase is over. Continued support is needed for some years to come, as millions of people have not yet returned to a 'normal' life, with permanent accommodation, an income, and a sense that they can plan for their future.
This report provides an overview of this first year of work and our achievements to date. It is part of Oxfam's commitment to transparency and accountability both for our beneficiaries, as well as for our donors and the public.
Earth Policy Institute;
Following a string of high heat days and meteorologists' warnings that this summer could be another scorcher, European public health officials and politicians are revisiting the devastating heat wave of 2003. The severely hot weather that withered crops, dried up rivers, and fueled fires that summer took a massive human toll. The full magnitude of this quiet catastrophe still remains largely an untold story, as data revealing the continent-wide scale have only slowly become available in the years since. All in all, more than 52,000 Europeans died from heat in the summer of 2003, making the heat wave one of the deadliest climate-related disasters in Western history.
Temperature records were broken in a number of countries in 2003 as Europe experienced its hottest weather in at least 500 years. The unusually warm weather began in June and culminated in an unrelenting heat wave during the first two weeks of August. With both daytime and nighttime temperatures remaining high, large numbers of vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, succumbed to the baking heat.
Hospitals were faced with unusually large burdens, and undertakers and funeral homes were overwhelmed. In France, doctors' warnings of a heat epidemic were largely quashed with the Ministry of Health's refusal to acknowledge the massive problem, reminiscent of the early political denial of the 1995 Chicago heat wave that killed more than 700 people in a matter of days. But as the bodies piled up, requiring makeshift morgues, "ignore and neglect" was no longer a viable option.
Earth Policy Institute;
Damage from hurricanes is soaring off the charts, bankrupting insurance companies and depriving property owners of insurance in high-risk areas. During the 1960s, worldwide damage from windstorms with economic losses of $1 billion or more totaled just $4 billion. In the 1970s the figure rose to $7 billion, and in the 1980s it topped $24 billion. Next came the 1990s, when hurricane losses soared to $113 billion. Then during the six years from 2000 to 2005, hurricanes left a staggering bill of $273 billion. (See data at http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2006/Update58_data.htm)
Two trends are largely responsible for the growing costs of windstorm disasters. One, rapid coastal development is bringing more people and more expensive infrastructure into vulnerable areas. And two, hurricanes (called typhoons in the western Pacific) are growing stronger and lasting longer, fueled by higher sea surface temperatures. They are also widening their geographic range, invading areas previously considered safe from the wrath of windstorms.
Last year was the worst ever for storm-stricken areas and the companies that insure them. Losses from the eight major storms of 2005 exceeded $170 billion, half of which was insured. Three of the storms were in the Pacific, but the Atlantic storms racked up 98 percent of the economic costs.
The unusually long North Atlantic hurricane season that extended from June into the New Year brought a record 28 named storms, taking us through the alphabet and into Greek letters. This is nearly three times the average annual number of storms over the past century. Fueled by high surface water temperatures, four hurricanes -- Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma -- reached maximum strength, the highest number of Category 5 storms ever in a single season.
Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast of the United States in late August 2005, was the most financially devastating storm on record, with damages from winds and the record storm surge exceeding $125 billion. Although Katrina reached top wind speeds of 175 miles (282 kilometers) per hour, it had weakened to Category 3 by the time it hit the U.S. Gulf Coast. Powerful Rita's arrival a few weeks later marked the first time two Category 5 storms developed in the Gulf of Mexico in one season. Then came Wilma, which devastated parts of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and went down in history as the most intense Atlantic storm ever.
Storms in 2005 were not only strong, they were more widespread. Hurricane Vince, which struck Spain in October, traveled farther north and east than any Atlantic tropical cyclone. A month later, Tropical Storm Delta also moved into uncharted territory for Atlantic hurricanes, crossing the Canary Islands. Stronger storms in unexpected places, like these and Brazil's 2004 Hurricane Catarina, the first hurricane recorded in the South Atlantic, are prompting insurance companies to rewrite their catastrophe models.