EDM Friday Briefing: Listeria Outbreak Worsens, Nepal Rebuilds, Fort McMurray Fire Rages On
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 6, 2016: A voluntary recall of frozen fruits and vegetables expands to 42 brands in all 50 states, Nepal prepares to begin a major reconstruction project, Fort McMurray continues to burn, and cyber security analysts discover a massive hacking incident involving millions of email accounts.
- CRF Frozen Foods, a company based in Pasco, WA, in cooperation with both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), expanded its voluntary recall of frozen fruits and vegetables due to a Listeria outbreak. In total, the recall now covers 42 separate brands and 358 consumer products and is active in all 50 U.S. states and Canada.
- The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) recently reported that Nepal is ready to embark on an aggressive reconstruction plan a year after a major earthquake struck the nation. On April 25, 2015, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, leaving in its wake an avalanche on Mount Everest, thousands of deaths, and massive destruction. Under new regulations, builders will now construct more than 500,000 low-cost and earthquake-resistant homes.
- The wildfire in Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada continues to rage on, forcing the evacuation of more than 88,000 as the blaze spreads south. Some evacuees had to be airlifted to safety, and more airlifts are being planned for today. The fire has now burned more than 328 square miles of land, which is more than the square mileage of New York City. Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire and no rain is forecast in the immediate future.
- The provincial government declared a state of emergency due to the fire, and at least six reception centers were operating within the Alberta as the number of people forced to evacuate continues to grow. More than 250 firefighters, helicopters and air tankers were actively fighting the wildfire as of yesterday evening. About 25,000 evacuees have been stranded north of the city since a mass evacuation on Monday, and tensions are mounting as evacuees are being forced to wait it out.
- Cyber intelligence analysts recently discovered that more than 272 million email accounts had been hacked by a young Russian hacker who was allegedly shopping the stolen accounts in Russia’s criminal underworld. Most of the hacked emails were Mail.ru accounts — Mail.ru is the most popular email service in Russia — but Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Microsoft email accounts were also among the massive collection of hacked email accounts.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Yuma County, AZ as a primary natural disaster area due to damages caused by drought in the region. Arizona’s Maricopa and Pima counties and California's Imperial County are also part of the official disaster area. Farmers in those eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans that will help them recover losses tied to the drought.
- California regulators approved a $3.2 million grant that will help to introduce safe water at a California trailer park after tap water containing dangerous levels of uranium was discovered in more than 30 residences. Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey USGS believe that irrigation practices may be responsible for the high levels of naturally occurring uranium in underground water supplies.
- The Tulsa International Airport staged a full-scale disaster drill on Wednesday to test airport and airfield emergency response. About 30 different agencies and organizations -- law enforcement agencies, rescue and firefighting agencies, medical personnel and hospital organizations, principal airport tenants -- participated in the drill, which simulated a crash between a Boeing 777 and a private plane on the airfield.
- U.S. authorities had to destroy 39,000 turkeys in Missouri after an outbreak of a mild form of avian flu. State health officials quarantined the area around the farm in Jasper County, but, thus far, all commercial flocks in the immediate vicinity of the farm have tested negative. Authorities noted that the outbreak is considered to be low pathogenic, so it is not as contagious or deadly as other varieties of the disease.