201 posts tagged with disaster.
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Social Networking, Mobile Phones, and Crisis Communication

Can social networking be used to effect positive social change? Ushahidi (meaning "testimony" in Swahili) is one such project that harnesses mobile technology to empower local citizens to report on crucial and crisis situations in their area. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Nov 28, 2008 - 19 comments

Escaped a disaster? Tell everyone!

Whether you're fleeing tropical storm Fay - which is currently heading for Florida - or you've just been airlifted out of the Grand Canyon due to the the recent flooding due to a dam breach, or even "none of the above/other", the American Red Cross has a way for you to let folks know you're Safe and Sound. You can search for people in the list by family name, pre-disaster phone number, and pre-disaster address. Also, the American Red Cross has a twitter feed. But I don't think twitter being down counts as a disaster...
posted by rmd1023 on Aug 17, 2008 - 11 comments

Anyone for the Global War on Flu?

The UK's national risk register is made public. It is kept updated by the secret squirrels in the Cabinet Office, and was previously kept under wraps. Pandemic flu and flooding beat out terrorism as the major risks facing the UK at the moment. Both are seen as less likely than a terrorist attack, but more devastating. The full pdf has a chart on page 7 showing the main risks on a grid.
posted by athenian on Aug 8, 2008 - 18 comments

Dystopian Evolution: Imagining an Envirogeddon

Dystopian storytelling is pillar of Western narrative tradition, but this decade has seen a significant shift in the way our apocalypse is told. Orthodox tales of government tyranny are giving way to visions of humans running helpless in the wake of environmental meltdown. From the plausible to the fantastic, most of this fiction remains hauntingly real while the non-fiction can get downright scary. In 2008, the 20th anniversary of climatologist James Hansen's landmark speech before Congress, popular art is beginning to reflect an increasingly bleak public sentiment on the future, playing out some of our worst nightmares. It may be that these writers and directors are wishing for the end of the world, but even so, they are certainly giving voice to the creeping feeling that indeed, we might not make it.
posted by dead_ on Jul 7, 2008 - 21 comments

There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Russian car magazine "Autoreview" has posted photos of a 1978 Korean Air Lines (KAL) forced landing to accompany an article about the Land Rover Defender pickup that was used to haul equipment at that time. Apparently, Korean Air Lines is not amused (Korean) by this effort to dig up the past. More photos. Via the always awesome Marmot's Hole. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 5, 2008 - 13 comments

May 25 tornado, Parkersburg, Iowa

The (U.S.) National Weather Service has released its report on a strong tornado that occured in Iowa the evening of May 25th. On the evening of May 25th, 2008 a tornado rated at EF5 (estimated wind speed was around 205 MPH!!) obliterated half of the town of Parkersburg, Iowa. Eight people have died, and 70 were injured. Here is a PDF containing incredible pictures of the damage (taken by employees of the NWS during their survey). [more inside]
posted by ArgentCorvid on Jun 4, 2008 - 36 comments

Burma: monks vs. junta

Monks Succeed in Cyclone Relief as Junta Falters. In Burma (Myanmar) the Buddhist monks are doing more than anyone to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis. At the same time, Burmese officials are trying to stem the influence of the monks by forcing survivors who have sought refuge in monasteries to return to their shattered homes. [Via Barbara's Buddhism Blog.]
posted by homunculus on Jun 1, 2008 - 26 comments

Grief in the Rubble

Chinese Are Left to Ask Why Schools Crumbled. "A staggering number of students died as schools collapsed in the May 12 earthquake, and grieving parents are speaking out about shoddy construction."
posted by homunculus on May 25, 2008 - 24 comments

Anonymous American in Rangoon

A week in Burma after the storm is the second of two anonymous eyewitness reports at danwei.org of the impact and aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. It is the most gripping and tremendously sad report I have read yet on the human tragedy that is Nargis and the Myanmar Junta's non-response. [more inside]
posted by gen on May 14, 2008 - 24 comments

Burma Can't Wait

Burma: It Can't Wait is a month-long video campaign by the US Campaign for Burma to raise awareness of the plight of Burma (Myanmar) and Aung San Suu Kyi. There will be one video a day for 30 days from celebrities including Will Ferrel, Sarah Silverman and Eddie Izzard. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on May 5, 2008 - 57 comments

The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904

"To suppose that the spirit of our people will not rise to the occasion is to suppose that our people are not genuine Americans. We shall make the fire of 1904 a landmark not of decline but of progress."
posted by dhammond on Mar 21, 2008 - 10 comments

At The End Of The World, No One Can Hear You Scream.

