Unit 7 Topic Groups

Disaster Resilience in Alaska

The Main point of the article is forced migration of Alaskan communities due to climate change, flooding, and erosion. The question that I feel is relevant to our topic is how does this relocation of a community effect its resilience? There are 3 key points that I have concluded from the article are: First, there are multiple communities needing re-locations. Second, each community is involved in an ad hoc process with state and federal government agencies that are struggling to provide protection to the communities while they grapple with the need to work out a relocation process. And finally, the list of rights that the relocating communities need to be afforded…which are:

  • allow the affected community to be a key player in the relocation process

  • ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate mechanisms for participation and consultation

  • ensure families and tribes remain together during relocation

  • keep socio-cultural institutions intact

  • protect subsistence rights and customary communal rights to resources

  • safeguard rights to safe and sanitary housing, potable water, education and other basic amenities

  • implement sustainable development opportunities as part of the relocation process (and thereby enhance community resilience).

Each of which would allow the community to be resilient even with all the extreme changes going on. I selected this article due to the fact that it is an on going process. One that I think relates to the idea of community resilience. I don’t believe that once prepared for a disaster that you are always defended against it. The idea of resiliency is an ever changing, ever on going process. Nature changes, as does technologies, and people; hence why a resilience effort would need to keep changing and keep improving.

Academic Article:


disaster resilient Alaska #5



This comic was created to show what we came together to learn about our vulnerabilities here in Alaska as well as the programs we are trying to improve on. With over 100 languages spoken some get left behind in paperwork errors, not something you would think of in today’s technological age, but it is still happening. and its unbelievable that the state has only a 5 day food supply at any given time.

with better education from schools as well as programs like CERT, we can help each other work towards goals like completing the AWARE initiative. we could then help each-other by becoming the resilient Alaska we know we can be. better educated human resources spread throughout the state, readily available to the villages and towns that need them as a disaster strikes, not after.





Unit 7 – Economic Inequity

I found an article in Scientific American that describes the patterns of migration of people in counties that are affected by natural disasters.

The first key point is the most important – it deals directly with economic inequality. The authors of the article say that when a natural disaster happens, the wealthier residents of a county are more likely to leave the area than the poorer residents of the county.

Another point of the article was slightly more obvious, at least it seemed like that to me – residents of a place that’s more likely to be hit by a natural disaster, like a coastline or river plane, are also more likely to leave if they experience a natural disaster. To me, it seems like the disaster is sort of acting as a wake-up call to the residents of the area.

The final key point that I got from the article was the conclusion that the authors drew – wealth inequality is causing poor people to be more effected by natural disasters, and that problem is only going to get worse through time as richer people are able to move away from dangerous regions.

I selected this article because it was interesting to read, and it seemed like a pretty reliable source. Also, instead of just looking at the death rates or dollar amount of damage in different areas after natural disasters, the authors looked at other impacts that natural disasters have.

Wireless Emergency Alerts

The article I chose speaks about the Wireless Emergency Alerts that are used across the country. Most notably in Hawaii when a false alert was sent out to cellphones across the state warning of incoming ballistic missiles. While this situation doesn’t deal with a geologic hazards, the WEA system has been used in natural disaster situations and has come under some scrutiny. With more technology and monitoring, knowledge of incoming hazards has increased, but how that knowledge is spread to the public is still lagging behind.

The WEA system was launched in 2012 to modernize the countries approach of notifying the public. Nearly every person has a cellphone and is generally in reach of it for the majority of the day, so it makes sense to include cellphones with the TV, radio and air sirens already used to alter citizens of an incoming hazard.

However, human error can occur, just like Hawaii when the alert was sent out that ballistic missiles where in coming. Turns out that the state of Hawaii had no safe guards in place for the WEA system. The articles points out that if this system is to be used in the future, safe guards and updated rules need to be put in place.

Another key point of updating the WEA, is so that mass panic is not caused when alerts go out. Officials from Harris County, Texas expressed their frustration over how they could not pinpoint alerts to residents during Hurricane Harvey without altering a broader area then what was needed.

To me this article stresses the importance of preparedness on the small and large scale. Local and national governments and agencies should know how to use WEA system, but also the limitation  of the system before a real hazards occurs.


Article here: https://nyti.ms/2EFO27j


Economic Inequity: Article Breakdown

Natural Disasters, Conflict, and Human Rights: Tracing the Connections

Summary of Main Point

This article is about the many reasons why different communities and people are affected in worse ways by natural disasters than others.

