Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Mumps in Texas, 2017 Wildfires

EDM Friday Briefing: Mumps in Texas, 2017 Wildfires

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 14, 2017: Texas health providers are being advised of a mumps outbreak, China launches a communications satellite with natural disaster benefits, cholera endemic hits famine-struck Somalia, wildfires in 2017 have already destroyed more than four times the average acreage, the manhunt for Joseph Jakubowski is over, Uzbekistan intelligence says it warned Sweden of threat by Rakhmat Akilov, a rooftop fire at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas was difficult to access, and California state water officials prepare to release water at Oroville dam ahead of wet weather.

    1. Health care providers throughout Texas are are urged to be alert for mumps cases by the Texas Department of State Health Services, and especially anyone complaining of symptoms who may have visited South Padre Island during spring break. Local, regional, and state health officials are investigating multiple mumps outbreaks across the state, with many of the current diagnoses are being linked to individuals that traveled to South Padre Island for spring break.  So far this year, Texas has 221 confirmed cases of mumps, its highest since 1994 where a total of 234 cases were documented.

    1. A communications satellite recently launched by China reportedly will provide less developed regions and airplanes with better internet access. According to China, other benefits provided by the satellite include providing individuals on the ground with the ability to report emergencies during natural disasters. Such capabilities can help agencies provide assistance more quickly while providing situational awareness, which is often difficult to obtain immediately following a major disaster.
    2. In a recent statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that in Somalia, a nation struck by famine, over 25,000 individuals have contracted cholera, a deadly watery diarrhea, that left untreated can cause death in just hours. WHO expects that figure to double this summer and reports that the total number of recorded deaths this year is at least 524. Malnourished children under the age of five are especially vulnerable to the disease - a disease that can easily be treated with an oral rehydration solution.
    3. A destructive and deadly wildfire start to 2017 has resulted in four times the average acreage being charred, and it is only April. According to a National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) report, as of April 7, more than 14,500 wildfires have burned nearly 2.2 million acres across the nation, but most of the damage has centered around the southern United States. This amount dwarfs the 2007-2016 ten year average of 434,696 acres even though the average number of fires is nearly the same. 77 percent of all wildfires have occurred in the region from Oklahoma and Texas to the Carolinas and Florida.
    4. Joseph Jakubowski, on the run since April 4 when he robbed a gun store and sent an anti-government manifesto to President Trump, has been arrested near Readerstown, Wisconsin. A separate letter written by an individual claiming to be Joseph Jakubowski -- sent days after the manhunt began --threatened violence against churches in the Sussex area on Easter Sunday and authorities are investigating its authenticity.

    1. The alleged terrorist in the Stockholm, Sweden terror attack last Friday was suspected of being an Islamic State recruit according to intelligence sources in Uzbekistan. On Friday, Uzbekistan's security services indicated that they had warned Sweden that the suspect, Rakhmat Akilov, had used online messaging services to urge compatriots to join the fight for the Islamic State by traveling to Syria -- after he left the Central Asian area and settled in Sweden in 2014 -- suggesting he had been recruited by a jihadist group. In February, Akilov was placed on Uzbekistan's list of people wanted for suspected religious extremism.
    2. A rooftop fire at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday night resulted in a temporary closure of the boulevard as fire fighters worked to contain the blaze. Efforts to access the blaze were extremely difficult due to the fire's location at a high point above the hotel's shops. A total of ten engines and more than 75 fire fighting personnel took part in fighting the fire which was quickly contained.

  1. On Thursday, California state water officials announced that they would begin releasing water from the Oroville dam as early as Friday into the heavily damaged spillway ahead of the threat of wet weather. The spillway was last used on March 27 and workers have been reinforcing the massive concrete chute to help keep it from becoming damaged further from the rest of the rainy season's wet weather. Major repairs on the spillway are set to begin after the rainy season ends, but costs could soar into the millions of dollars and take at least two years to complete.

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.