Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Undersea Earthquake Triggers Tsunami Warnings

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Undersea Earthquake Triggers Tsunami Warnings


Emergency and disaster management briefing for December 5, 2018: A powerful undersea earthquake prompts tsunami warnings and coastal evacuations in the South Pacific, an insurance company is unable to meet its liabilities following the Camp Fire in California, eruptions have ceased for the first time in 35 years at Mount Kilauea in Hawaii, FDA officials have expanded the recall for ground beef, the New York City Police Department unveils its new drone program, one person was shot during a suspected robbery attempt at a Baltimore food warehouse, strong aftershocks continue to impact Anchorage following Friday's major earthquake, and the number of missing in California's Camp Fire has been drastically reduced.

    1. A powerful undersea earthquake prompted coastal evacuations in New Caledonia and Vanuatu after the quake triggered tsunami warnings in the South Pacific. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the quake, a 7.6 magnitude that struck around 4:18 a.m. local time, was shallow--just 6 miles deep--and centered about 95 miles east-southeast of the Loyalty Islands. A second temblor of a magnitude 6.6, struck about two hours later, but there were no damages or injuries from either earthquake to the islands.


    1. The Camp Fire was the most destructive and deadly fire in California history, but the secondary impacts continue to mount, including financial costs--which appears to be steadily increasing. One insurance company has been left in financial ruin after liabilities in Paradise, California hit nearly $64 million--and the company only had assets of $23 million. The Merced Property & Casualty Company will be liquidated, and although the company cannot cover the claims, residents are protected by the California Insurance Guarantee Company, although there is a maximum benefit limitation.

    1. Mount Kilauea in Hawaii, which has been continually erupting since 1993, has not had any new eruptions for the past three months. Lava that began spewing back in April may remain hot and the ground unstable for years to come, so the area remains under a yellow alert level. Scientists said it may be possible that the volcano is done erupting, although there are signs that magma is refilling in Kilauea's East Rift Zone, although not in the area that recently erupted.

    1. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration are expanding the recall for ground beef, to more than 12 million pounds--some of which may be frozen product--due to possible salmonella contamination. The meat was packaged from July 26 to September 7, with the code "EST. 267" inside the USDA inspection stamp, and includes brands such as Cedar Farms, Kroger, and Showcase. There have been 246 cases across 26 states of people becoming ill from the tainted meat, and signs of salmonella include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever, within 72 hours of eating meat contaminated with the bacteria.

    1. Police officials in New York City have unveiled a new drone program for 2019 that will be deployed through TARU--the Technical Assistance Response Unit--that will include the use of 14 drones through remote operation. The program will cost $480,000 in the upcoming year, but will greatly assist with traffic accident investigations, rescue missions, and large scale events, including hazardous material spills, helping to protect first responders from exposure to dangerous chemicals. The devices will also be used to monitor large scale events and hostage situations since the drones are equipped with thermal sensors--allowing the device to detect a person's heat energy.

    1. A suspected robbery attempt at a food supply warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland, left at least one person wounded early Wednesday morning. Police are looking for two suspects who attempted to rob a Restaurant Depot--a wholesale food and supply warehouse for restaurants and businesses--around 5:00 a.m. Reports indicate that the victim was shot in the face, but is expected to survive the shooting.

    1. Alaska received another big aftershock Tuesday morning around 7:00 a.m., which, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), was the 13th aftershock of 4.5 and above to strike the region since the major earthquake that hit outside Anchorage last week. Scientists noted that the area has received more than 2,100 aftershocks since Friday's damaging quake, but majority of them have been too small to feel. The 7.0 quake that hit last Friday damaged some structures, roadways, and major infrastructure, however, no injuries or deaths have been reported from the incident.

    1. The number of deaths from the devastating Camp Fire in California, has been downgraded from 88 to 85, after DNA testing revealed that remains previously separated, belonged to a single person. The local sheriff also noted that the number of people still reported missing, which in the days just following the near total destruction of the town of Paradise, had reached 1,300, has now dropped to 11. Officials are working diligently to track down the remaining people missing and expect to complete the list in the coming days.


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.