Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Massive Power Outage Plunges 3 South American Countries into Darkness
EDM Monday Briefing: Massive Power Outage Plunges 3 South American Countries into Darkness

EDM Monday Briefing: Massive Power Outage Plunges 3 South American Countries into Darkness


Emergency and disaster management briefing for June 17, 2019: A shooting at a graduation party in Philadelphia leaves one dead and five injured; a massive power outage left more than 50 million residents across three countries without power in South America; a new report urges travelers to be sure vaccinations are up to date to avoid contracting dangerous viruses abroad; weather forecasts indicate hot and dry conditions could pose a high risk of dangerous wildfires in the Northwest and western Canada; Uganda medical workers state medical supplies are reportedly insufficient to handle the spread of Ebola to their country; severe weather could spark flash flooding in Washington, DC and surrounding areas, including Maryland; ICE has quarantined 5,200 immigrants for exposure to mumps and chickenpox; Kenya is bracing for what could be its first-ever case of Ebola.

1) Authorities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania stated that one person is dead and at least five others are injured after a shooting at a graduation party. The shooting occurred around 10:30 Sunday evening, and those shot included two adults and four teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17. One adult died in the shooting, and police say it was one of several shootings around the city over the weekend that resulted in multiple injuries and deaths.

2) Residents of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay woke up Sunday to a massive blackout that brought critical infrastructure to a screeching halt. Water pumps were unable to operate, public transportation was halted, and hospitals were forced to operate on generators in what the president of Argentina called an "unprecedented" power outage. The three countries share a power grid, and the loss of power impacted all of Uruguay, all but one province in Argentina, and some of Paraguay's residents. Officials have launched an investigation into the incident.

3) As measles cases rise around the world, a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics urges anyone traveling abroad to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccinations necessary to protect them from potentially dangerous diseases. Currently, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region, the entire region is experiencing a "record-breaking" measles outbreak, with the Ukraine having the most cases at 23,000. The region, which includes 53 countries from Andorra to the Ukraine, reported 41,000 measles cases -- including 37 deaths -- from January to June 2018.

4) Officials are concerned about the coming wildfire season in the Southwest and all along the West Coast and into Canada. A particularly wet rainy season has led to heavy vegetation growth and as the region dries out, it increases the risk for a more severe fire season. High temperatures and low humidity levels have already dried out areas in the Northwest. Meteorologists are predicting a hot and dry summer at lower mountain elevations (below 6,000 feet), which poses higher risks for more damaging wildfires. The biggest threat for dangerous and destructive wildfires mostly lies in the Northwest and western Canada, as a pattern of upper-level highs are predicted across the area through late summer and into early fall.

5) Uganda medical workers have stated that they lack the medical supplies necessary to tackle the recent spread of Ebola into their country. The hospital where the two recent victims died from Ebola after visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo has limited resources and supplies, including gloves, and lacks an isolation ward. The World Health Organization (WHO) has yet to declare the outbreak a global emergency, which would trigger additional resources and funding. Both the DRC and Uganda appear to be against the declaration.

6) Tropical moisture is set to spark another round of wet weather and likely thunderstorms, in the Washington, DC area, which could also spawn damaging winds and small hail. Heavy storms brought substantial rainfall to the region over the weekend. The additional precipitation is likely to cause flash floods, with northern and central Maryland being at the greatest risk. The severe weather is likely to develop due to a tropical air mass that has combined with a stalled front and a passing disturbance.

7) Confirmed cases of the mumps and chickenpox has led the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to quarantine about 5,200 immigrants across 39 detention centers for exposure to one or both of the diseases. Information received from ICE officials indicates that there is a current outbreak of the mumps in Central America, and immigrants coming across the border are likely spreading the disease. Among detainees, a total of 334 mumps cases have been confirmed from September 2018 to June 13, 2019.

8) Kenyan medical officials stated that they are testing a woman with Ebola-like symptoms at the Kericho County Referral Hospital. The patient is in an isolation ward, and if Ebola is confirmed, it would be the first-ever case of Ebola in the country. Although Kenyan doctors have expressed concern over the country's preparedness to handle an outbreak, health officials reportedly downplayed the threat. Officials noted that they have rapid surveillance and response teams in place, and proper precautions -- including minimal contact -- were used to treat and test the patient presenting symptoms.


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.