Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Bahamas Recovery Struggling as New Hurricane Season Looms
EDM Monday Briefing: Bahamas Recovery Struggling as New Hurricane Season Looms

EDM Monday Briefing: Bahamas Recovery Struggling as New Hurricane Season Looms

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 10, 2020: Abaco Islands in the Bahamas is still facing an uphill recovery battle after it was devastated by Hurricane Dorian five months ago; an American has died of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China; the Governor of Oregon declared an emergency in three counties as floodwaters devastated homes and prompted an airlift rescue of 21 people; a tragic house fire in Mississippi killed a mother and six children; a small plane crash in a remote area of North Georgia amid heavy snowfall killed four adults; Storm Ciara battered the UK and Northern Europe with high winds, heavy rains that halted flights and trains; a mass shooting at a mall in Thailand left 29 dead; and two major fires in Australia were extinguished with heavy rainfalls that caused flooding and flash floods that prompted hundreds of rescue calls.

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1) It has been five months since Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas and decimated homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure. Recovery has been extremely slow because most people either evacuated or were displaced -- their homes and businesses devastated -- and are unable to return due to the lack of housing. Abaco is not likely to see power fully restored until early summer, and with another hurricane season rapidly approaching, there remains a very high need for thousands of volunteers to assist with rebuilding efforts.

2) An American in the Hubei Province, in the city of Wuhan, China, has died of the coronavirus. The novel coronavirus has spread to 27 countries, and the number of cases in China have topped 40,000. The death toll stood at 908 people as of Sunday, but a team of health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) says the spread of the coronavirus outside China may just be the tip of the iceberg.

3) The Governor of Oregon has declared an emergency for at least three counties, including Umatilla, Onion, and Wallowa, after floodwaters inundated parts of Oregon and Washington. In January, rain fell in Oregon 28 out of 31 days, and snowmelt compounded the flooding. The Oregon National Guard airlifted 21 people out of flooded conditions on Saturday, nearly 10 miles of I-84 was still closed, and millions of dollars of damage were incurred across the flooded regions.

4) A house fire that broke out just after midnight Saturday in Mississippi, killed a mother and all six of her children. The father, who survived the blaze, was taken to a local hospital for smoke inhalation, cuts, bruises, and second-degree burns. He is listed in critical condition. According to fire officials, burglar bars were evident on some windows, which may have prevented the family from escaping. However, there was no evidence of foul play, and the fire is now under investigation.

5) A small plane crash during heavy snowfall in a remote area of north Georgia killed four people on Saturday. The jet, a Cessna Citation, departed from the Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field at around 10:00 a.m. It was bound for Nashville, Tennessee, when radar lost contact with the plane when it was about 50 miles north of Atlanta. The plane was found inverted in a creek on Saturday. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) -- who is  investigating the crash -- will work to determine what role, if any, weather may have played in the crash of the small jet.

6) Hurricane-force winds and heavy rains battered the United Kingdom and Northern Europe on Sunday. The storm, named Ciara by the UK Met Office, forced flights and trains to halt, while high seas closed down ports. The high winds -- with gusts at nearly 100 mph -- and heavy rains also downed trees, damaged electrical wires and roofs, and littered train tracks with various types of debris, including a trampoline.

7) A mass shooting at a mall in Thailand on Saturday killed at least 29 people. The shooter, Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanath Thomma -- who was a Thai soldier -- opened fire at a military camp, killing his commanding officer and the officer's mother-in-law. He then wounded at least three other soldiers before he opened fire in the mall. A 13-hour standoff with Thai special forces ended when they shot and killed the alleged shooter.

8) Heavy rain, damaging winds, and abnormally high tides were forecast in New South Wales and Queensland as severe weather impacted wildfire-ravaged Australia. Heavy rainfall resulted in flooding and flash flooding, which prompted hundreds of calls for assistance, but NSW police struggled to respond to all the calls on Sunday. The heavy rainfall helped extinguish two large fires that had been raging for months, including the Currowan Fire. This fire destroyed 312 homes and blackened 1.2 million acres.

 

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.