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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Risky Links

Risky Links

  • Can Silicon Valley Save the World? – An excellent article in the Failed States issue of Foreign Policy canvassing new ideas in development finance and innovation including some major failures and guarded successes.

Tokyo Olympics – Will they be prepared?

The 2020 Olympics has been announced for Tokyo, one of the most earthquake prone megacities on the planet. The 2011 Sendai quake has also upped the chances of a big quake in the Tokyo area.

Despite extensive disaster preparedness for earthquakes Tokyo still has many vulnerabilities, and the clean-up of the Fukushima disaster will still be ongoing as the games get underway.

Plenty of Olympics have been held in disaster prone cities: Beijing, Athens, Los Angeles, Montreal, Mexico City and Rome all have high earthquake hazards, but fortunately a major natural disaster has not been visited on an Olympic Games. The 1908 games were originally going to be held in Rome, but were moved to London after the 1906 eruption of Mt Vesuvius led to financial pressures on the Italian Government. The worst olympics disaster in history was the terrorist attack on the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, and with billion dollar security budgets terrorism has been foremost in the minds of games’ organisers in recent years.

Although risk management has become a new priority for the IOC, assessment of disaster and emergency preparedness, particularly for natural disasters appears to be brief.

With the influx of athletes, officials and visitors Japan will need to put in place special measures to ensure that they are as prepared as the rest of the population, upgrade emergency response units and ensure that construction for the games is specially hardened – and that’s just for starters. A disaster ready games will be expensive and for a nation already faced with the recovery bill of the 2011 quake and tsunami and the clean-up of Fukushima it will be difficult for it to face up to the challenge. But the costs of not being prepared can be far greater.

 

Risky Links

With my studies soon to be commencing I’m going to be reading a lot more. Thus each week I’ll post a set of links of interesting articles across the web on risk and disaster management. Here’s this week’s list, happy reading:

  • Chemical Weapons and the Scientists who make them – a brief history of the development of chemical weapons, some of the notable scientists who helped in their creation and the treaties prohibiting their use (did you know that Syria is not a signatory to the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention).
  • The New Flood Insurance Disaster – Discusses the flaws of the US National Flood Insurance Program, the flaws of its current reforms and a possible pathway to a program that accommodates both financial sustainability and improved risk reduction.