Home Emergency Management News EDM Friday Briefing: Kentucky Wildfires, Mutant Ebola, Paris Agreement, Alabama Drought

EDM Friday Briefing: Kentucky Wildfires, Mutant Ebola, Paris Agreement, Alabama Drought

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 4, 2016

  1. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin declared a state of emergency due to dozens of wildfires burning throughout the state. The declaration opens up state resources to local and state officials. Firefighters have responded to more than 60 fires in about 20 counties since the start of the week--the majority in southeastern and northeastern parts of the state.
  2. Scientists now believe that the Ebola virus mutated early during the 2013-2016 epidemic, and it's this mutation that may have caused the widespread outbreak. Two separate, recent studies discovered that a single mutation that occurred in the early stages of the outbreak made it easier for the virus to infect cells. The discovery helps to explain why that outbreak was so widespread, as opposed to previous outbreaks that had been small and relatively limited.
  3. The United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC)--the parent treaty for the Paris Climate Change Agreement--goes into effect today. The UNFCCC serves as the parent treaty to other climate action agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), all with the goal to prevent human interference from reaching dangerous levels within the climate system.
  4. The Alabama Office of Water Resources declared drought emergencies in 18 more state counties this week. The additional declarations bring the total number to 46 of the state's 67 counties. All told, five of Alabama's nine geographic regions currently sit at the most severe drought level due to a lack of rainfall.
  5. In Iowa, Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert called the fatal shooting of Des Moines-area officers from earlier this week a cowardly act of calculated murder. Scott Michael Greene, the 46-year-old suspect in the ambush-style murders was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with two counts of murder in the first degree.
  6. Yet another earthquake struck central Italy yesterday--this time a magnitude 4.8 tremor. It was at the least the fourth substantial quake to hit the region in about a week. There were no reported fatalities or serious damage associated with the quake.
  7. The Department of Homeland Security designated November as Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (CISR) Month to help focus efforts on securing vital services that drive the nation. By designating a specific month to focus on these systems and services, it reaffirms the commitment to the nation to provide for the safety, security, and preservation of these critical elements
  8. A new study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) examined the phenomenon of 'security fatigue' and what it means for cybersecurity in general. According to the NIST, security fatigue is a negative for both users and businesses; fatigue increases overall security risks for users, while it can take money out the pockets of businesses.
  9. At least 240 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya in the 48 hours spanning Wednesday and Thursday, the U.N.'s migration agency said. Rescue ships led by the Italian coastguard were in the vicinity but were only able to rescue a handful of people. Migrant arrivals in Italy surged last month, bringing the total to more than 158,000 in 2016 alone.
  10. Recent findings published in the journal Science explain shrinking Arctic sea ice in very human terms. According to the research, the average American is personally responsible for melting roughly 50 square meters of frozen sea ice reserves each calendar year. At current carbon emission levels, the Arctic could have no sea ice in September at the middle of this century.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.