Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Ebola Outbreak Intensifies

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Ebola Outbreak Intensifies


Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 16, 2019: An earthquake struck off the coast of Maryland on Tuesday evening; one person is dead and two people are critically injured after being attacked by a man with a hammer; the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC is now the second-largest and second-most deadly; a winter storm dropped torrential rain and forced the evacuations of dozens of locations near California wildfire burn scars; a small earthquake woke residents of the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday; a German town bordering Austria has been evacuated due to a heightened acute avalanche risk; one American is confirmed dead following a terrorist attack at a hotel in Kenya; and a 6.6 magnitude earthquake off Vanuatu posed no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

  1. The coast of Maryland was rattled Tuesday evening by a 4.7 magnitude earthquake that struck just offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the 4.7 magnitude quake, which was centered about 136 miles east-southeast of Ocean City, struck at a depth of about 6 miles, although a tsunami warning was not issued. Emergency management officials in Ocean City took to social media to let residents know that they were aware of the quake that occurred at about 6:30 p.m., but that there were no reports of damage or injuries.  
  2. One person is dead, and two people are in critical condition following an attack by a man with hammer at a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. Reports indicate that on Tuesday evening, a man ran screaming into the Seaport Buffet restaurant, and began randomly attacking people with a hammer. Patrons and employees fled the restaurant, seeking shelter at other eating establishments, and although the suspect fled, police were able to apprehend him just a few blocks away.  
  3. The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has become the second-largest and second-deadliest in history according to health officials. The official number of confirmed cases over the last five months has now reached 600, and although many have been vaccinated against the disease, health officials warn that the risk of transmission remains high. Containment of the disease has been challenging for health officials due to local resistance and sporadic attacks from armed groups.  
  4. California emergency management officials in several locations ordered evacuations Monday following a storm that brought torrential rainfall to several burn scar areas. Residents living in areas near the Sherpa, Thomas, and Whittier Fire burn scars in Santa Barbara, along with those living in Riverside County near the Holy Fire burn scar, were under mandatory evacuations Monday afternoon. Mudflows closed portions of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from Malibu into Ventura, while heavy snow produced by the same system, shut down the Tejon Pass on I-5, and stranded motorists for hours. 
  5. The San Francisco Bay Area was awakened early Wednesday by a small, 3.4 magnitude earthquake that struck just two miles from Berkeley, California. According to the https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/nc73133456/executive" title="U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake struck at a depth of about seven miles"], and was centered near the State Highway 24 and 13 junction in Oakland. The small temblor occurred at 4:42 a.m., and although many people felt the quake, there have been no reports of injuries or damages.  
  6. Officials in Germany have issued an evacuation order for a town near the Austrian border due to the heightened risk of an acute avalanche. Authorities advised residents in the town of Raiten to gather medicines and important documents to take with them when they evacuated, and to inform neighbors and relatives in the area who may be unaware of the warning and evacuation order. Heavy snowfall over the past weeks has greatly heightened the avalanche risk in parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, where dozens have already died in weather-related incidents, including avalanches.  
  7. A hotel attack in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday has led to the deaths of at least 14 people, including one American, as was confirmed by the U.S. State Department. The alleged terrorist attack, for which al-Shabab has claimed responsibility, began with car bombs, then armed men entered the DusitD2 Luxury Hotel complex--which houses bars, restaurants, banks, and offices--and began shooting. Kenyan security forces helped more than 700 people escape to safety as explosions and gunfire continued for nearly 19 hours as they pursued the terrorists involved in the attack.  
  8. A magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck off the coast of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean early Wednesday morning local time. The quake was centered about 65 miles west-northwest of Sola, and was recorded at a depth of about 29 miles. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center stated that there was no tsunami threat from the strong temblor, which Hawaiian civil defense officials communicated in a message to Hawaii County.  

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.