Bird Flu Summit brochure H5N1 Preparedness, Prevention, Detection, Response, and Recovery


Important Takeaways:

  • An “International Bird Flu Summit” will be held in Washington D.C. from October 2nd to October 4th
    • Welcome to the International Bird Flu Summit, where we address the pressing concerns surrounding the recent developments in avian influenza. With the emergence of a highly virulent strain of bird flu affecting both cattle and humans, it is imperative that we come together to discuss preparedness, response strategies, and the future implications of this evolving situation.
    • Topics
      • Mass Fatality Management Planning
      • Surveillance and Data Management
      • Preparing Communities Strategies
      • Local Partnership & Participation
      • Delivery of Vaccine and Antiviral Medication
      • Medical Countermeasures
      • Socio-Economic Impact on Poultry and livestock Industries
      • Benefit-Risk Assessment: Public Health, Industry and Regulatory Perspectives
      • Prevention Education Efforts and Risk Communication
      • Command, Control and Management
      • Emergency Response Management
      • Business-Based Planning
      • School-Based Planning
      • Community-Based Planning

Read the original article by clicking here.

U.S. Senate nears passage of $8.3 billion coronavirus funding as concerns mount

By Richard Cowan and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday was poised to pass an $8.3 billion bill aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus and help develop vaccines, as some of the Trump administration’s top health officials briefed members of the House of Representatives on the crisis.

A Senate vote would follow House passage of the legislation on Wednesday, 415-2.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said of the emergency funding bill, “It’s a serious agreement to meet a serious challenge and today we will send it to President Trump’s desk.”

Trump is expected to sign the bill into law upon final approval by Congress.

Action by Congress comes as U.S. deaths related to coronavirus infections rose to 11 on Wednesday and new cases were identified on both coasts – around New York City and Los Angeles.

The money to fight coronavirus includes over $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, test kits and medical treatments. Another $2.2 billion would aid public health activities on prevention, preparedness and response to outbreaks.

Washington would dedicate $1.25 billion in coming weeks and months to help international efforts aimed at reining in the virus, which was first detected late last year in China and has since spread around the globe.

Thursday’s briefing by U.S. health officials in the Capitol came a day after Vice President Mike Pence held separate meetings with House Democrats and Republicans to discuss plans for responding to any coronavirus outbreak.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, were among those taking questions from House members on Thursday.

Representative Rosa DeLauro, who chairs a House panel that oversees federal spending on health programs, said she did not get satisfactory answers from officials about access to testing and diagnostics and how to help people who do not get paid sick days through their jobs or who have no health insurance.

Republican Representative Tom Cole, however, gave an upbeat assessment. “We’re still behind the curve there, but the sense is we’ll be moving pretty quickly and able to catch up.” He was referring to the growing number of tests that will be manufactured and could total around 1 million by next week.

The funding bill moving through Congress also would provide for low-interest federal loans to businesses affected by a coronavirus outbreak.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Lisa Lambert; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Indonesia’s latest tsunami raises global questions over disaster preparedness

Debris are seen after the tsunami damage at Sunda strait at Kunjir village in South Lampung, Indonesia, December 28, 2018. Antara Foto/Ardiansyah via REUTERS

By Fergus Jensen and Fanny Potkin

CIGONDONG/JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) – As Indonesia reels from the carnage of yet another natural disaster, authorities around the globe are working on how they can prepare for the kind of freak tsunami that battered coasts west of Jakarta this month.

The Dec. 23 tsunami killed around 430 people along the coastlines of the Sunda Strait, capping a year of earthquakes and tsunamis in the vast archipelago, which straddles the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.

No sirens were heard in those towns and beaches to alert people before the deadly series of waves hit shore.

Seismologists and authorities say a perfect storm of factors caused the tsunami and made early detection near impossible given the equipment in place.

But the disaster should be a wake-up call to step up research on tsunami triggers and preparedness, said several of the experts, some of whom have traveled to the Southeast Asian nation to investigate what happened.

“Indonesia has demonstrated to the rest of the world the huge variety of sources that have the potential to cause tsunamis. More research is needed to understand those less-expected events,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton.

Most tsunamis on record have been triggered by earthquakes. But this time it was an eruption of Anak Krakatau volcano that caused its crater to partially collapse into the sea at high tide, sending waves up to 5 meters (16 feet) high smashing into densely populated coastal areas on Java and Sumatra islands.

During the eruption, an estimated 180 million cubic meters, or around two-thirds of the less-than-100-year-old volcanic island, collapsed into the sea.

But the eruption didn’t rattle seismic monitors significantly, and the absence of seismic signals normally associated with tsunamis led Indonesia’s geophysics agency (BMKG) initially to tweet there was no tsunami.

Muhamad Sadly, head of geophysics at BMKG, later told Reuters its tidal monitors were not set up to trigger tsunami warnings from non-seismic events.

