Manila rolls out its La Niña Implementation Plan

The Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) rolled out the first phase of the city's La Niña Implementation Plan to ensure proper coordination and the safety of the general public.
In a statement, the MDRRMO said, its objectives include the conduct of risk assessment and analysis in all affected areas, determine vulnerabilities and provide continuous advisories and warnings to constituents on passable routes, evacuation centers, danger and safe zones as well as other pertinent information.
Under its implementation, MDRRMO will lead and organize teams to conduct emergency preparedness response and management operations. This includes support and close coordination with the department's Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
In line with this, MDRRMO will also conduct inspections for early warning systems to provide redundancy and avoid false alarms. This will pave way to the evaluation of the city's capabilities, inventory of its assets and available vehicles for response operations.
As a preventive measure, the Barangays together with the Department of Public Services (DPS) Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) and other agencies shall continue to conduct declogging operations and sewage maintenance activities to help control and minimize flooding in communities and main roads.
Earlier this year, the Manila City government purchased about 80 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) rescue boats which can effectively aid rescue operations and can be strategically deployed in low-lying areas.
According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Association (MMDA) Flood Control Division, there are 31 major creeks across the six districts, wherein 11 are in the first and second district; 9 in the third and fourth districts; and 11 in the fifth and sixth districts.
MDRRMO shall also be responsible in providing situational reports to the Office of the Civil Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council.
Meanwhile, the Manila Barangay Bureau shall provide manpower augmentation and maintain the peace and order within communities.
To assist in search and rescue operations and to lead fire emergency situations during La Niña, MDRRMO coordinated with the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Furthermore, DEPW shall assist in restoration of power lines to avoid accidents and cases of electrocution. The department shall also be in charge of construction of additional evacuation centers if deemed necessary.
Moreover, DPS shall deploy its personnel to conduct clean-up operations and maintenance activities in evacuation and rescue centers.
To ensure safe, secure and accessible evacuation sites, the Manila Department of Social Welfare (MDSW) shall provide temporary shelters for the evacuees. MDSW shall also be in charge of relief distribution and camp management.
The Manila Health Department (MHD) shall play a vital role in the provision of medical treatment and control procedures to ensure safety especially if the situation occurs during the pandemic outbreak.
Overall, MDRRMO shall coordinate, monitor and establish guidelines and measures to effectively prevent drastic effects, publish early forecasts to allow the local government to provide multi-sectoral support and mitigate environmental and economic risks.

New Report: Cities at risk – Building a resilient future for the world’s urban centres

A new report has been published by Lloyds, focusing on cities trends.
Cities are now the most important entities in society. More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas and this is projected to reach two-thirds by 2050, and they are the engines of the global economy.
Yet cities all over the world are facing multiple challenges, such as climate change, cyber risks and pandemics, and are looking to strengthen their resilience.
This new Lloyd’s report, commissioned before COVID-19 and published in collaboration with Urban Foresight and Newcastle University, provides a comprehensive analysis of the risks’ cities are facing and will face in the future. It looks at their impacts and how urban areas can protect themselves from these threats.
It also suggests ways in which insurers and the relevant authorities could work together to build resilience, reduce risks and develop new insurance products and services that meet cities’ risk needs. This study helps city administrators and risk managers, as well as Lloyd’s market insurers and brokers, understand the risks that will influence the design and function of cities in the coming decade, and how insurance product development could respond to these changes.

UN maritime agency hit by cyber attack

The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations arm that regulates global shipping, said its London headquarters has been hit by a cyberattack that brought down its website and internal web-based services.

The incident disclosed a security breach that the agency categorized as a 'sophisticated cyber-attack' against its IT systems, was discovered and impacted the IMO public website and other web-based services, the UN agency said in a press release.

The hack was the latest in what appear to be a increasing number of cyberattacks on companies and organizations around the world this year. It follows a malware attack that hit containership company CMA CGM SA last weekend, crippling the French carrier’s booking and electronic communications network.

“The interruption of web-based services was caused by a sophisticated cyber-attack against the Organization’s IT systems that overcame robust security measures in place.” continues the statement.

IMO did not share technical details about the attack, the Secretariat is working with international security experts to identify the source of the attack, and further enhance the security of its infrastructure.

It is unclear if the IMO was hit by ransomware, a website defacement, or its website was used for a watering hole attack, a type of attack where hackers host malicious code on the IMO website in an attempt to trick IMO members and visitors into downloading and infecting themselves with malware.

Sustainable and resilient supply chains crucial to COVID-19 recovery

Through a joint statement on the crucial importance of resilient and sustainable integrated supply chains to the global recovery from COVID-19, ICAO and seven other UN bodies have encouraged States to realize more effective coordination and cooperation between the transport modes, and across borders.

