EDM Monday Briefing: Maryland Flooding, Austin Shootings, Federal Cybersecurity, Air Quality, Wildfires
Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 1, 2016: Two people die in extensive flooding in Maryland, a shooting incident in Austin, TX leaves one dead and four more injured, the White House lays out large-scale cybersecurity policy, poor air quality contributes to millions of deaths, and wildfires cause destruction in the West.
- At least two people died after extensive flooding occurred in Howard County, Maryland this week. Heavy rains hit the region Saturday night and the historic town of Ellicott City was hit particularly hard. The severe rain and resulting floods also damaged dozens of buildings and more than 170 cars.
- A manhunt was underway in Austin, TX yesterday after a shooting left one person dead and at least another four people injured. The incident -- originally deemed an active shooter situation by Austin police -- occurred early Sunday morning in downtown Austin. A second shooting occurred shortly after and nearby the first incident but police determined that they incidents were not connected and were instead "two unrelated incidents that occurred in close proximity."
- President Barack Obama recently approved a new Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) on cybersecurity that lays out a framework for federal response to potential large-scale cyber attacks. The new PPD defines what it calls the five 'Incident Response Principles' to guide government response through various cyber-related incidents. One of the key components of the new directive is the color-coded alert system for identifying and labeling cyber threats.
- Poor air quality is the fourth largest threat to human health and contributes to the premature deaths of approximately 3 million people per year. A recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that, at current rates of emission, premature deaths are likely to rise from the current 3 million to 4.5 million per year by 2040 unless action is taken to reduce harmful pollutants from being released into the air.
- California officials ordered more evacuation warnings as the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County expanded to more than 40,000 acres (approximately the size of San Francisco) by Sunday. The fire, which began on July 22, has brought about one death and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is still only about 18 percent contained, has destroyed more than 60 structures, and is threatening thousands of homes.
- A wildfire near the Utah-Wyoming border grew to more than 1,250 acres this weekend and burned at least eight homes. The Tokawana Fire near the Meeks Cabin Reservoir on the border of the two states was five percent contained entering Sunday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agreed late last week to step in to assist the fight, as the fire threatens to cause a major disaster.
- A hot air balloon crash in Central Texas this weekend left 16 dead. The National Transportation Board said Sunday that the balloon likely hit power lines before the fatal crash occurred. Investigators are still investigating three main elements involved in the accident to find answers: the human, the machine and the environment.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that four Zika cases in the state likely originated as a result of a mosquito bite. Travel and sexual transmission were both ruled out in all four, and officials believe that one small area of about 1 square mile north of downtown Miami may be where active transmission is taking place. The state still has yet to find mosquitoes carrying the virus, but evidence is pointing in that direction.
- FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance for recent flooding in West Virginia now totals more than $72 million. Severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides occurred in the state from June 22-29. More than 8,000 households and businesses have applied to FEMA for disaster assistance in 12 different counties since the floods struck, and nearly $30 million of the more than $72 million in total assistance has gone toward housing assistance.
- Lawmakers in Mali extended the state of emergency across the nation for an additional eight months, until March 29, 2017. The extension is due to continued, deadly fighting in the country. The original emergency declaration occurred in in November, 2015 after an attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako killed at least 20 people.
— Howard County Gov't (@HoCoGov) July 31, 2016