EDM Friday Briefing: EgyptAir Flight 804, Hudson River Rail Tunnels, Refugees, India Heat Wave, Urban Air Pollution
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 20, 2016: Egyptian forces announce that they located the wreckage from EgyptAir Flight 804, aging rail tunnels under the Hudson River are in desperate need of replacement, global survey respondents overwhelmingly accept refugees, India sets a new national heat record, and the WHO cites worsening air pollution in urban areas across the globe.
- The Egyptian military confirmed early this morning that they had located the wreckage from EgyptAir Flight 804. Officials announced yesterday that the flight crashed at sea but had been unable to locate wreckage until a few hours ago. The plane, carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members, crashed into the Mediterranean en route to Cario, Egypt. Egyptian officials have suggested that terrorism is a likely cause for the disappearance -- more so than mechanical failure -- but have been unable to confirm that theory as of yet.
- Aging rail tunnels under the Hudson River are badly deteriorated, and suffered significant damage in 2012 during Superstorm Sandy. The tunnels are in desperate need of replacement before something catastrophic occurs, but efforts to move forward on the building of two new tunnels have been stalled for decades. A recent report by Common Good highlighted the red tape that has stalled any efforts to move any of the proposed projects forward.
- A global survey recently revealed that 80 percent of people would accept refugees in their country, and many even indicated a readiness to take refugees into their own homes. The survey questioned 27,000 people in 27 nations. According to The Refugees Index, which was commissioned by Amnesty International, China, Germany and the UK were the most welcoming nations, while Russia, Indonesia and Thailand were least receptive and had the most negative attitudes towards refugees in general.
- The desert state of Rajasthan, India set a new national heat record yesterday of 123.80°F, breaking a previous record of 123.08°F set in 1956. A lasting nationwide heat wave has already believed to have killed several hundred people here in 2016 after more than a thousand people died during a massive heat wave in the country in 2015.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), populations in low-income cities are the most impacted by air pollution. Up to 98 percent of cities in low- and middle income countries (100,000 inhabitants or more) do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. Global urban air pollution levels increased by 8 percent from 2008 to 2013, the WHO reported.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III officials are currently working with state, local, and federal partners to increase preparedness and coordinate response and recovery capabilities as hurricane season approaches. Earlier this week, the National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched Hurricane Preparedness Week to encourage public hurricane preparedness all the way down to the specific details of individual evacuation plans.
- San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr resigned yesterday after Mayor Ed Lee called for his resignation following a serious shooting event. Suhr's resignation came after the fatal shooting on an unarmed black woman renewed questions about whether the Police Department had lost the confidence of minority communities in the city.
- An emergency committee convened by WHO determined that the current yellow fever outbreak is 'a serious public health event,' but did not feel it necessary to declare it a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The committee believes that, because the spread of the disease has been slowed on an international level and vaccine supplies are recovering, there is no current need to declare a public health emergency. Yellow fever is caused by a virus spread by Aedes aegypti, which is the same mosquito that spreads both Zika virus and Dengue fever.
- The WHO announced yesterday that there have been big gains in life expectancy on a global basis since 2000, but that major inequalities between countries persist. According to the WHO, life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, which is the fastest rise in expectancy in about six decades. Life expectancy actually fell in the 1990s in large part because of the AIDS epidemic. The largest rise in this latest report occurred in the African Region, as life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven, in part, by expanded access to antiretroviral for treatment of HIV.