GAO urges more effort to gird US infrastructure for pandemic

first_img “While some discussion has occurred, there are opportunities to further address these issues through the increased federal and private sector use of the sector-specific and cross-sector coordinating councils,” the report states. Potentially confusing and conflicting messages from the many government agencies responsible for providing information on the pandemic issue Uncertainty about federal and state roles in areas such as state border closures and pandemic flu vaccine distribution Maintaining a focus on pandemic planning, given the unpredictable timing of a pandemic and the existence of more immediate problems, such as foodborne disease outbreaks The GAO reviewed preparedness efforts in the five sectors (other than public health and healthcare) that it deems most essential to maintaining society and the economy during a pandemic: transportation, food and agriculture, water, electric power, and telecommunications. A need for more funds for training and infrastructure and dealing with potential legal and regulatory issues Nov 2, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government should step up efforts to prepare the nation’s key infrastructure industries, such as energy and transportation, for an influenza pandemic, Congress’s investigative agency said in a report this week. In some cases the federal and private sectors are using the coordinating councils to cooperate on infrastructure protection, but those efforts so far focus mainly on hazards in general rather than a pandemic in particular, the report says. Yet some specific pandemic preparations are under way. For example, the Communications Sector Coordinating Council has set up a working group to address telecommuting issues. The coordinating councils are advisory groups set up by DHS to foster collaboration within and between government and the private sector to protect the nation’s “critical infrastructure.” A government coordinating council and a sector coordinating council were set up for each of 17 industrial sectors, ranging from information technology and telecommunications to water and electric power. The agency interviewed officials from the federal agencies responsible for infrastructure protection related to the five sectors and also reviewed infrastructure protection plans, regulations, and guidance. A letter from a DHS official, included in the report, says DHS concurs with the GAO recommendation. More than 85% of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, the report notes. It says that public-private partnerships are vital to ensure that essential services will continue during a pandemic or other national emergency.center_img The report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), released Oct 31, recommends that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take the lead in encouraging the “coordinating councils” for the infrastructure sectors to prepare for the challenges the sectors will face during a pandemic. Government and private-sector officials who were interviewed by the GAO reported a number of challenges they face in working together on pandemic preparedness: Sep 11 CIDRAP News story “GAO finds gaps in federal pandemic planning” DHS is in a good position to lead this endeavor, because it is responsible for coordinating infrastructure protection and is the lead agency for more than half of the critical industrial sectors, the GAO says. Accordingly, the agency recommends that the DHS secretary, working with other sector-specific agencies, “lead efforts to encourage the government and private sector members of the councils to consider and help address the challenges that will require coordination between the federal and private sectors involved with critical infrastructure and within the various sectors” before and during a pandemic. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the GAO report confirmed his view that DHS should make better use of the infrastructure coordinating councils, according to a Nov 1 report by CQ Homeland Security, published by Congressional Quarterly Inc. See also: GAO report: Influenza pandemic: Opportunities exist to address critical infrastructure protection challenges that require federal and private sector coordinationhttp://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0836.pdf The federal government and private sector have already taken some steps to prepare the nation’s infrastructure for a pandemic, such as developing general preparedness guidance and determining the number of workers necessary to maintain operations, the GAO says. Developing strategies to address “the crucial cross-sector interdependencies” in the nation’s infrastructure, “such as the electricity and telecommunications capabilities that are necessary to support all the other sectors”last_img read more


