NCDP Perspectives

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4 ways Congress can hit the reset button on disaster preparedness

The American Flag flies at half staff before a Congressional remembrance ceremony for the events of 9/11 on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This post was originally published on December 17, 2016 in The Hill. Recently, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through April of next year. The final bill also included $170 million to address some of the infrastructure issues causing the lead exposure in drinking water in Flint, Mich. In addition, disaster-affected areas such as those hit by Hurricane Matthew, the floods in Baton Rouge, and others were given $4.1 billion in disaster assistance. The passage of this would be laudable were it not coming nearly a year after the governor of Michigan declared Flint to be in a State of Emergency and nearly five months after the historic 1,000-year flooding event in Louisiana. This is a cycle repeated after disasters, where emergency managers and responders are left in limbo over how to plan and pay for disasters because existing funding mechanisms are insufficient. At its core, this is a structural issue, rooted in a lack of legislative preparedness that directly impacts our ability to prepare for, respond

February 3, 2017

Resilient Children/Resilient Communities: A Roadmap for National Disaster Resilience


This post was originally published on November 7, 2016 in The Hill Congress blog. In 2010 our center, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, published findings based on research conducted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina describing children as the “bellwethers” of disaster recovery. To put it simply, if one wants to know how a community is doing after a disaster, look to the children. If they are doing okay, then the community is probably doing okay.

December 16, 2016

Domestic terror and the race for the White House

Members of New York's National Guard stand next to a tent structure, back left, while a member of the NYPD Counterterrorism Division, monitors outside Penn Station during a joint anti-terrorism drill on Friday, July 27, 2012 in New York.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

This post was originally published on June 20, 2016 in The Hill – Contributors. Over the past year we have seen acts of terror perpetrated by individuals in Orlando and San Bernardino inspired by

July 15, 2016

Climate Change and Geopolitics: What’s Really at Stake

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2011 file photo, the remains of a carp is seen on the lake dried out lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake in San Angelo, Texas.  Global warming is rapidly turning America into a stormy and dangerous place, with rising seas and disasters upending lives from flood-stricken Florida to the wildfire-ravaged West, according to a new U.S. federal scientific report released Tuesday, May 6, 2014.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

This post was originally published on February 9, 2016 in The Huffington Post blog. By most accounts, December’s international climate conference in Paris was an unexpected and landmark success. Virtually every nation on earth now understands what’s at stake and all have reached common understanding about what needs to be done to slow the advance of unmitigated planetary warming. Still, in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence that dangerous levels of planetary warming and human-induced climate change are real, hard-core resistance to well-established science remains a challenge. Particularly disconcerting is the fact that the ranks of the “climate deniers” include too many influential political and policy leaders. That is not to say that every question about the impact of climate change is scientifically settled. For instance, how does climate change affect the intensity or frequency of coastal storms? And what is the relationship between climate change and weather patterns? Our sense

June 24, 2016