Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "natural disasters" ...

  • Hurricane Maria’s dead

    On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was devastated by the strongest hurricane that has hit the island in the last century. In the weeks after the storm, the government insisted there were only a few dozen deaths, but reporting on the ground by the Center for Investigative Journalism suggested there were hundreds. Officials also refused to provide overall mortality statistics that could help measure the impact of the storm. Given the lack of a reliable official death toll, we put together our own database with information collected from family members through an online survey, reporting, and tips. We verified those deaths by matching the victims’ names with government death records CPI eventually obtained through a lawsuit, and through nearly 300 phone interviews with victims’ relatives. We analyzed that material, as well as historic demographic data, to detect changes in mortality trends after the storm.
  • Hell and High Water

    The Houston area is home to 6.5 million people, as well as America’s largest oil refining and petrochemical complex. And it’s a sitting duck for the extreme storms and floods that will become more common as the effects of climate change become more pronounced. So why isn’t Texas — or the federal government — doing more to protect it? https://projects.propublica.org/houston/
  • Landslide Safety All Over The Map

    A catastrophic landslide in Oso, Washington -- a state dotted with landslide-prone slopes -- in March 2014 traveled more than 3,000 feet from its base, in the process burying a community and killing 43 people. A joint KUOW-Earthfix investigation found that most of Washington's counties routinely allow homes to be built 50 feet or less from known landslide zones, although landslides commonly travel hundreds of feet.
  • Logging and Landslides

    After a landslide killed 43 in the town of Oso, Washington, our KUOW investigation found that Washington state's department of natural resources had allowed clear-cutting on sensitive ground that, by law, should have been protected from logging to avoid triggering a slide above Oso. We also documented the agency head's broken vow not to take campaign contributions from the timber industry he regulates.
  • Insurers Criticized for New Rate Models

    This story investigates property-casualty insurers' use of controversial computer models created by various modeling firms; the computer models use complex data to project potential losses from hurricanes and other natural disasters. But investigative reporting revealed the models can be flawed in their design, in their assumptions or in their application by insurers.
  • Tons of Questions

    After wildfires destroyed 365 homes in San Diego, the city rushed to enter contracts with two companies to haul away mounds of potentially toxic debris. The Union-Tribune investigated and found that the contractors, A.J. Diani Construction C. of Santa Maria and Watsonville-based Granite Construction Co., claimed to haul far more rubble than privately hired companies did from comparable lots, failed to provide accurate documentation of how many tons they removed and billed the city millions more than stated in their contracts.
  • Hurricane Giveaway

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)kept tens of millions of dollars worth of new household supplies meant for Katrina victims stored in FEMA warehouses for two years. In early 2008, the agency decided the items were no longer needed and declared them surplus, even though agencies that help hurricane victims told CNN they desperately needed those types of items. The supplies ended up with federal and state agencies, but not Katrina victims. The investigation revealed the groups that are helping rehouse Katrina victims did not know these items existed. Furthermore, CNN discovered a serious disconnect between FEMA and the states, as well as within states themselves. Louisiana's surplus agency passed on taking any of the surplus items because the director said he was never told they were still needed. Mississippi, on the other hand, took the supplies and gave them to state prisons and other agencies, but not to non-profits helping Katrina victims. Those non-profits told CNN they never knew these items were available.
  • Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in its Disaster Zone

    "Hundreds of oral histories, interviews, and anecdotes lace through the author's own narrative of the storm and its ten week aftermath." Clark lived in New Orleans when Katrina hit and did not evacuate, this is his memoir.
  • The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy

    The book investigates an underground mine fire that has raged out of control since John F. Kennedy occupied the White House, spewing toxic gases and causing the relocation of an entire mining community. Drawing on interviews with key participants and new research, the book exposes the failures of major political and government figures, and investigates individual rights, corporate privilege and governmental indifference to the powerless.
  • Through Hell and High Water

    An in-depth look at the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, LA.