10 Disasters That Could Cause The End The World At Any Given Second. [Via, via].
posted by amyms on Feb 11, 2008 - 92 comments

Hartford Civic Center Collapse

It could have been the greatest disaster in US history. On January 18, 1978, 30 years ago today, the 1400 ton 2 1/2 acre roof of the Hartford Civic Center, covered by a blanket of snow and ice, suddenly and completely collapsed, damaging almost all of the seats underneath. Just four hours earlier there was a basketball game packed with 5000 fans. Had it collapsed then, many, if not most, of the fans and players could have died. [more inside]
posted by eye of newt on Jan 18, 2008 - 37 comments

Only Shatner can make Satanists melt

All hail 70s-era Shatner! He began his career with some rather prestigious projects, appearing in The Brothers Karamazov and Judgment at Nuremberg, as well as some rather high profile appearance in Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But even then, there were hints of exploitation, such as 1961's The Explosive Generation, in which Shatner played a teacher whose job is endangered when she speaks candidly to kids about sex. And there was 1962's The Intruder, a Roger Corman film from 1963 in which Shatner played a carpetbagging racist inciting violence in a southern town. (Clip.) And, of course, there was Incubus from 1965, a horror film in Esperanto. (Clip.) But, after Star Trek, at the start of the 70s, something went haywire. [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on Nov 16, 2007 - 63 comments

Massive flooding in Tabasco

300,000 people are stranded due to massive flooding in Tabasco, Mexico. More from UNICEF. Video from Reuters. [more inside]
posted by serazin on Nov 2, 2007 - 21 comments

The Mystery of Andree

In 1897, pioneering Swedish balloonist Salomon August Andrée and two companions took off for the north pole in a hot air balloon. In 1930 their bodies were found, along with records of their expedition. This archive of newspaper articles tells their story. (So does Wikipedia, of course.) Many of the photos they took are here, along with a lot of text in Polish that I can't read any more than most of you can, so don't come complaining to me.
posted by dersins on Oct 8, 2007 - 12 comments

Major earthquake in Peru

A 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Peru in the Ica region, south of the capital of Lima. Ica, Chincha and Pisco have been hardest hit, although the pavement rippled in downtown Lima as well. BBC (first link) and CNN have been reporting about 336-7 dead, but my uncle (in Lima) says that many towns south of San Bartolo have simply disappeared into rubble.
posted by LMGM on Aug 16, 2007 - 27 comments

Collapsed bridge leaves mess, quarantines locals

Deliberately turning her camera from the wreckage, That Red Girl gives us a look at what's going on in her now quarantined life mere blocks from the recent Minneapolitan bridge collapse.
"Several neighbors and I stood in our driveway late into the night debriefing the day. We now live in lockdown. Police must escort us around. We must meet any guests at the corner, they cannot approach the building alone. Residents are told to ask people they do not recognize to show their keys and prove themselves. We joke about seeing everyone’s “FOBs” to those we know well. The dogs are all leashed, tying themselves together as they try to play like normal. It’s frustrating to everyone that we can’t run around as normal. The word “quarantine” is tossed around. People are nervous. One of the residents hasn’t been seen since Wednesday morning. She may be on vacation… no one knows. We see one of the neighbors being interviewed on the corner and a few young girls trying to flirt with the police to gain entrance to our complex. The dogs continued to wrestle and we continued to talk."
posted by taursir on Aug 3, 2007 - 39 comments

From Happiness to Disaster

The International Disaster Database provides a complete summary of natural and technological disasters from 1900 to 2006. You can see disaster summaries by country or by disaster, such as volcanoes, industrial accidents, transportation accidents, or floods, along with even more detailed data. If this is too much, the tonic is the World Database on Happiness which will allow you to look at happiness trends among countries and happiness maps [prev.].
posted by blahblahblah on Jul 26, 2007 - 2 comments

Fate: 1 Internets: 0

Newsfilter: 30,000 customers in the San Francisco area lost power today at about 1:50pm PDT, in a series of power failures which knocked out a major datacenter hub: 365 Main. The hub controls servers for many social media sites, including Technorati, Netflix, Yelp, Craigslist and all Six Apart properties, including TypePad, LiveJournal and Vox. (6A's twitter stream has updates.) More here and here. Amusingly enough, 365 Main tempted fate and released a press release today patting themselves on the back for "two years of 100-percent uptime".
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2007 - 82 comments

I Told You Not To Kill That Albatross!

