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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Russian FSB Possibly Tied to SolarWinds Hack

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for January 11, 2021: Naval divers have found aircraft debris and human body parts from the crash of Flight SJ182 in Indonesia; Central Texas received up to six inches of snow on Sunday; new information allegedly points to the Russian FSB in the SolarWinds hack; ensuring the well-being of people with disabilities is critical during disaster response; 20 people, include 12 children, were rescued after their sailboats capsized off Santa Cruz Harbor; vog is forecast as trade winds return amid the ongoing eruption of the Kilauea Volcano; an earthen dam in Berea, Ohio, is undergoing emergency repairs to prevent its possible failure; and record high temperatures forecast for Southern California increase fire weather concerns.

1) Four minutes after takeoff out of Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Flight SJ182 disappeared off radar. The Sriwijara Air flight, operated by a Boeing 737-500, departed Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Saturday and was carrying 62 souls on board when it crashed into the Java Sea. Naval search teams have located debris, along with human body parts, that are suspected to be from the downed aircraft.

2) Central Texas received several inches of snow Sunday afternoon, which knocked out power to thousands of customers across the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning through midnight on Sunday, for at least six counties, noting that up to six inches of snow could fall in the region. The unusual snowfall prompted school closures on Monday, although warming temperatures beginning on Monday are likely to melt the snow quickly.

3) New information regarding the SolarWinds hack suggests that the malware used may be tied to a hacking group known as “Turla.” According to Kaspersky — a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm — the backdoor used by the hackers was likely done on behalf of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Estonian authories pointed out the connection, and Kaspersky noted that three characteristics of a hacking tool, “Kazuar,” appear to have been present in the SolarWinds hack.

4) When disasters strike, those with disabilities may face life-threatening circumstances, such as a loss of power for life-sustaining medical equipment. Ensuring their well-being is critical during response efforts, and research shows that they are disproportionately affected by a disaster. It is imperative to ensure planning efforts include listening to the needs of those with disabilities, and also to bring community, health, and support workers to disaster planning tables, as they have a wealth of information on how to best support those with disabilities.

5) Multiple sailboats capsized outside the Santa Cruz Harbor on Sunday afternoon amid dangerous and rough surf. The incident occurred when four boats were struck by a large wave, tossing 20 people — including 12 children — into the ocean. Rescue crews and surfers were able to quickly rescue everyone from the dangerous waters, and no injuries or deaths were reported.

6) Increased vog from the Kilauea Volcano is expected over West Hawaii areas due to trade winds that have returned to the region. According to the Vog Measurement and Prediction Project at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the vog will affect North and South Kona districts, along with Ka’u. SO2 (sulphur dioxide) emissions also remain elevated, and lava activity is ongoing, but confined within the Haleamaumau crater. 

7) An earthen dam in Berea, Ohio, is undergoing emergency repairs to prevent its possible failure. The Coe Lake dam has been eroding slowly over time, and a 100-foot section recently opened up, allowing water to flow back and forth between Baldwin Creek and Coe Lake. The back-and-forth flow has increased the erosion, which has reduced the lake by nearly 14 inches or about 10 million gallons. The reservoir is the backup water supply for the city, and the emergency repairs will be followed up by a more extensive repair at a later date.

8)Record high temperatures are set to move into Southern California later in the week, increasing the fire danger risk. Mild Santa Ana winds moved into the area on Sunday and were expected to last into Tuesday, slightly elevating the fire risk. Offshore winds are predicted through the end of the week with the temperature increase, which is likely to elevate fire concerns throughout the region once again.

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