Tag Archives: Disaster Resiliency

GREAT EAST JAPAN EARTHQUAKE & TSUNAMI REMEMBRANCE EVENT 

SEATTLE, WA – Tuesday, March 11th, 2014, marks the third anniversary of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit the Tohoku region of Japan producing a massive tsunami that killed an estimated 18,000 people, caused $122B dollars of damage, and led to the eventual meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The environmental, social, and economic impacts of this historic disaster will be felt for decades.

To commemorate the on-going crisis and celebrate the resiliency of the Japanese people, Moontown Foundation and KING5 TVs Lori Matsukawa are hosting a special information session and screening of Canadian media activist and filmmaker Ian MacKenzie’s short film Reactor, a meditative, deliberate, quietly powerful half-hour glimpse into the uncharted new world of post-Fukushima Japan.

Choosing not to dwell on the magnitude 9.0 Tōhoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami nearly three years ago — and the subsequent nuclear catastrophe that has supplanted Chernobyl as the worst disaster of the Atomic Age — it’s about the response, as the initial shock fades and long-term repercussions and a new reality permeate the nation’s consciousness.

Reactor – Trailer from Ian MacKenzie on Vimeo.

Ultimately, it’s an exploration of humanity and what connects us all. Its beauty resides in its subtlety, in the equanimity and restraint exemplified by the Buddhism of its central character and emotional core, yogi/teacher/activist Michael Stone; there’s no tub-thumping (though drums are struck in a protest on the streets of Tokyo). MacKenzie lets the story tell itself, through articulate voices — a protestor, an academician, an activist — offering detail and context.

The most haunting words are softly, plaintively spoken by Hiroshima survivor Keiko Ogura, who says “I feel so sorry for Fukushima people” after describing the horror she witnessed as an 8-year-old — the flash of the atomic bomb’s detonation like “a thousand suns.” A final, intensely personal message of hope and call for action is tempered by the reality that a new government has reversed course and is doubling down on Japan’s nuclear future.

EVENT DETAILS:
Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Time: 6-7PM, Reception; 7-9PM, Screening and Discussion
Admission: $25 Private Reception; $15 General Admission
Location: Wing Luke Museum, 719 South King St., Seattle, WA 98104
Tickets: Brown Paper Tickets 

Light appetizers and refreshments provided. Special musical guest Buckman Coe. Interpretive services upon request. Seating capacity limited.

About Ian Mackenzie
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ian Mackenzie is a video journalist, media activist, and documentary filmmaker. Mackenzie’s work has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic TV, Canadian Broadcasting Channel, Adbusters, and film festivals around the world. He co-produced Velcrow Ripper’s feature documentary Occupy Love (2013). Sacred Economics (2012), produced in collaboration with author Charles Eisenstein, is one of his most popular web films. Ian’s short film, The Revolution Is Love (2011) was named one of the top 10 films chronicling the Occupy Movement of 2011. In 2010, he released One Week Job, an inspirational story about a guy who worked 52 jobs in 52 weeks to find his passion. The project received widespread attention from the New York Times and CNN. To learn more visit www.ianmack.com.

About Buckman Coe
Buckman Coe is a Yogi, Soul, Folk and Reggae Artist from Vancouver, British Columbia. With a background in Human Geography and Counseling Psychology, his lyrics show a keen understanding of human emotion; a concern for the Earth and his music reflects a Zen-like calm and inner peace. Coe favors bright, shimmering melodies in the style of Paul Simon and Neil Young. His voice is a gossamer falsetto that recalls the grace and elegance of the late Jeff Buckley. His lyrics eschew the simplistic rhyming couplets of much folk music for intricate and sometimes subversive passages that go much deeper than the easy-listening veneer of his melodies. To learn more visit www.buckmancoe.com.

Occupy Sandy: 7.5 Months Later

Just days after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Cost, killing 72 and causing over $50 billion in damage, the Storm Surge production team met up with members of Occupy Sandy to see firsthand how volunteers mobilized to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Occupy Sandy General Assembly Meeting
Image: Stacy Noland

Tomorrow, June 14th, the group will host a debriefing meeting to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and identify recommendations for those who get involved in grassroots disaster relief in the future.

As a lead up to the event, Occupy Sandy released this short video to raise awareness.

Occupy Sandy Debrief

If you can’t make it to NYC and want to participate remotely you can watch the livestream at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/4360121/events/2171140.

One After Another After Another

The United States experiences more than 1,000 tornadoes a year.

While most storms are weak and occur in sparsely populated areas, recent storms have inflicted heavy casualties in more populated regions of the country. Moore, OK, Tuscaloosa, AL, and Joplin, MO are the most recent communities to suffer.

Tornado_Courtesy of Gene Robertson
Image: Gene Robertson, PDS Storm Chasers

Tornadoes form when large air masses of different temperatures collide; when cold, dry air runs into warm moist air, which rises, condenses into heavy rain, and then falls in powerful downdrafts.   These conditions occur most often in the Great Plains, where the high altitude jet stream from the west converges with warm, moist air moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, and warm, dry air from the southwest.

