Typhoon Haiyan

November 14, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On Friday November 8th,  super-typhoon Haiyan swept through Tacloban, the provincial capital of the island of Leyte, leaving the city in ruins and its population of more than 200,000 in desperate conditions.  Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, devastated a massive central portion of the Philippines and continued its destructive and deadly path, also making landfall in Vietnam and inflicting more damage and suffering.

SDMI is monitoring the response and will provide updates on response and recovery efforts, as well as contribution information, on our website. You can visit the page here: http://www.sdmi.lsu.edu/typhoon-haiyan/

To date, over 11.8 million people have been affected by Haiyan, including an estimated 2,344 fatalities. President Benigno Aquini III estimates the number could climb as search and rescue operations continue. Those surviving the super-typhoon are currently in desperate need of food, water, and shelter. Of these 11 million, over 900,000 have been displaced in the storms aftermath, some relying on evacuation centers set up for temporary housing. While massive relief efforts are currently underway, blocked roads and poor conditions at some airports have made delivering aid to those in need an extremely difficult proposition.

One of the world’s most massive relief efforts is currently underway to help this area in desperate need. This effort will require support from across the globe to assist in both immediate and long-term recovery. As experts in Disaster Management, with direct experience in catastrophic events, SDMI recognizes that every effort helps in these times of need. To assist and spread the word in the response and recovery mission, SDMI encourages you to consider making any contribution you can, large or small, to any of the international agencies that are providing support to the recovery process.

We encourage you to continue to check back for the latest information on response and ways you can support the recovery from Haiyan.… Read the rest

FBI New Orleans / InfraGard Louisiana / Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) Joint Threat Briefing

October 7, 2014

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SDMI, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Louisiana InfraGard and the Louisiana-State Analytical & Fusion Exchange (LA-SAFE), will host a joint briefing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that focuses on cyber and physical security threats and vulnerabilities to critical infrastructure. The briefing will include special sessions on effective use of cyber ranges, cyber scenarios, response and evidence handling, and electric power grid restoration. The briefing will take place on October 10 at the LSU Business Education Complex from 8am to 3pm. Participation is by invitation only due to limited seating. If you are interested in attending please send an email to Henry “Paco” Capello at SDMI@lsu.edu to request a formal invitation.… Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes Shell Pipeline LC as a Corporate Member

October 3, 2014

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SDMI recently announced Shell Pipeline LC as an SDMI Corporate Member. Corporate members of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute’s Center for Business Preparedness consist of corporations, foundations, and individuals whose passions are aligned with our pursuit of the improvement of emergency management, business continuity, and community resiliency. These organizations and individuals provide the private support needed to sustain these programs and continue to assist our communities in being better prepared and more resilient when disaster strikes.

Shell is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical manufacturers. Shell operate in 50 states and employs more than 22,000 people delivering energy in technically innovative ways.

Joseph Booth, Executive Director of SDMI, is happy to have Shell Pipeline as a member of the SDMI family. “SDMI welcomes Shell Pipeline as its latest corporate sponsor,” says Booth. “Shell Pipeline has a substantial presence in Louisiana and we are happy to partner with them to advance the science and practice of disaster management. I am looking forward to working closely with them on meaningful projects that will have lifesaving affects.”

Corporate Memberships make it possible for SDMI to research and develop current and relevant disaster knowledge, and to provide executive-level leadership education to the next generation of disaster managers, as well as business, volunteer, and government leaders. The memberships also ensure that SDMI will continue to be available to our University, state, and region as an international disaster resource center as we continuously improve disaster knowledge and education for our country.

For more information on how you can help support the mission of the Stephenson Disaster Management Insitute, contact Pat Santos at 225-578-7853 .… Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes Sid Fuchs as a Senior Fellow

September 18, 2014

Fuchs Official Executive Photo

SDMI is pleased to announce Sid Fuchs has joined SDMI as its newest Senior Fellow. Since 2011, Fuchs has been the President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of MacAulay-Brown, Inc., a leading National Security company that provides advanced engineering services and product solutions to Defense, Intelligence, Special Operations Forces, Homeland Security and Federal agencies. Fuchs is a nationally recognized business leader with over 25 years experience in a variety of markets, industries and business models that include government, commercial, international, investment, and academia with a history of developing exceptional teams, strategies, operations and results.

“As a native of Louisiana and graduate of LSU, it is truly an honor to join an Institute that was born out of the College’s outstanding response to those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” said Fuchs. “I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at SDMI to help the Nation prepare for the next disaster.”

Although recently appointed at the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, Fuchs is no stranger to Louisiana State University. He earned BS (1984) and MS (1987) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from LSU. In 2013, Fuchs was appointed by LSU to the position of Executive in Residence for the LSU College of Engineering and in 2012, was inducted into the Louisiana State University College of Engineering Hall of Distinction in recognition of his lifetime of achievements and contributions to the engineering profession. Fuchs is also the current Chairman of the LSU Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Board of Advisors.