“We are calling on all Governments to maximize the contribution of international trade and supply chains to a sustainable socio-economic recovery in post-COVID-19 times, through greater use of international legal instruments and standards, as well as strengthened regional and sectoral cooperation,” declared ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.

The statement was signed by Dr. Liu and the heads of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (UNECLAC), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA).

It points to a number of specific mechanisms, such as the United Nations TIR Convention and its eTIR International System, the CMR Convention and its eCMR Protocol and the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), and international standards for data exchange, such as those developed by UN/CEFACT, noting that “these instruments allow for moving cargo across borders without requiring physical checks and for reducing contact between people.”

For air transport specifically, States have been invited to follow the key principles presented in the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Report and implement its recommendations and guidelines.

“We are encouraging States to take a risk-based approach to restoring connectivity with minimal restrictions while preventing the spread of COVID-19, protecting the health and safety of drivers, crew and border agency personnel,” Dr. Liu recalled.

Here, the implementation of Public Health Corridors (PHC) will be of special importance to ensuring “COVID-19 free” flight operations.

The joint statement builds on the momentum launched by ICAO in the very earliest days of the pandemic to ensure the safe, secure, and sustainable restoration of air connectivity. This momentum includes the development and then universal and cost-free provision of key technical guidance, and continuous advocacy for the pivotal importance of air transport to both recovery from the pandemic and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

ICAO is also providing States with assistance in regard to the implementation of its COVID-19 recovery materials, including through the organization of webinars. A webinar series on air cargo digitalization, which is scheduled to kick off on 29 September 2020, will directly support the achievement of the objectives of this joint statement.

OSCE and UNECE join forces in enhancing cyber resilience of intelligent transport systems

The OSCE and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) held a roundtable discussion on enhancing cyber resilience of intelligent transport systems for both private and public sectors on 8 September 2020 in Geneva.

Discussions focused on the various types of cyber threats posed to intelligent transport systems, and methodologies available to governments to address critical security risks.

“Given the complexity and vulnerability of intelligent transport systems to cyberattacks, it is important to develop a coherent security approach involving co-operative efforts of the international community as well as both the public and private sectors,” said Eni Gjergji, Economic Advisor in the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

Over 100 representatives of ministries of transport and other relevant agencies, cyber security experts from the automotive, IT and telecommunication sectors from the Euro-Asian region participated.  Participants took stock of the various types of emerging risks and threats to intelligent transport systems in view of digitalization processes, enhanced inter-connectivity of vehicle and transport infrastructure IT systems and automation.

François E. Guichard, Secretary of the Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, UNECE Sustainable Transport Division, said that the security of intelligent transport systems would benefit from the recently adopted UN Regulation on cyber security, which introduces stringent requirements that manufacturers of different types of vehicles (cars, vans, trucks, buses, trailers, etc.) will have to comply.

“We are pleased to observe that the adoption of this Regulation is already stimulating the development of the cyber security ecosystem that is needed to address those risks, given the increased connectivity and complexity of vehicles and of the technologies delivering ITS,” said Guichard.

Ways of capturing the benefits of new technologies without compromising the safety and other progresses achieved during the last decade in the inland transport systems were also discussed.

Resilience of rail infrastructure – Interim report following the derailment at Stonehaven

The derailment of a passenger train near Carmont on 12 August 2020 was a tragedy for the families and friends of the three people who lost their lives and will have a lasting effect on those injured and involved in responding, as well as the wider railway industry. It has raised questions about the resilience and safe performance of the railway, and how the risk of such an event happening again can be minimised.

Emerging findings from the investigations suggest that a significant contributing factor to the derailment was heavy rainfall washing material onto the track. Therefore, the report commissioned by the Secretary of State for Transport seeks to provide an initial review of the resilience of rail infrastructure, in particular in the context of severe weather. Because of the nature of events that led to the derailment at Carmont, the report focuses on the resilience of earthworks and drainage infrastructure to heavy rainfall.

It is critical to understand fully what went wrong, what is being done now and what more can and should be done. It is a look at the current approach, procedures and risk; the immediate and longerterm plans and actions; and initial consideration of next steps.

While the report in no way pre-empts the outcome of formal independent investigations being carried out by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, or those by the Office of Rail and Road, British Transport Police and Police Scotland into the tragedy on Wednesday 12 August, the initial findings suggest that, after a period of heavy rainfall, the train struck a pile of washed-out rock and gravel before derailing.

The interim report assesses the current controls and management of thousands of miles of earthworks – the sloped ground beside railway tracks – and sets out how the industry plans to reduce the risk of landslips on the network in the future.

