Home Emergency Management News Emergency and Disaster Management Week in Review, February 15, 2016

Emergency and Disaster Management Week in Review, February 15, 2016


Emergency and Disaster Management Week in Review, February 15, 2016: Apple battles the FBI over access to one of the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, the World Bank offers funding to those most affected by the Zika virus, the U.S. implements sanctions and shows South Korean support amid rising tensions over North Korea, Flint, MI receives funding from state and federal government for bills and testing, and President Obama signs a disaster declaration for an Alaskan village hit by what may be the most powerful storm ever in the Bering Sea.

iPhone Encryption

After ten failed attempts by the FBI to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, a federal judge has ordered Apple to assist in the unlocking efforts to avoid an auto-erasing of the data.  Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is resisting the order to unblock the phone and give the FBI access to its encrypted data, citing concerns over the development of software that could potentially allow any phone to be accessed without knowledge or authorization.  Many are calling it a battle of privacy vs. national security because many of the same basic security features that so many people utilize are the same elements causing problems for the FBI right now.

Update:  A motion was filed in court by the Department of Justice compelling Apple to obey a previous order to assist the FBI in accessing the data on the locked iPhone.  A March 22 hearing date has been set regarding the encryption case.

Zika Virus

Confirmed cases of the Zika virus continue to be reported in nations across the globe, including Australia, but nowhere is it spreading as quickly as in the Americas. The World Bank announced that $150 million in financing is now available to combat the Zika virus outbreak. Financing will be available in affected Latin American and Caribbean countries. The World Bank also recently made public its initial projections of the economic impact of the Zika virus, estimating a $3.5 billion collective reduction of economic output in affected regions.

North Korea

Four F-22 fighter jets flew over South Korea on Wednesday before landing at the Osan Air Base in what was a show of U.S. power and solidarity with the nation against any aggression from its North Korean neighbor.  Tensions have increased with the recent launch of a North Korean long-range missile in spite of continued warnings from nations in the region.  This is not the first time in recent weeks that the United States has shown its unwavering support for South Korea – a B-52 bomber with nuclear capabilities was dispatched to North Korea just last month.  After Congress passed sanctions against North Korea,  the bill was signed by President Obama.

Flint Water Crisis

In the ongoing Flint, Michigan water crisis, the Michigan House of Representatives approved $30 million in funds to help Flint residents and businesses pay water bills in the aftermath of the city’s water contamination disaster. Additionally, the federal government announced two grants totaling $500,000 for the treatment and testing of Flint residents who have been exposed to contaminated water.

Disaster Declaration in Alaska

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for Alaska that makes available $2 million in federal funds for recovery from a severe December storm. A storm in the Bering Sea from December 12 – 15, which may be the most intense storm ever recorded in the Bering Sea, brought hurricane-force winds and 50-foot waves and inflicted damage on the village of St. George in the Pribilof Islands.


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.