Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.5 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

A strong undersea earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Aceh province early on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and sparking a frantic rescue effort in the rubble of dozens of collapsed and damaged buildings. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 273 people were injured, about a quarter of them seriously. Some 245 buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed, mostly in Pidie Jaya, including 14 mosques and the remainder largely dwellings and shop houses. Roads also cracked and power poles toppled over. There is an urgent need for excavation equipment to move heavy debris and emergency supplies.

The US Geological Survey said the shallow 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck at 05:03 (22:03 GMT on Tuesday) was centred about 10km north of Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17km. It did not generate a tsunami.

For Acehnese, the quake was another terrifying reminder of their region’s vulnerability to natural disasters. More than 100 000 people died in Aceh after the December 26, 2004, earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami.

6.2 Earthquake hits Tobago, Trinidad-Tobago.

5.0 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

Global Warming

Polar ice the size of India has vanished as the Arctic and Antarctic experience record heat

Polar sea ice off Antarctica and in the Arctic is at record lows for this time of year.

An amount of ice the size of India has been lost in a sign of rising global temperatures, climate scientists say.

This development is alarming scientists, and is potentially the result of a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases, some claim.

It may also be due to an ‘El Nino’ weather event that this year unlocked heat from the Pacific Ocean, or a freak natural swing in temperatures.

This is a graphic comparing current polar sea ice levels with record lows. Both of the Earth’s poles are currently showing lower levels of sea ice than ever seen before. This is a big worry for climate scientists, and potentially the result of a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases.

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Nature – Images

Interesting Images

A starkly beautiful aerial image shows a 70-mile-long crack in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. As of Nov. 10, it was 70 miles (112 km) long and more than 300 feet (91 meters) wide. The dark depths of the crack plunge down about a third of a mile (0.5 km), all the way through the ice to the ocean below.

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Disease

Anthrax in Kenya

Seven people from three families have been sickened with anthrax in the Sagumai area of Samburu County, Kenya after slaughtering and eating an infected sheep, according to a local media report. The seven, three men, two women and two children, have been admitted to the local hospital for treatment.

Dengue Fever in Myanmar

After reporting an average of a thousand dengue fever cases annually over the past four decades, health officials in Myanmar report seeing 8,266 cases through the first 11 months of 2016, according to a local media account. The Nay Pyi Taw Public Health Department said that the country has also seen 40 dengue related fatalities this year.

Plague in Madagascar

Plague, a disease many think of as something from the history books, is alive and well in many areas of the globe and is clearly no stranger to Madagascar. During the last decade, the island country reported more than 7,000 human plague cases, second most on the planet.

Reports coming out of the country say that an outbreak in the Befotaka Atsimo and the Midongy Atsimo district say that dozens of deaths have been reported in two months. “We have heard about people who died for little known causes in Ambalarano two months ago. The inhabitants of this commune who come to shop in Midongy Atsimo speak of it, but they believe that it is due to the sorcery”. The victims would have the same symptoms, namely swollen and tender lymph nodes, such as those of bubonic plague.

Leprosy in Queensland, Australia

Health officials with Queensland Health (QH) in the northeast corner of Australia have reported their fourth leprosy, or Hansen’s disease case of the year last week.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Pacaya (Guatemala): The volcano’s activity has been comparably calm recently, characterized by strong degassing from the intra-crater cone that formed during the latest period (2015-16) of strombolian activity and has become impressively large, filling a good part of the crater now. On a recent video, no ejections of lava fragments are visible, but rather near-continuous, pulsating emissions of steam and ash. These probably reflect an activity weaker than, but essentially similar to what we observed in Dec last year: spattering-type degassing (“bubbling”) from the magma column inside the cone, generating near-continuous small strombolian explosions. The only real difference would be that this time the effusion rate is too low and activity too deep to eject incandescent lava spatter.

Turrialba (Costa Rica): The volcano continues to be restless with intermittent mild eruptive phases. After 5 days of no visible activity, it restarted to emit low-energy plumes of gas, steam and ash yesterday. According to OVSICORI-UNA, the new phase of eruptive activity began at 7 am local time and was accompanied by a weak tremor signal, which increased from 11:30 am to fluctuating medium to high levels. The observed ash emissions have been weak and produced a plume that did not exceed 500 m. Easterly winds have been carrying the ashes into nearby areas west and northwest of the volcano

