EDM Monday Briefing: Ecuador Mourns, U.S. and North Korea Trade Jabs, Online Fraud Soars
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 25, 2016: Ecuador mourns the loss of nearly 700 in the recent earthquake as the United Nations calls for millions in aid, North Korea says it will halt its nuclear exercises if the U.S. and South Korea halt their joint military exercises, the U.S. quickly rejects the offer, and a recent report reveals that the rate of online fraud is soaring.
- Ecuador announced eight days of national mourning following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country on April 16, killing at least 646 and destroying many coastal towns. The United Nations launched a $72.7 million appeal to give urgent aid to approximately 350,000 people in need over the next three months in the earthquake-stricken country. More than 25,000 people are currently in shelters, and many roads, bridges and other key infrastructure suffered serious damage in the quake.
- North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said in an interview Saturday with the AP that North Korea would cease its nuclear tests if the U.S. stopped its war exercises with South Korea. President Barack Obama quickly rejected the offer on Sunday, stating that a big change in U.S. policy is "not something that happens based on a press release" and that Pyongyang would "have to do better than that."
- The AP interview with Ri Su Yong came just hours after North Korea launched a ballistic missile test via submarine, in what was the latest in a series of North Korean military demonstrations of military strength that began in January and has yet to halt. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called this latest missile launch a "great success" and again boasted of North Korea's ability to put forth a nuclear attack.
- A recent report from two leading companies in the payments, commerce and fraud industries revealed soaring online fraud rates since October 2015. According to the latest data referenced in the report, $4.79 out of every $100 of online sales is currently at risk, which represents an approximate 150 percent year-over-year increase.
- Late last week, the Ford Foundation hosted a panel on the rights of indigenous people who are striving to protect critical tropical forests. The focus of the panel was to discuss forests as a critical part of the Earth’s climate, and how to best support those who are fighting to protect the forests.
- Hawaii extended its state of emergency on homelessness yet again after Governor David Ige signed a fourth supplemental proclamation. The state of emergency was set to expire at the end of April but will now extend through June. The proclamation allows the state to continue efforts to create housing projects statewide.. Hawaii is just one of many regions in the U.S. that are struggling with the growing problem of homelessness.
- Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this weekend that the country will designate the recent magnitude-7.3 earthquake as a disaster of extreme severity eligible for special assistance. The designation allows for additional federal financial assistance to disaster-hit municipalities and could be especially helpful in rebuilding damaged infrastructure. The total recovery cost for damages the quake caused to roads, dikes and farm facilities is estimated to hit the equivalent of approximately $2.57 billion U.S. dollars.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reportedly denied an Illinois appeal for disaster funds connected to flooding from severe storms in December 2015 and January 2016. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's office submitted an appeal on April 8 that requested approximately $1.8 million in additional qualifying costs for more than a dozen counties. Local disaster-related costs associated with the storms reportedly reached $16.8 million earlier this month.
- President Obama is expected to announce today that the U.S. plans an expansion of American military presence in Syria, as it will increase the number of U.S. military personnel by 250 -- from 50 to 300. The move would come in response to a recent cease-fire that has done little to slow violence in the war-torn country. The cease fire announced in February -- a joint effort by the U.S. and Russia -- has reportedly done little to slow violence in the country.
- Researchers from Dartmouth College recently analyzed how the logging practice known as clearcutting directly affects the forest soil. The researchers discovered that clearcutting loosens up the carbon stored in forest soils, which, in turn, greatly increases the odds that the carbon will be released to the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.