Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Death Toll Rises in Japan, Eight Boys Rescued from Thai Cave

EDM Monday Briefing: Death Toll Rises in Japan, Eight Boys Rescued from Thai Cave

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By Kim Arsenault
Contributor, EDM Digest

Emergency and disaster management briefing for July 9, 2018: Eight boys have now been rescued from the Tham Luang cave in Thailand; the Klamathon Fire killed one and jumped the border into Oregon; an air ambulance helicopter crashed onto a highway in Chicago; Tropical Storm Chris in the Atlantic is forecast to become a hurricane sometime Monday; Colorado has more than a dozen wildfires currently burning; Japan struggles to rescue victims of flooding and landslides in a desperate race against time; violent protests erupt in Haiti, trapping U.S. church groups and volunteers in the country; and the County Fire in California has consumed over 90,200 acres as firefighters struggle to contain its northern areas.

  1.  Eight boys have now been rescued from the Tham Luang cave system in Thailand, as rescuers race against time and forecast heavy rainfalls. Thai officials stated that rain forecasts for the far north province of Chiang Rai factored into their decision to move forward with the complicated and dangerous plan to rescue the trapped boys and their coach from the cave. Officials fear that new rainfalls will further flood the cave, potentially reducing the cavern where the trapped soccer team is located to just 108 square feet.
  2. Firefighters in California are working to contain several wildfires raging in the state, including the Klamathon Fire which has killed one person and injured three firefighters, one of whom reportedly received severe burns on his face. The blaze also destroyed 72 structures, has grown significantly to 55 square miles and crossed the state line into Oregon overnight Sunday. More than 2,300 firefighters continue to battle the blaze amid low humidity levels and strong winds.
  3. An air ambulance helicopter crashed onto a highway in Chicago Saturday night, injuring all four on board the chopper. Shortly after the pilot radioed a mayday call at 9:15 p.m. CDT, the Eurocopter 135 crashed onto the grassy area next to a ramp of the Interstate 57 highway. Reports indicate that the patient who was onboard is in critical condition, while the pilot and two others on the helicopter were listed in stable condition in Chicago area hospitals. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident.
  4. The tropical storm that formed off the coast of North Carolina on Sunday is forecast to become a hurricane sometime Monday. Tropical Storm Chris is situated about 180 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, has top wind speeds of 50 mph and has been staying far off the coast of the United States. It is not expected to directly impact the U.S.. However, swells generated by the storm could produce life-threatening conditions along the mid-Atlantic and North Carolina coastlines later in the week.
  5. There are more than a dozen wildfires burning in Colorado, including the Spring Creek Fire which began on June 27. The blaze was human-caused and has consumed over 107,300 acres. Easing weather conditions allowed firefighters to gain 70 percent containment of the blaze that is burning in Castillo and Huerfano counties, although some pre-evacuation orders were still being issued Monday. More than 1,800 fire personnel are working to fully contain the blaze. Officials are anticipating a full containment on or before July 31.
  6. Historically heavy rains, unprecedented flooding and landslides have killed at least 100 people in western Japan as the nation struggles to assess widespread damage and determine casualties. Hiroshima was the hardest-hit area according to officials, who said that many of the approximately 68 people who are still unaccounted for are located in that region. Nearly two million people were still subject to evacuation orders on Monday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expanded rescue efforts in what he referred to as "a race against time" to find and rescue those still trapped by floodwaters and mudslides.
  7. Protests over the raising of fuel prices by the government sparked violent protests in Haiti over the weekend and caused the U.S. Embassy to issue a warning for U.S. citizens to shelter in place. Many flights were canceled Sunday amid the ongoing violence, trapping church groups and volunteers from several states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Although the government scrapped its plan on Saturday to raise the fuel prices, the violent protests continued. On Sunday, looting began as stores were emptied, vandalized and burned.
  8. California's County Fire that is burning in Yolo and Napa counties has scorched nearly 90,300 acres. Mandatory evacuations are still in effect for areas impacted by this wildfire. A morning update by CalFire indicates that the blaze is now 73 percent contained, but steep, inaccessible terrain along the northern portion of the fire has hampered containment in that area. The fire has destroyed 16 structures and has a total of 2,667 fire personnel working to contain the blaze. Firefighters are supported by of 23 helicopters and an interagency effort of more than 20 agencies.

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.