Emergency and disaster management briefing for May 10, 2017: A rail tunnel collapses at the Hanford nuclear waste site, canceled flights on Spirit Airlines almost causes a riot at the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, emergency response and aid teams are en route to offer aid to Cyclone Donna victims in Vanuatu, a major earthquake strikes Santo Island in Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Donna, one man is in jail following a fist fight on board a Southwest Airlines flight, multi-drug resistant strains of tuberculosis are increasing across the globe, a nationwide recall is issued for all varieties of Aunt Jemima frozen products, and Serbia receives natural disaster assistance through a World Bank loan, a first for Europe.
- A tunnel collapse at the Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington State occurred Tuesday afternoon which exposed old radioactive contaminated equipment to the air and forced workers to shelter in place. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also issued a temporary flight restriction (TFR) over the area due to a potential radioactive release. An approximate 20 foot section of a solid waste storage tunnel caved-in near a location where two tunnels join and lead to the now closed Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility (PUREX).
- A nationwide voluntary recall has been issued for all Aunt Jemima frozen products including all varieties of its frozen waffles, pancakes, french toast, Lil Griddlers and TV dinners due to potential listeria contamination. Pinnacle Foods, the production plant which owns Aunt Jemima, found listeria in the facility during testing, sparking the massive nationwide recall. The recall has now been expanded to include Save-A-Lot Pick 5 Chicken & Waffle frozen sandwiches, produced by the same Pinnacle Foods facility. Listeria can cause infections that are sometimes fatal in the young children or the elderly or frail individuals, and can cause short-term symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals that include severe headaches, nausea, and stiffness and is especially dangerous to pregnant women.
- New research points to a global rise in tuberculosis (TB) as it becomes resistant to conventional, first-line antibiotics, making it a potentially deadly disease in some countries. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is forecasting that TB cases will become more common — and complicated in India, the Philippines, Russia, and South Africa by 2040 due to its multi-drug resistance. Russia is likely to see the largest increase in drug resistant TB to about 30 percent of all cases, with a mortality rate for these cases that can be anywhere from 30 to 80 percent.
- Chaos broke out at the Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport after Spirit Airlines canceled nine flights on Monday night due to a lack of pilots. Police were called in by airline employees when a mob of people swarmed the ticket counter after finding out their flight was canceled. According to video and eyewitness accounts, people were pushing one another and screaming, line stanchions were knocked over, and a Broward County Sheriff's deputy was pushed to the ground. Authorities arrested several individuals for disorderly conducted and three people remained jailed who authorities claim started what almost turned into a riot.
- Emergency response and aid teams are headed to the northern areas of Vanuatu that were strongly impacted by Cyclone Donna over the weekend before the storm headed to the eastern side of New Caledonia on Tuesday. Cyclone Donna became the strongest late-season tropical storm to ever form in the southern hemisphere in the month of May when it reached wind speeds of 133 mph, with gusts to about 160 mph, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The Loyalty Islands in New Caledonia braced for the storms impact on Wednesday and extremely high waves in excess of 26 feet remain a threat to ships in the Coral Sea.
- The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said that just after being impacted by Cyclone Donna, Vanuatu was struck with a magnitude 6.8 earthquake about 71 miles north of its Santo Island. The quake occurred at a depth of about 108 feet, but did not trigger a tsunami threat or warning. Officials have not reported any injuries, deaths, or damages as a result of the earthquake.
- Burbank Police arrested one man after a fight broke out between passengers onboard a Southwest Airlines plane after it landed at the Burbank Airport in California on Sunday. Cell phone video caught footage of the fight that erupted between two men, with one female being heard saying “get off him, what is wrong with you” as other passengers stepped in to help contain the situation. The fight is just the latest in a series of rage issues that have been occurring with airlines across the country.
- Serbia, a nation that faces an increased threat from natural disasters, is now in a better position to respond to a disaster following its approval for a Disaster Risk Management Policy Loan with a Catastrophe-Deferred Draw Down Option (CAT-DDO) from the World Bank. The loan is the first of its kind in Europe and was issued following other region experience. Serbia is a nation vulnerable to a variety of natural disasters, including droughts, earthquakes, floods, and landslides, and the loan will provide immediate funds to the country to manage both the physical and economic impacts resulting from natural disasters. Post-disaster and climate change response planning and implementation will also be improved through an increase in the nation’s technical capacity provided by the funding.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) May 10, 2017