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Security Brief: EMH2 Week of June 21, 2021

Week of Monday, June 21, 2021 | Issue 17

Jade Patel, Erin Zalaoras, Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2) Team


062421 - CONDO COLLAPSE[1]


Date: June 24, 2021

Location: Surfside, Florida, United States (U.S.)

Parties involved: Residents of Champlain Towers South; Florida Emergency Management Officials; Town of Surfside government

The event: Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condominium located on the beach, collapsed around 0200 local time on Thursday.[2] At least 9 people are dead and more than 150 people have not been located. The cause of the collapse has yet to be determined.

The implications:

  • If the northern portion of Champlain Towers was built at the same time and with the same materials as the southern portion, it is possible that those condominiums are also unstable. The northern towers may have the potential to collapse in the same manner in which the southern portion collapsed. Residents of Champlain Towers North should consider evacuating until their condominiums are deemed safe. With families searching for missing relatives and friends, along with the destruction of their homes, it is extremely likely that individuals will be dealing with increased distress. The consequences may have short and long-term impacts on individual mental wellbeing and may lead to an increase in mental health illnesses. With an investigation underway, it is unclear how long residents will be in an emergency or alternative shelter, prolonging the recovery and possibly increasing individual susceptibility to vulnerabilities that lead to radicalization.

  • Residents of Champlain Towers South may be alive under the rubble that has yet to be lifted. Sunday, June 27 will be 4 days that potential victims have survived without food and water. If rescue efforts are not successful in the immediate future, their survivability rate without water will likely diminish.

  • Florida is likely to be affected as the hurricane season begins. If Surfside, Florida experiences heavy winds and/or storms, rescue efforts may be delayed. This could mean that if residents are alive in the rubble of the condominiums, the time that it would take to reach them may increase and the chance of survival may decrease.


Date: June 24, 2021

Location: Montana's Phillips County, Montana, U.S.

Parties involved: Public and Private Rangelands in Montana; Federal Agriculture Officials; U.S. Government

The event: The western states in the U.S. are facing a drought that is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires, and leaving farmers struggling to find water.[3] With the drought comes a plague of grasshoppers that will strip the rangelands bare. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began aerial spraying of the pesticide diflubenzuron to kill grasshopper nymphs before they develop into adults.

The implications:

  • The grasshoppers may consume sufficient grassland supplies on rangeland, potentially threatening the significant depletion of a major food source for cattle. If the cattle do not have grassland to feed on, farmers may need to find an alternative food source, likely more expensive. With the price increase to maintain healthy cattle, farmers may likely be forced to sell their cattle making beef and dairy products in higher demand. Increased demands and ongoing shortages could lead to an increase in beef and crop prices.

  • The spraying of pesticides may affect other insects who benefit the environment, such as spiders and bees.[4] These insects may die off due to the diflubenzuron, which could negatively impact the environment and exacerbate the grasshopper infestation. Without bees, cross-pollination may not occur amongst crops and plants likely to cause a decrease in flowers, crops, and honey, ultimately causing their breadth to diminish. This could result in a decreased crop yield which may impact farmers and their daily livelihoods.

  • The aerial spraying has the potential to reach organic farms, which could threaten their organic crop certification. This may lead to a decrease in supply if the organic farms can no longer produce organic items. This could cause an increase in the price of organic produce due to a diminished supply.


Date: June 25, 2021

Location: Barking, East London, England

Parties involved: London Citizens; Barking Borough Council; United Kingdom (UK) Government

The event: Barking, London was hit by severely strong swirling winds and a heavy black cloud on Friday at 1915 local time, causing damage to infrastructure and vehicles. Experts have confirmed this to be a mini-tornado, which has led to several damaged infrastructures, vehicles, and roads. No injuries or fatalities were recorded by emergency services.[5] At the same time, East London was also experiencing flash flooding in Dagenham and electricity shortages throughout the entire area.

The implications:

  • Although there were no injuries and minimal damage, this is the first adverse weather event of this kind within England in at least two decades. The unexpectedness of the tornado makes it likely that the British government and the people in the impacted areas did not have time to put control measures in place to decrease the impact.

  • Damage to roads is likely to cause disruptions to transportation and is probable to disrupt emergency routes until fixed. High volumes of traffic within London are likely to lead to issues and could impede access to civilian homes (normal and emergency).

  • The damage to homes is likely to be costly and is now a priority of the Barking Borough Council and the UK Government amidst a COVID-19 pandemic. The British public has already heavily criticized the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it extremely likely that the same viewpoints will be adopted if the government does not fix the damage in a timely manner. The distrust towards the government may hinder recovery efforts, and future planning measures as the British public may choose to ignore government advice if the incident was to reoccur. With multiple hazards to control, it is likely that delays may occur and/or COVID-19 preventive measures will have to be considered when restoring the damaged streets and houses, accelerating the negative impressions towards the government by the British public.

  • It is advised that the populations throughout England look into the impacts of adverse weathers, and become familiarized with relevant emergency management practices. It is extremely likely that the UK Government and Barking Borough council will release information to aid with this and make sure citizens know what to do if this incident was to occur in the future.

[1]062421 - CONDO COLLAPSE” by HF Show licensed under Public Domain

[2] Death toll in Florida condo collapse climbs to 9, with 150 still missing, Reuters, June 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/five-dead-156-still-missing-florida-building-collapse-searchers-race-against-2021-06-27/

[3] Hungry Grasshoppers Spurred by US Drought Threaten Rangeland, US News, June 2021, https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2021-06-24/western-drought-brings-another-woe-voracious-grasshoppers

[4] Ibid.

[5] London 'tornado' leaves extensive damage in Barking as people describe debris flying in the air, Sky News, June 2021, https://news.sky.com/story/barking-emergency-services-called-after-tornado-leaves-extensive-damage-in-east-london-12342007



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