EDM Tuesday Briefing: Texas Disaster Declaration, Severe Weather in Midwest, Cyber Security Risks, Zika Update
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 26, 2016: Texas gets federal aid to recover from recent floods, the Midwest braces for possible damaging storms, the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) warns of top cyber threats, and the total number of Zika virus cases in U.S. states and territories approaches 900.
- President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration in Texas yesterday that makes federal aid available in regions affected by severe storms and flooding that occurred from April 17-24, 2016.The federal aid will supplement state and local recovery efforts in impacted areas, and will include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to accelerate recovery efforts.
- Weather experts warned that parts of the Midwest will see severe and damaging weather starting today. Forecasts include the likelihood of strong tornadoes, baseball-sized hail, and/or damaging straight-line winds of up to 70 mph in the regions that are reportedly most at risk: central and eastern Nebraska, central and eastern Kansas, large sections of Oklahoma, and northern and central Texas.
- The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), a counter-cyber crime alliance, recently identified the four top cyber security risks that affect businesses and individuals across the world. The GCA believes that phishing is the highest risk at this time, and also listed other significant cyber vulnerabilities and threats.
- As of April 20, 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 891 confirmed Zika cases in U.S. states and territories. Puerto Rico leads all U.S. states and territories with 476 confirmed Zika cases, while Florida leads all U.S. states with 84 confirmed Zika cases. The $1.9 billion request to fund the U.S. battle against the virus remains stalled in Congress.
- The United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP) announced an emergency operation yesterday that will assist 260,000 vulnerable and food-insecure people in Ecuador that are in need of food and other basic necessities following the deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country on April 16. According to the UN, upwards of 520,000 residents in Ecuador were directly impacted by the earthquake and require food assistance at this time.
- Thousands of people in Nepal marked the one-year anniversary of the country's devastating 2015 earthquake. A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, leaving more than 8,800 dead, more than 600,000 homes destroyed, and millions in temporary housing. A small group of approximately 100 demonstrators protested the 'slow pace of the Nepalese recovery,' and clashed with riot police outside of Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli's office.
- The U.S. Army recently discovered that its new mobile communications system is vulnerable to hackers. An outside review by Johns Hopkins University and the Army Research Laboratory recommended hardware and software enhancements, as well as improved user training techniques and procedures, to strengthen the system's ability to fend off cyber attacks. The new, $12 billion mobile communications system is already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- The city of Cleveland agreed to pay $6 million to the family of Tamir Rice to settle the federal lawsuit filed by the family after the police shooting death of the boy. On November 22, 2014, two Cleveland police officers responded to a call about a gun-wielding man at a park and 12-year-old Tamir Rice ended up being shot. Rice died the next day in the hospital. Despite the settlement, neither the city, the officers, nor the dispatchers involved admitted to any wrongdoing.
- In Green Mountain Falls, CO, a small town of about 700 people about 80 miles south of Denver, the entire police department resigned. Tim Bradley, the police chief, and three volunteer reserve officers resigned on April 14, leaving the town baffled. A local news station reported that the resignation occurred after a policy dispute with the town's new mayor. Law enforcement in Green Mountain Falls is now in the hands of El Paso County Sheriff’s Office until further notice.