Cayambe (Ecuador): The volcano has become restless. Scientists from Ecuador’s Institute of Geophysics (IGEPN) recorded an increased number of earthquakes under the volcano a new report shows. The increased seismicity could be (but not must be) a precursor of renewed activity in the medium-term future (weeks, months?). An increase of earthquakes began on 5 June this year when a seismic swarm of earthquakes started which totalled more than 2300 events by the end of the month. The quakes occurred concentrated in an area NE of the volcano and were volcano-tectonic in origin, likely caused by a magma intrusion at depth causing pressurization and fracturing of rocks. After the June swarm, the volcano returned to calm again first. New earthquakes started to appear in increased numbers from September and have been continuing. Different from in June, the quakes have been concentrated under the summit area of the volcano and been showing an upward trend in depth. In addition, there have been increased reports of strong sulfur smell from climbers who visited the volcano, suggesting that there has been an increase in SO2 emission.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.4 Earthquake hits the western Indian-Antarctic ridge.

5.2 Earthquake hitsTonga.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the west coast of Colombia.

5.0 Earthquake hits Jujuy, Argentina.

5.0 Earthquake hits Puerto Rico.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Thailand, Update – Households and businesses in the South have been hit hard by flooding while all train services heading to the lower part of the region are suspended after tracks were damaged by floodwaters. At least 12 provinces in the South have been affected by flooding which began last Thursday. The provinces are Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun, with tens of thousands of residents affected. According to authorities, at least 11 people have been killed in the flooding.

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Wildlife

Mediterranean sharks and ray species at risk of extinction

Over half of the Mediterranean’s shark and ray species are at risk of extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said Monday, blaming over fishing for plummeting numbers.

Of the 72 known species of sharks and rays that exist in the Mediterranean, 39 face “an elevated risk of extinction”, the conservation group said in a report released in Spain.

Twenty species, 12 shark species and eight ray species, are “critically endangered”, or one step away from extinction, according to the report.

Species listed as “critically endangered” included the smooth hammerhead shark, the great white shark and the blue shark.

The Geneva-based IUCN said the conservation status of 11 species of sharks and rays in the Mediterranean had worsened since it issued its last assessment in 2007.

Over the past half-century 13 species of sharks and rays have become extinct in various spots of the Mediterranean due to over fishing, it added.

Local extinctions have been more prevalent in the waters of Spain, France and Italy as well as in northwest African countries and nations bordering the Adriatic Sea.

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Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 12 and 27 November 2016 the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported nine (9) additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) including one fatal case.

Klebsiella outbreak at South African hospital

Nine cases of Klebsiella were reported at Stanger Hospital at KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province in South Africa, resulting in the death of three newborns, according to health officials via a IOL report.

KZN Health spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said, “The department is investigating whether the demise of three neonates out of the nine Klebsiella cases is directly linked to the bacterium as these were high-risk neonates.”

If the deaths are directly linked to the bacterium, it would be one of the deadliest outbreaks of Klebsiella since 2005, when 22 babies died at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Durban, the report notes.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Spain – One woman, 26, was found dead in the town of Estepona on Spain’s Costa del Sol after rains swept through. Police say it is the worst rainfall in nearly 30 years, not recording such a high level since 1989. Drivers have had to abandon their cars and dogs had to be rescued from a refuge centre in Malaga. A red weather warning was initially issued, which has been downgraded to an orange, but rain continues.

Disease

Yemen – Cholera

The Ministry of Public Health and Population in Yemen has reported additional cases of cholera in Yemen. To date, 7730 suspected cases of cholera, including 82 associated deaths have been reported (case fatality rate of 1.06%). Of these, 122 cases were laboratory-confirmed as Vibrio cholerae 01.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Fire crews continue to battle thick smoke as they attend to a wild bush fire at Koah, Queensland since the weekend that threatened nearby farms, resorts, and residential properties. The grass fire is burning near Palm Valley Road, Koah Road, Grievson Road, Brickworks Road, Bolton Road, Helen Close, Dominikovic Close, Natasha Close and Kanervo Road, Koah. Currently, five fire crews are on scene at the blaze, which broke out on Saturday.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.5 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Talmud, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Pacific-Antarctic ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 Earthquake hits New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 Earthquake hits west of Macquarie Island.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

Vietnam – At least 13 people have died in flood disaster brought by torrential rain since late November this year, the government and state media said on Sunday. Six people died in floods in Binh Dinh provinces. Four others died in Quang Ngai province.

Thailand – Three people have drowned and a fisherman is missing as heavy rain pounds the southern provinces, with floods affecting thousands of people. In Surat Thani, the worst-hit province, high water made the main road around the popular tourist island of Koh Samui impassable. Heavy rain was also delaying some flights at Samui Airport.

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