The Need

Because the question is when and not if Cape Cod and the Islands need to respond to a disaster, be it a storm, a nuclear spill from the aging Pilgrim Power Plant, a terrorist attack, an earthquake, or an uncontrolled fire. The risk of potential disaster on the Cape and Islands is significant.

  • The Cape and Islands is of course home to many tropical storms. In fact, three out of the four worst Massachusetts-based hurricanes in the 20th Century involved the Cape.[i] Now, a new report suggests that climate change could cause “more frequent [and] major hurricanes (Category 3 and greater.)”[ii] Additionally, with the rising sea level, it is expected that future tropical storms will cause more flooding, erosion, and damage.
  • While earthquakes are often considered just a West Coast phenomenon, New England is vulnerable to this natural disaster. In May 2016, New England experienced three earthquakes in four days.[iii] In fact, every year, New England experiences “100 earthquakes in the 1 to 2 magnitude range; 10 in the 2 to 3 range; and one in the 3 to 4 magnitude range.” And the region can expect a “4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade and a 5 to 6 every century.”[iv]
  • Wildfires are another major risk for the Cape and Islands. A recent United States Forest Service study found that Barnstable and Plymouth counties are actually more fire-prone than Southern California. This is due to the combination of sandy soil, drying winds, and fuel type (pine and oak.)[v]
  • Regarding viruses, , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that travelers visiting or returning to the United States from areas with a current Zika outbreak could spread Zika locally.[vi] Additionally, a rare form of antibiotic-resistant E. Coli recently made its way to the United States. Superbugs are known to have a high mortality rate and are becoming more common. The CDC warns that “although this is the first case in the United States, we should expect to see more such superbugs in the near future.”[vii]
  • Unfortunately, the threat of domestic terrorism and mass shootings is palpable. In the wake of recent mass shootings, we need to be prepared.

In the face of these documented great risks, MCRF will indeed be prepared to fill unmet needs and focus on long-term recovery assistance. But we cannot do it without your help. To donate to our fund, please visit the donation page. To learn how you can get involved, please visit our volunteer page.



[i] “The Worst Massachusetts Hurricanes of the 20th Century.” Energy and Environmental Affairs. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 29 May 2013. Web. 05 July 2016. <>.

[ii] Climate Projection Consensus. Summary Report. Climate Ready Boston, June 2016. Web. 05 July 2016. <>.

[iii] Noyes, Matt. “New England Hit by 3 Earthquakes in 4 Days.” NECN, 2 June 2016. Web. 5 July 2016. <>.

[iv] Rocheleau, Matt. “Major Quake Expected in N.E. Once Every 1,000 Years.” The Boston Globe. John W. Henry, 23 July 2015. Web. 05 July 2016. <>.

[v] “Forestry & Fire Control Facts: Did You Know…?” Energy and Environmental Affairs. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 28 May 2013. Web. 05 July 2016. <>.

[vi] “Areas with Zika.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 June 2016. Web. 05 July 2016. <>.

[vii] Christensen, Jen, and Debra Goldschmidt. “A Dreaded Superbug Found for the First Time in a U.S. Woman.” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 May 2016. Web. 05 July 2016. <>.