Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: DRC's Ebola Spreads to Uganda
EDM Wednesday Briefing: DRC's Ebola Spreads to Uganda

EDM Wednesday Briefing: DRC's Ebola Spreads to Uganda

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 12, 2019: The Ebola outbreak in the DRC has now crossed into Uganda; Gujarat is preparing for its first major cyclone to strike the region in over 20 years; more bodies were discovered when the sightseeing boat Mermaid was raised from the bottom of the Danube River in Budapest; Arizona is seeing fewer wildfires so far this season but currently has 10 active wildfires; a missile strike at an airport in Saudi Arabia wounds 26 people; a New Jersey jail is on lockdown after five reported cases of the mumps among inmates; record high temperatures spark wildfires across northern California; and PG&E has already begun cutting power to residents as high winds move through the area.

1) In the first cross-country case, a five-year-old boy is dead from Ebola in Uganda. The current outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in 2,062 cases, and of those, there have been 1,390 deaths. Since the outbreak began last August, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been dispatched to the eastern part of the DRC, where the outbreak began.

2) A severe cyclone that is gaining strength in the Arabian Sea is poised to strike the western Indian state of Gujarat -- its first strike by a cyclone in over 20 years. It will be India's second hit from a major cyclone this season, and authorities are working to evacuate residents from low-lying areas ahead of Cyclone Vayu's landfall sometime Thursday morning. Gujarat is home to large refineries and several major ports, and port officials stated disaster management plans have been implemented. The port will be closed for at least one or two days, vessel berthing has stopped, and most vessels have been moved out as a safety precaution.

3) The wreckage from the vessel collision on the Danube River in the Center of Budapest, Hungary, has been lifted out of the water. Authorities discovered four bodies on the sunken sightseeing tourist boat the Mermaid, which collided with another, larger cruise liner two weeks ago. According to authorities, a total of four bodies still remain missing. The Mermaid, which sank in just seven seconds, was carrying 35 people, including 33 South Koreans. Strong currents hampered rescue efforts following the collision.

4) There are 10 active wildfires burning in the state of Arizona, three of which are prescribed burns. The start of the wildfire season has shown fewer acres burned compared to last year. However, so far this season, there have already been 524 wildfires that have burned more than 10,600 acres. The majority of the wildfires were started by lightning strikes. Severe drought conditions in 2018 created dry brush and high winds, which have been the root of rapidly expanding wildfires this season.

5) A missile struck the Ahba Airport in Saudi Arabia, wounding 26 people, including three women and two children. The majority of those hurt sustained minor injuries. However, eight people were hospitalized after the missile allegedly launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels hit the airport, which is located in the kingdom's southwestern town of Ahba. Iranian-allied Houthi rebels -- whom Saudis believe have been supplied arms by Iran -- have been at war with Saudi Arabia since 2015.

6) Five reported cases of the mumps among the general population inmates has prompted officials to put a New Jersey jail on lockdown. The Bergen County Jail has stated that they will not receive any new inmates, and nor will any inmates be allowed to leave until the outbreak is fully contained. An expedited request for 1,000 MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines for staff and inmates has been issued. While visitation will still be allowed, it will be in a controlled environment.

7) Over the weekend, the Sand Fire, burning near the community of Guinda, grew rapidly, exploding from around 100 acres to over 2,200 acres by Sunday. The blaze in Yolo County, California, has grown to over 2,500 acres amid record-breaking heat. CalFire noted that as of Tuesday evening, containment was at 70 percent. According to the National Weather Service, several locations set or tied record high temperatures, including downtown San Francisco, which hit 92 degrees on Tuesday.

8) As the wildfire season kicks into full gear in California, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has already begun shutting off power to locations determined to be at high risk for wildfires. The plan to cut power was approved by California regulators in the wake of the especially deadly, destructive 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons. Recent wildfires, including the deadly Camp Fire, were sparked by power lines and burned millions of acres of land. In some instances, the fires decimated towns and killed residents who were not able to evacuate quickly enough.

 

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.