Emergency and Disaster Management Week in Review: April 18, 2016
A weekly recap of handpicked emergency and disaster management news, along with analysis and interpretation from our team of experts.
Up to 17 inches of rain fell in the Houston, TX region in less than 24 hours Monday, causing historic flooding and essentially shutting down large portions of the city. Eight people have died in the massive floods, which also caused the cancelation of hundreds of flights, the shut down of mass transit, and the closing of hundreds of schools.
The death toll is over 580, at least 155 are listed as still missing, and thousands of homes are destroyed, placing the number of homeless people at just over 23,500 after an earthquake struck Ecuador Saturday night. The epicenter of the magnitude-7.8 quake was the seaside town of Pedernales on the Pacific coast, about 100 miles northwest of the capital Quito. Rescuers are still digging through rubble for survivors after the country's worst earthquake since 1979.
Just days after a 7.8 magnitude quake devastated Ecuador, a magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck just off the coast of of the impacted 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. Another series of three earthquakes was also felt late Thursday night, two rather strong, and the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa asked residents via Twitter to remain calm.
Estamos en Bahía. Tres réplicas, dos bastante fuertes. Una con epicentro cerca de Jama, otra con epicentro cerca de Canoa. Guardar calma...
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) April 22, 2016
An active wildfire burning in the southern part of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia grew to 8,000 acres, although authorities reported the fire 40 percent contained as of Thursday evening. The wildfire forced officials to close 12 miles of the Appalachian Trail and shut down about 14 miles of Skyline Drive, a scenic road for visitors to the park. The park is already four inches below average rainfall for the year and there is no rain in the immediate forecast.
North Carolina Wildfire
Yet another wildfire has consumed nearly 10,000-acres in North Carolina. The fire reportedly began on the Hyde County side of the Dare/Hyde County line, northwest of US Highway 264 and south of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Officials reported the fire was last reported as approximately 15 percent contained.
— ncfirefighters (@ncfirefighters) April 22, 2016
Some California water agencies are urging regulators to ease drought restrictions, with at least one official saying that there isn't any emergency left. California received significant amounts of rain and snow this winter, which eased drought conditions for the first time in years. The state reportedly used 23.9 percent less water over the nine months ending in February, but water agencies are now saying that those conservation measures are no longer needed.
FEMA / Missouri
FEMA reported yesterday that federal disaster aid given to Missouri to help the state rebuild and recover from December and January floods now tops $91 million. More than two-thirds of the aid, $62.1 million, went toward National Flood Insurance Program payments to homeowners, renters and businesses, while $16.7 million came in the form of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans to 392 recipients.