The head of Japan’s International Research Institute of Disaster, Fumihiko Imamura, told Reuters he did not believe Japan’s current warning system would have detected a tsunami like the one in the Sunda Strait.

“We still have some risks of this in Japan…because there’s 111 active volcanoes and low capacity to monitor eruptions generating a tsunami,” he said in Jakarta.

Scientists have long flagged the collapse of Anak Krakatau, around 155 km (100 miles) west of the capital, as a concern. A 2012 study published by the Geological Society of London deemed it a “tsunami hazard.”

Anak Krakatau has emerged from the Krakatoa volcano, which in 1883 erupted in one of the biggest explosions in recorded history, killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis and lowering the global surface temperature by one degree Celsius with its ash.


Some experts believe there was enough time for at least a partial detection of last week’s tsunami in the 24 minutes it took waves to hit land after the landslide on Anak Krakatau.

But a country-wide tsunami warning system of buoys connected to seabed sensors has been out of order since 2012 due to vandalism, neglect and a lack of public funds, authorities say.

“The lack of an early warning system is why Saturday’s tsunami was not detected,” said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho, adding that of 1,000 tsunami sirens needed across Indonesia, only 56 are in place.

“Signs that a tsunami was coming weren’t detected and so people did not have time to evacuate.”

President Joko Widodo this week ordered BMKG to purchase new early warning systems, and the agency later said it planned to install three tsunami buoys on the islands surrounding Anak Krakatau.

The cost of covering the country is estimated at 7 trillion rupiah ($481.10 million). That is roughly equivalent to Indonesia’s total disaster response budget of 7.19 trillion rupiah for 2018, according to Nugroho.

But other experts say even if this network had been working, averting disaster would have been difficult.

“The tsunami was very much a worst-case scenario for any hope of a clear tsunami warning: a lack of an obvious earthquake to trigger a warning, shallow water, rough seabed, and the close proximity to nearby coastlines,” said seismologist Hicks.

In the Philippines, Renato Solidum, undersecretary for disaster risk reduction, said eruptions from the country’s Taal volcano had caused tsunami waves before in the surrounding Taal Lake.

He told Reuters that what happened in Indonesia showed the need to “re-emphasize awareness and preparedness” regarding volcanic activity and its potential to trigger tsunamis in the Philippines.

The United States has also suffered several tsunamis caused by volcanic activity, including in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington, according to the national weather service.


In Indonesia earlier this year, a double quake-and-tsunami disaster killed over 2,000 people on Sulawesi island, while at least 500 died when an earthquake flattened much of the northern coastline of the holiday island of Lombok.

In a country where, according to government data, 62.4 percent of the population is at risk of being struck by earthquakes and 1.6 percent by tsunamis, attention is now focused on a continued lack of preparedness.

“Given the potential for disasters in the country, it’s time to have disaster education be part of the national curriculum,” Widodo told reporters after the latest tsunami.

For Ramdi Tualfredi, a high school teacher who survived last week’s waves, these improvements cannot come soon enough.

He told Reuters that people in his village of Cigondong on the west coast of Java and close to Krakatau had never received any safety drills or evacuation training.

“I’ve never received education on safety steps,” he said.

“The system…totally failed.”

(Additional reporting by Wilda Asmarini, Tabita Diela, Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, Linda Sieg and Tanaka Kiyoshi in Tokyo, and Neil Jerome Morales in Manila.; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

U.S. wildfire preparedness raised to highest level

FILE PHOTO: Rose fire burns near Lake Elsinore in Western Riverside County, California, U.S. in this undated photo obtained by Reuters July 31, 2017. Riverside County Fire Department via Facebook/Handout via REUTERS.

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. fire managers on Thursday raised the nation’s wildfire readiness status to its highest level for the first time in two years, as California and several other Western states faced heightened danger from lightning storms.

The National Fire Preparedness Level was elevated one notch from “PL-4” to “PL-5,” the top ranking on a five-point scale, recognizing that firefighting resources have been strained to their limits by the large number and scope of blazes in the west.

It also reflects the probability that severe weather conditions conducive to wildfires will continue for at least a few days.

The move allows for emergency assistance to be called upon from the U.S. military and even other countries, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

“Wildfire activity has escalated in recent days after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, sparking hundreds of new fires,” the fire center said.

The decision to raise the preparedness level was made by a multi-agency group of federal and state fire managers. The readiness status had been posted at PL-4 during most of July and into August before Thursday’s move, said fire center spokesman Randy Eardley.

The higher alert level means fire managers may be forced to let some large blazes they otherwise would have fought in remote locations burn unchallenged in order to make resources available to suppress fires posing a greater threat to life and property, Eardley said.

Nearly 41,000 individual wildfires of all sizes have scorched more than 6 million acres in the United States so far this year, well above the 4.2 million acres burned on average over the last 10 years, according to the fire center.

