March 28, 2016 | 0 comments

New data has revealed that 1.4 billion people in South Asia, or 81 percent of the region’s population, are acutely exposed to at least one type of natural hazard and live in areas considered to have insufficient resources to cope with and rebound from an extreme event. Poor governance, weak infrastructure, and high levels of poverty and corruption amplify the economic and humanitarian losses associated with significant natural hazards events – and these factors will exacerbate the consequences of natural disasters especially in Africa, a continent which hosts eight out of the nine countries most vulnerable to natural hazards.

March 21, 2016 | 0 comments

A new study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, published online March 17 in the American Journal of Public Health, found that recycled water has great potential for more efficient use in urban settings and to improve the overall resiliency of the water supply. More than 1 in 9 people around the world, about 750 million, do not have access to safe, clean drinking water, and the problem is expected to worsen in step with rising greenhouse gas concentrations, population increases and climate change. UCLA notes that the study expands on a 2014 assessment in which the researchers offered recommendations for saving water while also protecting and promoting public health.

In the new report, the UCLA researchers compare California’s current water conservation efforts with two other options: banning landscape irrigation and expanding the use of alternative water sources, such as recycled water. The authors found that increasing the use of recycled water would have the greatest potential to reduce water and energy use and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The study also identified several potential public health benefits of using more recycled water, including improving municipalities’ ability to maintain green spaces and decreasing air pollution, which in turn would reduce the occurrence of respiratory disease.

“Expansion of recycled water use has a tremendous potential to positively impact health,” said Hilary Godwin, a co-author of the study and a UCLA...

March 18, 2016 | 0 comments

U.S forces are in Southeast Asia for Angkor Sentinel 2016, an annual bilateral exercise with Cambodia that focuses on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. The drills — sponsored by U.S. Army Pacific and hosted by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces — kicked off earlier this week with a ceremony at the Training School for Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Kampong Speu Province near Phnom Penh, an Army statement said. Angkor Sentinel is scheduled to wrap up March 25 with a “combined situational training event." The exercise showcases some of the best things militaries can accomplish for their nations and citizens, Julie Chung, chargé d’affaires for U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, said in the statement.

“Angkor Sentinel’s activities will include training and exchanges covering humanitarian assistance, disaster response, first aid, engineering, explosive ordnance disposal, countering improvised explosive devices, transporting people and supplies, and developing leaders,” she said. “Any country, including both Cambodia and the United States, will be a better, safer place to live [when] military people … are skilled in those functions.” U.S. participants include 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 130th Theater Engineer Brigade, 8th Military Police Brigade, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Battalion, Idaho Army National Guard, 18th Medical Command, Asia Pacific C-IED Fusion Center and 413th Contracting Brigade.

Maj. Gen. Edward Dorman III, commander of 8th Theater...

March 18, 2016 | 0 comments

Last month, the World Food Program made a welcome announcement: For the first time since the Syria conflict first erupted, the United Nations food agency’s emergency operation feeding more than 5 million people had received enough funding to sustain it through most of 2016. As a result, ration cuts that had been made last summer were restored and families will once again receive enough food assistance to stay healthy. What’s unfortunate is how long it took to secure this support. For the past six months, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere have been barely getting by. Last July, WFP was forced to halve its rations from $28 per person per month to just $14. For Syrian children, the consequences of half a year of inadequate nutrition could last a lifetime. As an aid worker told me once, “Food can’t be made up for.” For more:

March 11, 2016 | 0 comments

FPI Bulletin: On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered the triple disaster of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off its northeast coast, the subsequent tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Although the damage was concentrated along eastern Honshu Island, the government recorded a total 24,607 persons killed, missing, or injured across 20 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The World Bank estimated the toll of the disaster at $235 billion, by far the costliest in modern history. The U.S.-Japanese alliance was essential in the wake of this disaster, but it is even more striking to see how Japan has advanced as a security partner in the years since:

The disaster response by the U.S. military and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces was a milestone in the history of the alliance. On the day of the earthquake, the United States deployed the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, redirected more than a half-dozen other ships from around the Pacific, and dispatched Air Force and Marine Corps assets to the affected region. Over the following month, the U.S. Navy mobilized a total of 24 ships, 140 aircraft, and more than 15,000 sailors and Marines, while the U.S. Air Force flew hundreds of missions and delivered millions of pounds of cargo to afflicted areas.

The U.S. military effort was dubbed...