Toronto unveils ‘resilience’ strategy to counteract future effects of climate change

The strategy includes other lofty goals: eliminating poverty, building green infrastructure and increasing government transparency.

In the coming years, the city’s climate is expected to become more violent and less predictable. Extreme weather events, like heat waves and violent rainstorms, are projected to become more common.
In the coming years, the city’s climate is expected to become more violent and less predictable. Extreme weather events, like heat waves and violent rainstorms, are projected to become more common.

Climate change will affect weather over Toronto and the city will need to invest in ways to adapt to significant meteorological changes, said the city’s chief resilience officer, Elliott Cappell, who was in charge of writing the 157-page document.

“Toronto is getting hotter, wetter and wilder, and of course that’s a result of climate change”

In the coming years, the city’s climate is expected to become more violent and less predictable. Extreme weather events, like heat waves and violent rainstorms, are projected to become more common. On Sunday, Lake Ontario water levels hit their highest point ever recorded and parts of the Toronto Islands were flooded. It’s the second time in three years that the city has seen such severe flooding.

Read entire post Toronto unveils ‘resilience’ strategy to counteract future effects of climate change on city | Matthew Lapierre | The Glode and Mail
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Major Quebec flooding forces more than 1,500 residents to evacuate

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says governments will need to adapt programs as climate change increases the frequency of serious flooding.

Flooding compensation will be capped at a cumulative total of $100,000, after which the only aid available will be to help move out of the flood zone

Legault says Quebec cannot waste taxpayer money on compensating people for flood damage, only to see the same properties flooded again two or three years later. That is why beginning this year, flooding compensation will be capped by the province at a cumulative total of $100,000, after which the only aid available will be to help move out of the flood zone.

Speaking to reporters today after touring flooded areas in Gatineau, Legault praised the efforts of local residents, provincial authorities and the Canadian Armed Forces in preparing for rising waters.

Read entire post Major Quebec Flooding Forces More Than 1,500 Residents To Evacuate | HuffPost

As tourists frolic in Venice’s rising waters, locals fear for the city’s treasures

On Wednesday, the floor was dry but a yellow sign reading “Attention: Wet Pavement” stood ready by the entrance.

Outside, though, the water still filled St. Mark’s Square. As tourists climbed the steep steps to the basilica’s balcony, the Roman Catholic patriarch of Venice, Msgr. Francesco Moraglia, checked in on his church.

See also Museums are ready for the next natural disaster. Are you?Outside the church, traffic and road rage were in full display on the raised wooden walkways. An American woman elbowed a group of Chinese tourists who sought to cut the line.

On Thursday, high tides brought the water back all across the city, flooding the narrow streets up to people’s ankles and shins. The thumping sound of rolling luggage was replaced by the sandpaper scratching of the yellow, orange and blue plastic bags that tourists bought to cover their shoes and ankles.

> Read entire article As tourists frolic in Venice’s rising waters, locals fear for the city’s treasures | Jason Horowitz | New York Times

70% of Venice covered in water by flooding

Venice frequently floods when high winds push in water from the lagoon, but Monday’s levels were exceptional. The peak level was the highest reached since December 2008, according to Venice statistics.

The last time levels topped 160 centimeters, which had been forecast, was in December 1979.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said a series of underwater barriers being erected in the lagoon, nicknamed Moses, would have prevented the inundation. The project is long overdue, beset by cost overruns and corruption scandals.

Brugnaro said he had requested to speak with the Premier Giuseppe Conte to underline the urgency of the project, which would raise barriers when the tide reaches 43 inches. That happens on average four times a year.

> Read entire article 70 percent of Venice covered in water by flooding | Associated Press | Washington Post

> View more pictures: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/high-water-alert-in-venice-1.3679627

Catastrophic floods may trigger human resettlement away from rivers

Flooding is one of the most damaging natural hazards, and its negative impacts have markedly increased in many regions of the world in recent decades. In the period 1980-2014, floods generated economic losses exceeding $1 trillion and caused more than 226,000 casualties.

A new study by researchers at Uppsala University, published in the journal Science Advances, uses satellite nighttime light data to reveal how flood protection shapes the average distance of settlements from rivers.