The last time an alert level of PL-5 was invoked was in August 2015. That same year, 200 U.S. Army soldiers were assigned to battle fires in Washington state for 30 days, while personnel and aircraft were brought in from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to support fire suppression efforts in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.

Thursday’s elevation to PL-5 marked the fifth time the highest point on the readiness scale has been reached since 2007.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported 38 large, active wildfires burning across seven Western states on Thursday, primarily in California, Montana and Oregon.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Joseph Radford)

South Korea bomb shelters forgotten with no food, water as North Korea threat grows

FILE PHOTO: A shelter is seen near the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. Picture taken on November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

By Haejin Choi and Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) – Long within reach of most conventional North Korean artillery and missiles, South Korea and Japan are far from prepared if an all-out military conflict breaks out as tensions escalate over Pyongyang’s rapidly advancing nuclear weapons program.

The United States said this week it was ready to use force if necessary to counter the threat from North Korea, which tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

North Korea often threatens to strike the neighboring South and Japan, vowing to turn Seoul into a ‘sea of fire’ and ‘a pile of ashes’ the moment it has an order from leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korea has nearly 19,000 bomb shelters throughout the country. They include more than 3,200 in Seoul, just 40 km (25 miles) from the militarized border drawn up under a truce that stopped the 1950-53 Korean War but left the combatants technically at war.

Chung Yoon-jin, a university student in Seoul, had no clue these shelters existed.

“I have never seen any signs that say ‘shelter’, although I have been to lots of places in Seoul,” the 26-year-old Chung said.

The shelters are not built to protect against nuclear, chemical or biological attacks. They are mostly in subway stations or basements and parking garages in private apartments and commercial buildings designated as shelters with the consent of the owners.

For a graphic on the locations of the shelters, click

In Seoul, most bomb shelters have no long-term supplies of food, water, medical kits or gas masks, an official at Seoul Metropolitan Government told Reuters. They can’t be forced to stock up because no public funding is provided, said the official who declined to be identified.

In Tokyo, the Japanese capital of 13.5 million people has an unknown number of bomb shelters left from World War II, but they are not useable or accessible to the public, an official at Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s disaster prevention department told Reuters.

Tokyo has no plans to reuse the decades-old shelters or build new ones for now.

“The extent of any damage that could be caused by a North Korean missile is still unknown, and it will take time to figure out an appropriate design for a shelter,” the official said.


While residents in Alaska and Hawaii are just waking up to the possibility of living within range of a North Korean missile, South Koreans for years have been exposed to thousands of artillery massed an hour’s drive or so from the border, in addition to short-range missiles and bombs.

People have grown numb to Pyongyang’s unprecedented pace of missile and nuclear tests since the beginning of last year.

“Every time, nothing seems to happen after (North Korea provocation), so now I feel I’m used to it. I think to myself, nothing will happen,” said Suh Yeon-ju, a 30-year-old housewife.

Unlike in Japan, where sales of private nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking air purifiers have risen in recent months, South Korea has no market for private bunkers.

One public bomb shelter that Reuters visited in central Seoul was in a large underground parking garage a few steps from a government complex building. A small sign posted at the entrance indicated a shelter, but people inside had no clue.

A person in charge of the parking garage said one day last year he came to the office and saw a “shelter” sign posted, but he had no idea what it was.

To raise awareness, Seoul has handed out 34,000 paper fans this summer with information about bomb shelters, and is in the process of creating other promotional products such as flyers and stickers, the city government official said.

But it’s difficult to get the buildings hosting shelters to put easily seen directional signs, he said.

Shin Ji-ha, a 24-year-old university student in Seoul, said she heard about bomb shelters but didn’t know where they were. It didn’t matter to her anyway.

“I would be dead like in less than a second (if a war broke out),” she said. “There will be no pain at all so I don’t mind that much.”

For a graphic on threat to Seoul, click

(Additional reporting by Yuna Park, Christine Kim, Dahee Kim and Se Young Lee in Seoul, Megumi Lim in Tokyo; Writing by Soyoung Kim; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

Global Partnership for Preparedness launched at World Summit

People walk through a flooded road after they moved out from their houses in Biyagama

By Megan Rowling

ISTANBUL (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new scheme launched by U.N. agencies, the World Bank and countries most vulnerable to climate change on Tuesday is seeking funding of up to $130 million to help 20 at-risk nations prepare better for natural disasters.

The Global Partnership for Preparedness, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on Tuesday, aims to help the countries attain a basic level of readiness by 2020 for future disaster risks mainly caused by climate change.

The money will enable the countries to access risk analysis and early warning systems, put together contingency plans, including pre-committed finance, and respond better to shocks such as floods and droughts.

“The aim is to save lives, safeguard development gains, and reduce the economic impacts of crises,” said United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark. Development gains, in particular, “can otherwise be lost with each disaster”, she said.

