GFMC Links: Natural Disasters

GFMC Natural Disasters Links

Editorial Note (January 2024):
This post is maintained for historic reasons. The following list of the most important natural disaster links in alphabetical order was updated last on 14 January 2008 and not maintained afterwards. All historic URLs, the majority of them expired, have been removed.

The AlertNet website is a non-commercial service offering both Reuters news and a forum for voluntary organizations to exchange information in order to help improve the speed and effectiveness of emergency relief operations. The home pages, including Reuters latest disaster-related news, are open to the public. The rest of the website is restricted to members of the relief community for the exchange of information which may be confidential.

Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre
The Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre (BGHRC) is an activity of and located at the Department of Geological Sciences, University College London. The BGHRC provides a conduit for the transfer of cutting-edge natural hazards research and innovation from the academic environment to the business world and government and international agencies. Through the rapid application of new research, the Centre facilitates the improvement of natural hazard risk assessment and the reduction of exposure to natural catastrophes. The research products of the BGHRC fall into two categories: (1) Strategic, curiosity-driven research into natural hazards and the processes that drive them, (2) Applied studies targeted at reducing the impact of natural hazards on modern society, including: 

  1. Hazard and risk assessment
  2. Hazard monitoring and forecasting
  3. Hazard mitigation
  4. Development of effective early warning systems
  5. Education and training

The BGHRC Website provides a regularly updated comprehensive information including a newsletter and on-line publications.

Cable News Network (CNN) Earthweek
The CNN homepage provides a regularly updated site “Earthweek – A Diary of the Planet” with news on current and recent natural disasters, weather extremes and other natural phenomena. This website builds on the CNN information network and provides a valuable source of real-time and near-real time information.

CBS News Disaster Links
CBS News Disaster Links contains information about a variety of disaster-related websites. It is intended for quick reference and is not always comprehensive.

Center for International Disaster Information
The Center operates under a grant from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and initial support from IBM, has become a valuable resource to the public, as well as US government agencies, foreign embassies and international corporations. The Center uses its information management resources to implement various targeted public awareness activities to address the issues of appropriate donations and volunteer practice in order to reduce the burden they cause for relief organizations, host governments and disaster victims and lessen the frustration experienced by the public donor community.

Climate Change Threats: An NGO Framework for Action
The 60th UN DPI/NGO Conference, adopted by acclamation a Declaration, CLIMATE CHANGE THREATS: AN NGO FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION, in which participants committed to work collaboratively over the next twelve months to prepare a report for the UN Secretary General. The Declaration strongly recommends that all sectors of society partner to implement concrete solutions based on recommendations that will emerge from the report. To be “climate-sensitive,” the report will be widely distributed by electronic means. It will also build upon, update, and further refine the exchange of views held during the 60th DPI/NGO conference.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a private, multinational organization committed to strengthen the capacity of the international community to understand and respond to impending crisis. The ICG’s approach is grounded in field research. Teams of political analysts based on the ground in countries at risk of crisis, gather information from a wide range of sources, assess local conditions and produce regular analytical reports containing practical recommendations targeted at key international decision-takers.

International Crisis Groups
International crisis groups or conflict resolution groups as they are sometimes called, seek to contribute to the resolution of international conflicts in a peaceful non-violent way. These organizations often provide support and training for those wanting to resolve conflict peacefully. They also produce written works and multimedia materials in the hopes of presenting non-violent resolution ideas to policy makers to be incorporated into public policy. This website provides access to a number of such organizations along with journals and publications that advocate non-violent international resolutions.

Disaster Diplomacy 
Disaster Diplomacy is one radical interpretation of disaster, as it asks: Do natural disasters induce international cooperation amongst enemy countries? The current view is that disaster acts as a catalyst, not creator, of diplomacy. Disaster can significantly influence and move along diplomatic processes which have already started but cannot by itself produce new diplomatic results or initiatives. Given this conclusion, further discussion is warranted for the implementation of Disaster Diplomacy and proposals to help realise its potential.

