Disasters

Residents line up for cooking gas in Palu, Indonesia, on Oct. 9, 2018, following the earthquake and tsunami that hit the area the month before.

The Only People Panicking Are the People in Charge

The public can handle disasters better than lying leaders can.

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a tablet screen in Montpellier, southern France, as he speaks from the Élysée Palace in Paris during a televised address to the nation on April 13.

Why Politicians Ignore Disaster Predictions

Experts see catastrophe on the horizon, but nobody wants to pay the costs beforehand.

A man reads a coronavirus news alert

The World Is Addicted to Pandemic Porn

The insatiable appetite for disaster information is psychologically understandable—and politically dangerous.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security officer

Trump Can’t Deport the Coronavirus

COVID-19 is as American as apple pie now—and people are more likely to catch the virus from their neighbors than from foreigners.

Residents walk past debris after an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011

How Japan Rode a Tsunami to Equality

Japanese women quickly realized that the disaster that struck their country nine years ago was an unprecedented opportunity to overcome discrimination.

A woman wears a mask while cleaning in the street in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 22.

Wuhan’s Virus and Quarantine Will Hit the Poor Hardest

China’s migrant workers are far less visible to the state than its middle class.

An Oryx helicopter from the South African National Defence Force flies a relief airdrop mission over the flooded area around Beira, Mozambique, on March 20. International aid agencies raced to rescue survivors and meet spiraling humanitarian needs in three countries battered by Cyclone Idai. (Maryke Vermaak/AFP/Getty Images)

Cyclone Idai: Mapping Mozambique’s Catastrophic ‘Inland Ocean’

The historic tropical storm killed hundreds and left an area of more than 800 square miles covered in water.

Children read the Quran at a temporary shelter after the tsunami and earthquake in Palu, Indonesia, on Oct. 9. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Indonesia’s Indigenous Languages Hold the Secrets of Surviving Disaster

Introducing hard-learned local wisdom into warning efforts could save thousands of lives.

Medical staff check each other's protective suits before entering the isolation unit at a hospital in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, during a suspected case of Ebola. Aug. 17. (Sumy Sadurni /AFP/Getty Images)

The Next Pandemic Will Be Arriving Shortly

Deadly diseases like Ebola and the avian flu are only one flight away. The U.S. government must start taking preparedness seriously.

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People watch a news report on North Korea's first hydrogen bomb test at a railroad station in Seoul on January 6, 2016. South Korea "strongly" condemned North Korea's shock hydrogen bomb test and vowed to take "all necessary measures" to penalise its nuclear-armed neighbour.  The image shown on TV shows files images from other nuclear tests from other countries and the caption in red at the bottom of the screen reads "the Blue House will convene an emergency meeting of the NSC, the National Security Council."   AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE / AFP / JUNG YEON-JE        (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

California Is Already Preparing for a North Korean Nuclear Attack

Beware of radioactive pets, and don’t expect the feds to show up anytime soon.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House September 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to visit Florida today to view relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Trump also spoke on reports from a meeting with Democratic leaders last night about a proposed deal on DACA and potentially delaying negotiations on his efforts to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.   (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Heckuva Job, Donnie!

In responding to his first natural disasters, President Trump deserves credit where credit is due — but no more than that.

LINTHICUM, MD - AUGUST 26: A television monitor at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport shows inbound flights to BWI on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008 in Linthicum, MD. A computer malfunction at a Federal Aviation Administration facility in Georgia Tuesday caused widespread flight delays. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Federal Air Marshals Say TSA Separated Them From Families During Harvey

With the hurricane closing in, agents asked to return to their families in Houston. They were refused.

US President Donald Trump holds the state flag of Texas outside of the Annaville Fire House after attending a briefing on Hurricane Harvey in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 29, 2017.
President Donald Trump flew into storm-ravaged Texas Tuesday in a show of solidarity and leadership in the face of the deadly devastation wrought by Harvey -- as the battered US Gulf Coast braces for even more torrential rain. 
 / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump Cares More About Ideology Than the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

The president’s nativism deprived Texas and Louisiana of help they need from Mexico.

An election official checks identification outside of a polling area in Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO world heritage site, on May 14, 2017. (Photo Credit: TIM BOWDEN)

Nepal’s Oligarchy Isn’t Earthquake-Proof

A 2015 disaster devastated the country — and paved the way for this year's breakthrough elections.

A man carries fake nuclear barrels during a demonstration to demand the closure of Fessenheim nuclear power plant on March 12, 2017 in Fessenheim, eastern France. 
  / AFP PHOTO / SEBASTIEN BOZON        (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images)

Cutting Funding to the IAEA Is a Horrible Idea

If you care about national security or the war on terrorism, why would you cut the nuclear nonproliferation budget?

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN-OCTOBER 31: USAID blankets being distributed by Mercy Corps are about to be loaded onto trucks at Chaklala airport October 31,2005 in Rawalpindi, Islamabad surrounded by relief goods waiting to be distributed. The current death toll is now believed to be over 55,000 from the South Asian earthquake that happened over 3 weeks ago. Over 3 million people are still without proper shelter and aid organizations including the U.N are warning that thousands could die in remote mountainous regions as Winter approaches. Atleast 1,400 died in Indian-Kashmir. 
(photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

Savaging State and USAID Budgets Could Do Wonders for Results

The Trump administration is threatening serious cuts to diplomacy. But doing more with less isn’t impossible.

rothkopf

How Not to Be a Civilization

Mother Nature is using her words. Are we smart enough to heed them?

TOPSHOT - A man stands on a damaged home after a strong earthquake hit Amatrice on August 24, 2016.
Central Italy was struck by a powerful, 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the early hours, which has killed at least three people and devastated dozens of mountain villages. Numerous buildings had collapsed in communities close to the epicenter of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media, with an increase in the death toll highly likely. / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

More People Will Die in Italy’s Next Earthquake

Why are moderate quakes still killing hundreds of people in a wealthy country? Corruption and political ineptitude.

Sidoarjo top image

Life After the Mud

In Indonesia, the world’s largest mud volcano has been erupting continuously for 10 years. A wealthy family's gas company may be to blame. But it’s the poor who’ve paid the price.