SDMI Executive Director Joseph Booth said of Fuchs joining the SDMI family, “Sid Fuchs is a wonderful addition to our Senior Fellows bench.  Sid has enjoyed enormous success as a result of hard work, a sharp mind, and willingness to take risks.  He is a respected leader and innovator who I will count on for thought leadership.… Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes Waguespack Insurance as a Corporate Member

September 10, 2014

Waguespack Photo

SDMI is delighted to announce Waguespack Insurance as an SDMI Corporate Member. Corporate members of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute’s Center for Business Preparedness consist of corporations, foundations, and individuals whose passions are aligned with our pursuit of the improvement of emergency management, business continuity, and community resiliency. These organizations and individuals provide the private support needed to sustain these programs and continue to assist our communities in being better prepared and more resilient when disaster strikes.

Waguespack Insurance is an independent agency that handles all types of commercial and personal insurance. Waguespack Insurance is dedicated to not only providing quality insurance to its customers, but also providing tools and information to help businesses succeed.

Tim Waguespack, President of Waguespack and Associates, Ins., Inc., is excited to announce this partnership with SDMI. “Waguespack Insurance is delighted to become a corporate member of SDMI. SDMI and its Center for Business Preparedness is focused on community and business resiliency and we see this partnership as a way to serve our clients and help their businesses become more prepared in the face of disasters and business interruption.”

Corporate Memberships make it possible for SDMI to research and develop current and relevant disaster knowledge, and to provide executive-level leadership education to the next generation of disaster managers, as well as business, volunteer, and government leaders. The memberships also ensure that SDMI will continue to be available to our University, state, and region as an international disaster resource center as we continuously improve disaster knowledge and education for our country.

For more information on how you can help support the mission of the Stephenson Disaster Management Insitute, contact Pat Santos at 225-578-7853 or Lauren Bourg at 225-578-7668.… Read the rest

Turning the Tech Tide. SDMI Featured in Baton Rouge Business Report

September 9, 2014

SDMI and the newly-established Transformational Technology and Cyber Research Center (TTCRC) was recenlty featured in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. The story highlights the importance of technology in Louisiana ,the role of the research center, and its close relationship with the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute.

 “The role of the TTCRC will be to raise money and attract private grant funds. In that endeavor, it will work closely with the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, among others. SDMI has been one of LSU’s great success stories in recent years. Founded after Hurricane Katrina with a $25 million donation from Emmet and Toni Stephenson, the institute has become a national leader in the field of major disaster management, developing practices, protocols and attracting companies that are coming up with useful tools and products in that all-important arena.” - Stephanie Riegel

For the full article, click here: Turning the Tech Tide

Read the rest

SDMI Discusses Cybersecurity and How to Protect Your Business

September 5, 2014

SDMI’s Information Systems Program Manager, Henry “Paco” Capello, recently sat down with The Advocate to discuss cybersecurity risks that small businesses face and the steps SDMI is taking to bring awareness to this issue and ensure these businesses are protected.

Capello, and SDMI, are spreading the word that even the smallest firm or business can easily take the steps necessary to minimize the impact of a cyber attack, and do so on a very small budget.

“One of the things we wanted to share is that we want small businesses to know we’re a resource for them,” Capello said. “We’re looking for what kind of training they need, and we’re going to set it up and provide it for them.”

For the full article and a list of steps your business can take to protect from a cyber attack, click here: Businesses Face Increased Risk of Hacking

 … Read the rest

On the Nine Year Anniversary of Katrina, SDMI Announces a Year Long Series looking back at the State of Disaster Management and how it has Changed Since Katrina

August 29, 2014

Hurricane Katrina, Thinking Back and Looking Ahead

August 29, 2014 marks the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall.  This seminal event was actually a series of events that lasted weeks; cascades of consequences that wreaked havoc against best efforts and laid bare lapses in planning and preparedness.  Katrina devastated 90,000 square miles, local economies, and countless lives, killing some 1,836 souls.

Born as a result of Hurricane Katrina, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute begins a yearlong look at lessons learned, or not, since Hurricane Katrina as we start the countdown to the ten year anniversary.  We will host a variety of publications by leading subject matter experts over the next year looking back on the costly experiences of Hurricane Katrina and looking forward to what we can expect with the expected trends in climate change, coastal and urban population migration, aging infrastructure and other factors which influence disaster resiliency.

Although Hurricane Katrina will be a central point for examination, our focus will not be on Louisiana only.  Instead, we will examine how far we have come as a nation in dealing with the subject of disaster in terms of resiliency and surviving what is often a known and foreseeable risk.  We will culminate our yearlong look with a set of findings and recommendations.  It is our hope that what we will share over the next year will add to the ability of government, business, and private citizens to be better prepared to face the next Katrina like event.

We asked Bill Read, former Director of the National Hurricane Center and SDMI Senior Fellow, to give us his insights and observations, beginning with a look at critical infrastructure resilience on the gulf coast.

Tropical meteorologists’ ability to provide forecasts and warnings in advance of land falling tropical cyclones has increased significantly since 1990. 

