WHO and partners begin reaching people in need on many Philippine islands hit by typhoon

Posted by in Updates

15 November 2013 — WHO is working with the Government of the Philippines and international partners to reach survivors of Typhoon Haiyan who need medical care. The full extent of the disaster is becoming increasingly clear, with dozens of separate sites needing assistance.
Emergencies and disasters

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Breastfeeding is life-saving for babies in Philippines typhoon emergency

Posted by in Updates

28 November 2013 — UNICEF and WHO today called on those involved in the response to the Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) disaster to promote and protect breastfeeding to avoid unnecessary illness and deaths of children.
Emergencies and disasters

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CBP Fiscal Year 2013 in Review

Posted by in General

Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today released a summary of fiscal year 2013 border enforcement efforts, which reflects the administration’s focus on reducing threats, optimizing resources and building partnerships to secure our nation’s borders and facilitate trade and travel. (more)
CBP.gov: National News Releases

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CBP Offers Golden Olympic Travel Tips

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Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminds international travelers returning from the 2014 Winter Olympics to carry the appropriate travel documents and to declare all agriculture goods upon arriving to the United States to a CBP officer. (more)
CBP.gov: National News Releases

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Innovating to Improve Disaster Response and Recovery

Posted by in General

Editor’s Note: This was originally posted on the White House blog, September 3, 2013, by Todd Park and Rich Serino. Todd Park is Assistant to the President and US Chief Technology Officer. Rich Serino is the Deputy Administrator of FEMA. 
 
Last week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) jointly challenged a group of over 80 top innovators from around the country to come up with ways to improve disaster response and recovery efforts.  This diverse group of stakeholders, consisting of representatives from Zappos, Airbnb, Marriott International, the Parsons School of Design, AOL/Huffington Post’s Social Impact, The Weather Channel, Twitter, Topix.com, Twilio, New York City, Google and the Red Cross, to name a few, spent an entire day at the White House collaborating on ideas for tools, products, services, programs, and apps that can assist disaster survivors and communities.

This collaboration is a great example of this Administration’s commitment to convening private-sector talent and innovators to work with public servants in order to deliver better results for the American people. The event mobilized innovators from the private sector, nonprofits, artistic organizations, and Federal as well as local government agencies to develop solutions that support and integrate both public and private efforts for disaster relief.  It also comes as our Nation prepares for what is usually the peak of Hurricane Season.  In fact, the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Irene fell last week, and the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy is approaching.

During the “Data Jam/Think Tank,” we discussed response and recovery challenges with the participants and other Federal leaders, including Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Energy and Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.  The participants then broke into subgroups to brainstorm innovative ideas for addressing those challenges, vote on the best ideas, and commit to implementing them.
Below are some of the ideas that were developed throughout the day. In the case of the first two ideas, participants wrote code and created actual working prototypes.

  • A real-time communications platform that allows survivors dependent on electricity-powered medical devices to text or call in their needs—such as batteries, medication, or a power generator—and connect those needs with a collaborative transportation network to make real-time deliveries. 
  • A technical schema that tags all disaster-related information from social media and news sites – enabling municipalities and first responders to better understand all of the invaluable information generated during a disaster and help identify where they can help.
  • A Disaster Relief Innovation Vendor Engine (DRIVE) which aggregates pre-approved vendors for disaster-related needs, including transportation, power, housing, and medical supplies, to make it as easy as possible to find scarce local resources.
  • A crowdfunding platform for small businesses and others to receive access to capital to help rebuild after a disaster, including a rating system that encourages rebuilding efforts that improve the community.
  • Promoting preparedness through talk shows, working closely with celebrities, musicians, and children to raise awareness.
  • A “community power-go-round” that, like a merry-go-round, can be pushed to generate electricity and additional power for battery-charged devices including cell phones or a Wi-Fi network to provide community internet access.
  • Aggregating crowdsourced imagery taken and shared through social media sites to help identify where trees have fallen, electrical lines have been toppled, and streets have been obstructed.
  • A kid-run local radio station used to educate youth about preparedness for a disaster and activated to support relief efforts during a disaster that allows youth to share their experiences.

Before ending the brainstorm, participants committed to taking responsibility for turning these ideas into tangible actions. We will be excited to see how these materialize into impactful projects that will support disaster response and recovery efforts. Our sincere thanks to all of the participants!

FEMA Blog

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USCIS and the Smithsonian Institution Launch Preparing for the Oath

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Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

This morning, against the backdrop of the original Star-Spangled Banner, I had the privilege of participating in a naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

My colleagues and I, along with hundreds of visitors to the museum, were honored to welcome America’s newest citizens and congratulate them as they begin their lives as U.S. citizens. Among the individuals who took the Oath of Allegiance were three members of the U.S. armed forces. USCIS is particularly grateful to these individuals and their fellow service members, both native and foreign-born. Throughout the year we honor those who serve this nation and pay a special tribute in commemoration of Memorial Day this weekend.
Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and 2011 USCIS Outstanding American by Choice recipient, provided keynote remarks. As a naturalized citizen who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her chosen homeland through a life of public service, she personifies the vast opportunities America provides. It was truly an honor to hear her story and see her lead our newest citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance.
 USCIS and the Smithsonian Institution Launch Preparing for the Oath
                Above: Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, greets new U.S. citizen Olugbenga Olufemi Obasanjo (U.S. Army)
During today’s ceremony, Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, also announced the launch of an exciting new resource, Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. This Web-based learning tool features interactive activities, artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections and exhibitions and a self-test based on the 100 questions given during the civics portion of the naturalization test. The interactive question format and use of historical items will help aspiring citizens prepare for the test in an engaging and meaningful way.
In addition to serving as a self-study tool for immigrants, a section for teachers provides materials and strategies to use Preparing for the Oath in a classroom setting.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of a two-year partnership between USCIS and the National Museum of American History. We are excited to introduce Preparing for the Oath and look forward to your feedback. With all the recent discussion about civic education in our country, I encourage you to take a minute to view our new resource and test your knowledge of U.S. history and government.

The Blog @ Homeland Security

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CBP Partners with Chicago Division of Aviation to Launch Self-Service Kiosks at O’Hare

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Chicago – U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Chicago Division of Aviation announced nowadays that Automated Passport Handle is now obtainable for U.S. citizens at O’Hare International Airport. This new technology will permit travelers to scan their own passport, comprehensive their Customs declaration and confirm travel data using a self-service kiosk ahead of reaching the CBP officer to comprehensive the inspection. (a lot more)
CBP.gov: National News Releases

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