El Nino Confirmed: Response Plan Appeal for Southern Africa; Atmospheric River for CA

Nullschool 2-15-19

February 13, 2019 image showing jet stream and precipitable water in the Pacific. An El Nino Advisory was issued by NOAA the following day. Jet stream patterns bring an atmospheric river into California from south of Hawai’i to north of Fiji. (Image: Earth Nullschool)

On February 14, 2019, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino Advisory, stating that “weak El Nino conditions are present and are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2019 (~55% chance)” and that, “due to the expected weak strength, widespread or significant global impacts are not anticipated.” However, despite the projection of a weak El Nino event, two significant related impacts are occurring and impacting emergency management and humanitarian operations.

Southern Africa: FAO El Nino Response Plan Appeal

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The impacts in Southern Africa could be substantial, with the Food and Agricultural Organization launching a $67.9M USD appeal for an El Nino Response Plan to assist 4.9 million people for El Nino-exacerbated food insecurity issues. The eight nations of concern for food shocks and stessors are: Eswaitini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawai, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to the FAO, “the potential compounding effects of up to three consecutively poor
harvests in the most at-risk hots pots will be detrimental for agricultural-based
livelihoods and continue to drive down the production capacities of rural
households. This will exacerbate food insecurity and malnutrition, with ripple
effects that will be felt into 2020 and beyond.” Heavy and erratic rainfall patterns, as well as severe flooding has created agricultural stressors, including crop pests, livestock diseases, and delayed planting. [Image: FAO]

California: Atmospheric River with Record Precipitable Water and Flooding

A strong atmospheric river, often correlated to an El Nino pattern is strongly affecting Southern California, and is producing significant flooding.

Moving Forward 

An El Nino weather pattern has significant implications for projecting disaster declaration patterns in the coming months. Please stay tuned for further detailed BOA analysis.

This Fundamental of Emergency Management Is Entirely Wrong

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Whether we are Program Coordinators, Directors, NGO workers, or researchers, we’ve learned this as gospel, dogma, and basic foundation. “The Four Phases of Emergency Management.” Preparedness. Response. Recovery. Mitigation.

Our perspective at BOA is that this concept, the “four phases,” is entirely wrong. In fairness, maybe not entirely wrong. But fatally flawed–enough that ignoring a simple nuance can make all the difference between successful adaptation, and system collapse.

Check out our four minute podcast below:

Creating Resilience in a Cascading Global Threat Environment

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2018 marks the 150th anniversary of what is now the Turkish Red Crescent. Born as the Ottoman Red Crescent Society on June 11, 1868, the TRC (known as “Kizilayi” in Turkish) was the first Islamic-branded Federation organization recognized under the Geneva Conventions. In a dynamic evolution through the founding of the Turkish Republic to World War II, the Cold War, to modern times, the TRC has vaulted to the status of global humanitarian superpower–able to project humanitarian operations beyond the boundaries of Eurasia and Africa to as far away as the Western Hemisphere.

The BOA Directors were honored to be hosted by the Turkish American National Steering Committee on October 18 in Washington DC to present on this dynamic topic. The full audio of the event is below:

As an agile, well-equipped and highly organized national NGO, the TRC today finds itself engaged in complex emergencies at the cutting edge of geopolitics, including conducting operations in Idlib, Syria, in the Horn of Africa, and supporting the Rohingya. Yet the climate-catalyzed threat environment of the future includes exponentiating threats including Arctic Amplification, unprecedented heat, water, and agricultural stressors in the Middle East and North Africa, and an increase in severe meteorological events that could drive massive migration patterns in the coming years and decades.

BOA’s analysis suggested multiple approaches that a high-capacity humanitarian organization such as the TRC could take to plan for the exponential relief operations of the future. This includes exercising tabletop scenarios that call for a 3-5X increase in migration flows and severe weather events, conducting joint training with Federation partners in the region, ensuring deep supply chains of temporary sheltering capabilities, and exploring rugged, scalable shortwave communication technologies for optimal field use.

