Hurricane Harvey

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How Technology Can Help Mitigate Hurricane Harvey-Like Disasters

John Breeden II | Next Gov | September 5, 2017

Unfortunately, we don’t yet have technology that can prevent a storm of the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey from devastating our cities and towns. But it can help in the response, and even provide valuable information for citizens trying to survive a catastrophic event. One key is properly locating backup and recovery systems for government agencies. Typically, most cities and towns with a backup plan for their data rely on nearby data centers. That’s fine if there is a fire at the local office building or something that forces the temporary closure of government buildings...

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How the NHIT Care Campaign is aiding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Erin Dietsche | MedCity News | October 20, 2017

On September 20, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The storm brought down the island’s electrical grid, leaving individuals without power, running water and medical care. That’s why the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved launched the NHIT Care Campaign, an initiative aimed at helping Puerto Rico’s Federally Qualified Health Centers.

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How We Made a Health App That Works in Remote Rural Areas without Internet

Biraj Swain, Dr Meenakshi Jain, and Dr Gauri Bisht | Youth Ki Awaaz | September 11, 2017

Over half a century ago, communications guru and public intellectual Marshall McLuhan predicted that electronic interdependence will make the world a global village. But last month, Simon Tisdall of The Guardian called out the international media for creating a hierarchy of suffering by focusing on Hurricane Harvey more than on the devastating floods in South Asia and South East Asia. The reason: distance! The distances that marginalize are not just physical. They manifest in governance gaps in justice, cultural atrophy and social dystopia. Nowhere is the tyranny of distance more manifest than in health care delivery. And the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand has the double burden of a hilly terrain along with metaphorical distances to bridge...

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Hurricane Harvey: Responding to Public Health and Infectious Disease Threats

Press Release | Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) | August 31, 2017

The membership of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association stand with the individuals, families and communities affected by flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and urge care, preparation and precautions in confronting health impacts that may pose risks in the days and weeks ahead. We would like first to emphasize that while widespread disease outbreaks after flooding remain uncommon in the United States, hand hygiene, clean water, as well as access to medications will be essential for preventing and limiting the spread of infectious diseases during this time...

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Hurricane Irma Just Made a Digital Walkie-Talkie the No. 1 App Online

Peter Holley | Houston Chronicle | September 6, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey dropped anchor over Southeast Texas last week, Zello became the go-to app for rescuers working to save thousands of people trapped by floodwaters. Within days of Harvey's arrival, the app saw a 20-fold increase in usage in Houston, according to Bill Moore, the Austin based startup's the chief executive. As Hurricane Irma hurtles across the Caribbean toward the coast of Florida, Zello continues to boom in popularity. The free Internet "walkie-talkie" app - which relies on cellphone data plans or WiFi and is designed to operate in places where signals are weak - became the top app on iTunes and Google Play Wednesday...

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I Downloaded an App. And Suddenly, Was Part of the Cajun Navy.

Holly Hartman | Houston Chronicle | September 11, 2017

After watching nonstop coverage of the hurricane and the incredible rescues that were taking place, I got in bed at 10:30 on Tuesday night. I had been glued to the TV for days. Every time I would change the channel in an attempt to get my mind on something else for a few minutes, I was drawn right back in...

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If Things Weren’t Already Bad Enough, Houston Is About to Face a Public Health Nightmare

Jessica Firger | Mother Jones | August 30, 2017

In the coming weeks and even months, residents of Houston and other parts of southern Texas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey will be faced with the public health disasters that can result from dirty floodwater and landslides. The natural disaster has ostensibly turned the city into a sprawling, pathogen-infested swamp...

