Monday, May 5, 2014


Office of Inspector General | DHS 


May 2, 2014

TULSA, OKLAHOMA—United States Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. announced today that a Mannford woman had pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently obtaining Federal Emergency Disaster Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance benefits made available to victims of the Mannford wildfires.

Kerry Lynn Rowell, 42, of Mannford, pleaded guilty before United States District Court Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell to a charge that she had made false statements to a Federal agency. Rowell faces the maximum statutory penalty of five (5) years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. A sentencing date has been set for August 12, 2014.

According to court documents, from August 23, 2012 to September 23, 2013, Rowell made false statements and provided false documents to support her application for FEMA disaster assistance. Rowell claimed her primary residence was destroyed, when in fact she did not reside at that residence. The house was actually owned by her mother and was uninhabited, dilapidated, and had no utility service. None of the personal property she listed on the FEMA application was in the abandoned house when it was destroyed by the fire. Rowell fraudulently received $31,400 in FEMA disaster assistance benefits.

“Anyone with information that an individual may have defrauded the government in connection with a disaster may call the toll-free Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-323-8603,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Complaints may be made anonymously and confidentially via the official website (, or by mailing DHS Office of Inspector General/MAIL STOP 0305, Attention: Office of Investigations—Hotline, 245 Murray Lane SW, Washington, DC 20528.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Charles M. McLoughlin prosecuted on behalf of the United States.

If someone has any questions about how assistance benefits may be spent, has made a mistake when reporting damage, or has misrepresented losses, he or she may correct the situation immediately by calling the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech or hearing impaired.

Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response. A course for all first responders and educational programs

According to U.S. Census data, minorities now comprise roughly one-third of the U.S. population, and it is anticipated that these groups will be in the majority by 2042. It is projected that more than half of all children in the U.S. will be minorities by 2023. These changes are attributable to a wide variety of reasons and it is clear that our nation is becoming more diverse; what is less clear is the access to and quality of the health care that Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and culturally diverse individuals will receive. In order to provide appropriate care for diverse populations and to help eliminate current health disparities, the Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response (CCC-DPCR) was developed to effectively equip first responders with awareness, knowledge, and skills in cultural competencies to better treat the increasingly diverse U.S. population.

Target Audience

This activity is designed for First Responders of disaster preparedness and crisis response including Emergency Medical Technicians, Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Social Workers.


May 2014. Chikungunya declared an epidemic in the Caribbean

Chikungunya declared an epidemic in the Caribbean

ORANJESTAD, Aruba, Thursday May 1, 2014, CMC – The head of the Caribbean Public Health Authority (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales, has declared the Chikungunya virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean.
“By definition this is an epidemic since it represents an unusual number of cases of this problem where we would never have it before,” Dr Hospedales told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
The mosquito-borne illness was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin, and last week Antigua and St Vincent and the Grenadines became the latest countries to declare an outbreak.
St Lucia’s Chief Epidemiologist says the focus is on surveillance to stave off a potential Chikungunya virus outbreak. (HTS Channel 4/YouTube)
According to Dr Hospedales, as of April 28, there were 4,108 probable cases in 14 countries across the region.
He also stated that Caribbean countries have been putting measures in place to address the spread of the virus.
“PAHO (the Pan American Health Organisation) since 2012 had done a preparatory briefing, in July of last year we convened a Caribbean-wide virtual meeting of the chief officers in the countries in the labs, to highlight this emerging threat and to adjust our surveillance protocols and laboratory testing to have early detection.
“In December, once it came into the region we established an incident management team, and that has regular contact with the countries, with PAHO, with the French and so on,” Hospedales said.
Chikungunya is spread by the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue fever.
Hospedales noted there are steps that can be taken to contain the disease.
“Our main recommendations are to continue to educate members of the public on the current situation, and get accurate information to avoid confusion.
“It is very important to inspect homes and communities to eliminate potential vector breeding sites for the Aedes Egypti mosquito,” he said.
He also advised that people who are sick with fever and suspect they may be suffering from dengue or Chikungunya, should use an insect repellant and sleep under a mosquito net.
“This is not a severe disease, in that people don’t die from it, whereas dengue can kill you, but Chikungunya has more long term a significant percent of people will have joint pains one year, two years afterwards,” Hospedales said.
To date Chikungunya virus has been confirmed in Anguilla, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Maarten (Dutch) and St Martin (French).

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