EDM Tuesday Briefing: EgyptAir Flight 804, TSA Leadership Changes, Fort McMurray, Mount Sinabung
Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 24, 2016: The investigation continues regarding the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804, the TSA announces leadership changes, Alberta officials lift an evacuation order in Fort McMurray, and Indonesian rescuers search for survivors after the latest Mount Sinabung eruption.
- There are currently conflicting reports over final moments of EgyptAir Flight 804 as authorities continue investigating the plane’s deadly crash into the Mediterranean Sea. An Egyptian aviation official said that the flight did not swerve or change direction before it disappeared, while Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos initially said that the aircraft swerved 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees upon entering Egyptian airspace before plunging dramatically. A forensic official said that human remains retrieved from the crash site of the plane suggest there was an explosion on board that ultimately brought the plane down.
- Recent events involving EgyptAir Flight 804 has again shined a spotlight on the practices of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) here in the United States. Regardless of what is determined about the Flight 804 crash, the TSA will likely remain under intense scrutiny in the coming weeks, and perhaps even doubly so if the crash is determined to be caused by explosives from a terrorist attack.
- Kelly Hoggan, the head of security for TSA, has reportedly been removed from his position following a hearing about the agency's management yesterday. Administrator Peter Neffenger announced a series of TSA leadership changes yesterday amid growing complaints of long, slow airport screening lines as the busy summer months approach.
- Alberta officials lifted the evacuation order that had been in place for all Fort McMurray oil sands camps workers since last week. Despite the evacuation order lift, however, workers still won't be able to return to work until the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Alberta Health Services complete fire and health inspections that ensure the full safety of the workers. The wildfire are still burning but were dampened by cooler conditions as the new week began.
- A thick layer of ash has covered several villages in Indonesia following another deadly eruption of Mount Sinabung on Sumatra island. Indonesian rescuers are searching for survivors across devastated villages and farmlands after the eruption killed at least seven and injured an unknown number of others. Mount Sinabung had been dormant for four centuries before erupting in 2010, killing two people. A 2014 eruption then followed, killing at least 16 people.
- A jade mining landslide Myanmar yesterday killed at least 12 people and injured at least others 50 others. Rescue efforts are underway as officials fear that there may be as many as 100 others buried under the rubble. The landslide occurred in Hpakant, a town in the northern state of Kachin.
- Baltimore officer Edward Nero was acquitted on all counts yesterday in the case of Freddie Gray's death. A judge acquitted Nero of all four criminal counts in the case that sparked widespread riots in Baltimore last year. Nero is the second police officer to face charges related to Gray’s arrest and death; the first officer’s trial ended in a hung jury.
- When it comes to climate change, the challenge facing small island nations is enormous because these islands have relatively small economies, are isolated geographically, and typically have limited resources. The World Bank recently indicated that many of these small island nations have already begun taking steps to increase resilience in the face of the rapidly increasing dangers associated with climate change.
- May 2016 marked the 26th annual American Wetlands Month in the U.S. — an initiative that aims to highlight the importance of wetlands to the ecological health of the nation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created American Wetlands Month in 1991 to connect different sectors — state, federal, local, private, non-profit — in an effort to push forward awareness of U.S. wetlands and their importance to the overall water health of the nation.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved nearly $40 million in disaster assistance for residents in Texas affected by tornadoes and flooding in the date range of March 7 - 29, 2016. All told, 13 counties were included in the March disaster declaration, and it included individuals and families whose properties were damaged or destroyed in the severe storms.