Disaster at Sea!! A collection of dozens & dozens of photographs of misfortune striking those GIGANTIC shipping vessels, the kind that bring goods from China to Wal Mart. Every kind of affliction imaginable, from shipboard fire to heavy weather to grounding amidst crushing waves to capsizing from ill balanced loads to random explosive cargo to terrorist attack to so much more. Descriptions of the vessels and what brought them down are included in the first link.
posted by jonson on Jul 15, 2007 - 57 comments

Chernobyl, 20 Years Later

A striking essay with photos documenting a visit to the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Mark Resnicoff, a database programmer and amateur photographer, visited Chernobyl and took a schwack of atmospheric photos. This reminded me of a set of slightly-controversial Chernobyl photos from 2004. Wikipedia provides a little context on KiddofSpeed, the photographer in question with an awesome Engrishesque nickname.
posted by dbarefoot on May 27, 2007 - 26 comments

Real-Time Global Bad News Map

The Global Trouble AlertMap
Are you curious about that chemical spill in Minnesota? Or how about the bio hazard situation in Honduras? The Havaria Information Systems AlertMap is updated in (near) real-time and the wealth of bad news is fairly astonishing. Plus they've got RSS feeds for whatever bad (or locationally relevant) news you want delivered. There are USA only maps, Europe only maps and Hungary too (slow day, just a fire). Previously (focused on bird flu tracking though several comments note how freakin' cool the map is)
posted by fenriq on Mar 17, 2007 - 18 comments

the sheltering sky

Winter has been world's warmest on record.
☀Temperature for December-February highest since 1880
☂The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1995
posted by four panels on Mar 16, 2007 - 60 comments

Yenshui Fireworks Festival

The annual fireworks festival at the town of YenShui in southern Taiwan is notable for many reasons, notwithstanding the extreme danger to the many participants (youtube link). Large “beehive” structures created by the townspeople each contain hundreds of rockets which are launched into the crowd. (youtube link). The ubiqui-pedia link is here
posted by mattoxic on Mar 7, 2007 - 9 comments

In Mission Control, while the loss of signal was a cause for concern, there was no sign of any serious problem

Four years ago today the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated shortly upon reentry. Here is a sad, but, fascinating real time video recreation of the final moments, compiled from various sources including Nasa radio transmissions.
posted by ae4rv on Feb 1, 2007 - 27 comments

Salt Crisis

Salt: Not just a condiment, salt is a major force shaping our world. In Australia, what do you get when you combine ancient salt-pans with European farming practices? In one state alone, we're losing a football field an hour to the salinity crisis. What do you farm when all you have is salt?
posted by ninazer0 on Nov 25, 2006 - 33 comments

Great Balls of fire

Maybe it's not really news because no one was killed, but you'd think that more people would notice when a massive explosion in suburban Boston totals 60 buildings, knocks out windows for a half mile around, knocks people out of bed in the middle of the night, and registers on the Richter scale 30 miles away.
posted by alms on Nov 22, 2006 - 46 comments

Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar Concrete Dome

Giant Concrete Caterpillar. Driving on I35 south out of Dallas to Austin, you pass through Italy, Texas, and on the side of the road is Bruco, the Texas Italian Caterpillar, and the home of the Monolithic Dome Institute, makers of fine homes, restaurants, and churches. These domes are green and disaster resistant. (See previous thread). They also can be visually interesting. These domes are concrete as opposed to R. Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic domes, such as Epcot Center or the incredibly interesting Eden Project.
posted by dios on Oct 10, 2006 - 19 comments

Bath of Fire: The Worst and Most Forgotten Mass Murder of American Children

America's worst school violence ever was not a recent event, but the Bath School disaster of 1927. Andrew Kehoe, a school board member upset with his tax bill, used dynamite and some pyrotol from WWI-era military surplus to blow himself up along with the elementary school of Bath Township, Michigan, leaving 45 dead and 58 injured. See a 1927 book on the disaster, a list of victims, the coroner's inquest, a historical marker, a memorial park, an oral history from a witness, and a 1920s KKK rant denouncing Kehoe as an agent of the Roman Catholic conspiracy.
posted by jonp72 on Oct 5, 2006 - 14 comments

Torture 'R US[A]

New terror that stalks Iraq's republic of fear
U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited
Iraq torture 'worse after Saddam'
The Facts on the Ground: Mini-Gulags, Hired Guns, Lobbyists, and a Reality Built on Fear
U.S. troops in Iraq are Tehran's 'hostages'
Anti-Americanism Is A Glue
posted by y2karl on Sep 22, 2006 - 92 comments

"All guilty had been punished already."

