Emergency and Disaster Management Week in Review: March 21, 2016
ISIS claimed responsibility for a pair of terrorist attacks that killed 31 people and injured at least 270 others 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. 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. Belgian authorities believe that at least four people were involved in the two bombings.
The U.S. government fended off a total of 77,183 cyber incidents in 2015, according to a recent report from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The total number of incidents last year represents an approximate 10 percent increase from 2014, and a 27 percent rise from total events in 2013.
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.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently reported that there were historically low sea ice levels in February 2016. This report appears to support other current literature regarding climate change that shows the continued melting of Arctic ice and glaciers, along with rising sea levels, stronger, more intense storms, and precipitation changes.
President Obama declared a major disaster in three counties of Texas after severe storms hit the state last week and caused historic flooding. All three counties -- Jasper, Newton and Orange -- lie on the eastern side of the state bordering Louisiana. The Sabine River, which runs along the border of Texas and Louisiana, experienced its worst flooding since 1884. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has also asked for a federal disaster declaration to help the state recover from recent flooding in its southern areas. Officials have called flooding damage the worst since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.