Disaster and Emergency Management Information Network (DEMIN)

The Public Policy Research Institute (PPRI) of Texas A&M University has developed and is further expanding the PPRI Homeland Security Disaster and Emergency Management Information Network (DEMIN) database of existing domestic security and emergency management data and bibliographic information resources. DEMIN was created in response to the lack of a central website providing access, in an organized fashion, to the abundance of relevant, content-rich homeland security and emergency management web-based resources from across the U.S.A. and around the world.

Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance (PAHO)
This web site is maintained by the Pan American Health Organization and offers access to a collection of “mirror sites” of organizations (particularly those in Latin America and the Caribbean) with important disaster preparedness and prevention information to share. Most sites are hosted in their original language.

Disaster Message Service (DMS)
The Disaster Message Service (DMS) was developed to facilitate communication and provide information about world disasters, including forest fire. This service is provided through our message boards where messages can be posted and read. DMS was first utilized after devastating hurricane Marilyn unleashed hundred mile an hour winds on the Caribbean. In 1996 DMS provided service to those seeking information about the Great Flood of Oregon. DMS was also used in 1998 when Hurricane Georges caused mass destruction across Central America. At this time of need DMS discussion boards became an important resource for locating family and friends and for collaborating relief efforts. Discussion boards were added in 1999 to include the Colorado School shootings and to provide over 460,000 users with a forum for discussing the controversial crisis in Yugoslavia. In August 1999, DMS users were provided with up to date discussions and information after an earthquake struck Turkey. DMS will continue to provide a central location for discussion and information on current world disasters.

EMERCOM of Russia
This website (in Russian) provide full background information on the work of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Management of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM of Russia). The website provides a broad range of information on current disaster situations, archived materials, and emergency telephone numbers.

Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC)
The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) was created in 1998 as the focal point for coordinating disaster relief efforts of the 46 Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) nations in case of natural or technological disasters within the EAPC geographical area. The main tasks of the EADRCC are: (a) to inform the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and through him the EAPC as well as the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC) about disasters in EAPC countries and requests for international assistance; (b) to coordinate the response to disasters within the EAPC area upon request of the stricken country; (c) to develop a concept for a non-standing Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit (EADRU); and (d) to act as an information-sharing tool for EAPC nations on disaster assistance. The GFMC is officially linked to EADRCC. The website includes information on wildfire disaster assistance in 2007.

Geneva University: Directory for Disaster Reduction Institutions
University of Geneva provides a database with all institutions concerned about global disaster management.

German Committee for Disaster Reduction within the UNISDR
The German Committee for Disaster Reduction (Deutsches Komitee für Katastrophenvorsorge – DKKV) is a follow-up arrangement of the former German IDNDR Committee. With the transition of the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) most countries have established new committees under the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The DKKV homepage allows insight into the scope of work of the committee, its members (including the Scientific and Operative Advisory Boards) and regular news.

Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction (GADR)
The Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction (GADR) is headquartered at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, under the institutional leadership of the Global Institute for Energy and Environmental Systems (GIEES), has evolved as an epistemic community of more than 1000 experts on disaster reduction and related aspects of sustainable development, representing regional, national and international organizations and institutions, among which are the United Nations, the World Bank, national and regional environmental and disaster mitigation agencies, institutes and relief organizations.

Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN)
A US-based voluntary, independent, self-sustaining, non-profit association with an interest in facilitating the provision of the right information, in the right format, to the right people in time to make the right decisions. It is committed to assist disaster managers find the information they need, particularly when other means have failed, to develop unique information sharing procedures that augment the existing system, to foster the development of new disaster information technologies and to foster professional development.

Global Disaster Watch
Information on current worldwide natural disasters plus warnings of upcoming potential disasters – covering drought, earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, landslides, meteors, severe weather, solar flares, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires. There are archives for natural disasters in previous years, a current listing of recent record-breaking disasters, links to real-time disaster monitoring sites and to photos of the most recent disasters.

Global Emergency Response
Global Emergency Response is a comprehensively integrated Il-76 aircraft emergency service complete with spares and a certified-qualified EMERCOM crew of eight (8) for global firefighting and other disaster and humanitarian relief missions. Where missions are seasonal in nature Global Emergency Response can be contacted to discuss the details related to needs and problems. Emergency availability shall be managed on 48-hour, best efforts, call-out basis.