The countries will be selected from the 43 nations belonging to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a group that spans Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. Backers hope to expand the program to 50 countries within five years.

Funding for the first phase has yet to be put in place but is likely to come from international institutions, U.N. agencies and government donors. Supporters hope the scheme will get off the ground by October.

One government likely to benefit from the partnership is the Philippines, which is looking to improve its ability to identify at-risk areas, and to bolster systems to respond to disasters, working alongside business and communities, said Roberto B. Tan, the country’s treasurer.

“If we plan ahead, we will create a situation where instead of wave after wave of climate-driven natural disasters destroying what gains communities have made, they can pick up their lives again as soon as possible,” he said.

The World Bank, which plans to bring to the table its expertise, including in social protection and assessing hazards, emphasized the current low level of international funding for disaster preparedness.

Less than 0.5 percent of development assistance today goes to averting disasters and preparing for them, according to estimates.

But Laura Tuck, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, said there was growing evidence that donor governments and the aid community have grasped the need to increase that investment, not least due to mass migration around the world in the past year.

“One of the most exciting things from this summit is the emphasis moving from responding to humanitarian disasters to addressing situations upfront,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Building resilience helps to address disasters, population movements, conflict, fragile countries – all that can be mitigated through investments in resilience.”


Separately, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it would extend disaster insurance coverage for African countries to help transform how they cope with drought and floods by improving their ability to manage risks before they hit.

It will use a commitment of $1.6 million from the Danish government to double the number of people insured in countries that have already taken out cover under the African Risk Capacity scheme.

By 2030, WFP aims to buy insurance cover capable of providing half its natural disaster aid expenditures in Asia and Africa each year, with payouts varying from year to year according to the disasters experienced.

Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said a new commitment made in Istanbul by donor governments to tie less of the humanitarian aid they give to particular crises could give agencies more freedom to invest in reducing disaster risk.

“It makes a lot of sense to do something today to have the outcome you want tomorrow rather than waiting for the shock to arrive,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He recently visited southern Africa, which has been hit by its worst drought in the last 30 years, but the aid response is not yet at the level required, he said.

“It will be a shame again if we wait until we see the pictures of dying babies before we start rushing in and responding,” he said.

(Reporting by Megan Rowling; editing by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

Batten Down the Hatches!

Luke 21:36 NCV “ So be ready all the time. Pray that you will be strong enough to escape all these things that will happen and that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

It’s only the start of the New Year and world events seem to be spinning more out of control.

A slumping stock market. More earthquakes in Oklahoma. Terrorist attacks across the globe. Continue reading

Dr. Paul Williams Challenges Us to be Prepared!

Our wonderful friend, Dr. Paul Williams, author of the amazing book, When All Plans Fail, will be visiting us this week at Morningside!  Dr. Williams will be giving an informative seminar Weds. night July 22nd on Preparedness as a Community with incredible insight from his book.  Jim and Lori Bakker will also be welcoming Dr. Williams to the show taping on Grace Street, Thursday July 23rd at 11:30am as a special guest on the Jim Bakker Show.

Dr. Paul Williams has organized and led medical teams in a number of major world disasters since the early 1990’s.  His experiences during his more than 25 years in medical missions in 105 nations gives him a very unique perspective on world events and human suffering, including in the United States.

Whether man-made or natural, the word “disaster” seems to be more and more a part of our lives.  Dr. Williams felt a calling to write “When All Plans Fail” to challenge individual believers and churches to become prepared for disasters so that they may be the “Salt and Light” the Bible speaks about during times of crisis.

Dr. Williams says that 85%-90% of people are not prepared when it comes to a common disaster. Many times people don’t prepare because the fear of the future paralyzes them.  We know it can truly seem overwhelming to start to plan for disaster.  Dr. Paul Williams’ experiences in responding to disasters more than qualify him to bring us insights into our roles and responsibilities to be prepared for ourselves, our family and our community.

We hope you can join us as we discuss how to be ready for a disaster, how to help each other and finally how to accept Dr. Paul’s challenge for us to step forward as a community and be prepared!

Prepping is Not Beyond Your Reach

We have heard from quite a few people who are concerned about how to prepare when their finances are very tight. Prepping can seem like it’s beyond your reach, but don’t give up; where there’s a will there’s a way! Jim and I understand this very well and we’re not insensitive to the plight of those who are challenged by a limited income.

Anyone who has read my book, “More Than I Could Ever Ask” knows that there was a time when I actually shined shoes at the airport to make ends meet and to provide for myself when I was in full-time ministry in Phoenix. People may say, “oh you poor thing,” but I’m not looking for sympathy and I didn’t feel disadvantaged even then. I was so in love with Jesus and happy to do whatever it took to provide for my needs and stay in ministry. Continue reading