DHS&EM 9 January 2008 Situation Report 08-009Postmark
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From:Wednesday, January 9, 2008 3:17 PM -0900
Subject:DHS&EM 9 January 2008 Situation Report 08-009 

SITUATION REPORT 08-009 (as of 11:00 AM, January 9, 2008)

Homeland Security Advisory System – National Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Homeland Security Advisory System – Alaska Level:  Yellow-Elevated
Maritime Security (MARSEC) Level – Level I – Low.
Military installations in Alaska are at FPCON A.
State of Alaska Cyber Security Alert Level: Guarded
World Health Organization Pandemic Phase - Phase 3: No or very limited human-to-human transmission (An Influenza Pandemic situation report, which contains an explanation of the WHO Pandemic Phases, is attached to this situation report and updated every Tuesday)

Threat Level Changes
No change.

State of Alaska Situation
(Updates to this section from previous Situation Report are in Italics)

Rural Alaska Fuel Shortages
The SECC continues to work with communities in rural Alaska that are facing fuel shortages and/or power generation problems.  The SECC is working with local, state and federal agencies and other organizations to ensure that the situation in these communities does not reach the point of becoming a disaster emergency.
Current weather warnings and watches for Alaska can be found at the following National Weather Service web site:  http://www.arh.noaa.gov/

DOT&PF Road Information:  can be found at http://511.Alaska.gov/ or by calling 511.

Homeland Security

(U) New key to flu’s spread discovered. U.S. researchers have found that that a flu virus must be able to attach itself to an umbrella-shaped receptor coating human respiratory cells before it can infect cells in the upper airways. The discovery may help scientists better monitor changes in the H5N1 bird flu virus that could trigger a deadly pandemic in humans. And it may lead to better ways to fight it, they said. The H5N1 avian flu virus now almost exclusively infects birds. But it can occasionally pass to a person. Experts have feared that the bird flu virus would evolve slightly into a form that people can easily catch and pass to one another, triggering an epidemic. Before a flu virus can enter a human respiratory cell, a protein on the surface of the virus must bind with chains of sugars called glycans that sit on the outside of the cells. To infect humans, scientists thought the H5N1 bird flu virus would need to simply mutate so it could bind with alpha 2-6 receptors. But it turns out not all alpha 2-6 receptors are the same. Some are short and cone-shaped and some are long and umbrella-shaped. So far, the bird flu virus has found a way to bind only to the cone-shaped structures in human upper airways. The virus has already killed 216 people and infected 348 people in 14 countries, according to the World Health Organization. But the study found that the most infectious human flu viruses bind with the umbrella-shaped receptors in the upper respiratory tract. The researchers believe the H5N1 bird flu virus would need to adapt so it could latch on to these umbrella-shaped receptors before it could be spread readily from human to human.
Source: January 7, Reuters – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22537347/

(U) Many without power for days as rain, snow continue in California. Hundreds of thousands of Californians were still without power after a series of fierce storms pounded the state over the weekend and toppled nearly 500 miles of power lines. More than 145,000 homes and businesses in Northern California and the Central Valley were in the dark Sunday, down from more than 215,000 earlier in the day, ahead of rain and snow that were forecast to return again soon. A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said some parts of Northern California would get a reprieve from the rain and snow on Monday. But in the mountains, “there’s a chance of snow and snow showers all the way through Thursday,” he said. The storm was expected to weaken in Southern California, with the forecast calling for a 30 percent chance of rain on Monday, the NWS said. Utility crews were using the break in the weather to work on power lines. In all, more than 2 million customers from the Oregon border to Los Angeles lost power since the storms arrived Friday.
Source: January 7, Associated Press – http://www.examiner.com/a-1142232~Many_without_power_for_ days_as_rain__snow_continue_in_California.html
UPDATE: Sacramento, CA - As of 1430 EST, the Department of Energy (DOE) reports tens of thousands of customers remain without power in California, Oregon, Washington State, Utah and Colorado following a series powerful wind, rain and snow storms which struck the West Coast beginning 4 Jan 08.  The storms damaged several hundred miles of power lines and initially knocked out electric service to more than one million customers.
Source: NICC, Daily Sector Pulse, 7 Jan 08