Global Humanitarian Assistance
Global Humanitarian Assistance is an independent project, established in 1999 by Development Initiatives, to monitor funding for humanitarian action. GHA aims to provide statistics and analysis which can help agencies (governmental, multilateral and non-governmental) engaged in humanitarian action to use available resources as effectively as possible in responding to need.

Impact Forecasting (IF)
Impact Forecasting (IF) provides catastrophe modeling and risk assessment services for the insurance, reinsurance, financial and government communities. IF’s services include single-site analysis, portfolio analysis and real-time monitoring. IF is a limited liability company, using exclusive technology provided by Aon Risk Technologies, Inc. and ISEC, Inc

International Centre for Emergency Techniques (ICET)
ICET was founded in 1993 as the International Centre for Extrication Techniques. ICET’s Robert Walmsley, one of the most experienced extrication experts in the world, developed a systematic approach to entrapment rescue. Over the years, with input from its own research and development, industrial and academic sources as well as from the field, ICET created the Systematic Approach to Victim Entrapment Rescue, SAVER. This method is a truly interactive and universal approach to this demanding form of rescue. ICET became an independent institute in 1996. As ICET expanded its scope of work into other rescue fields, it changed the E of its name from Extrication to Emergency.

International Charter Space and Major Disasters
Following the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999, the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES) initiated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signing the Charter on October 20, 2000. The International Charter was declared formally operational on November 1, 2000. An authorized user can now call a single number to request the mobilization of the space and associated ground resources (RADARSAT, ERS, SPOT) of the three agencies to obtain data and information on a disaster occurrence. A 24-hour on-duty operator receives the call and helps the user put together the preliminary information.

International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG)
The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) aims at the development of effective international relationships in order to save lives and render humanitarian services following natural, technological and environmental disasters. The activities of the INSARAG include the improvement of emergency preparedness and cooperation between international Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR) as well as the promotion of information exchange on best practices and lessons learned in international emergency response operations.

NASA Earth Observatory Natural Hazards Website
This new NASA website provides satellite imagery to better understand the causes and effects of natural hazards. The goal in sharing these images is to help people visualize where and when natural hazards occur, and to help mitigate their effects. All images in this section of NASA’s Earth Observatory are freely available to the public for re-use or re-publication. 

Natural Disaster Emergency Preparedness Resource Library
Each disaster has its own specific effects on property and people, though disaster-relief organizations may try to help you in the event of a natural disaster, you must have your own plans in effect as well. Being prepared for a natural disaster reduces anxiety, fear, and the potential for loss. To learn more about how your family can prepare for the various disasters that may strike, consult this website.

Natural Disaster Management
Natural Disaster Management is the official commemorative volume for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), 1990-2000, the United Nations initiative to reduce the negative effects of natural disasters. NDM is a commemorative book, published to celebrate the successes of the IDNDR and promote the continuation of the goals and aims of a decade of sustained and effective information dissemination and technology transfer. A chapter on fire disasters included in the volume.

The Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder
The Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, located at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A., is a national and international clearinghouse for information on natural hazards and human adjustments to hazards and disasters. The Center carries out its mission in four principal areas: information dissemination, an annual workshop, research, and library services. The “Natural Hazards Observer” is a bimonthly periodical of the Center.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with more than 90 years of experience in working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system. Among many tasks the Organization provides technical collaboration in a variety of specialized public health fields, and organizes emergency preparedness and disaster relief coordination

In support of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the ISDR secretariat is developing this information portal on disaster risk reduction (DRR). The primary purpose is to facilitate the work of professionals involved in disaster risk reduction and promote an understanding of the subject by non-specialists. PreventionWeb aims to provide a common platform for institutions to connect, exchange experiences and share information on DRR. The system will be designed to allow distributed data entry as well as provide options for content syndication to partner sites. The site will be updated daily, and contain news, DRR initiatives, event calendars, online discussions, contact directories, policy documents, reference documents, training events, jobs, terminology, country profiles, factsheets as well as audio and video content.

ProVention Consortium
The ProVention Consortium is a global coalition of governments, international organizations, academic institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations dedicated to increasing the safety of vulnerable communities and to reducing the impact of disasters in developing countries. The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) is a member organization.

Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID)
The Regional Disaster Information Center (CRID for its Spanish acronym) is an initiative sponsored by six organizations that decided to join efforts to ensure the compilation and dissemination of disaster-related information in Latin America and the Caribbean.

REMSAT (Real-time Emergency Management via Satellite)
Modern emergency management organizations worldwide have defined a need for real-time communications between command centres, field personnel and equipment such as helicopters, vehicles and heavy equipment. Existing and newly emerging space-based technologies such as satellite positioning systems, satellite communications and earth observation could satisfy many of today’s emergency management requirements. However, a gap currently exists between these technologies and their operational use. To address this need, the European Space Agency initiated the REMSAT (Real-time Emergency Management via Satellite) Activity. The objective of the REMSAT activity is to demonstrate the use of real-time satellite communications, localization, earth observation and meteorology services in emergency situations. is the virtual online community that brings emergency response organizations the latest accident and disaster relief expertise. is the only website to provide this community with cutting-edge, online interactive rescue training simulations. is an initiative of the International Centre for Emergency Techniques (ICET). Users may come for our rescue training, or to share information in our discussion groups. They may want to view the latest rescue-related news, and find out about books, conferences and courses. Or they may come just to learn about new products.

Risk Management Reports
Risk Management Reports is an irreverent, opinionated and iconoclastic monthly commentary on strategic risk management, written and edited by H. Felix Kloman. It addresses all aspects of risk – operational, legal liability, political/regulatory, and financial /market – from a global perspective, based on the editor’s some 30-years experience as a risk management consultant, lecturer and author. Risk Management Reports was started in January 1974 as a bi-monthly journal and was shifted to a monthly, shorter six-page format in January 1994.

UNDP: Reducing Disaster Risk
Reducing Disaster Risk: A Challenge for Development looks at disasters through a “human development” lens. The Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) has drawn up this global report with the aim to shed lights on the linkages between development and disaster. The increasing impact of natural disasters on development and the acknowledgement of development paths as determinant configuration factors of disaster risk are the two main issues addressed in this Report. It promotes disaster risk reduction through identifying appropriate development policies integrating both disaster risk management and actions targeting the 8 Millennium Development Goals achievement. The report provides a major input to (UNDP’s Crisis Prevention and Recovery Practice Area and the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction [UNISDR]).

The agenda of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is to “provide leadership and encourage partnerships in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

The Global Resource Information Database (GRID) is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP’s) world-wide network of environmental data centres. GRID is part of UNEP’s Division of Environmental Information and Assessment (DEIA), which manages the globally-distributed GRID network from UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. A preliminary methodology was derived during the period March to April 1998 and subsequently refined to produce a weekly report on fires status. It is based on existing sources of relevant information from the World Wide Web (WWW) such as NOAA, NASA, ESA and national meteorological agencies. The Weekly Report includes an evaluation of the fires activity and situation throughout the world, and a set of satellite imagery and maps downloaded from the above mentioned sites, which were in some cases further refined or developed by GRID-Geneva.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is part of the United Nations Secretariat and has the mandate to coordinate UN assistance in humanitarian crises. The UN OCHA ReliefWeb (, offers detailed information on disasters in general. The site contains information like press releases, news coverage on natural disasters including wildfires. A comprehensive collection of maps and links to related sites is also offered.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)/Disaster Assistance Support Program (DASP)
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) coordinates responses to dozens of foreign disasters each year. The OFDA staff consists of approximately 90 Washington-based employees and a varying number of overseas staff members. Given the relatively small number of OFDA personnel in Washington and abroad, the office relies on outside partners to reach the hundreds of thousands of disaster-effected people each year. The USDA Forest Service is one such partner. USDA, through the Disaster Assistance Support Program (DASP), provides essential emergency management technical support to USAID/OFDA. The Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) system used by OFDA was developed by the Forest Service for international disaster response. The DART concept is based on the Incident Command System that is used by domestic agencies to fight wildfires and coordinate responses to disasters and emergencies.

World Institute for Disaster Risk Management (DRM)
DRM is a network for applied research, implementation, and dissemination in the field of disaster risk management. It is an initiative of the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in conjunction with the ProVention Consortium on Natural and Technological Disasters of the World Bank. The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry with the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) are an affiliated institution of the DRM Network.

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