Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Flooding Worsens in South, Train Derails in Kansas

EDM Monday Briefing: Flooding Worsens in South, Train Derails in Kansas


Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 14, 2016: Louisiana, Mississippi and other states in the South battle rising floodwaters, an Amtrak train bound for Chicago derails in Kansas, and the FBI turns up the heat on Apple.

  1. The South continued to deal with the aftermath of severe flooding that slammed the region late last week and resulted in at least six deaths. More than 24 inches of rain fell in the hardest-hit places, and rivers continued to rise long after the rain ended. The list of impacted states includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas. Louisiana and Mississippi have suffered the most damage thus far.
  2. In Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the entire state due to the extreme rains and resulting flooding. There have been at least four deaths and nearly 5,000 homes have been damaged. Edwards also utilized the National Guard to assist with multiple water rescues.
  3. There have been no reported deaths Mississippi due to the floods, but two fisherman are still missing. At least 800 homes have been damaged in the state, and more than 2,100 residents have been rescued either by high-water vehicle or boat. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency late last week.
  4. An Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in Kansas early this morning. Five cars of the train, which carried 128 passengers and 14 crew, derailed about 20 miles west of Dodge City, KS, injuring 11. None of the injuries are life threatening. Amtrak is working with BNSF, the owner of the track, to determine the cause for the derailment.
  5. Apple is still resisting a court order that compels the company to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. Now, the FBI hinted that it could force Apple to turn over the source code to its entire iPhone operating system instead if the tech giant doesn't ultimately comply with the court order. With the entire source code, the FBI could theoretically create its own version of iOS that has minimal security features.
  6. There may be a new privacy vs. security debate brewing alongside the Apple/FBI iPhone case. WhatsApp, the largest mobile messaging service in the world ( owned by Facebook since February 2014), is at odds with the Justice Department over message encryption. WhatsApp encryption has reportedly impeded investigations and the DOJ may be mulling legal action.
  7. In the wake of the December cyber attack in Ukraine that hit the power grid and cut power to more than 230,000 Ukrainians, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that there is no evidence that the threat has hit the U.S. But despite the fact that a similar threat has yet to extend to the U.S., the DHS urged that the Ukraine attack should be, and must be, a wake-up call to anyone not already fully aware of the immediate risks.
  8. A Maryland police officer was fatally shot in a shootout outside of a district station in Landover, MD yesterday. A suspect reportedly walked up to the station and opened fire unprovoked. Police are uncertain of a motive at this time, but have currently have two men, the shooting suspect and his brother, in custody.
  9. A nuclear power plant in Homestead, FL is reportedly leaking radioactive material into Biscayne Bay and threatening the drinking water supply of Miami-Dade County. Well fields close to the nuclear plant provide drinking water for more than 2 million people. The leak, coupled with the plant's proximity to the rising sea, is prompting worst-case scenario comparisons to Fukushima.
  10. Emergency officials in South Carolina will hold a three-day earthquake drill this week to test emergency response to a big quake. Both county and state emergency response officials will take part in the exercise. Recently, FEMA announced that it will be staging a huge quake in the Pacific Northwest in June -- an exercise that will involve thousands of emergency personnel from around the U.S.

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.