The Nedelin disaster remains the most fatal catastrophe in the history of rocketry. On October 26, 1960 an R-16 ICBM designed by Mikhail Yangel accidentally ignited killing over 100 within moments. The incident remained in strict secrecy for thirty years until it was unearthed by James Oberg. The true casualty rate remains a mystery and Kazakhstan still sees more than its fair share of rocket mishaps.
posted by Alison on Aug 31, 2006 - 16 comments

Bulldozer Politics

New Orleans City Ordinance #26031 --...those who have not been able to make the necessary repairs to their battered homes by August 29th risk having their property seized and bulldozed by the city.... Bush says today: Katrina Repair Will Take Time, but time's up for many New Orleans residents. (more here from ACORN, who has been trying to help save homes there)
posted by amberglow on Aug 23, 2006 - 62 comments

Are you covered?

Some call FEMA's administration of federal flood insurance and disaster relief illogical and illegal, although you won't find that in FEMA's recent summary of Katrina, which reveals that $15.3 billion dollars in federal flood insurance claims have been paid. That's quite a bit more than the National Flood Insurance Fund's budget, and you may recall that payouts didn't go smoothly. Still, having federal flood insurance, as opposed to relying on disaster relief, has proven its worth during the rebuilding process. Certainly Katrina was an extraordinary phenomenon, unlikely to be repeated any time soon. Perhaps that's why the annual disaster relief budget is smaller this year.
posted by owhydididoit on Aug 22, 2006 - 11 comments

Heard about the cat with Bubonic Plague in Flagstaff?

The RSOE Global Disasters Service tracks seismic activity, bird flu, chemical spills and even vehicle accidents by monitoring and processing data of approximately 600-700 news sources, many researching institutes and realtime data of forecasting services. I've subscribed to the RSS feed and you should too . . . you've been getting too much sleep anyway. [via]
posted by If I Had An Anus on Jun 29, 2006 - 8 comments

Small solutions for big problems

The Katrina Cottage is economical, rather charming, and can serve as a "grow" house. At $35,000 for 308 sq ft, it compares favorably to the $75k FEMA trailer. Not a totally new idea - some of the 1906 earthquake refuge shacks are still in existence in San Francisco. Might tiny houses be the future for disaster relief? (via The Blues and Then Some)
posted by madamjujujive on May 2, 2006 - 39 comments

Challenge Bigger than Iraq: Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both?

...Consider the stunning magnitude of the failure. Iraq has been the top priority for the world's only superpower for the past three years, and a central one for many regional and international powers. The United States, intent on keeping Iraq together, has spent more resources in that country than any state ever has spent on another in the history of the world... In this perspective, one central measure of success of the intervention in Iraq is this: Three years later, have the prospects of regional and global security increased or decreased? The answer should propel a debate that's bigger than Iraq.
Challenge Bigger than Iraq
See also Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both?
posted by y2karl on Apr 9, 2006 - 60 comments

Forecasting financial disaster Olympics 2012

Government error in contemporary British history is the stuff of legend and when it comes to the 2012 Olympics can I be on my own in forecasting financial disaster? This morning's announcement that "little can be built until the site's 50 electric pylons are removed" in 2008 comes hot on the heels of an understated Olympics budget which, four days ago, is revealed to be 'short by £2bn.' I am v.fortunate to live in the UK and there is no doubt this government is v.good at bookkeeping; but grandstanding a world event? Not a chance. Discussed in these parts last year, Britain is not good at world class marketing or brand .. management; Britain is not good at capital projects, and Politicians, bureaucrats ... milking the Olympic Games, says London's mayor. I understand but two Olypics have seen modest profit and Britain badly needs Hollywood or Coca-Cola® to make a success of this.
posted by Schroder on Apr 6, 2006 - 28 comments

The Fourth Year of An Endless War Begins

From on the ground in Iraq, with death squads on the prowl in a nation paralysed by fear, with each mile, the divisions deepen. Some suggest Iraq is about to look a lot like Lebanon. Others think we should be so lucky, that what looms is much worse than mere civil war: an archipegalo of complete and total anarchy, the war of all against all.

