natural disaster

  Natural disasters don't matter for the reasons we think they do. They generally don't kill a huge number of people. Most years more people kill themselves than are killed by Nature's tantrums. And using standard measures like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) it is difficult to show that disasters significantly interrupt the economy.

It's what happens after the disasters that really matters-when the media has lost interest and the last volunteer has handed out a final blanket, and people are left to repair their lives. What happens is a stark expression of how unjustly unequal our world has become. The elite make out well-whether they belong to an open market capitalist democracy or a closed authoritarian socialist state.

In The Disaster Profiteers, John Mutter argues that when no one is looking, disasters become a means by which the elite prosper at the expense of the poor.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two deaths in upstate New York are being attributed to the storm.

State police say a 23-year-old man died when the tractor he was using to plow his driveway overturned in Columbia County Friday evening. And a 74-year-old man died when a car slid and hit him as he walked on a Poughkeepsie road.

The National Weather Service reported snowfall totals of 10-12 inches in the mid-Hudson Valley and Adirondacks; 8 inches at Buffalo; 12 inches at Rochester; 6.5 inches in suburban Albany; and 9 inches in Syracuse.

Courtesy NOAA

One year after Tropical Storm Irene, repair crews remain busy in Greene County New York, where the reconstruction is expected to cost as much as $15 million on roads, bridges and culverts. For an update, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Gary Harvey, the superintendent of the Greene County Highway Department.

Schoharie County in New York took perhaps the hardest hit from Tropical Storm Irene compared to any other upstate county. One year later, the recovery continues, but it could take another four years before all the damage has been repaired. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is one federal agency involved in the recovery, but it is local and state officials who have been on the front lines for the past year. For an update on Schoharie County, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke to the chairman of the county board of supervisors, Howard Vroman.

At one point after Tropical Storm Irene moved through upstate New York one year ago, national grid reported 156,000  customers without power. For a look back, and a look at what has changed since the storm, WAMC’s Brian Shields talked today with Bill Flaherty, a regional executive with National Grid, who recalls the preparation before the storm hit.


Several of the western Massachusetts communities that were in the path of almost unimaginable destruction one year ago today will hold remembrance events.  It will be an opportunity to reflect on the one year anniversary of the worst tornado to hit the state in a half-century and also to look toward what many hope will be a brighter future.    WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


  With the start of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season  23 days away,  hundreds of people attended a hurricane preparedness conference Wednesday in Massachusetts.. The first of its kind event was hosted by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.