Read the rest

Nine Years Since Katrina. SDMI & Senior Fellow, Bill Read, Discuss Hurricane Resiliency

August 29, 2014

 

Challenges in Achieving Hurricane Resiliency for Critical Infrastructure

Bill Read

Former Director, National Hurricane Center

Senior Fellow, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute

 

Introduction

The word “resilience’ has gotten a lot of usage of late, particularly when in reference to recovery from disaster.  Resiliency means different things to different people.  The Oxford Dictionary defines resiliency as:

1.The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity:
‘nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience’

2. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness:
‘the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions’

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is similar:
1. ‘the ability of a body to regain its original size and shape after being compressed, bent, or stretched: ELASTICITY’
2. ‘the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change’

The National Academy of Science (NAS) defines resilience as:

“One way to reduce the impacts of disasters on the nation and its communities is to invest in enhancing resilience–the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events.” Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, National Academies of Science, 2012

For the purposes of this paper, I will use the NAS definition.

Tropical meteorologists’ ability to provide forecasts and warnings in advance of land falling tropical cyclones has increased significantly since 1990.  As the graph (Fig 1) shows, we currently provide a track forecast that is more accurate at 72 hours than it was at 24 hours in 1990.  While forecasting the strength of hurricanes has not enjoyed the same level of success, focused research is showing much promise for the coming decade.  The impacts from tropical cyclones; storm surge, destructive winds, and flooding rains, are forecast with more accuracy now due to advances in computing technology and better observing platforms such as satellites and Doppler radar. … Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes The DRC Group as a Corporate Member

August 21, 2014

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SDMI is delighted to announce The DRC Group as SDMI’s newest Corporate Member. Corporate members of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute’s Center for Business Preparedness consist of corporations, foundations, and individuals whose passions are aligned with our pursuit of the improvement of emergency management, business continuity, and community resiliency. These organizations and individuals provide the private support needed to sustain these programs and continue to assist our communities in being better prepared and more resilient when disaster strikes.

The DRC Group is among the leading disaster management groups in the United States providing emergency preparation, response, and recovery from major catastrophes. The primary mission of DRC is professional, honest, and immediate response to natural and man-made disasters throughout the world.

DRC has developed extensive experience and capabilities in emergency response and recovery over the last twelve years including, but not limited to: Disaster Management and Relief Services, Debris Management, Demolition, Marine Debris/Salvage/Recovery, Vehicle and Vessel Removal, Technical Assistance and Project Management, Temporary Housing, Workforce Housing and Life Support, Construction and Construction Management, Landfill Management, Civil, Heavy and Vertical Construction, and Oil Spill Response and Recovery.

Kristy Fuentes, Director of Sales and Marketing for The DRC Group, says her company is delighted to team up with SDMI. “The DRC Group is very excited to become a Corporate Member of the Stephenson Disaster Management Instiutte,” says Fuentes. ” SDMI has already helped us with a major project involving debris planning for one of our large contracts and they were instrumental in introducing us to a key subcontractor. We believe their experience, knowledge, capabilities and network ability will be valuable to us. We look forward to expanding our relationship with SDMI and building a strong, long-term partnership.”

Corporate Memberships make it possible for SDMI to research and develop current and relevant disaster knowledge, and to provide executive-level leadership education to the next generation of disaster managers, as well as business, volunteer, and government leaders.… Read the rest

SDMI Hosts Visitors from South American Universities

August 20, 2014

SDMI is currently hosting visitors from the  University Network of Latin America and Caribbean Risk Reducation and Disaster Emergency (REDULAC/RRD) sponsored by USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to showcase Louisiana’s disaster and emergency management capabilities.

SDMI will introduce the South American delegation of professors, university administrators and USAID/OFDA LAC staff members to federal, state and local, including university-level, programs that are in place in Louisiana to help  better prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters. The group will visit agencies and organizations responsible for disaster planning and response activities, and will discuss with university faculty and staff disaster- and resiliency -related programs that have been incorporated into the university curricula.

“SDMI is pleased to welcome USAID and the distinguished Latin American university delegation to LSU,” says Joseph Booth, Executive Director of SDMI. “We are happy to host their visit and exchange information and experiences regarding how universities can contribute to disaster resiliency and recovery. We are hopeful these new relationships can be continued into an ongoing dialogue, as well as joint engagements to develop and improve strategies to mitigate the effects of disasters.”

The REDULAC delegation will also visit with officials and faculty from Dillard University that was impacted by Hurricane Katrina to discuss continuity of operations and emergency management for institutions of higher learning and see the ongoing revitalization of post-Katrina New Orleans. During their visit to Baton Rouge, the group will see Lousiana State University programs that conduct  research and support disaster resiliency and response efforts.

Sidney Velado, Regional Advisor for the USAID- OFDA Office for Latin America and the Caribbean has great expectations for their visit to SDMI and Louisiana. “This  exchange will enrich professors from South Amecian universities, as  it will highlight the role of the academia in disaster risk reduction, knowledge generation through applied research, and partnerships with government, the private sector,  and first response agencies,” says Velado.… Read the rest