(U) Man walks into Detroit emergency room with grenades, tackled by security. Detroit Hospital guards searched a man after he triggered a metal detector Saturday night. An officer found the man had a grenade in one hand with the pin out, the Detroit Free Press reported. The officer tackled him, and the emergency room was evacuated. No injuries were reported. The grenades were a type that might be used in training and much less powerful than combat grenades. Police found two pipe bombs and two grenades in his house. The man, who has a history of mental illness, was hospitalized for evaluation.
Source: January 6, Associated Press – http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,320538,00.html

(U) Virus outbreak leaves Wichita hospitals scrambling to make room. An outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has Wichita hospitals at capacity. It is a dangerous virus that is causing the worst outbreak Wesley Medical Center has seen in three years. Wesley Medical Center is at capacity with children who also have the virus. It is the worst outbreak Wesley has seen in three years. Doctors at Wesley said there is good reason for concern, especially for young children and babies. Via-Christi hospitals have also seen RSV cases double in some of its pediatric units. Wesley is shuffling adult patients to other rooms to make space for all of the sick children. If more come in, Wesley may have to send children miles away for treatment. “Once we’ve exhausted all of our resources, then we divert to other cities, whether it’s Kansas City, Denver or Oklahoma City,” said Wesley’s Pediatric Manager. That is what Wesley did during the last major outbreak. It could happen again because RSV does not usually peak until February.
Source: January 5, KSNW 3 Wichita http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22509947/

Pacific Rim
        (Nothing to report)

(U) Osama bin Laden Bodyguard Security Coordinator Amin a-Haq Arrested In Pakistan. Amin al-Haq, 48, an Afghan-born doctor described as a security coordinator for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, reportedly has been arrested in Pakistan. Haq was arrested in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city and capital of its Punjab province, The Nation reported Monday quoting Afghan sources. Haq, apparently captured two days ago, was reported undergoing police interrogation. There has been no official Pakistani confirmation of the arrest, other reports said. Haq was described as a leading al-Qaida fugitive from Afghanistan and a close associate of late Afghan jihadi leader Maulvi Younas Khalis. Haq was a member of an Afghan delegation that went to Sudan in 1996 to bring bin Laden to Afghanistan, the report said. After bin Laden’s arrival in Afghanistan, Haq became close to him, the report said. Haq is the second leading al-Qaeda operative from Afghanistan apprehended in Lahore, the report said. Earlier, Mohammad Rahim, described as Osama’s driver in Afghanistan, was also arrested in Lahore, the report said.
Source: January 7, 2008, Source -UPI

(U) Oil jumps above $98 on new U.S.-Iran tensions. Oil rose above $98 a barrel before falling back on Monday as reports of rising tensions in the Middle East outweighed concerns of demand outlook in top consumer country-United States from a feared economic recession. CNN reported that five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. Citing unidentified U.S. officials, CNN said the Iranian vessels came within 200 yards of the U.S. ships and that after a threatening radio communication, U.S. sailors manned their ships’ guns and were very close to opening fire. Relations between the two countries are already tense over Iran’s nuclear program. Traders said the news had helped put the focus back on geopolitical risks in the oil market.
Source: January 7, Reuters – http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=businessNews&story id=2008-01-07T144543Z_01_T39048_RTRUKOC_0_US-MARKETS-OIL.xml

The Next Situation Report: will be published as of 11:00 AM, January 9, 2008. A significant change in the situation or the threat level will prompt an interim report. Please direct questions regarding this report to the SECC at 907-428-7100 or secc@ak-prepared.com.

How to reach the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management: Phone the State Emergency Coordination Center (SECC) by dialing (907) 428-7100 or 1-800-478-2337, 24 hours per day.  Information on emergency topics is available on the Division's web site at http://www.ak-prepared.com.  Homeland Security information may be found at http://www.ak-prepared.com/homelandsecurity/

How to reach the Division of Administration – State Cyber Security Program:  If you have questions you may contact Darrell Davis, State Computer Security Officer darrel.davis@Alaska.gov.

For further information:
Being prepared: Ready.gov
Countries:              U.S. State Department Background Notes.
Maps:           United Nations Cartographic Section
                University of Texas Library Map Section.