EDM Wednesday Briefing: Flint, Record Heat, Earthquakes, Texas Flooding, FBI
Emergency and disaster management briefing for April 20, 2016: Charges will be filed in the Flint, MI water crisis, the NOAA releases a global summary showing March as 11th straight month of record heat, a strong aftershock rocks Ecuador, the Texas flooding may not be over, and the FBI says access to terrorists phone has helped fill time gaps.
- Just days after a 7.8 magnitude quake devastated Ecuador, today, a magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck just off the coast of the stricken nation, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). No tsunami warning was issued, but tremors could be felt for almost 30 seconds, waking people and sending them into the street for safety. The death toll is still rising from Saturday's devastating quake, with more than 500 people killed and hundreds believed still missing. Thousands of residents have also seen their homes destroyed, increasing their risk of diseases and having to rely on contaminated water sources for drinking.
- Recent back-to-back earthquakes, two days apart, on Japan's Kyushu Island, resulted in the deaths of more than 40 people and injured more than 1,000, with more than 180 of the injuries being indicated as serious, according to the Japanese government. The earthquakes also triggered massive landslides, destroying bridges, roadways, and homes. Drone footage released by Japan's Geospatial Information Authority reveals the distance these powerful landslides can travel. Many residents in the city of Fukuoka also reported large amounts of a mysterious foam that covered streets and yards, and although it was knee deep in some places, people walked through the unknown substance.
- In the ongoing water problems facing Flint, MI, the state's attorney general is set to announce criminal charges against three government officials today. Two of the officials are from the Department of Environmental Quality and the other is a local water treatment plant, according to sources. The charges to be filed include violation of Michigan's drinking water law, destruction of utility property, evidence of tampering, and official misconduct.
- Trouble for the city's water supply began when the area water source was switched to the Flint River while under state financial management. The switch was reportedly done to save Flint money. The water was improperly treated and when coupled with aging pipes and fixtures, released toxic amounts of lead into the water. City residents drank and bathed in the water for almost 18 months. In October, after high levels of lead were found in the water supply, Governor Rick Snyder announced that Flint would return to receiving its water from the Detroit municipal system. A state of emergency was declared more than four months ago to address the situation.
- NOAA has released its Global Summary Information Report for March that provides information on temperatures, weather phenomenon, and sea ice, among other global observations. According to the recent report, for the 11th consecutive month, the earth was once again record warm. March was 0.02 Fahrenheit degrees warmer than last month's new record, and broke the record for the month of March set in 2015, by 0.54 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In Houston, the death toll is at 7 from the recent flooding. More than 1,200 people have been rescued and total damages are estimated to be more than $5 billion dollars. Although many areas are beginning to recover from the flooding, more rain is forecast for the area - which could be a problem for those living near the Cypress Creek. The creek is still rising in northwest Houston, and officials note that it has not yet crested. In light of the massive flooding, Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster for nine counties in the Houston area.
- The FBI indicates that data recovered after the iPhone from the San Bernardino terrorist was unlocked by private hackers hired by the agency, has helped the investigation. The phones' contents revealed that during the 18 minute time gap after the shooting, Syed Farook did not make contact with another plotter. Other data has been found that investigator's did not have previously, but according to reports, the FBI declined to give any further information regarding the new data.