Articles on Natural disasters

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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.
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.
Roberto Clemente State Park employees in New York, with donated bottled water bottles bound for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Want to help after hurricanes? Give cash, not diapers

If you would like to assist from afar, let the professionals procure goods and services.
Assembling sandbags in Virginia Beach, Va., before Hurricane Florence’s arrival. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

How social networks can save lives when disasters strike

Many factors can influence people to evacuate or stay in place when disasters loom. Research using Facebook posts suggests that people with broad social networks are more apt to get moving.
Farm near Seven Springs, North Carolina, surrounded by water on Oct. 25, 1999, nearly six weeks after Hurricane Floyd. AP Photo/Karen Tam

Hurricanes can cause enormous damage inland, but emergency plans focus on coasts

Hurricanes in the southern US have caused widespread damage inland in recent decades, mainly through river flooding. But evacuations and stormproofing focus almost entirely on keeping people safe on the coasts.
Hurricane Florence, as seen over the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 9. NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center/Handout via REUTERS

How meteorologists predict the next big hurricane

How do experts know when and where the next big hurricane is going to hit? A look at the complicated science of forecasting.
Farmers need help to plan for droughts, not just to respond to them when things get desperate. Stephenallen75/Shutterstock.com

To help drought-affected farmers, we need to support them in good times as well as bad

The government has offered emergency payments to drought-stricken farmers. But if we really care about them, we'll also invest in long-term drought resilience measures to reduce impacts.
Firefighters hose down flames from an advancing wildfire July 28, 2018, in Redding, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A high-adrenaline job: 5 questions answered about fighting wildfires

Wildland firefighting has always been a risky job, but development in fire-prone areas is making it more dangerous by putting forest firefighters in situations they are not equipped or trained for.

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