Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Solar tech to power African villages faces Kenyan test


Solar tech to power African villages faces Kenyan test.
Single modular solar technology for producing both electricity and drinking water for micro-industries and villages of up to 1,000 people is to be trialled in Kenya in 2014 ahead of a 2015 commercial launch.

A consortium led by global energy management firm Schneider Electric has chosen the East African nation to test the technology dubbed ‘Microsol’.

Schneider Electric says a single Microsol installation, which has an expected lifespan of 20 years, produces 50 MWh of electricity, 1,000 m3 of drinking water, and around 800 MWh of thermal energy per year.

Micro-producers in the food, textile and paper industries are planned to be targeted with the offering. But Microsol could even help the tourist industry and up to 1,000 residents in remote rural villages, says Schneider Electric.

"That technology can help Africa's poorest countries", said Pradeep Monga, director of the energy and climate change branch of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), while attending the inauguration of Microsol in France.

Gilles Vermot Desroches, senior vice-president, sustainability, Schneider Electric, said: “All countries with high levels of sunshine are potential targets for marketing Microsol. However, because of its infrastructure needs, geographical location and economic models, Schneider Electric and its partners decided to focus their efforts on Africa".

- See more at: http://www.itwebafrica.com/ict-and-governance/256-kenya/232044-solar-tech-to-power-african-villages-faces-kenyan-test#sthash.cizb1uRw.dpuf

Friday, November 22, 2013

FEMA seeks applicants for Technical Mapping Advisory Council

FEMA seeks applicants for Technical Mapping Advisory Council 

FEMA is requesting applications from qualified individuals who are interested in appointment to the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC). The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 established the TMAC to make recommendations to the FEMA Administrator on how to improve the accuracy, general quality, ease of use, and distribution and dissemination of flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) and risk data; and to improve performance metrics and milestones required to effectively and efficiently map flood risk areas in the United States. Qualified applicants will be considered to represent one or more of the following membership categories: professional surveying association or organization; professional mapping association or organization; engineering association or organization; professional association or organization representing flood hazard determination firms; United States Geological Survey; professional association or organization representing state geographic information; state national flood insurance coordination offices; United States Army Corps of Engineers; regional flood and storm water management organization; state, tribal, and territorial government; agencies; local government agencies; floodplain management association or organization; risk management association or organization; and state mitigation officer. 

Individuals interested in serving on the TMAC are invited to apply for appointment by submitting a resume or curriculum vitae to FEMA, 

Federal Insurance Mitigation Administration, Risk Analysis Division by email, or by mail at 1800 South Bell Street, Arlington, VA 20598–3035.

Deadline is January12, 2014! The Department of Energy Scholars Program is now accepting applications for Summer 2014.

    Visit http://orise.orau.gov/doescholars for more information or to apply - 
      deadline is January12, 2014! 

     The DOE Scholars Program offers unique opportunities that introduce students or post-graduates to the agency’s mission and operations. Participants in the DOE Scholars Program gain a competitive edge as they apply their education, talent and skills in a variety of scientific research settings within the DOE complex. Appointments are available in a variety of disciplines at participating DOE facilities nationwide. 

     Being selected as a DOE Scholar offers the following benefits:

·         Career possibilities with the nation’s leading sponsor for scientific research
·         Opportunities to learn from top scientists and subject matter experts
·         Stipends of up to $650 per week (depending on academic status)
·         Travel arrangements to and from appointment site

    Applicants must be US Citizens and undergraduates, graduates or post-graduates of an accredited college or university. The program is open to majors in: Engineering; Physical Sciences;  Environmental Sciences; Computer Science and Information Technology; Physics; Business; Policy; Program Management; Mathematics; Statistics; Safety and Health; Accounting and Finance; Law; Communications; and other related areas.

   Want to learn more about the DOE Scholars program? E-mail doescholars@orise.orau.gov or  visit http://orise.orau.gov/doescholars.

