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AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

EDM Friday Briefing: Delays Increase as Suez Canal Blockage Continues

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 26, 2021: A single lot of Telmisartan was recalled due to an incorrect dosage label; delayed goods cost $400 million an hour as a ship remains lodged in the Suez Canal; severe weather produced multiple tornadoes in Alabama that left five people dead; Newnan and Coweta County suffered extensive damage from a tornado; historic flooding in Australia killed two people and displaced at least 40,000 from their homes; the alert level remains at Orange for the La Soufrière volcano after scientists observed increased seismic activity under its dome; the RDPC is offering a free, virtual Mass Fatalities Planning and Response class although registration is required; and the IC3 2020 Internet Crime Report cites an increase of 300,000 complaints of internet crime over 2019.

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1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the recall of another blood pressure medication–the second this month. The drug is being recalled because the tablets contained in the bottles are of a different dosage (40 mg) than that of the labeled dosage, 20 mg. One lot of Alembic Pharmaceuticals’ Telmisartan, 30-count tablets, was the focus of the recall.

2. The massive container ship, MV Ever Given, remains wedged in the Suez Canal, disrupting the transportation of goods. Egyptian officials are now stating that it could take weeks to dislodge and move the ship, although dredging operations are nearly 90% complete. The disruption in the transportation of goods is costing about $400 million an hour, and arrival delays of at least three to five days. 

3. Severe weather moved through the Mid-South on Thursday, producing golf-ball and half-dollar-sized hail, 80 mph winds, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes. The winds toppled trees and knocked out power to thousands of residents in Alabama and Tennessee. Multiple tornadoes ripped through neighborhoods and killed at least five near Birmingham, Alabama, while a suspected tornado in Middle Tennessee injured several people.

4. Tornadoes cut a wide swath of destruction across Alabama and parts of Georgia late Thursday into Friday. Emergency management officials stated that one tornado caused extensive damage in Newnan, Georgia; it downed trees and power lines, disrupted gas lines, and made roads impassable. Coweta County public schools suffered extensive damage, prompting their closure on Friday.

5. Historic flooding has inundated Australia and left at least two people dead. New South Wales and Queensland were hit with record rainfalls — almost 20 inches in a day in one location — that led to the evacuation of at least 40,000 people from their homes over the past week. The expansive flooding swept away livestock, submerged homes and destroyed crops, with preliminary damage claims of about $195 million.

6. Scientists observed a noticeable change in seismic activity at the La Soufrière volcano on Saint Vincent, located in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean. A swarm of small volcanoes was recorded beneath the dome and they are believed to be related to increased movement of magma below the surface. The seismic activity continues as do the small-dome extrusion events, while the alert level for the volcano remains at Orange.

7. The Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) is facilitating a virtual Mass Fatalities Planning and Response class. Held via Zoom, the two-day class will help provide rural first responders and local officials with the capabilities to manage a mass-casualty incident within their jurisdiction through basic knowledge and skills. The free class is being held April 7-8. Registration for the eight-hour class is required, seating is limited and a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) student ID is required for registration.  

8. In its Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2020 Internet Crime Report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported an increase of at least 300,000 complaints of internet crimes from 2019 to 2020. Losses from internet security breaches exceeded $4.2 billion in 2020, with the top three reported crimes being phishing scams, non-delivery/non-payment scams, and extortion. A total of 791,790 complaints were filed with IC3 for 2020, including 28,500 complaints of COVID-19-related scams targeting both individuals and businesses.

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.

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