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Infectious Diseases Could Sweep Across Texas as Harvey Floods Houston

Jessica Firger | Newsweek | August 28, 2017

In the coming weeks and even months, residents of Houston and other parts of southern Texas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey will be faced with the public health disasters that can result from dirty floodwater and landslides. The natural disaster has ostensibly turned the city into a sprawling, pathogen-infested swamp. Up to 25 inches of rain have already accumulated in two days. Rains are expected to continue until Wednesday night, and by the end, Harvey will have dumped 40 to 50 inches on the metropolitan area. Heavy precipitation is turning entire neighborhoods into contaminated and potentially toxic rivers. For many of the city’s residents, contact with floodwater is unavoidable, putting them at risk for diarrhea-causing bacterial infections, Legionnaires’ disease and mosquito-borne viruses...

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Mapbox Releases Hazard Maps for Hurricane Harvey Affected Areas

Press Release | Mapbox | September 2, 2017

Mapbox has published a new map to give Houston officials and residents the most up-to-date information on the areas with the highest risk of hazardous materials in flood waters. The most up-to-date map can be found here. Using the most recent satellite images from DigitalGlobe paired with points of interest for superfund sites, refineries and other EPA toxic hazards in the greater Houston area, Mapbox created the map to highlight the areas of highest concern to help Houston police, other first responders and city officials plan for and mitigate issues associated with chemical plants, refineries and potential toxic contamination in flood waters...

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Medicity's CEO's Thoughts on Interoperability

Last week I had the esteemed privilege of attending the EHR Interoperability Meeting at the White House with Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, and Don Rucker MD, National Coordinator at ONC. The attendees represented payer organizations, and the discussion was focused on the barriers to interoperability and how we can band together to overcome them. Below are my responses to the major questions asked of each payer. As you read through this information, I hope it further clarifies our position on these topics.

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Mesh Networks Can Keep People Connected During Natural Disasters

Tina Trinh | VOA News | September 2, 2017

Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey are a threat not only to human life but also to telecommunication systems. When they go down, entire cities and communities are cut off from each other. Mesh networks, however, can get people connected again, and during emergencies they can be a crucial link to information. "It really all boils down to the 'central point of failure' problem," said Daniela Perdomo. "If the central infrastructure goes down, everyone who plugs into it is also disconnected."...

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Mobile Medical Clinic Arrives To Houston To Help with Disaster Response

Press Release | Stephen F. Austin Community Health Center | September 3, 2017

Stephen F. Austin Community Health Center (SFACHC) is responding to the urgent need for medical help in Brazoria and Galveston communities with the help of Clinica Sierra Vista, a community health center in California. Clinica Sierra Vista is sending a fully equipped medical and dental mobile unit to assist SFACHC care for the displaced residents along the Texas coast where catastrophic Hurricane Harvey flooded homes and vehicles and is preventing the sick and vulnerable from accessing necessary primary care. Read More »

Open Data Highlights Post-Harvey Mosquito Health and Safety Threat

Jonathan Jay | Government Technology | September 5, 2017

Cities in southeastern Texas finally saw dry weather on Wednesday, after days of unprecedented rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. But while floodwaters started receding from many Houston neighborhoods, explosions at a Crosby chemical plant and Beaumont’s lost water supply showed how vulnerable the area remains to health and safety threats. Among these post-Harvey issues, storm-related flooding could increase risk for diseases spread by mosquitoes, which breed in standing water...

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Public Health Threats Emerging in Houston in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Although Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters have largely receded, public health threats are emerging over polluted floodwater and contaminated drinking water. Chemical pollution from damaged industrial sites, flooded toxic waste site, and contamination by infection-causing bacteria have been the main causes of concern. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned residents and cleanup workers who might be exposed to floodwaters to take precautions due to hazards such as dangerous debris, bacteria, and other contaminants. This article will review some of those public health threats.

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Recent Hurricanes Have the Coast Guard Rethinking Social Media’s Role in Rescue and Response

Nicole Ogrysko | Federal News Radio | September 21, 2017

The U.S. Coast Guard is still knee-deep in rescue and response efforts as the third major hurricane in three weeks hits the U.S. and its territories. But the agency has already learned a thing or two from its initial response efforts and is thinking about new tools it should develop to better prepare for future disasters. When 911 call centers quickly overloaded in Houston, residents in the area quickly took to Facebook and Twitter to ask for help...

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