EDM Friday Briefing: Hurricane Lane Takes Aim at Oahu; 7.1 Earthquake Strikes Peru
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 24, 2018: Hurricane Lane is threatening the Hawaiian island of Oahu; a 7.1-magnitude earthquake has struck eastern Peru; India has rejected an offer from the United Arab Emirates for $100 million in aid to assist in recovery efforts from devastating floods in Kerala state; air quality in the Pacific Northwest has become bad due to wildfire ash and smoke from Western wildfires; Verizon Wireless claims a customer service error -- not a violation of net neutrality -- was responsible for the throttling of its wireless data service to a Santa Clara County fire department; and the first reported case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has been detected in a patient in England.
1. Hurricane Lane, about 200 miles south of Honolulu early Friday, is drenching parts of Hawaii with life-threatening rains and landslides, CNN reported. The National Hurricane Center said the Category 3 storm's most powerful winds are expected to whip some islands later Friday. Richard Henning, a research meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, flew into the storm three times this week in a “Hurricane Hunter” plane. He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the storm "is not weakening as much as it was earlier predicted it would." Henning added that "It will be bad news for Oahu" if the storm is stronger on Friday than the Central Pacific Hurricane Center has forecast. If Lane is stronger, it will make a turn to the left more unlikely before it gets to Oahu. "Everyone on Oahu should be prepared to take a direct hit,” Henning noted.
2. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Peru, close to its borders with Bolivia and Brazil, on Friday morning, Fox News reported. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake was recorded at 4:04 a.m. local time at a depth of 378 miles. The epicenter was 83 miles west of the Peruvian village of Inapari and 140 miles west of the Bolivian city of Cobija. There was no immediate information on damage or casualties. The Associated Press said that Jorge Chavez, the head of Civil Defense, told radio station RPP that the quake was felt in various locations in southeastern Peru. Due to its depth, there were no immediate reports of damage. Earthquakes are common in Peru, which falls within the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.
3. India on Wednesday rejected an offer from the United Arab Emirates for $100 million in aid funding to assist in recovery efforts from the devastating floods in Kerala. The floods killed more than 400 people and "engulfed entire towns" in the southern Indian state, The New York Times reports. Officials in Mumbai said India has a long-standing policy of relying on domestic resources, which they insist are adequate. The officials noted that since a giant tsunami hit India’s southern coast in 2004 and killed at least 10,000 people, the central government has built up a disaster relief agency modeled on the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
4. Air quality in the Pacific Northwest has become so bad due to the ash and smoke from the wildfires plaguing the West that officials say breathing the air in Seattle is "worse than the air pollution in Beijing," Vox reports. As of Wednesday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Seattle was 190, a rating classified as “unhealthy.” An AQI of 150 is roughly equal to smoking seven cigarettes in a day. In some parts of the city, the index rose as high as 220 or “very unhealthy.” Port Angeles, Washington, 80 miles from Seattle, saw the AQI rise to 205 this week.
5. Verizon Wireless claims a customer service error -- not a violation of net neutrality -- was responsible for the throttling of its wireless data service to a Santa Clara County Fire department vehicle during a recent California wildfire. CNET said supporters of neutrality point to the incident as "an example of the kind of potential treatment that Internet and wireless service providers can offer now that Federal Communications Commission rules for governing an open Internet have been stripped away." The Santa Clara Fire Department said in a court filing that while it was helping fight the largest wildfire in the state's history, the crew assigned to one of the department's trucks saw its ISP service dramatically impeded. "This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services," the department charged.
6. The first reported case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) since 2013 has been detected in a patient in England, according to Public Health England. CNN News said the unnamed patient, who traveled to the UK aboard a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, was first admitted to a hospital in Leeds and then transferred to the Royal Liverpool Hospital, which specializes in respiratory infectious diseases. The patient is currently stable and receiving the necessary treatment. "The patient is thought to have contracted the infection whilst in the Middle East before traveling to the UK," said Dr. Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE. "Public Health England is following up [with] those who have had close and sustained contact with the patient to offer advice and to monitor them as necessary." Researchers don't yet know its exact mode of transmission. The illness, first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, generally spreads through close contact with people who are ill. It is thought to spread through respiratory secretions, such as coughing.