EDM Monday Briefing: Greece Refugee Crisis, Amtrak Derailment, Kansas Wildfires
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 4, 2016: Greece braces for riots after refugee deportation begins, an Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania results in two deaths, and the massive wildfires in Kansas are nearly contained.
- The Greek government began deporting refugees as part of the controversial European Union deal that was struck in mid-March. Greece plans to send about 750 migrants back across to Turkey by Wednesday. This first wave of deportations sparked protests and Greek leaders said they are expecting violence.
- Two people died and at least 35 more were injured after an Amtrak train derailed south of Philadelphia yesterday. The train, which had nearly 350 aboard, derailed en route to Savannah, GA from New York after reportedly striking a backhoe. The two fatalities were not train passengers, an Amtrak official said. Amtrak shut down service from Philadelphia to Wilmington, DE while investigating the incident.
- The largest wildfire ever to burn in Kansas is now at least 90 percent contained but leaves behind nearly 400,000 charred acres in Kansas and Oklahoma. The wildfire, which began in Oklahoma on March 22 and spread north to Kansas, destroyed at least 41 buildings and left at least 600 cattle dead.
- Flash floods in Pakistan on Sunday left at least 53 dead and dozens more injured. Heavy rain began Saturday night in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunwa province, leading to landslides and widespread damage to buildings, roads and bridges.
- More than 300 people gathered Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta for a one-day Zika Action Plan (ZAP) summit. The CDC said the goal of the summit was to help health officials from across the U.S. identify any Zika preparedness gaps. At the summit, health officials urged Congress to approve emergency Zika funding, which stalled in Congress in early March.
- Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency after tornadoes and severe storms hit the northeastern part of the state last week. The declaration applies to seven counties: Craig, Mayes, Nowata, Osage, Rogers, Tulsa and Washington.
- President Barack Obama extended the national emergency on cyber attacks that aims to protect the U.S. from "malicious cyber-enabled activities." President Obama originally declared the emergency one year earlier, in April 2015, and recently extended it for one more year.
- Powerful wind storms hit the Midwest the Northeast this weekend, resulting in at least two deaths and at least nine more injuries. Downed trees and power lines left up to 370,000 without power from Wisconsin across the Maine.
- Emergency responders turned the Alaska State Fairgrounds into a testing ground this weekend as part of the annual Alaska Shield initiative. Dozens of volunteers participated in mock disaster scenarios such as responding to a crash between a school bus and a train. The goal of the yearly event is to help even seasoned emergency responders brush up on their response skills.