EDM Monday Briefing: Salt Lake City Shooting Spurs Protests, U.S. Bridges Need Work, More Questions Arise in Flint
Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 29, 2016: A police shooting in Salt Lake City brings protests, a new report points out that nearly 59,000 U.S. bridges are structurally deficient, and more questions about the Flint water crisis rise to the surface.
- Salt Lake City police officers shot and critically wounded a teenager Saturday night, setting off hours of unrest in the city. After the shooting, people began shouting at police and some reportedly threw rocks at officers. Protestors are planning to demonstrate in downtown Salt Lake City today.
- A new report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) pointed out that there are 58,500 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. right now. According to the ARTBA, approximately 9.5 percent of the more than 610,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient, and vehicles cross the deficient structures more than 200 million times a day. Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma have the most structurally deficient bridges, the ARTBA report noted.
- Newly released emails show that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder knew about lead poisoning of Flint's drinking water months before officially declaring an emergency. Snyder reportedly acknowledged the lead contamination in the city's water in early October 2015 but did not declare a state of emergency until early January 2016.
- Additionally, there are still lingering questions in Flint about a possible connection between the water contamination and outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in the area. Two separate outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint resulted in 87 illnesses and nine deaths and one state health official has pointed out that the outbreak "closely corresponds with the time frame of the switch to Flint River water." Despite the concerns, no government agency has tested the water supply for legionella bacteria as of yet.
- More than 6,000 emergency and military personnel will conduct a four-day mega-earthquake exercise in the Pacific Northwest in early June. The exercise, termed "Cascadia Rising," will test emergency response to a simulated powerful megaquake and tsunami, and will be the biggest ever conducted in the Pacific Northwest.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in connection to the draining of Lake Okeechobee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to release water from Lake Okeechobee to protect South Florida from flooding after heavy rains hit the region in January. Scott said that coastal waterways are suffering from the drainage and he is seeking aid to fund projects that serve as alternatives to discharging lake water out to sea.
- Virginia police officer Ashley Guindon was killed on her first day on the job Saturday responding to a domestic disturbance call. Army sergeant Ronald Hamilton shot and killed Guindon and wounded two other officers with gunfire. Hamilton, who also shot and killed his wife before officers arrived, surrendered to authorities.
- Two suicide bombings killed 73 and wounded at least 112 more in Baghdad on Sunday -- the deadliest attack in the city this year. Two bombers reportedly rode motorcycles into a crowded market in Sadr City and blew themselves up. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blasts.
- President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in 33 Georgia counties due to severe storms that hit the state in late 2015 and early 2016. With the declaration, federal aid will now be available to state and eligible local governments and some private nonprofit organizations.