Floridians Begin to Go Home, Aviation Security Countermeasures, Hepatitis A in San Diego, and More

Floridians Begin to Go Home, Aviation Security Countermeasures, Hepatitis A in San Diego, and More
  • Officials are allowing Floridians to begin returning to their homes in the path of Hurricane Irma, which has killed at least 22 people, but what they are returning to is unknown. About 5 million homes, businesses, and gas stations in the state are still without power, and emerging reports from the hardest-hit Florida Keys are not optimistic: 25 percent of homes on the islands have been destroyed, and another 65 percent sustained major damage. Power companies are focusing on returning service to schools, hospitals, and critical infrastructure, and those in the hardest-hit areas should get power back by the end of next week. Meanwhile, the situation is dire in the Caribbean Islands affected by Irma early last week, leaving thousands homeless and damaging infrastructure and basic access to supplies. Puerto Rico is taking in residents from Saint Martin, which the government said can no longer support life after the island’s main water tower had been destroyed, impacting drinking water. But the peo​ple who are left have dwindling access to food and bottled water.

  • The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) aviation security practices and raised concerns about its behavior detection program. "Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, TSA has spent billions of dollars on aviation security programs,” the report states. "However, recent attacks involving aircraft and airports in other countries underscore the continued threat to aviation and the need for an effective aviation security program.” The report specifically explored whether TSA can calculate the cost and effectiveness of security countermeasures as well as tradeoffs. Although officials told GAO that assessing the security system is difficult, the report notes that “without such an analysis, TSA is not well positioned to strike an appropriate balance of costs, effectiveness, and risk.”

  • San Diego is reacting to a hepatitis A outbreak killed 15 people and sent almost 300 to hospitals—many of them homeless. The city will begin biweekly sanitary street washing after the county gave San Diego five days to come up with a plan for the outbreak, which has spread to other cities in the region. Experts say the outbreak is caused by a “fecally contaminated environment” downtown, where many homeless people live on the streets without adequate restrooms or showers. The city has installed 40 hand-washing stations in areas frequented by the homeless, and while the county requested the city expand access to public restrooms and wash stations for at-risk populations, San Diego has not acted on the recommendation.

  • In other news, Myanmar has been accused by the UN of ethnic cleansing as some 370,000 Rohingya Muslims flee the country. The U.S. Department of Justice won’t be bringing charges against the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray from injuries he sustained in police custody. As more concerns are raised about Equifax’s handling of its massive security breach, experts are encouraging those affected to protect themselves, and the U.S. Senate wants to know more details about the hack. The U.S. Attorney General likes the idea of conducting lie detector tests on National Security Council personnel. The U.S. Secret Service is looking into a post by infamous Martin Shkreli telling followers he would pay them $5,000 if they brought him samples of Hillary Clinton’s hair.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is waiving environmental and historical preservation laws to speed up the construction of fencing between California and Mexico. Naval shipyar​ds aren’t in great shape, the GAO reports. ​