Key Points

“A natural disaster is defined by the UN as: “the consequences of events triggered by natural hazards that overwhelm local response capacity and seriously affect the social and economic development of a region.””

  1.  Poverty/Poor vs. Wealthy
    1.  Dec. 10th 1988 a 6.9 M earthquake hit Armenia killing 55,000 and leaving 500,000 homeless
    2. October 1989 a 7.1 M earthquake hit San Francisco killing only 62 and leaving 12,000 homeless
    3. The poor often live in less safe environments made to withstand natural disasters
  2. Conflict + Natural Disaster
    1. place that have been affected by both simultaneously (Philippines, Iraq, Somalia, Kenya, Colombia, and Haiti)
      1. According to the definition above, people already negatively affected by conflict will have a higher chance of enduring a natural disaster due to lowered response capacity
  3. Discrimination
    1. Such as: unequal access to assistance; aid provision; enforced relocation; gender-based violence; loss of documentation; recruitment of children into fighting forces; unsafe or involuntary return or resettlement; and property restitution
    2. the Indian ocean 2004 tsunami brought such issues to light
      1. response to the tsunamis was well funded
      2. relief organizations provided well working programs
      3. due to the large amount of agencies competition between them arose causing many of them to monitor and evaluate the situations at hand revealing the forms of discrimination above
Why I Picked this Article?

I picked this article because it has abundant information about the effects of natural disasters in different instances and on who.  I think this article provides great insight on our assigned topic with a wide variety of examples of how different people and communities are unfairly treated in the event of a Natural Disaster. I also found the definition of a natural disaster the author added into their article to clarify what a natural disaster truly is.

Unit 7 Blog Post

The article I selected takes a look at how natural disasters impact poverty-stricken countries compared to richer ones. This article studied more than 7,000 disasters over the past two decades, which 1.35 million people died. It noted that 90 percent of the deaths that occurred happing in low and middle-income places throughout the world. This article also noted the effects of climate change and how many people around the globe will be impacted by rising seas, earthquakes and clime and weather extremes. It also found that low-income countries death toll per disaster was five times more than in high income countries. The article looks at a number of past disasters, but for this blog post I will focus on the cyclone that impacted Myanmar in comparison to a cyclone that impacted Australia.  The Cyclone that hit Myanmar caused 138,000 deaths while the top strength cyclone that hit Australia caused zero deaths.

One key point this article states is that “High-income countries suffer huge economic losses in disasters, but people in low-income countries pay with their lives” (Rowling, 2016). This is something that I never really thought about, but it makes sense. While poverty-stricken countries lose so much, higher income countries often have more to lose (in a sense) in terms of critical infrastructures etc. Another key point in this article is that most of the world needs to work together to better prepare and improve these “poorer” nations. The article stated that the world leaders agreed to end poverty by 2013 as a part of a new set of global development goals. Another key point made in this article talked about the ways some countries alert the public of a disaster that is about to take place.

While this article was not from a legitimate source, I found it to be very helpful and informing. My original article I started this blog post was already used by a peer and this was the second best (for me). This article talks about both the similarities and differences between high and low-income countries. I believe the two cyclone disasters show just how different nations can be in response to disasters.




Summary of Main Point

This whole article is tied directly to economic inequality. Essentially the author is talking about how although wealthier communities may sustain more fiscal damage during a disaster, it is the poorer communities that must cope with the majority of hardships. The author discusses just how poorer communities may face more risk, however, they are not helpless when it comes to an incident.

Key Points Relative to Economic Inequality 

  1. Households with more financial buffers will handle a disaster better. The example given is that a household with farm animals for example, can sell those animals if their crop is destroyed. They have a safety net provided by their assets.
  2. “Poverty and inequality drive vulnerability, but even the vulnerable have some capacities to cope with disasters (Wisner, et al., 2012). Strengthening these capacities, so long as they address needs and disaster risk in the long-term, and not simply the short-term, can enable communities to recover from disasters.” (Prevention Web)
  3. Impoverished people have a higher risk during disasters due to the inability to live outside of hazard prone areas. The idea is basically that the wealthy can afford to live in safer areas, and provide more protection for themselves if they choose to live in hazardous areas.

Article Selection

I chose this article because it directly relates to our topic. Basically it discusses how poverty influences the hazards that a community will be faced with. Think of Hurricane Katrina. Yes the US sustained an extensive amount of damage. However, lets apply the same force of Katrina to lets say Haiti. Although the financial destruction may be more in the US, the loss of life will surely be greater in Haiti. They do not have the infrastructure, or the abilities that the US has to respond to a disaster of this magnitude.

