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Hurricane Irene: one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history

Recovery from Hurricane Irene is taxing the rescue and recovery resources of areas of the eastern United States hit last weekend by 115-mile-per-hour winds.

Coastal residents are dealing with damage from extreme wind and storm surge, and towns hundreds of miles inland are experiencing severe flooding and rushing water that have resulted in hundreds of closed roads, damaged buildings, and several deaths.

Residents in 13 states are relying on relief workers, Red Cross, police forces, and search and rescue teams who are responding to emergencies. There will also be long-term reconstruction needed for replacement of homes, buildings, roadways, bridges, and food sources.

This summer has brought many examples of how climate change is increasing extreme weather events including forest fires in western Canada, and heat waves in the central and southern United States.

These new weather trends, which confirm the predictions of climate change models, point to an urgent need for adaptation planning and strategies that address the impacts and help to ensure the safety of vulnerable populations.

ACT’s 2009 Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather report, authored by eminent Canadian disaster and risk management expert Dr. Gordon McBean, offers policy suggestions for decision makers designed to increase long-term security in the face of extreme weather.

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