Red Rocks Community College - Emergency Management & Planning Degree and Certificate Programs Spring Semester Starts on January 21, 2014


Through Red Rocks Community College, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree or a Certificate in Emergency Management Planning.  All courses are offered ONLINE.  To complete our Associate of Applied Science Degree in Emergency Management and Planning requires the completion of 60 credit hours of courses, including 15 hours of General Education courses, 15 hours of Electives and 30 credit hours (ten courses) of core EMP courses.

The Red Rocks spring semester starts on January 21, 2014.  This spring we will be offering EMP 101, EMP 105, EMP 107, EMP 242, EMP 247, and EMP 291.  More detailed information about our program is available at: http://www.rrcc.edu/catalogs/sheets/EmergencyManagementAndPlanning.pdf   

Students can take a course without the need for long distance travel and can set their own schedule.  Since ONLINE courses don't have a set classroom time, students can participate at any hour.... now the school is coming to the student, saving time and money.  Prospective students can apply to Red Rocks and register for classes totally ONLINE at http://www.rrcc.edu/.

Completed courses from other colleges or accredited institutions, which correspond to our EMP course requirements, can be transferred to Red Rocks, at no cost, after submitted transcripts are reviewed for applicability toward our EMP Program.  When requesting credit for courses for which you have certificates or are from non-accredited institutions such as FEMA, you need to go through what we call our "Credit for Prior Learning Program".  At least 15 hours (5 EMP courses) must be taken through Red Rocks. 

This program was started in 1999 and is recognized by FEMA as one of the pioneering national ONLINE Emergency Management programs and is supported by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management.   Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, train wrecks, terrorist attacks and hazardous chemical spills are examples of emergencies in which life and property are endangered.  The EM professional’s ability to perform essential work in a disaster requires skills in emergency operations and management.  How well a community or an organization prepares for and deals with these and other kinds of disasters can affect not only their economic viability but people’s lives. 

For more information:


o   Contact Name:               Ivo Roospold, EMP Coordinator
o   Phone . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .303.914.6404
o   E-Mail . . . . . . . . . . .. . . ivo.roospold@rrcc.edu

o   Fax . . . . . . . …. . .. . . . .303.914.6803

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Webinar: November 20th, Best Practices to Improve Situational Awareness ^ Interoperability

The National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC)

Sharing Tools and Best Practices to Improve Situational Awareness and Interoperability

November 20, 2013 -- 12:00 Noon Eastern

EMForum.org is pleased to host a one hour presentation and interactive discussion Wednesday, November 20, 2013 beginning at 12:00 Noon Eastern time (please convert to your local time). Our topic will be the National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC). As an independent consortium, NISC strives to bring together data owners, custodians, and users involved in the fields of homeland security, public safety, and emergency management and response to leverage efforts related to governance, development, and sharing of technology, data processes, and best practices.

Our guest will be Sean McSpaden, Membership and Outreach Coordinator for the consortium and Principal Legislative IT Analyst for the State of Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office.

Please make plans to join us, and see the Background Page for links to related resources and participant Instructions. On the day of the program, use the Webinar Login link not more than 30 minutes before the scheduled time. As always, please feel free to extend this invitation to your colleagues

In partnership with Jacksonville State University, EIIP offers CEUs for attending EMForum.org Webinars.  See http://www.emforum.org/CEUs.htm for details.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan. PHILIPPINES. Little Preparation for a Great Disaster


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Little Preparation for a Great Disaster

