Life Below Zero follows six people as they battle for the most basic necessities in the state with the lowest population density in the United States. Living at the ends of the world’s loneliest roads and subsisting off the rugged Alaskan bush, they battle whiteout snow storms, man-eating carnivores, questionable frozen terrain, and limited resources through a long and bitter winter.
Some of them are lone wolves; others have their families beside them. All must overcome despairing odds to brave the wild and survive through to the spring. And when spring arrives in Alaska, rising temperatures bring mounting challenges as they work to prepare for yet another winter.
Mozambique began three days of national mourning on Wednesday for more than 200 victims of Cyclone Idai, while the death toll in neighboring Zimbabwe rose to more than 100 from one of the most destructive storms to strike southern Africa in decades.
Torrential rains were expected to continue into Thursday and floodwaters were still rising, according to aid groups trying to get food, water and clothing to desperate survivors. It will be days before Mozambique’s inundated plains drain toward the Indian Ocean and even longer before the full scale of the devastation is known.
People have been clinging to trees and huddling on rooftops since the cyclone roared in over the weekend, and aid groups were desperately trying to rescue as many as they can. The United Nations humanitarian office said the town of Buzi, with some 200,000 people, was at risk of becoming at least partially submerged.
The Environment Agency has launched a campaign to ensure North East businesses are prepared for flooding.
Since 1998 there has been at least one serious flood every year with businesses more likely to flood than be destroyed by fire. And with recent events such as 2012’s ‘Thunder Thursday’ hitting businesses hard the Environment Agency is working with them to reduce the impact of a flood.
The campaign launches with an event in Yarm next week and will culminate with an event in North Shields in October.
Reinsurers are particularly concerned about Alberta, where weather storms have been fiercer and less predictable than a bucking bronco.
Published on Canadian Underwriter | By David Gambrill
Once considered a relatively safe place to park capital in a world beset with large-scale catastrophes, Canada is now under scrutiny by the reinsurance community as a place fraught with its own share of natural catastrophe risk.The province is quickly becoming Canada’s poster child for climate risk. Eight out of the 11 most expensive natural catastrophes to hit Canada since 1983 swept through some portion of Alberta; those eight catastrophes accounted for $9.1 billion in claims damage.
They included floods, fires, hail and windstorms; excluding wildfires, a significant chunk of the storm loss activity clusters in the geographic corridor between the major urban centres of Calgary and Edmonton.
Canada is now under scrutiny by the reinsurance community as a place fraught with its own share of natural catastrophe risk.
Alberta has experienced a disproportionate share of the extreme weather catastrophes in Canada over the past decade, causing insurers to question whether the province is a viable place to do business.
Posted on CanadianUnderwriter | By David Gambrill
Storms, hurricanes and floods driven in part by climate change will cost the federal disaster fund $902 million a year over the next five years, well above past averages, the parliamentary budget officer predicted Thursday.
The question was raised Friday at the C4 conference in Ottawa, where a conference panel discussed why the province’s average home insurance premium soared from $500 to $1,500 over the past decade.
“Is Alberta viable as a place to do business of insurance? Is it possible to get the rates adequate? Is it sustainable?”
Joel Baker, president and CEO of MSA Research
Panelists observed that severe weather events arising from climate change, in addition to a major population boom in the province, have resulted in the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry paying out major losses occurring in the province.
Of the approximately $9 billion that the P&C industry paid out in catastrophe claims over the past nine years, 63% of those losses have happened in Alberta.
Governments may need to accept more exposure than they have in the past, likely in the form of more taxpayer funds for disaster assistance programs.
Insurers are set to pay out a record $135 billion to cover losses from natural disasters in 2017, the world’s largest reinsurer said Thursday, driven by the costliest hurricane season ever in the United States and widespread flooding in South Asia.
Posted on The New York times | By Hiroko Tabuchi
Overall losses, including uninsured damage, came to $330 billion, according to the reinsurer, Munich Re of Germany. That tally was second only to 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami in Japan contributed to losses of $354 billion at today’s dollars.
Insured losses from weather-related disasters were at a high, making up most of the $135 billion. Munich Re executives warned that losses would continue to escalate.
“Some of the catastrophic events, such as the series of three extremely damaging hurricanes, or the very severe flooding in South Asia after extraordinarily heavy monsoon rains, are giving us a foretaste of what is to come,” Torsten Jeworrek, a Munich Re board member, said in a statement.
In Europe, unusually low temperatures in April caused billions of dollars in damage to farmers, shrinking some harvests by 50%.
The insurance industry pays out almost £13 million every day for homes and businesses which have suffered damage and loss, but it also contributes to efforts to reduce the chances of customers having to claim in the first place.
