Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Hurricane Katrina- 10 years on academic research links

It is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which hit the USA in 2005.
New Orleans Advocate has a 10 years feature which includes assessments of the impact and  first hand accounts from survivors.
Guardian news stories - 10 years after
Time Magazine video essay

The devastation was such that the National Hurricane Centre estimated
1833 deaths and  $108 billion in damages from the events.
£0 oil platforms were damaged and initial reports on production showed in the first 6 months after the disaster significant declines in oil and gas production 
The city of New Orleans need to engage in an extensive rebuilding and regeneration programme . The Katrina10 website provides details and data about this. Standards and Poors ratings offer insight into the nature of debt incurred by the city.
The United States Geological survey has created a case study website which has photographs and images of the coastal and environmental impact on the landscape of the region. NASA image archive also offers satellite images of the progress of the hurricane.

The government response provoked criticism and a congressional investigation occurred. Its final report : a failure of initiative criticises the preparations and the response. in 2005 a subsequent report covered the lessons learnt. Other reviews were conducted by the US GAO on the Coastguard operations
A CNN poll at the time concluded that most American believed the city would never recover.
of course a major impact was on the lives of individuals.

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University and the University of New Orleans created the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (HDMB). This provides free access to over 25,000 online items include photographs and oral histories.

The Resilience in Survivors of Katrina Project (“RISK”)Project. is a longitudinal study of over 1,000 low-income parents who lived in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina.Topics covered include child development post traumatic stress and psychological impact. The website has case studies and papers. It also links to other related publications. Not all survivors have been found to have suffered negatively in the long term.
Interestingly in a 2014 study which investigated pre-to post-disaster changes in happiness of 491

women affected by Hurricane Katrina it was found that the impact of unhappiness lasted 12 months as after 4 years there was no significant difference in happiness between pre and post disaster assessments.
A NBER working paper from 2014 which analyses survivors tax returns also recorded that for many changes in income were transitional if initial economic aid and support was provided. 
Five years after the events- a Children's Health Fund report found evidence of continuing emotional instability and problems amongst children 

Further research.
Items on Hurricane Katrina (sociology, town planning, political economy and race) from LSE Library
LSE staff and students can search for articles on SocIndex, Scopus, Web of Science,


Monday, 10 August 2015

Hiroshima 70th anniversary- journalism and the true cost of nuclear war

August 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

According to many commentators our understanding of the horror of these events was fundamentally shaped by the writings of war correspondent John Hershey which was published in a special issue of the New Yorker magazine on August 31, 1946 . The Independent referred to it as the definitive account which revealed the true cost of nuclear warfare. It has also been discussed on the Conversation blog
The full text of the article can currently be read free online via the New Yorker website
Other journalist and writers had written about Hiroshima what was distinctive about the New Yorker was its focus upon 6 eye witness stories. This humanised the horror as we see the way in which an ordinary day becomes a nightmare that extends into the future. The New Yorker maximised the impact by removing all its regular features- cartoons and reviews, choosing to focus solely on this issue.
It is very interesting to compare the coverage with other contemporary newspapers.
the Times on August 7th (LSE times Digital archive log in)  begins with the headline First Atomic Bomb Hits Japan. After a brief paragraph describing the dropping of the bomb it contains a statement fro the government concerning the scientific advances and collaboration in developing them with the USA. The coverage of the science expresses awe and wonder but to a certain extent fear . It refers to the 'revelation of the secrets of nature long mercifully withheld from man' and the need to pray that that 'these awful agencies' are used to induce peace.
on the 8th August in an article entitled darkness over Hiroshima the paper reveals the continuing dust and destruction and continues to debate again the science. It quotes scientists from the Royal Society  the need for humanity to bear the burden of its own power and to use nuclear science to peaceful ends. In fact it is revealed as a potential saviour with the ability of bestowing 'undreamed of riches on all men '
LSE staff and students can search for other similar articles in our historic newspaper digital archives. We have the Times, Daily Mail and Guardian online

For more commemorations see CNN's picture gallery of the survivor's artifacts
See the Hiroshima Peace museum for a virtual tour and peace education sources
Just released is the Hiroshima Digital archive Hiroshima Archive.   displaying on a map  materials gained from such sources as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Hiroshima Jogakuin Gaines Association, and the Hachioji Hibakusha (A-bomb Survivors) Association. Beyond time and space, the user can get a panoramic view over Hiroshima to browse survivors’ accounts, photos, maps, and other materials as of 1945, together with aerial photos, 3D topographical data.
See the full items on the website

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Is there a migration crisis at Calais

Many newspapers have over the last few weeks referred to a siege and migration crisis at Calais
 But is there really a crisis - here are some recommended academic resources for exploring the issues.

Certainly Kent County Council has released statements  about the strain on its social services in copying with asylum seekers. Its website also details extra measures being taken to create extra capacity at reception areas for unaccompanied children.

The Road Haulage Association is critical of the government response and estimates costs to the industry of £5. Its website also has news stories and petitions about the situation.

For responses from the British government see the publications. website
the most recent statement from the July 31st Cobra meeting. pledged improved fencing and safety procedures. UK travel advice is also online. on the 10 Downing street website with updates.

For further discussion see the Home Affairs select Committee which recently held a special session of evidence in parliament. This forms part of a larger ongoing immigration inquiry.

The think tank Migration Watch also believes the situation is in crisis
However other research bodies have tried to put this in context. A 2014 paper by the Migration Observatory tries to provide background on the context and the concerns.

The Refugee Council also disputes claims and myths about asylum seekers entering the UK. Its website contains papers discussing the levels of financial support offered to asylum seekers.

Check Eurostat to find data on the number of asylum applications received in the UK and consider how these compare with other countries.In the last update from May 2015. The highest number received was in Germany 202,815 in 2014, compared with 31,945 in the UK,
The UNHCR website also gives an overview of the situation in Europe and the UK contribution.Its recent report on refugees in the Mediterranean region sets the situation in a broader refugee context.

For criticism of the handling of the situation see Calais Migrant solidarity whose website has videos and statements of police and border brutality.

The conversation blog is presenting discussion from academics. According to Nando Sigona University of Birmingham the situation should also be viewed as part of a global refugee crisis. Northumbria University, examines the representation of the story in the media and social media.