Poorest states in America

Poverty in America. It’s a concept that shouldn’t be a thing here. I mean we are the richest nation in the world, right? Well, look around today and you’ll see a lot of us are struggling. For many it’s their own fault – lots of us are broke because of decisions we made.

But plenty of Americans live in poverty because of things outside of their control. Perhaps it was a loss of jobs. Or in many cases, it’s the cost of living. Yes, poverty is a complicated issue here in the US. And no matter who is in office, it’s a problem without an end in sight.

Oakland, California Homeless

Oakland California sure does have a homeless problem. Driving around town, there’s homeless encampments all over the place. They’re on the side of the roads in dirt lots. There’s long stretches of them on sidewalks. Some of them are tents, some are RVs, some are actual encampments with makeshift structures where hundreds of people gather in communities.

It’s estimated there’s around 5,000 homeless individuals throughout the city of Oakland, but no one really knows the exact number. And the number of people on the streets in Oakland has nearly doubled in the last two years alone.

New York City rich and poor

January 2021 Even before COVID-19, New York was already defined by a gap between the rich and poor. Yet during the pandemic, wealth has become a determinant of survival. The pandemic hit New York in the spring, with almost 800 people dying from COVID-19 each day in April.

The city has been uneasy since then. People’s lives have been shaken by months of stay-at-home orders, changing public health measures, “Black Lives Matter” protests, the presidential election, and above all the economic consequences of the pandemic, including ever-widening inequality between New Yorkers.

How Germany’s disaster management system works

July 2021. Deutsche Welle. Unlike many other countries, Germany’s civil protection and disaster management system is deeply rooted in communal and municipal structures. The current flood catastrophe has disclosed major shortcomings.

When the first floods hit southwestern Germany last week, local emergency managers were the first to initiate rescue operations on the ground. But it would soon become apparent that the unfolding natural disaster was more than what they could cope with, and that responses would have to be coordinated at a higher level in the emergency chain of command.

It was high time the crisis managers of the affected counties and municipalities took over, coordinating assignments of police, firefighters and paramedics to help save lives and provide assistance where needed.

Germany has a total of 294 counties and 107 self-governing municipalities, including major cities such as Potsdam, Cologne and Leipzig. In big emergencies, county governors can request assistance from other, less affected, regions to pool their crisis-fighting capabilities in task forces. Those are usually set up and run by a regional state government, of which there are 16 in Germany’s federal state-based political system. 

Germany’s nationwide emergency warning day hitches

September 2020. For the first time in almost 30 years, Germany carried out a nationwide emergency warning day. But not everything went as planned. For those living in or visiting Germany on Thursday, things got loud this morning.

At 11 a.m. sharp (0900 GMT) Germany carried out a nationwide test of its civil alarm systems — with everything from sirens to push notifications on smartphones being tested. The test was slated to run for exactly 20 minutes. It’s the first test of its kind since Germany was reunified in 1991.

The German approach to emergency/disaster management

Disaster control and disaster relief in Germany are public tasks. The German system is based on the principle of subsidiarity between official and private institutions. A lot of official and private relief organisations are responsible for the execution of disaster relief tasks.

In Germany the following organisations exist: Official (GO): Technisches Hilfswerk (THW/Federal Technical Support Service), Feuerwehren (Fire Brigades/professionals and volunteers) Academie of Emergency Planning and Civil Defense Private (NGO): Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Deutschland (ASB/Workers’ Samaritan Association Germany), Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbruchiger (DGzRS, German Lifesaving Association), Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DRK/German Red Cross), Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (JUH/St. John’s Ambulance), Malteser Hilfsdienst (MEID/Maltese-Relief-Organisation).

The German constitution allows to call the federal army in case of disaster, to support the disaster relief organisations (for example: flood Oder River 1997, train-crash “ICE” 1998). In all counties and district free cities disaster control staffs are set up by the administration.

Germany steps up emergency cash plans to cope in blackout

German authorities are stepping up preparations for emergency cash deliveries in case of a blackout to keep the economy running, four people involved said, as the nation braces for possible power cuts arising from the war in Ukraine.

The plans include the Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, hoarding extra billions to cope with a surge in demand, and possible limits on withdrawals, one of the people said.

Planning process in Germany

Perhaps one of the most striking differences between planning in the US and Germany is the structure of the planning systems, and in particular the manner in which the various levels of government interact.

In Germany, planning occurs within a decentralizeddecision-making structure and a strong legal framework, something associated with the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) of 1949.

Involved in the process are the federal government (Bund ), the 16 state governments (Laender), the 114 planning regions and the approximately 14,000 municipalities (BBR, 2000). In recent years, the European Union (EU) has also played an increasing (albeit non-binding) role.

Although planning is a shared task among all levels of government, the federal govern ment does not create or implement plans, but rather sets the overall framework and policy structure to ensure basic consistency for state, regional and local planning, while states, regions and municipalities are the actual planning bodies.

The framework distinguishes between Bauleitplanung, or local land use planning, and Raumordnung, or spatial planning. These are organized by two federal acts:

First, the Baugesetzbuch (Federal Building Code) requires lower levels of government to make plans that are vertically and horizontally consistent and standardizes the level of expertise, rules and symbols utilized in compiling plans (this is additionally supplemented by the Planzeichenverordnung, or Plan Symbols Ordi-nance).

Second, spatial planning is guided by the Bundes-Raumordnungsgesetz (Federal Spatial Planning Act). This act outlines broad guidelines to be met at the Land level, and defines the relationship between the Länder and the federal government. Much federal activity is spent advising lower tiers of government on the interpretation of the regulatory framework.