Here are ABI’s top ten priorities for reducing the risks posed by flooding and fire.
Protect communities by spending more on building and maintaining flood defences.
In 2015, the Government committed to £2.3 billion of investment in flood defences over a six year period. However spending on equally crucial flood defence maintenance fell by around 40% between 2010-11 and 2014-15. There needs to be a long-term Government commitment to increase both areas of funding to protect communities from the growing threat of flooding.
Protect homes and businesses by increasing the use of flood resilience measures within properties.
Flood defences cannot protect every single property from flooding; individual property owners also need to do more to make their homes and businesses more flood resilient, and understand the benefits of being able to get their lives back to normal quicker next time it floods. This can involve using products to help keep water out of a building, or using materials which allow a property to be easily restored after a flood. Grants to support the installation of these measures and work on certifying products and those who install them need to continue.
Read ABI’s top ten priorities for reducing the risks posed by flooding and fire.
In the past decade, flooding took place in 50 of 53 countries in the WHO European region, with the most severe floods in Romania, Russia, Turkey, and the UK. It is projected that flooding could affect 250 000–400 000 additional people across Europe by the 2080s with the UK and central Europe among the most severely affected.
More than 1000 people were killed by floods and 5-6 million more affected in Europe in the past 10 years alone. As climate change progresses, flooding events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity due to rising sea levels and more frequent and extreme precipitation events, and increased urbanization will expose more people.
The characteristics of floods and their impact on human health have been examined in epidemiological studies from both high-income and low-income countries. Immediate effects of flooding are usually due to drowning, injuries, infections, chemical hazards, and disruption to health services, but the longer term effects are less well understood. In high-income countries, floods cause few deaths; however, mental health problems are estimated to account for 80% of all disability adjusted life-years attributable to floods in the UK.
A systematic mapping review suggested a shortage of research into the mental health effects of fluvial (river) flooding, compared with coastal flooding or tsunami-related or hurricane-related flooding. Therefore, improvement of the understanding of longer-term health effects of flooding and effective methods to mitigate these effects are needed.
In their study in The Lancet Planetary Health, Alice Munro and colleagues address this knowledge gap by using a subset of the data from the UK National Study of Flooding and Health to investigate whether evacuation or displacement were associated with poorer mental health than flooding without evacuation or displacement. Munro and colleagues report a significant association between displacement after the 2013–14 floods and the prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder 1 year after the event. They also found that an increased amount of warning received was protective.
As climate change progresses, attention to public health consequences of extreme weather events and mechanisms to tackle them is urgently needed.
Tanzania aims to better protect its city dwellers from floods and other climate-related threats through an urban resilience program launched this week.
The initiative comes as the country is grappling with the worsening impacts of climate change, such as frequent flooding and recurring drought.
More than half the world’s population now lives in cities, and the United Nations projects that share will rise to 66% by 2050, with close to 90% of the increase taking place in urban areas of Africa and Asia. While this growth will globally create wealth and reduce poverty, analysts say many cities are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, putting lives and property at risk.
Threatened by flooding
In East Africa, Tanzania is bearing the heaviest burden of flooding, which threatens infrastructure assets worth $5.3 billion in Dar es Salaam, the World Bank said at the launch of Tanzania’s urban program Wednesday.
Home to more than 4.5 million people, the nation’s commercial capital is vulnerable to flooding, which cripples the ability of poorer city residents to access clean water and better sanitation.
The new initiative, a collaboration between Britain’s Department for International Development, the World Bank and the Tanzanian government, aims to find ways to cushion people from weather-related disasters, such as identifying flood-prone areas and drawing up preparedness plans.
The program includes strategic actions, such as installing early warning systems, to boost Tanzania’s ability to respond to disasters and help people recover rapidly.
According to the World Bank, the program will use scientific methods to evaluate risks, and install early warning and monitoring equipment to prepare vulnerable communities for emergencies.
“No disaster is entirely natural,” said Edward Anderson, a disaster risk management specialist with the World Bank. “Disaster itself is often a failure in development planning.”
As part of its strategy, the government will develop a “Resilience Academy,” in which the concept of resilience will be taught at university level to help younger generations tackle natural disasters and other threats, officials said.
According to a recent World Bank report on greening Africa’s cities, protecting fast-degrading environments in growing cities like Dar es Salaam can make them more liveable, and help them cope with extreme weather.
“Restoring forest areas and rehabilitating river systems could alleviate urban flooding problems, and make cities more pleasant and productive places to live,” Bella Bird, the World Bank’s country director for Tanzania, told the urban program launch.