Emergency/ Crisis Management

CBSA officers unaware of policy change

A British Columbia woman plans to appeal a $5,700 fine by Canada Border Services Agency officers after returning from a brief cross-border trip to purchase gasoline in Washington state as recommended by the federal government when fuel supplies were interrupted by the recent flooding. The government had ruled that COVID-19 rules were suspended in such cases but the CBSA officers said they were unaware of the policy change. [node:read-more:link]

Trying to avoid “Deep Impact”

Evocative of a number of Hollywood asteroid strike movies over the years, including 1998’s Deep Impact, the U.S. National Aeronautics & Space Administration has launched a mission to test technology designed to deflect an asteroid which is not on a collision course with Earth. Launched from California today on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the $325-million Dart mission is expected to intercept an asteroid next September. [node:read-more:link]

BC flood victims offered special relief

A federal relief package for victims of B.C.’s catastrophic flooding includes expedited employment insurance applications and eased travel restrictions. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said Nov. 21 that residents displaced or left jobless should apply immediately for EI benefits even if they normally would be ineligible. [node:read-more:link]

Lukashenko makes not-so-veiled threat

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said today that he doesn’t want a confrontation with Poland over Middle Eastern migrants in his country who are seeking access to the EU but he also also said that if the situation deteriorated further, war could be “unavoidable.” The EU has accused Belarus of deliberately massing migrants at its in response to sanctions imposed after Lukashenko’s disputed reelection last year. [node:read-more:link]

Sour notes on foreign aid

An internal audit of Global Affairs Canada has disclosed that a third of approved applications for grant applications disclosed that nearly a third had incomplete paperwork, and funds were used for questionable procurements. Among other things, unspent funds from a $20.5 million typhoon recovery package for the Philippines had been spent on karaoke machines. On a more serious note, staff managing Afghanistan aid were pressed to spend money despite misgivings about the program’s effectiveness. [node:read-more:link]

Army building levee in B.C.

Canadian Army engineers began working with civilian contractors today on building a 2km levee in the hope of preventing more flooding in the southern B.C. mainland city of Abbotsford after a dike failed during a major storm. The affected area is part of a lake drained for farming a century ago. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. in state of emergency

British Columbia is operating under a state of emergency declared by Premier John Horgan in the aftermath of a major storm which has essentially paralyzed the southern part of the province. Among other things, the Nov. 17 declaration enables the province to control access to the affected areas. [node:read-more:link]

Troops deployed to B.C.

An initial cadre of 300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are being deployed to B.C. to assist with evacuation efforts necessitated by extreme flooding in the province’s south. Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said Nov 17 that as many as 4,000 personnel stand ready to be mobilized. [node:read-more:link]

Southern B.C. effectively shut down

Record rain and flooding in B.C., which has washed out rail lines and highways in the Lower Mainland and resulted in evacuations elsewhere, has exacerbated already tight supply chains. Most highways in and out of Vancouver have effectively been shut down, bringing truck traffic to a crawl and all rail traffic in and out of the Port of Vancouver has been halted. [node:read-more:link]

Pakistan hosts Afghanistan multilateral

Diplomats from the U.S., China and Russia have been meeting in Pakistan to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Afghanistan which has forced many Afghans to migrate to neighbouring countries since the Taliban takeover in August. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, warned before the meeting that Afghanistan is “at the brink of economic collapse” and the international community must urgently resume its support. [node:read-more:link]

Managing risk v. managing crises

Canada and the U.S. must work more closely on cooperative risk management at their border rather than trying to close it at times of crisis such as COVID-19. This is the key advice offered in a report by a Washington-based think-tank force which included former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and former Canadian Justice Minister Anne McClellan and the former governors of U.S. border states. [node:read-more:link]

Water supply crisis in Iqaluit

Canadian Armed Forces (reverse osmosis water purification units and support personnel are being deployed to Iqaluit at the request of the Nunavut government due to fuel contamination in the city's water supply. The city has been in a state of emergency since Oct. 12. [node:read-more:link]

Global warming on catastrophic trend

Atmospheric greenhouse gases are at a record high, according to the World Meteorological Organization. With yet another UN climate change summit set to begin next weekend, the WMO says the latest data put the planet on a catastrophic warming trend. [node:read-more:link]

Military coup in Sudan

The Sudanese military has dissolved the government, arrested politicians and declared a state of emergency in a coup which its leader says is due to political infighting within a two-year-old transitional government. Army and paramilitary forces have been deployed, Khartoum international airport is closed and the Internet has been shut down. [node:read-more:link]

Russia steps up regional politics

The Russian government used an Oct. 19 meeting with Taliban representatives in Moscow to call for more foreign aid for Afghanistan. Representatives from China, India, Iran, Pakistan and former Soviet states in Central Asia also attended the talks which were seen as part of a Russian effort to extend its influence in the region. [node:read-more:link]


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