EDM Tuesday Briefing: Palau Water Issues, Amtrak Crash Investigation, Pakistan Floods
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 5, 2016: Pacific Island Country Palau says it might completely run out of water soon, investigators say that the Amtrak crash near Philadelphia might be due to human error, and thousands are still stranded after floods hit northwest Pakistan.
- Palau, a small island country in the western Pacific Ocean, is in danger of completely running out of water. The archipelago, which has a year-round population of about 21,000 and an economy largely supported by tourism, has been hit by a severe drought fueled by El Niño. Palau has received just 27 percent of normal rainfall so far in 2016 and is currently seeking aid from Japan and Taiwan.
- Investigators are saying that the fatal Amtrak crash that occurred south of Philadelphia on Sunday may have been a 'colossal mistake.' Amtrak construction workers were reportedly working on the wrong line, which explains how a backhoe appeared on the active line, ultimately causing the crash. Authorities are still investigating the specifics of the crash.
- Thousands are stranded and at least 55 people are dead after flash floods slammed northwest Pakistan this weekend. Disaster management officials in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said they were consulting the military about a rescue operation in an effort to keep the death toll from climbing even higher.
- Recent satellite images show what experts are calling 'suspicious activity' at a North Korean nuclear site. Imagery shows plumes of exhaust steam at North Korea's Yongbyon Radiochemical Laboratory complex, which could indicate that some significant activity is being undertaken, or will be in the near future.
- A joint study with researchers from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and the U.S. Forest Service linked polluted areas with more toxic wildfire emissions. Researchers discovered that more polluted sites release more pollutants when burned, creating a vicious cycle that only further harms the environment.
- New NOAA research discovered that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the ocean are the highest they have been in nearly 800,000 years. This ocean acidification or "osteoporosis of the sea" has scientists concerned in that it is threatening fragile marine life and ecosystems.
- The FBI still has not revealed exactly how it unlocked the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters but the Bureau is reportedly offering to help local law enforcement authorities break into encrypted devices. Apple Engineers are now saying that they will soon identify and fix the security loophole that allowed the FBI to break into the encrypted phone.
- Five people died in a tourist helicopter crash in Pigeon Forge, TN yesterday. The crash occurred near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and there were no survivors. Authorities are still investigating how and why the helicopter crashed.