Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Philippines Struck by Third Major Earthquake
EDM Friday Briefing: Philippines Struck by Third Major Earthquake

EDM Friday Briefing: Philippines Struck by Third Major Earthquake


Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 1, 2019: Mandatory evacuations remain in place for the Easy Fire burning in Simi Valley; Texas public health officials are investigating a state fair and its possible connection to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease; firefighters make a harrowing drive on roads flanked by the Maria Fire burning on South Mountain in Ventura County; a Hepatitis A outbreak leaves six dead and 500 sickened in New Jersey; individuals and businesses are facing financial hardships from PSPS and the eruption of multiple wildfires across communities in California; two small plane crashes, one in Florida and one in Georgia, have left four people dead; health officials have reported a large increase in the number of cases of vaping-related illnesses; and a third major earthquake has hit an already devastated southern region in the Philippines.

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1) Three firefighters were injured fighting the Easy Fire, which erupted early Wednesday morning and was fueled by high winds amid an extreme red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). The fire, which quickly spread to 1,723 acres, has destroyed at least two structures. However, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was spared by goats who, earlier this year, ate 13 acres of the flammable scrub around the facility. Mandatory evacuations are in place, and at least 700 firefighters -- assisted by water-dropping helicopters -- are working to contain the wildfire.

2) Public health officials in Texas have identified seven confirmed and five possible cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Northeast Texas region. A possible connection to the East Texas State Fair is being investigated. Health officials are cautioning anyone experiencing symptoms of the disease and who attended the fair -- which was held from September 20-29 -- to immediately contact their healthcare provider. Legionnaires' disease is contracted by inhaling droplets of infected water, and symptoms may include a cough, high fever, and weakness.

3) Firefighters are battling another fire -- the Maria Fire -- that began on top of South Mountain near Santa Paula. The blaze has scorched 8,030 acres and is zero percent contained. Video shows the harrowing drive of firefighters on roads that are flanked on both sides by the wildfire, as they moved bulldozers into the area to help with firefighting efforts. Updates are being communicated online by Ventura County, including mandatory evacuation orders that are in place, road closures in effect and shelters that are open.

4) Six people are dead and more than 500 were sickened by a Hepatitis A outbreak that has hit New Jersey hard in recent months. The disease, which is not treatable, is preventable through a vaccination. Health officials are encouraging individuals to get the vaccine, especially those in high-risk groups. This year, 30 states have seen a total of 27,000 cases diagnosed. Out of those, 274 people have died, and the five hardest-hit states are Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

5) Wildfires have erupted and exploded across California, even as Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) have been implemented by power companies in Northern and Southern California. Both the wildfires and the power shutoffs have impacted individuals and businesses across the state, creating financial hardships. Evacuations have forced residents from their homes; and fires have destroyed homes and businesses and halted tourism; and PSPS have prevented retail establishments from opening. All of these problems have impacted local economies and created financial hardships for individuals and businesses.

6) Two small plane crashes -- one in Georgia and one in Florida -- have left four people dead. In an incident on Wednesday, a small plane, a Piper PA-28, took off from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport near Atlanta and crashed into an apartment complex off Interstate 85 in Atlanta. Both individuals on board were killed. On Thursday morning, a Beechcraft Baron attempted to make an emergency landing in Ocala, Florida, but struck an SUV just before it crashed into the ground. The plane erupted into flames, killing its two occupants.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading both investigations.

7) Health officials in the U.S. reported a total of 1,888 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related illnesses, with the number of deaths rising to a total of 38. The number of cases rose by 284 this week, with the disease spreading across 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Currently, the only state without a case is Alaska, and an investigation into the illness is still ongoing.

8) A third strong earthquake has shaken an already devastated southern region of the Philippines, leaving at least four people dead and scores of others injured. Mindanao has been the center of three strong earthquakes this month, including a magnitude 6.3 on October 16. There were two separate quakes this week, one with a magnitude 6.6 that left seven dead, and another one on Thursday that killed at least five people and had a magnitude of 6.5. The three strong earthquakes have triggered landslides and damaged or destroyed infrastructure and nearly 3,000 homes, schools, and buildings. The quakes have also injured dozens and killed at least 18 people.


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.