Flooding is one of the most damaging natural hazards, and its negative impacts have markedly increased in many regions of the world in recent decades. In the period 1980-2014, floods generated economic losses exceeding $1 trillion and caused more than 226,000 casualties. The increasing trend of global flood losses has mainly been attributed to the increasing exposure of people and assets due to rising populations in flood-prone areas.

> Read entire article Catastrophic floods may trigger human resettlement away from rivers | Homeland Security Newswire

Make it your business to be flood resilient

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.

> Read entire article Make it your business to be flood resilient | GOV.UK

See also

https://resiliencepost.com/2018/08/20/introducing-the-new-supply-chain-continuity-training/

India floods: Worst floods in 100 years

India’s monsoon season started in June, but the death toll in Kerala has soared in the past 24 hours.

Rescuers are battling torrential rains to save residents, with more than 200,000 people left homeless in camps. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the state to see the devastation for himself.

 

Harmful bacteria thrived in post-Hurricane Harvey floodwaters

In addition to wreaking havoc on buildings and infrastructure, urban floodwaters harbor hidden menaces in the form of bacteria that can cause disease.

E. coli levels in two of Houston’s major bayous were significantly elevated in the immediate aftermath of HarveyThe storm flooded numerous wastewater treatment plants, causing widespread discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage.

Raw sewage contains fecal bacteria, like E. coli, and other potential pathogens, such as Salmonella enterica and Clostridium perfringens.

The researchers found that E. coli levels in two of Houston’s major bayous were significantly elevated in the immediate aftermath of Harvey compared with numbers obtained before the hurricane, but gradually decreased over two months after the storm to pre-storm levels.

> Read entire article Harmful bacteria thrived in post-Hurricane Harvey floodwaters | American Chemical Society | SciendeDaily

Resilient infrastructure brings the Mexican community together

Mexico develops its flood-prevention capacity using blue-green infrastructure capable of capturing rainwater and either retaining it for later use or ensuring it is absorbed slowly into the earth, rather than flooding.

Posted on 100 Resilient Cities

Los Coyotes Skatepark
Mexico

For decades ranked as among the largest urban areas in the world, Mexico City is a vibrant metropolis and the oldest capital city in the Americas. As the city grew through the colonial era and into modern times to reach 21 million inhabitants, it was built directly on top of those lakes – a geographic legacy that creates unique and substantial risks and challenges to managing the city’s massive infrastructure.

Combined with a natural topography that hinders the absorption of water, the city faces constantly faces heavy flooding as a result of heavy rainfall, which climate change is making more frequent. Even minor flooding disrupts transportation systems and cause sewers to overflow, significantly impacting the city.

To address this its flood risk, one of the initiatives in Mexico City’s Resilience Strategy aims to develop its flood-prevention capacity using blue-green infrastructure capable of capturing rainwater and either retaining it for later use or ensuring it is absorbed slowly into the earth, rather than flooding. To further improve the resilience dividends of its flood management projects, and pursue other city goals around social cohesion and public spaces, the Strategy specifics that “such projects will also seek to build inclusive public spaces and promote education and awareness about water conservation in cities”.

To date, Mexico City has recovered 50 parks and installed 76 open-air gymnasiums as part of these efforts.

Read entire article Mexico City Builds Resilient Infrastructure that Brings the Community Together | 100 Resilient Cities

The global geopolitics of disaster: The case of the Nepali floods

Medium and low development countries experienced 64% of all disasters globally, but 92% of the deaths and 97% of the populations severely affected by them.

The recent onslaught of flooding created by a succession of devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean and the U.S. southeast has ever-so-slightly heightened the media and political conversation about the effects of global climate change. While this dialogue is obviously beneficial in waking a skeptical public and political system to the rapid development of climate change impacts, it is not a sufficiently deep analysis of the notion of disaster.

Climate change is the most significant consequence of a global economic system that has developed over the past several hundred years, depending as it does on constant expansion of production and consumption with little concern for the planetary system that sustains us. However, climate change isn’t the only human-induced factor that transforms natural events like hurricanes or earthquakes into disasters.

The present structure of the global system is governed by an empire of global capital based on geopolitical inequities and power imbalances that produce varying levels of vulnerability, including those relevant to framing natural events as disasters.

Major environmental disasters: August 2017

Hurricane Harvey is likely to be one of the costliest natural disasters on record for the economy of the United States, with damage from the hurricane to minimally cost tens of billions of dollars, Aon Benfield has reported.

