EDM Tuesday Briefing: Sea Ice, Elizabethkingia Outbreak, North Korea Missiles, San Bernardino iPhone
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 22, 2016: A new report from the NOAA reveals historically low levels of sea ice across the globe, a rare blood infection appears in parts of the Midwest, and North Korea conducts missile tests yet again.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported that there were historically low sea ice levels in February 2016. NOAA analysis found low sea ice levels in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Additionally, snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere last month was the third smallest amount ever for a February.
- There have been 54 reported cases of the rare blood infection known as Elizabethkingia in the state of Wisconsin and also one confirmed in Michigan. The infection is linked to 17 deaths in Wisconsin and one death in Michigan. So far, officials have been unable to track down a source for the mysterious outbreak.
- North Korea fired five short-range missiles into the sea yesterday in yet another act of defiance against a growing list of countries condemning the recent military activity. Not including these last five missiles from yesterday, North Korea has fired no fewer than 15 projectiles on four occasions, and global leaders have reacted by imposing the toughest sanctions in 20 years.
- The FBI now says that it may not need Apple's help to unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. An outside party approached the FBI about a possible way to unlock the phone. The FBI/Apple battle over privacy/security has been raging on now for weeks, or even months according to some accounts.
- Belgium is on high alert after three explosions in Brussels this morning caused heavy damage. Two explosions occurred at the Zaventem Airport, and the third explosion occurred in a Brussels metro station. The explosions reportedly killed at least 13 people.
- Fiji extended its state of disaster as recovery continued from the historic cyclone that hit the country last month. Cyclone Winston was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall over Fiji. Fiji's government originally estimated damages at $650 million -- a number that is sure to grow in the coming months.
- Researchers at a national laboratory said that drones could cut response time in emergencies. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers, drone technology could be especially useful in situations that involve emergencies like toxic chemical exposure.
- Activists rallied in Denver yesterday in protest of the city's new policy of sweeping of homeless camps from public spaces. The protestors believe that the new rules are too harsh on the homeless population and were demanding that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock end the sweeps.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it found the source of a 2014 outbreak of listeria that killed one in Florida. Health officials traced the outbreak to unpasteurized raw milk from an organic farm in Pennsylvania.
- The Citizen Preparedness Corps in New York reached a major milestone yesterday, as more than 100,000 state residents are now trained to assist during a disaster -- natural or manmade. The initiative, which the state created after Superstorm Sandy in 2014, aims to educate residents on how to properly respond to a wide range of public emergencies through a series of courses.