Unit 7 – Social Media

Social Media Emergency Management: Advantages and Disadvantages

  1. The main point of this article is how the presence of social media can be extremely helpful in times of emergency.
  2. 2a In order for companies to effectively relay vital information specific to an emergency on social media, the one who runs the account must spend adequate time on the platform to get used to the way things are read and interpreted on social media.
  3. (2b) Social media can be useful to kill off rumors in times of emergency.
  4. (2c) Often times the cons that come with the use of social media in times of disaster can be wiped away through the use of “policy development and practice”.
  5. (3) I chose this article because it seemed to not only give a balanced view on the practical pros and cons of social media, but also offered solutions on how to fix the cons.  I think that aspect of the article is really what grabbed my attention.

Unit 7, Group 4-Social media and disasters

Research and Opinions

The Article I pick that I felt was relevant to the topic was ‘Social media: A mixed blessing for disaster response.’ This article goes into detail about the dangers of disaster information being incorrect or malicious. Causing recovery efforts from the disaster to be hindered.

A few interesting points I found in this article were:

  • Government officials and other organizations use social media to share warnings and disaster information with the public.
  •    Some information cannot be stopped or updated once the information has been sent out. The article talks about how during a tsunami, victims posted how they need help and the information was shared to bring awareness. However, the information could not be taken down once the victims were rescued so officials had trouble telling who was rescued and who still needed help with the repetitive distress posts on social media.
  •  The article also brought up the point that not everyone is looking to help in these situations.  People can be malicious and wish to confuse, disrupt, or otherwise thwart response efforts. Planks and terrorist acts are not uncommon when it comes to what follows a natural disaster.
  • Governments and countries put a lot of funds and work into emergency response systems. It is silly to no use them.

How has social media use increased community preparedness and resilience to disasters? 

Compared to other methods in the past like spreading the word and radio. Social media has a much better method due to the fact that many people use and have access to it in real time all around the world. With social media being at your fingertips at al time, it connects you with millions of people who can be warned or supply help.

How has it contributed to the spread of misinformation or fostered disorganization or panic?

Even though Social media can help against a disaster, it can also create more problems. When false information or misinformed people report on a disaster, this can lead mass hysteria or fails assurance. An example is if a person posts on his social media outlets that he is trapped and needs help but does not try any other method of communication to request help. The odds of the person actually getting help are decreased due to the fact that he did not try to contact help officials directly.

Other Helpful Links:

How To Handle Social Media Content During A Natural Disaster


Embracing Social Media During Natural Disasters


Your tourism megaphone: social media during natural disasters


Social media: A mixed blessing for disaster response


The Power Of Social Media During A Natural Disaster

The Great Shakeout


This article from NBC I found to relevant and important because it comes from a mainstream news company, so this article was surely read by a lot of people, highlighting public education on earthquake hazards. The article focuses on the “Great Shakeout” that occurs every year in October in which 21 million people around the world participate. The shakeout started annually in California and the idea has spread since. Schools around the United States and the world take a pause for a minute to simulate how to respond to a seismic disaster.

This article is relevant for numerous reasons. First of all, it is the largest public education event on earthquake hazards in the United States. In addition, it teaches students and other participants how to react in the case that an earthquake was going to hit their region. Because of the unexpectedness of earthquakes occurring, and many people never having experienced one themselves, how to react to one is the most important part of survival. With an wildfire or a hurricane, you have some sort of notice that it will occur whether it is fire fighters telling you flames could reach you in an hour, or forecasters telling you of a hurricane threat the following week, giving you time to vacate the area and take shelter somewhere safer. With earthquakes there is no warning, besides some areas like Mexico City which have 30 seconds warning from a complex system. By hosting earthquake drills, people will remember how to react in the case of being caught off-guard by an earthquake.

I selected this article because it is important to understand that a drill can make a large difference when the disaster actually strikes. In my second case study, I talked about how the Mexico City earthquake hit just hours after a city wide drill in 2017. With earthquakes often times felt stronger on dry lake beds, Mexico City is at risk to major damage and high human casualties. Due to the luck of having a drill earlier that day, educating the public on how to react in an earthquake saved lives. I think this article is important to the group because this is a major drill held annually, and NBC News did a good job showing how this drill is important in educating earthquake prone areas about how to react in case a big one strikes.