Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: Water Summit, Climate Change Report Disputed, Brussels Terrorist Attacks

EDM Wednesday Briefing: Water Summit, Climate Change Report Disputed, Brussels Terrorist Attacks

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 23, 2016: D.C. Water Summit explores innovation for water management and drought resilience, a recent climate change report has some of its findings being disputed, and ISIS claims responsibility for the Brussels terrorist attacks.

  1. In recognition of World Water Day, a Water Summit held Tuesday at the White House brought together more than 200 experts aimed at solving California's water crisis and to improving drought resilience throughout the nation. New coalitions formed with Israeli-based firms that are considered to be experts in water management and innovation, and are to begin working on finding new solutions to California's drought. Almost $5 billion in private funds is being slated for new drought resolution technologies, and $35 million in federal grants will help support water science that is considered cutting edge.
  2. A climate change study released in 2015 by James E. Hansen, a retired NASA scientist and prominent political activist, noted that an abrupt climate shift might be possible. The report cited the need to change the current pace of burning fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change. It also suggested that changes are not occurring fast enough to reduce serious impacts, such as sea level rise and stronger, more intense storms. Although many of the findings paralleled other research, some scientists initially debated the report since it never went through a peer-review process, and a few of its findings were disputed. The final version has been peer-reviewed but experts are still disputing some of the report's assertions, including superstorms being involved in warming the planet 120,000 years ago.
  3. ISIS claimed responsibility for a pair of terrorist attacks that killed at least 30 people and injured at least 250 on Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium. A trio of men is allegedly responsible for the bombings in a busy main departure corridor at the airport, where authorities indicated that there were three bombs brought in, but only two exploded. Security services destroyed the third bomb. A suicide bomber is believed responsible for at least one of the blasts, and a third man is said to be at large. Police are seeking his identity. The second attack was carried out approximately one hour later, during rush hour, at the Maelbeek metro station on the subway in the heart of Brussels.
  4. After released surveillance video, authorities received a tip from a taxi driver who reportedly picked up the three men believed responsible for the airport attack. Authorities launched a raid on the residence in Schaerbeek, a northeast Brussels neighborhood, finding an ISIS flag, chemicals and a nail bomb.
  5. Authorities are still uncertain if the attacks are connected to the recent high-profile arrest of Salah Abdeslam, who they found hiding in a friends mother's basement in a Brussels neighborhood, Molenbeek. Abdeslam's arrest came four month's after he allegedly masterminded the simultaneous attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.
  6. In response to the attacks, many European nations have raised terror alerts and increased security.  In the United States, various cities, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, have increased police presence at airports, rail, and transit stations. The Department of Homeland Security states that these are just precautions as there are no known credible threats against the country.
  7. As concerns over security increase in the wake of the latest terror attacks in Belgium, Denver International Airport was evacuated briefly on Tuesday to conduct an investigation of suspicious packages.  The airport has since reopened.  An unknown security threat also caused the evacuation this morning of France's Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, but authorities have since reopened the facility and flights are resuming.

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.