One week after a devastating tornado hit the southern Plains of Oklahoma; a similar weather pattern is being repeated.

Earlier today the NWS Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate to severe threat warning for thunderstorms, tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds, Wednesday afternoon and evening for parts of the central and southern Plains, including parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

If you live in the areas of high risk, please be alert to changing weather conditions.  Look for the following danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.

If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.

How do you end a story about a day that will live forever?

Do you tell the death count of 24 or describe the estimated $2 billion damage to some 12,600 homes?

Do you reminisce about all the times you spent sitting in a musty cellar full of old people telling their own tornado ghost stories that frightened and intrigued you all at the same time?

Or do you admit that you intended to interview the mother of a dead boy but after watching 30 minutes of her agonizing struggle to condense 10 years of a good boy’s life into two minutes of network news, you retreated and gave both of you a break from tornado exhaustion?

Oklahoma’s Windswept Pain – by Sheila Bright

How to Survive & Thrive After Sandy

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, we had the great fortune of being introduced to and spending time with Kindra Arensen, a mother, wife to a commercial fisherman, and the so-called Erin Brockovick of Southern Louisiana. 

Thomas Jefferson Community Leadership Award winner for her work advocating on behalf of thousands of commercial fishermen who lost their livelihoods, as well as their health in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill, Kindra is a straight up rock star, with universally recognized YouTube videos capturing her frank, angry and emotional accounts of her husband and other fishermen getting sick during cleanup.

In 2010, Australian 60 Minutes featured her in a piece on the after effects of the oil spill, suggesting, “This is going to affect the entire world.”  With more  than 300 interviews behind her, she’s still fighting both public and media perception of the disaster.  With a strong eye focused two the media.  “It’s a huge picture, and a picture’s worth 1,000 words.  If it’s not painted correctly, that’s one of the problems I have with the media,” she said.

In addition to the technological disaster caused by BP, Kindra has experienced her fair share of natural disasters, namely Hurricanes Dennis, Gustav, Isaac, Ivan, Katrina, Lili, Rita, and Tropical Storm Lee.  She recently shared some insights on how best to cope in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  

In her own words:

WOW Sandy slammed the east coast, the photos look like what we walked upon 7 years ago after Katrina. Most of the folks that have been hit by this storm may have never dealt with something of this magnitude.

So I will offer the following.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Call or go online & register with FEMA.
  3. Hold on to as much cash as possible.
  4. You may be thinking omg how will I pay my bills, when you have some time call all of the companies that you have loans with and ask that they differ your payments, the last thing you need is collection calls.
  5. Remove all auto pays from your accounts.
  6. Within the first week officials will approve food stamps, registering online makes the process a little faster. I know some will not want to access fs, but right now everything will help.
  7. File claims with your home owners, flood insurance, and car insurance & on anything that has been hit.
  8. Register for email updates with your local government.
  9. Some churches will help with many things. After Katrina a church in Fla provided a home for our family for 6 months, I don’t know what we would have done without the assistance of the churches.
  10. Remember everyone will be under a tremendous amount of stress.
  11. So loved ones may be snappy. This will put a strain on many relationships. Love each other trough the madness, you will be stronger for it.
  12. If you have children, try not to watch storm coverage while they are present.

I wish someone would have told me the above when we were hit by Katrina. This situation will stay with those hit for the rest of their life, but life does go on. I hope this helps some.

Our thoughts & prayers are with you…

Kendra Arnesen

The Perfect $1 Billion Storm

With Hurricane Sandy churning from the South, an early winter storm barreling in from the West, arctic air sweeping in from the North and a full-moon affecting the tides, the mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern Canada, are set for a “perfect storm” early next week.   The convergence of weather has the potential to produce $1 billion or more in damage.

If you or someone you know lives within the projected areas, please share the following disaster preparedness information, as suggested by National Hurricane Center.

Before a Hurricane

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.

After a Hurricane

  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
    • FEMA has established the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS), which has been developed to help reunite families who are separated during a disaster. The NEFRLS system will enable displaced individuals the ability to enter personal information into a website database so that they can be located by others during a disaster.
    • The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed¬ out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering – the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful

Last night we watched a screening of Academy Award®-winning director Jonathan Demme’s documentary film, I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful.  The film profiles Carolyn Parker, a fearless civil rights activist and resident of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, and her five-year crusade to rebuild her beloved house, her church, her community — and her life — after Hurricane Katrina.  Her courage and resiliency are inspirational.

by Jonathan Demme

Watch I’m Carolyn Parker – Trailer on PBS. See more from POV.

What would you do if you had to walk in her shoes for five years?

This inspirational portrait documentary film can be seen online at PBS through December 13, 2012.