As the saying goes, even a blind squirrel may find an acorn now and then, especially one planetary in size--like here: predictions of a better Middle East have evaporated.
posted by y2karl on Mar 20, 2006 - 108 comments

A Government with No Military and No Territory : Disintegrating Iraqi Sovereignty

At this point in Iraq, you do not have a central government -- so you don't have a legitimate authority running the country. You don't have a government with the power to establish or maintain order. What you have is a nominal government that can only stay in power because the Americans are there. The government is supposed to have derived legitimacy from the constitution and the elections. It is now almost three months after the elections and there is still no government... A government that takes over five months to form is not a government that is going to have very much legitimacy in the end. The country has already collapsed. Now the challenge is figuring out a way to deal with this fact...
"The Country Has Already Collapsed"
Remember Beirut? Welcome to Baghdad
A Government with No Military and No Territory
Studies of the Iraq Disaster: When Democracy Looks Like Civil War
posted by y2karl on Mar 10, 2006 - 127 comments

Jan. 28, 1986

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jan 28, 2006 - 82 comments

The Wilhelm Gustloff

On January 30, 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise ship packed full with refugees fleeing the Russian advance into Poland was sunk by a Russian submariane. Nearly 10,000 people died and it remains the world's worst single maritime disaster. Radio National's Late Night Live recently devoted a programme to this little-known tragedy. Well worth listening to (mp3).
posted by Huw on Jan 13, 2006 - 13 comments

1913 Massacre

Take a trip with me to 1913.
To Calumet, Michigan, in the Copper Country.
I'll take you to a place called Italian Hall,
Where the miners are having their big Christmas Ball.
This time of year, Woody Guthrie's haunting ballad "1913 Massacre" brings to mind one of the most tragic incidents in American labor history. At the midpoint of the bitter and violent miners' strike of 1913-14, miners and their families gathered for a Christmas party given by their union. An unidentified "stupid person" gave the shout of "fire", causing a panicked rush to escape. Unable to get out the door, more than 70 people, mostly children, were smothered to death. A forthcoming documentary (main link) explores the legacy of the event, using Guthrie's song as its starting point.
posted by Miko on Dec 21, 2005 - 19 comments

Ho Ho Ho?

"It's like putting Christmas lights up on your FEMA trailer."
posted by empath on Dec 1, 2005 - 41 comments

A cubic yard of water weighs nearly a ton.

The Day the Sea Came. The stories of six people caught up in last December's tsunami.
Maisara did not look back. She could hear an odd, ever-louder roar. But she never actually saw what she was running from. Only Anis, looking over her mother's left shoulder, beheld the oncoming water. "Mama, what is that?" the little girl kept yelling.
I know, it's the Times, it's long, it's old news, but it's absolutely riveting. Great reporting by Barry Bearak, and for this you need a reporter, not a novelist, because you can't make this stuff up. Part 1 (printer-friendly), Part 2 (printer), Part 3 (printer), Part 4 (printer).
posted by languagehat on Nov 27, 2005 - 25 comments

Guatemala flooding

DisasterFilter: 1250 dead, hundreds of thousands homeless. Though it pales in comparison to the death toll in Pakistan, and though it’s not as close (or visible) as the damage done by Rita and Katrina, the devastation due to Hurricane Stan has been, well, devastating in rural Guatemala, especially around Lake Atitlan.
posted by MrMoonPie on Oct 12, 2005 - 10 comments

The clay characters themselves are not kept after filming because they disintegrate

Classic Aardman (of Wallace and Gromit fame) animation stuff up in flames
posted by magullo on Oct 11, 2005 - 21 comments

Pakistan/Kashmir quake

Over 19,000 dead in earthquake in South Asia
posted by Snyder on Oct 9, 2005 - 66 comments

Left Behind: Bush's Holy War on Nature.

Left Behind: Bush's Holy War on Nature. Chip Ward enumerates the bizarro-world logic and Orwellian language of current American environmental policy. Even as Katrina's aftermath is focusing attention on links between global warming and more severe hurricanes, and studies of arctic sea-ice suggest that we may be 'past the point of no return' of climate change, the Department of "Justice" seems intent on blaming the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups. This War on Terra may not end in our lifetimes (despite the number of lives it will end...)
posted by dinsdale on Sep 18, 2005 - 33 comments

Obermann Swings!

The City of Louisiana. Keith Olbermann has crystallized my thoughts exactly(embedded wmv, qt vid here) regarding the ineptness (or is it the complete indifference?) that has played out for us in the past week.
posted by thedoctorpants on Sep 7, 2005 - 66 comments

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