What you need to know in the world of emergency and disaster management. Week in review for March 7, 2016.
The Great East Japan Earthquake
Today, Friday, March 11, 2016, marks five years since the The Great East Japan Earthquake, a magnitude 9.0 quake that triggered the massive Tōhoku tsunami, killing approximately 18,000 people. Recovery still continues across the island nation. Of the villages completely wiped out out by the tsunami, some have tried to rebuild, but others simply cannot. All of the villages located nearest the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant remain deserted and uninhabitable due to high radioactive levels from the plant's nuclear reactor meltdowns following the tsunami. Clean up at the plant following the nuclear disaster has been slow, and the vast amounts of radioactive debris, including soil and water, is currently being stored on site at the plant. The decommissioning of the plant is likely to take decades, as many areas around the reactors are still too highly radioactive to allow access for clean up.
North Korea Threats
For the second time in less than a week, North Korea has made threats of a nuclear strike, as leader Kim Jong Un again ordered his country to be ready to use nuclear weapons at any time. North Korea also launched two short-range ballistic missiles off its eastern coast on Thursday, in protest of joint United States and South Korean military exercises that began Monday. Many of the recent actions by North Korea have also been in direct response to the newly increased and strengthened UN sanctions imposed on the nation that impact international transport systems and the country's raw mineral export.
Refugee Crisis in Greece
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned of an imminent humanitarian crisis in Greece, as the country struggles to cope with the influx of refugees in Athens transit centers that are already operating at full capacity. Many refugees are sleeping out in the open in unsanitary conditions, while basic supplies and shelter are in short supply and high demand. The European Union is held an emergency summit on Monday to discuss slowing down the large flow of migrants traveling to Europe.
Ukraine Cyber Security
Earlier this week, more details emerged about how hackers were able to cause a blackout in Ukraine in December, knocking out power to more than 230,000 Ukrainians. Investigations revealed that the hackers were not opportunists who decided to try to take down the power grid with little preparation, but rather were stealthy strategists who carefully planned their assault over many months. The team of hackers began the attack months before the blackout by stealing credentials to the utility company's network.
Apple vs. FBI
Amid the ongoing battle between tech giant Apple and the FBI about unlocking an iPhone for a criminal investigation, an Apple executive has now come out and said that creating software to unlock the iPhone would compromise the safety of everything from information at government agencies to the U.S. power grid. In addition, the government is now calling out Apple for creating a diversion. In a court filing from yesterday, the government asserts that Apple is deliberately raising technological barriers in an effort to disobey lawful warrants. Apple disagrees, noting that the "backdoor" that the FBI wants them to create in order to unlock an iPhone would weaken a crucial protector of national security, Apple's head of software Craig Federighi said.