Posts tagged with "devastation"

Lebanon explosion illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Huge Explosion In Beirut

By Vaughn Lowery × Rita Azar

According to CNN, there was a massive explosion in Beirut just now. Shattering glass and debris followed by monstrous amounts of smoke.

A Massive explosion hit an ammunition storage in the port of Beirut. Many Lebanese civilians have been affected, houses have been burned down, glass has been shattered and there has been fatalities.

This blast has not just hit Beirut’s Eastern areas next to the port but has destroyed many key infrastructure building like hospitals, infrastructure buildings, kilometers away, including the headquarters of former prime minister Saad Hariri. The explosive could be heard all the way to the Bekka valleys capital Zahle 56 kilometers away. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut stated, “The explosion was felt across the city.” She added, “There is chaos in the streets.” Tensions are higher than ever.

The source of the explosion is still unknown.

Actual footage can be seen here.

Check out coverage by BBC.

Graph illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Economic Devastation From Uncoordinated Reopenings

New, peer-reviewed research published today by the Social Analytics Lab at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows the devastating cost of the current chaotic and uncoordinated reopening of states and cities across the US. The study, which used data from mobile phones, network connections through social media and census data, estimates that total welfare is reduced dramatically when reopening is not coordinated among states and regions.

The study showed, for example, that the contact patterns of people in a given region are significantly influenced by the policies and behaviors of people in other, sometimes distant regions. In one finding, it showed that when just one third of a state’s social and geographic peer states adopt shelter in place policies, it creates a reduction in mobility equal to the state’s own policy decisions. When states fail to coordinate in the presence of spillovers as large as those detected in the analyses, total welfare is reduced by almost 70 percent. 

As federal, state and local governments continue opening businesses and relaxing shelter-in-place orders nationwide, policymakers are doing so without quantitative evidence on how policies in one region affect mobility and social distancing in other regions. And while some states are coordinating on COVID policy at the level of “mega regions,” most, unfortunately are not. This lack of coordination will have devastating effects on efforts to control COVID-19, according to the study.

“There have been many calls for a coordinated national pandemic response in the U.S. and around the world, but little hard evidence has quantified this need,” said Sinan Aral, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a corresponding author of the study. “When we analyzed the data, we were shocked by the degree to which state policies affected outcomes in other states, sometimes at great distances. Travel and social influence over digital media make this pandemic much more interdependent than we originally thought.” “Our results suggest an immediate need for a nationally coordinated policy across states, regions and nations around the world,” he added.

Governors from all states and territories will convene virtually for the Summer meeting of The National Governor’s Association on August 5. The MIT study not only assesses the impact of an uncoordinated reopening, but also gives governors a map with which to coordinate in the absence of national guidance. The research shows for all fifty states, which states affect each other the most and thus maps the states that should be coordinating. These maps are sometimes surprising because, as a result of digital social media, each state’s success with social distancing is impacted by the policy decisions not just of geographically proximate states, but also of socially connected, but geographically distant states. For instance, Florida’s social distancing was most affected by New York implementing a shelter-in-place policy due to social media influence and travel between the states, despite their physical distance. New Hampshire had a strong influence on adjacent Massachusetts, despite being a small state.

As the Governor’s Association convenes, this research highlights the need for states across the country to coordinate, even if they are not near one another and the results suggest which states should be coordinating with which other states based on the strength of the spillovers between them.

Follow MIT Sloan School of Management: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Hellfire in Wine Country 

By Matt Villard

It’s been over a month now since devastating wildfires erupted in Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties and burned over 200,000 acres.  That’s over 313 square miles, or nearly the size of San Diego, worth of charred and destroyed land.

The toll on the wine industry was, and still is huge.  23 properties in the 4 counties reported major fire damage.  The full extent of the damage to the vineyards will not be apparent until next year at bud break when vineyard owners will be able to count dead and damaged vines.  All of the wineries suffered, even if they were not directly in the path of the fire, due to power outages, road blocks, personnel being evacuated, etc.  But, the wineries and vineyards will recover.

However, the devastation to the people and communities will take far more time and care.  42 people are dead.  Over 8,000 structures ( including people’s homes) are destroyed.  Over 100,000 people have been displaced.  For most of those who lost their home, they had very little warning and had to leave everything behind.  Their entire lives went up in flames.  I’ve heard stories and seen pictures from friends of mine about how little time there was to evacuate.  One picture stands out in my mind of ash falling around their car and flames on the horizon as they desperately  loaded their young children and dogs into their cars to race away to safety.  This friend was fortunate enough that their home survived.  Many, many others were not as lucky.

There are ways you can help.  There are a plethora of good relief funds and donation sites out there.  A quick internet search will yield many results.  A meta-site I found is http://www.northbayfiredonations.com which has a huge listing of links to other relief funds and donation sites.  Here’s  a gofundme page.  Here’s a link to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate donation page.  Please take the time and see if there’s anything you can do to help.