The coastal town of Ormoc city in western Leyte, Philippines after typhoon Haiyan struck. Credit: Arlynn Aquino EU/ECHO/CC by 2.0
The coastal town of Ormoc city in western Leyte, Philippines after typhoon Haiyan struck. Credit: Arlynn Aquino EU/ECHO/CC by 2.0
MANILA, Nov 12 2013 (IPS) - Despite the government’s early warnings and evacuation of up to 800,000 people from vulnerable areas, the category 5 – the highest level – Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda to Filipinos) has left some communities and coastal zones in the central Philippine islands of Visayas in complete ruins.
Widely characterised as history’s strongest-ever typhoon, Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 8, slightly weakening before claiming the lives of thousands of people and inflicting severe economic damage on the country.
By some estimates, as many as 10,000 people may have lost their lives, with Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte province, bearing the brunt of the super typhoon. Another 600,000 people have been displaced, according to the U.N.
In the initial hours of the typhoon’s landfall, intermittent reports provided a glimpse of the potential impact of the storm, but many communities remained inaccessible to authorities and aid agencies for days.
This meant thousands of people were left with no basic necessities in the hours following the damage, with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over many affected areas in need of immediate assistance.
Almost a day into the storm’s landfall, the U.N. office in Manila rang alarm bells by telling Bloomberg news that certain areas were “still cut off from relief operations”, with “unknown numbers of survivors [lacking] basic necessities” due to the massive destruction of basic infrastructure.
“In the coming days, be assured: help will reach you faster and faster,” Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared after visiting the devastated areas, trying to reassure thousands of desperate citizens in need of relief and basic security. “The delivery of food, water and medicines to the most heavily affected areas is at the head of our priorities.”
Hours after the storm, local media portrayed a general picture of desperation and panic as many citizens sought basic commodities wherever they could find them. It took some time before the government was able to send troops and personnel to organise the distribution of relief and establish a modicum of stability in badly affected areas.
The Philippines army dispatched four C-130 planes to the affected areas, which were only able to arrive during daylight hours. An army battalion, comprising up to 250 troops, was sent to Tacloban, the most badly affected area.
“We’re sending medicine, relief goods, emergency response teams and tents, generators, communications equipment and fuel,” army spokesman Colonel Miguel Okol told reporters, underscoring the importance of the armed forces to relief operations as well as establishing post-crisis order. “But our priority right now is sending out security – Philippines National Police – to deal with the [reports of] violence.”
So far, reports suggest the extent of the damage overwhelmed local authorities, with the national government, in the immediate aftermath of the storm’s impact, struggling to establish communication with affected areas.
The sheer force of Haiyan simply devastated airports, roads, electricity grids, and telephone lines, making it almost impossible for optimal coordination between authorities and leaving some affected areas in momentary isolation – just when they needed help the most.
Up to 9.5 million people were affected, 20,000 houses were ruined, four airports were shut down, with the total estimated costs of typhoon Haiyan possibly reaching up to 14 billion dollars. The U.N. World Food Programme announced that as many as 2.5 million people were in need of emergency assistance.
In response, the government announced that it was releasing an initial amount of 533 million dollars in discretionary funds to cover immediate relief operations as well as reconstruction efforts.
In Tacloban, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) requested around 100 hectares for establishing a resettlement site for some 45,000 families. So far, it has acquired about 300 hectares from the local government.
The National Food Authority, meanwhile, announced that it has up to three million sacks of rice ready for redistribution in affected areas, but officials have raised concern with repacking of food items and their delivery to affected areas.
Experts such as Zhang Qiang, a specialist on disaster mitigation at Beijing Normal University, have tried to underscore the inevitability of Haiyan’s devastating impact on affected areas by arguing, “Sometimes, no matter how much and how fully you prepare, the disaster is just too big.”
Despite impressive rates of economic growth in recent years, with the Philippine economy projected earlier this year to grow by as high as seven percent in 2013, there has been relatively small investment in basic infrastructure. Thousands of roads and bridges are in desperate need of maintenance and improvement, while many rural areas are still to enjoy reliable electricity connection and reliable access to urban centres.
The Aquino administration has tirelessly sought to push ahead with a dozen major Private-Public Partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects to boost the economy and improve the country’s resilience to natural disasters, yet most aren’t expected to be finished before 2015.
A combination of regulatory uncertainty, corruption, and mismanagement has left many areas, especially outside the industrialised centres in the northern island of Luzon, lacking in basic, quality infrastructure.
In recent years, experts and pundits have consistently pushed the Philippine government to improve its basic infrastructure, especially given the country’s vulnerability to natural calamities. Many have criticised the government for not implementing more decisive measures ahead of the storm.
Knowing very well that many shantytowns and coastal communities have always been vulnerable to natural disasters, there were a number of options that the government could have pursued, critics argue, from the mandatory evacuation of citizens in high-risk areas to the establishment of concrete bunkers that can withstand super- storms.
But for many, the greater issue is climate change, and how developing countries such as the Philippines have been paying the price of centuries of relentless industrial expansion by the developed world, exacerbated by the ongoing deadlock in climate negotiations, whereby major Western countries as well as big emerging economies have refused to subject their emission levels to mandatory reduction.
More regrettably, beyond the setbacks in mitigating global warming, many poorer countries have also lamented the rich world’s lack of investment in adaptation funds, which could help more vulnerable countries to cope with the impact of climactic fluctuations.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Webinar: 2014 Farm Bill Spending Plan