Impact Forecasting, Aon Benfield’s catastrophe model development team, released on Friday its monthly Global Catastrophe Recap report, which evaluates the impact of the natural disaster events that occurred worldwide during August.

Harvey came ashore in Texas on Aug. 25 to become the first major hurricane (a storm rated as either Category 3, 4 or 5) to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Heavy rain continued until Aug. 31, bringing record-breaking rainfall to some areas. Catastrophic flooding ensued across a swath of eastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, as more than 60 people were confirmed dead and dozens more were injured. Additional impacts due to severe thunderstorms and flash floods were noted across the Gulf states (including Alabama, Florida and Mississippi) and Mississippi Valley.

Total economic losses were estimated to minimally reach the tens of billions (in U.S. dollars), “ensuring that Harvey is likely to become one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the U.S.,” the release said. “Preliminary published reports suggest that insured losses – including those paid by private industry and the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program – were likely to well exceed US$10 billion.”

In Canada, the report referenced a slow-moving storm system that prompted heavy rainfall across part of Ontario from Aug. 28 to 29, causing widespread flooding. The worst damage was noted in parts of Windsor, Tecumseh and Essex. Total economic and insured losses were expected to reach into the millions in U.S. dollars.

Elsewhere, Typhoon Hato and Tropical Storm Pakhar both made landfall in China’s Guangdong province within one week of each other, causing considerable damage and loss of life in multiple provinces as well as Macau and Hong Kong. Economic losses from Hato alone were minimally estimated at US$3 billion, while combined insured losses from both storms were estimated at US$535 million.

Other nat cats that occurred worldwide in August include:

  1. More than 1,300 people killed across South Asia due to extensive monsoonal flooding and landslides during August. Throughout India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, tens of millions of people were affected, as approximately one million homes were damaged or destroyed.
  2. Multiple rounds of flooding impacted several Chinese provinces claiming at least 100 lives and generating aggregated economic losses in excess of US$1.2 billion;
  3. Floods in northern Vietnam claimed 40 lives and caused losses of US$88 million;
  4. Torrential rainfall over portions of Africa during August led to at least two significant landslides that claimed an estimated 1,250 lives. The largest of these occurred in Sierra Leone on Aug. 14, where the death toll in Freetown was estimated at approximately 1,050;
  5. Several rounds of severe weather including at least two derechos (windstorms) impacted multiple central European countries through the middle part of August. Widespread property, agricultural and forestry damage was reported from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Economic and insured losses expected to reach well into the hundreds of millions in euros; and
  6. On Aug. 8, a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck China’s Sichuan province, damaging 72,500 homes.

PDF Icon View the full Impact Forecasting August 2017 Global Catastrophe Recap report (PDF)


Source: Canadian Underwriter

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Cyclone Zeus’ loss estimated at 284 million euros

PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data, has disclosed a third loss estimate of 284 million euros for extratropical cyclone Zeus, which affected France on March 6 and 7.

The revised estimate of the property insurance market loss is up from the second loss estimate of 269 million euros, issued by PERILS on June 6, three months after the event. The revised figure is based on actual loss data collected from insurance companies and is issued six months after the event, in line with the PERILS reporting schedule, the organization explained in a press release on Wednesday.

The initial loss estimate, on April 13, was 192 million euros.

In the third loss report, the market loss data are available by CRESTA (Catastrophe Risk Evaluation and Standardizing Target Accumulations) zone and property line of business. This loss footprint information is complemented by gust speed values and loss ratios, which show the incurred loss from Zeus as a percentage of the sums insured, PERILS explained in the release.

“Given its market loss of EUR 284 million, windstorm Zeus ranks as a moderate event on a European scale, as it is a loss figure that would be expected to be reached or exceeded at least once a year,” Luzi Hitz, CEO of PERILS, said in the release. “For the French market alone, however, it represents a more significant event as such a loss would be expected to be reached or exceeded every three years.”

The detailed loss footprint for Zeus released on Wednesday provides new data points relating to the damage to insured property caused by windstorms in France. In addition, it provides new benchmark information for the calibration of existing risk models and thus contributes to a more robust and realistic assessment of European windstorm risk.

Source: Canadian Underwriter