Articles on Natural disasters

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Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Using archaeology to understand the past, present, future of climate change

With the dire consequences of climate change looming, archaeologists recognize the importance of communicating their findings on ancient landscapes and the threats that face vulnerable populations.
President Donald Trump and other federal and state officials tour a mobile home and RV park on Nov. 17, 2018 in the wake of the Camp Fire. Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool

Better forest management won’t end wildfires, but it can reduce the risks – here’s how

Forest management is not a cure-all for wildfires, although it can help reduce the chances of massive burns. Making this happen will require broad collaborative efforts and more money.
Households in rural and regional areas are more likely to be insured than those in cities, possibly because rural residents are more attuned to environmental conditions and the risks to property. Tasmania Police/AAP

Insurance is unaffordable for some, but it’s middle Australia that is underinsured

The differences between owners and the growing number of renters, and between rural and urban areas, point to explanations other than affordability for the one-in-two Australians who are underinsured.
Many California wildfires spread from structure to structure, fed by the winds. Cal Fire

How fierce fall and winter winds help fuel California fires

The dry, hot, downslope Santa Ana winds of Southern California fan late fall wildfires that have largely traveled through – and are fueled by – homes and other structures.
A man walks through a greenhouse in northeastern Uganda where sustainable agriculture techniques such as drought-resistant crops and tree planting are taught, Oct. 19, 2017. AP Photo/Adelle Kalakouti

World hunger has risen for three straight years, and climate change is a cause

After declining for nearly a decade, the number of hungry people in the world is growing again. Climate change, which is disrupting weather patterns that farmers rely on, is a major cause.
Devastation from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Oct. 12, 2018. Residents whose homes have suffered major damage in multiple storms could eventually be offered buyouts, but the process can take several years. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Government-funded buyouts after disasters are slow and inequitable – here’s how that could change

Government agencies spend millions of dollars yearly to buy and demolish homes sited in floodplains. But the program is slow, cumbersome and doesn't always help those who need it most.
The flood damage from Hurricane Harvey, including this Friendswood, Texas, house, will take years to repair. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Want to help after a disaster? Consider waiting a bit

The urge to provide disaster aid is borne out of the best characteristics of humanity. But it's important to consider when to donate to disaster survivors, along with what and to whom to give.
Children are among the most vulnerable victims of any natural disaster. Some 645,000 young Puerto Ricans experienced the trauma of Hurricane Maria. Reuters/Alvin Baez

Hurricane kids: What Katrina taught us about saving Puerto Rico’s youngest storm victims

Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, forever changing the lives of the children who survived. Their stories can help Puerto Rico identify and aid the kids most traumatized by Hurricane Maria.
Some Puerto Ricans had to restore downed power lines themselves after Hurricane Maria. Alvin Baez/Reuters

Puerto Rico has not recovered from Hurricane Maria

It's been one year since a Category 4 storm turned Puerto Rico into a disaster zone. Today, nearly every pillar of society — including the economy, health care and schools — remains hobbled.
Loading new furniture donated to Hurricane Irma survivors in Chokoloskee, Fla.

Sending help where it’s needed most after disasters

The billions of dollars worth of aid dispatched every year to alleviate the suffering and damage after earthquakes and hurricanes would do more good if it didn't get clumped up.
President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in October 2017 following Hurricane Maria. Trump congratulated Puerto Rico for escaping the higher death toll of “a real catastrophe like Katrina.” A new study suggests almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Politics and paper towels: Disputing disaster death tolls

As Trump fumes about the Hurricane Maria death toll, it's clear that politics and political considerations often play an important role in how death toll estimates are communicated to the public.

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