Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Mount Sinabung Erupts, Japan Unveils Earthquake Early Warning System

EDM Friday Briefing: Mount Sinabung Erupts, Japan Unveils Earthquake Early Warning System

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 29, 2017: Mount Sinabung erupts in Sumatra, a second massive rockslide injures at least one in Yosemite, a flesh-eating bacteria claims the life of a woman in Houston, a Southwest pilot calls police for the removal of an unruly passenger, Montana gets relief from raging wildfires as it welcomes wet and snowy weather, Japan will unveil a new early earthquake warning system in November, the EPA finds dangerously high levels of a toxin at a Houston Superfund site, and the Pentagon tasks a three-star general to lead recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

  1. As many people continue watching Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia, for an imminent volcanic eruption, another Indonesian volcano erupted violently on Wednesday afternoon. Mount Sinabung in northern Sumatra erupted around 1:23 p.m. local time, spewing ash more than one and half miles (2.5 km) into the air as authorities warned individuals to remain clear of the volcano. A very active volcano, Mount Sinabung erupts frequently and is responsible for at least 10 deaths this year. 
  2. A second, and much larger rockslide has occurred at Yosemite National Park, just one day after a massive granite boulder at least 100 feet tall and just as wide broke loose from El Capitan and killed one person and injured another. The rockslide on Thursday injured at least one person and sent a huge plume of dust into the air as rock and debris cascaded into the valley below. El Capitan is a sheer granite monolith that towers 4,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley and is very popular with rock climbers. 
  3. A woman who contracted a flesh eating bacterial infection following a fall into Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters in Houston has died. The medical examiner stated this week that Nancy Reed, 77, died after she contracted a skin infection that eats soft tissue--known as necrotizing fasciitis--when she fell into floodwaters. Health officials are urging residents, volunteers, and workers cleaning up the mess left behind from receding floodwaters to take precautions and protect themselves from any dangerous bacteria that may still be lurking.
  4. A woman on a Southwest flight that stated she had a severe pet allergy and complained about sitting next to two dogs, one that was a service animal, ended up being removed from the plane by local authorities. The woman was unable to produce a health certificate that certified her claim, and after refusing to leave the plane, the pilot called local law enforcement. Passenger video of the incident shows the woman refusing to walk off the plane even as the officers repeatedly kept telling her to "walk."
  5. After its second most destructive and costly fire season in 29 years, Montana's wildfire season is coming to an end thanks to the arrival of another round of wet and snowy weather across the region this weekend. Fire officials credit two big rainstorms that impacted the area from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20 for halting the growth of active fires and helping to end the season in western Montana. Officials caution however, that the fire danger remains moderate to high in central and eastern Montana, at least through the weekend.
  6. Japan has unveiled a new earthquake alert system to help provide early warning to residents that may be at risk from the Nankai Trough. The new system, set to be implemented in November, will be based on foreshocks that often directly precede violent earthquakes, allowing a warning to be sent out to people in the Pacific coast area of central and southwestern Japan that would give them time to evacuate or take cover. By implementing the new technology, Japan's government hopes to reduce the number of likely casualties occurring from a major earthquake in the Nankai Trough by at least 80 percent
  7. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has detected extremely high levels of a toxic waste material in a Superfund site in Houston that was flooded during Hurricane Harvey. A sediment sample collected by a dive team at the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site showed dioxin levels of 70,000 nanogram per kilogram, exponentially exceeding the 30 nanogram EPA level for cleaning. The EPA has ordered the parties potentially responsible to immediately address the dioxin waste and to repair a damaged protective cap.
  8. A decorated three-star general, Lt. General Jeffrey Buchanan, has been tasked to oversee recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, helping create a more unified command and better enabling the rapid repair of infrastructure, including electricity and water, and the clearing and restoration of roadways. Damages across the island from Hurricane Maria have hampered the movement of relief supplies from the ports and the airport due to damaged, destroyed, or impassible roadways. President Trump also authorized a 10-day waiver on the Jone's Act to help expedite the shipment of supplies to the island via ships.

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.