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 We have scheduled a series of Webinars to assist anyone who is planning on submitting a suggestion for consideration for the 2014 spending plan. Each of the hour long sessions will cover the same information, show attendees the submission process and provide time for asking questions.

Remember to check the Farm Bill Web site for the information you need to submit a suggestion for the FY14 Spending Plan.

Webinar Schedule

November 19
11:00 am eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
November 20
11:00 am eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
November 20
2:00 pm eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
November 21
11:00 am eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
November 21
2:00 pm eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
November 22
11:00 am eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
December 5
2:00 pm eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)
11:00 am eastern time
General Public
(Suggestion Help Session)

Webinar Details

The connection information for all the Webinars is the same.

Join the AUDIO portion: Dial Toll-free: +1 (888) 844-9904    Participant code: 118 6703

FIRST-TIME USERS of Microsoft Live Meeting
Check your system before the meeting to make sure it is ready to use Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

Unable to join the meeting? Follow these steps:
1. Copy this address and paste it into your web browser:
2. Copy and paste the required information:
       Meeting ID: FarmBill_FY14
       Location: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/usda
If you still cannot enter the meeting, contact a technical support person for your system or

If you have any questions about the upcoming Webinars or information provided on the Farm Bill Web site, contact the Farm Bill Management Team at PPQ.Section.Farmbill-10201@aphis.usda.gov.


The Farm Bill Management Team

Valerie DeFeo
Kristian Rondeau

Ken Bloem

Monday, November 11, 2013

Climate Change: Philippines plea: 'stop this climate madness'


Philippines plea: 'stop this climate madness'

The devastation from super typhoon Haiyan has been both intense and widespread. Photo credit: OCHA
GENEVA, 11 November 2013 – The Philippines’ lead negotiator at the UN Climate Change Convention, whose home town was devastated by super typhoon Haiyan, told today’s conference opening that “disasters are never natural”. 

“We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters,” Mr Yeb Sano said in his address to the Convention's 19th Conference of the Parties in Warsaw. 

“It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and get battered by the onslaught of a monster storm. 

“Disasters are never natural. They are the intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social and environmental thresholds. 

“Most of the time disasters are a result of inequity and the poorest people of the world are at greatest risk because of their vulnerability and decades of maldevelopment.” 

Mr Sano said that super typhoon Haiyan was “a force too powerful” and was something that “perhaps no country has ever experienced before”. 

“The initial assessment shows that Haiyan left a wake of massive devastation that is unprecedented, unthinkable and horrific, affecting two-thirds of the Philippines,” Mr Sano told the Conference. 

“About half a million people are rendered homeless and there are scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of a tsunami, with a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies.” 

Mr Sano issued a stern challenge to skeptics: “To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair. 

“Science tells us that simply climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.” 

Mr Sano called for urgent action: “We may ask: ‘If not us, then who?’, ‘If not now, then when?’, ‘If not here in Warsaw, where?’ 

“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.” 
Super typhoon Haiyan comes less than a year after typhoon Bopha, the Philippines’ previous costliest disaster and the one that had affected the most people.

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