The report highlights the need for an increased focus on deploying technology across the network to predict failures and investment in better forecasting to enable local decisions for imminent weather events. Network Rail’s extensive research and development portfolio is helping to accelerate the development and deployment of this technology.

Key findings also suggest that industry rules for reporting and responding to adverse rainfall will be improved and strengthened, helping signallers better manage services during bad weather. Other plans include discussions with meteorologists to understand how real-time information can be better used to inform train operations about unpredictable extreme weather.

Britain’s railway is one of the safest in Europe and that safety record is underpinned by the resilience of our assets and the rigour of our management system. However, the increasingly clear implications of climate change mean that we must and will do more. This is particularly important with respect to how we operate the railway and the wider deployment of technology.

The full Interim Report can be downloaded here >>

Climate change-fueled weather disasters: Costs to state and local economies

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that between 2005 and 2019, the federal government, including FEMA and other agencies, has spent at least $450 billion on weather disaster assistance, an average of $30 billion per year (GAO 2019). It is easy to imagine that, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a similar level of aid may not be available for weather disaster assistance.

The report draws on a growing body of climate science research that connects climate change to worsening weather disasters; shifting climate conditions in response to greenhouse gas emissions have been linked to fiercer storms, heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires.

To gain insight into the price Americans are paying for worsening weather disasters, it summarizes data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters database and other public sources.

NOAA has tracked the costs of the most extreme weather events in the United States since 1980, estimating the total direct cost of each event that caused $1 billion or more in damage (adjusting all costs to 2019 dollars). No state is untouched by these billion-dollar disasters.

The analysis includes projections of future increases in the intensity and frequency of weather disasters—should governments, corporations, and citizens fail to take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Cities, states, and regions also need to work together to build resilience to future weather disasters.

Download report at Environmental Defense Fund

Source - Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes

The Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes statement outlines the work to be undertaken by the members of the Global Resiliency Dialogue, including:

-Identifying strategies for the identification of future risks and the development of building code solutions that support adaptation to those risks

-Cooperating on the development of international building resilience guidelines and further exploration of the relationship with land use planning instruments that help determine the location of buildings

-Supporting research initiatives to better understand climate science, to assist in aligning expectations for building durability and resilience with the projection of future hazards

-Developing and deploying messages and resources that enhance understanding of building codes, support a common understanding of risk, and communicate the importance of up-to-date building codes

-Advancing risk and impact analysis to recognize the multiple economic and social benefits provided by resilience investments and the desirability of alternative approaches that fully capture the benefits and costs provided by the building codes

Building Code Development/Research Organization Signatories:

  • Australian Building Codes Board
  • International Code Council
  • National Research Council Canada
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (New Zealand)

Download Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes

Source - International Code Council (ICC)

FEMA Awards $17.8 Million for Hurricane Irma Recovery in Florida

EMA has awarded grants totaling $17,820,727 for the State of Florida to reimburse applicants for eligible costs of emergency response and repairs to public facilities following Hurricane Irma.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to state, tribal, and local governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations, including some houses of worship, so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. The Florida Division of Emergency Management works with FEMA during all phases of the program and conducts final reviews of FEMA-approved projects.

The federal share for projects is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost. The state determines how the nonfederal share of the cost of a project (up to 25 percent) is split with the subrecipients like local and county governments.

ICAO, UPU, urge national commitments and support for postal, air cargo, and express mail operators

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) released a joint statement encouraging national governments to support their designated postal operators, air cargo carriers, and express mail operators through financial aid and operational flexibility.

“These operators constitute critical infrastructure and are important partners in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while also driving economic recovery and expansion,” underscored ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.

Signed by Dr. Liu and the Director General of the UPU, Mr. Bishar A. Hussein, the statement also reaffirms their commitment as UN specialized agencies to foster greater international cooperation to help contain the virus and to protect the health of essential workers.

“These personnel are keeping the world connected in terms of emergency food and many other medical and humanitarian necessities and ensuring that the world can still depend on efficient global supply chains,” Dr. Liu commented.

The joint ICAO/UPU statement highlights the recommendations and associated global roadmap of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), which includes the need to Ensure Essential Connectivity as one of its ten Key Principles. Importantly, this principle puts air cargo, a key contributor to the global supply chain, in clear focus.

Since the early days of the pandemic, ICAO has been engaging with global air cargo stakeholders, including UPU, as well as other global supply chain stakeholders. This coordination has improved information sharing and is helping to foster solutions to the unique challenges faced by the various stakeholders.

“Going forward, ICAO and UPU will intensify our joint work initiated through the existing Memorandum of Understanding, and with a view to understanding how COVID-19 and geopolitical trends are affecting global supply chain evolution,” the ICAO Secretary General emphasized.

1 2