Gossip column: Benteke, Di Maria, Cavani, Michu, Messi, Pedro

first_imgLiverpool remain keen on Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, 24, but are still refusing to pay the £32m asking price – despite selling 20-year-old forward Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for £49m on Tuesday. (Daily Mirror) The Sun’s back pageManchester United are ready to sell winger Angel Di Maria to Paris St-Germain for £42.8m. The Red Devils spent £59.7m on the 27-year-old last summer. (Le Parisien via Star) But United are also interested in a swap deal that would see Di Maria go to PSG with 28-year-old forward Edinson Cavani moving to Old Trafford. (Daily Express) Manchester City and Liverpool are both interested in signing 18-year-old Fulham forward Patrick Roberts. The Championship club want £10m for the teenager. (The Sun, subscription required)  Chelsea are confident of beating both Arsenal and Liverpool to the signing of Barcelona forward Pedro after meeting a £22m release fee in the 27-year-old’s contract. (Daily Star) Valencia defender Nicolas Otamendi, 27, is prepared to go on strike to force a move to Manchester United. The Spanish side value the Argentina defender at £37m. (The Sun, subscription required) Arsenal have made a £10m bid for Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam, with the 24-year-old being lined up to challenge Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal at left-back. (Mediaset via Talksport) Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell could be leaving Arsenal for good, with former Manchester United boss David Moyes ready to spend £6m to take the 23-year-old to Real Sociedad. (Daily Mirror) Southampton are close to replacing Morgan Schneiderlin, who has joined Manchester United, with 24-year-old Feyenoord midfielder Jordy Clasie. The Netherlands international will cost £12m. (Daily Mail)  Daily Express back pageSwansea boss Garry Monk says forward Michu will not play for the club again. The 29-year-old was loaned out to Napoli last season. (South Wales Evening Post) Leicester believe new manager Claudio Ranieri will convince out-of-contract midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, 34, to agree a new deal with the club. The pair worked together when Ranieri was in charge of Inter Milan in 2011-12. (Daily Star) Former Leicester midfielder Muzzy Izzet believes the Foxes have made the wrong choice in appointing Ranieri. (Talksport)  Argentina legend Diego Maradona has criticised Lionel Messi’s international career and said it is time to stop giving the Barcelona forward, 28, special treatment. (Daily Telegraph) Chelsea and Tottenham might have to pay more than £15m a year to use Wembley while they redevelop their stadiums. (Times, subscription required) Robert Lewandowski’s agent has told Manchester United it will cost them more than £35m to sign the 26-year-old Bayern Munich striker this summer. (Independent) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has dismissed reports linking midfielder Mesut Ozil, 26, with a move away from the Gunners. (Sky Sports)  The back page of the MirrorNew Aston Villa assistant Ray Wilkins has advised midfielder Jack Grealish to “live like a monk” to fulfil his potential after the 19-year-old was disciplined last month when pictures appeared to show him passed out in the street in Tenerife. (Daily Mail) Championship sides Burnley and Cardiff are both considering moves for Wigan’s Wales international midfielder Emyr Huws, 21. (Shoot) Sunderland have failed in an attempt to sign Zenit St Petersburg defender Nicolas Lombaerts, 30. The clubs had agreed a £5m fee but the Black Cats could not agree personal terms with the player. (Times, subscription required) Midfielder Tom Cleverley, 25, hopes his move from Manchester United to Everton will help restart his England career. Cleverley last won a cap in November 2013. (Liverpool Echo)  Cleverley’s 24-year-old Toffees team-mate and fellow midfielder James McCarthy is a target for Manchester City after they missed out on Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph. (Daily Express) West Brom are close to signing goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, 28, from Crystal Palace in a £3.5m deal. (Birmingham Mail) Best of social mediaWest Ham co-chairman David Gold revealed on Twitter  he hopes former England striker Andy Carroll will be back from his latest injury setback in early September.Macclesfield’s second-half team versus Nantwich was Trialist, Cowan, Byrne, Pilkington, Haynes-Brown, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist. Robin van Persie thanked both his former Premier League clubs after his £4.7m move from Manchester United to Fenerbahce. He wrote on Twitter:  “Thank you Arsenal and thank you Manchester United. Wish you all the best. After 11 great years in the Premier League, I have taken on a new challenge at Fenerbahce. Thank you to all the fans, who have supported me through the years.”And finallyFormer Republic of Ireland winger Damien Duff’s wages at Shamrock Rovers will go to charity. (Eurosport) Frank Lampard bought 16 tickets for British fans to New York City’s match against Toronto, after meeting them at the club’s training facilities. (Metro) Swindon Town have banned media outlets from attending news conferences. Instead the League One club will put out interviews conducted by its own press officer on its website and a social media app. (Guardian)last_img read more