In summary, after a dynamic 150-year evolution, the TRC is well positioned to assume a leadership position in an exceptionally challenging and cascading threat environment.

BOA-EMT Launch and Core Capabilities Update

We are proud to announce that, on June 18, 2018, Blue Ocean Analytics – Emergency Management for Tomorrow (BOA-EMT), completed its incubation phase. We are now initiating a soft launch with select partner agencies.

BOA-EMT is a start-up, women and minority-owned small business with a strong focus on resiliency within the Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance field.

We are based in Greater Boston, Massachusetts with a simultaneous presence Washington DC/Southeast US. With two founding partners and a senior advisor, BOA-EMT brings over 45 years of combined professional experience in the development and delivery of federally-funded hazard mitigation services, disaster recovery and resiliency, international development and analysis, as well as climate change-based threat assessment.

Latest Developments

We have developed a core architecture to deliver BOA-EMT content and capacity building-based trainings. Current content development and production includes:

  • Operational trainings on Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) best practices, application development,  Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) field-based techniques, and integrating HMA into complex Recovery and Resiliency environments, including in an operational Joint Field Office setting;
  • Resilient Recovery techniques; and
  • Analysis of emerging threats in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance as well as Climate Disruption.

On October 18 2018, we will deliver a high profile presentation on emerging trends in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance to an audience including the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGOs/think tanks in Washington DC. This is in partnership with the Turkish American National Steering Committee.

Core Capabilities

BOA-EMT’s three core capabilities are:

  1. Mitigation and Resiliency
  2. Strategic Management Consulting through Capacity Building
  3. Threat Assessment

Mitigation and Resiliency

BOA-EMT brings robust and nationally-recognized (U.S.) capabilities in the field of Hazard Mitigation and Resiliency. We have strong Subject Matter Expertise in FEMA-funded Mitigation funding streams including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program, and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. Our team has managed well over $200M in FEMA mitigation funding over the course of our careers and has attained recognition as SMEs and trainers, including serving as State instructors for Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA).

This includes full life cycle grants management–development, pre-approval, implementation and closeout; post-disaster intake operations in a field setting; Joint Field Office HMGP development operations, project scoping, as well as BCA of a large variety of project types including buyouts, elevations, reconstructions, stormwater management projects (culvert upsizes, detention ponds, etc), wind shutter and tornado saferooms, as well as power redundancy and early warning projects.

Strategic Management through Capacity Building

As a women and minority-owned small business, BOA-EMT provides strategic consulting to our clients and partners through an ethic of capacity building. We believe in helping our partners to internalize capabilities to manage multiple resilient recovery funding streams in a fast-changing environment. It is our commitment to help our clients be in a better position to manage a new project within their organization and stakeholders.

BOA-EMT also has tried and tested real-world experience in the integration of resilience into post-disaster recovery programming, where HMGP interfaces with Public Assistance, Individual Assistance, Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and local and state-funding streams. This can be a complex political and pressurized environment to navigate for the public and private sector as well as disaster survivors. BOA-EMT brings authentic best practices and suggestions to our partners and clients, including the use of BCA as an objective common denominator.

Threat Assessment

BOA-EMT’s team also includes international experience operating in analytical roles in classified environments in Southwest Asia and the Middle East. We have worked for think tanks that cover Central Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Asia-Pacific. We have had analysis published by think tanks covering climate and security, and have appeared in Devex, Accuweather, Monday Developments Magazine, the Huffington Post, the Center for Climate and Security, and Foreign Policy Magazine. Our work on disaster analysis has even been referred to in international radio broadcasts. One of our hallmarks is integrating climate disruption intelligence into our analysis and products.

As we continue to develop this capability in our roll-out plan, please visit our multimedia library on our website for examples of our analytical writing, podcasts, and interview appearances.

Please contact us at boa.emt.directors@gmail.com if we can provide project scoping or implementation support, or to discuss potential collaboration.