Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits the Fox Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Mid-Indian ridge.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Carlsberg ridge.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical Cyclone 17s (Seventeen), located approximately 1270 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking southeastward at 31 knots.

NewsBytes:

Bermuda – Heavy rains soaked the island yesterday and caused flooding in some low-lying areas. The weather also temporarily knocked out power to about 1,000 customers.

Canada – Backyards and farm fields were flooded in Brigham, Quebec following heavy rain on Monday. The flooding occurred after the Yamaska River spilled its banks Tuesday morning.

Wildlife

Plastic found inside beached whales

A post-mortem conducted on 13 beached sperm whales – found ashore near the town of Toenning in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, found their stomachs were filled with plastic.

This plastic included a 13m fisherman’s net and a 70cm piece of plastic from a car. But scientists believed the whales did not die because they ingested plastic, but rather that their hearts failed due to starvation.

Schleswig-Holstein environment minister Robert Habeck said: “These findings show us the results of our plastic-orientated society. Animals inadvertently consume plastic and plastic waste, which causes them to suffer and, at worst, causes them to starve with full stomachs.”

The whales were all male, between 10 and 15 years old, and severely underweight. They all weighed around 15t and the average weight of a sperm whale is between 32t and 41t.

Experts believe storms in the northeast Atlantic shifted the whales’ food source into the North Sea. The whales followed the food source and found themselves stranded in shallow water, where they starved to death.

This news comes after six dead sperm whales were found beached in Norfolk in February.

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Disease

Ebola – West Africa

West Africa’s Ebola outbreak no longer constitutes a threat to international public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, declaring an end to a nearly 20-month emergency that has killed about 11,300 people.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, accepted the recommendations of a committee of independent experts who also called for lifting any travel and trade restrictions affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“The Committee provided its view that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences,” the WHO said in a statement.

All original chains of virus transmission have ended, but a new chain in Guinea has infected eight people including seven who have died, it said, adding that the virus persists in the semen of some men for over a year.

Hepatitis A – Kenya

Twenty one people have been admitted to various hospitals in Mombasa over the past few days following a new outbreak of hepatitis A, county health officials have said.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infected person.

Mombasa Health executive Mohammed Abdi said the disease had been on the rise since January among school children and had escalated due to water contamination in the county.

Yellow Fever – China

On 13 March 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of China notified WHO of an imported case of yellow fever virus infection.

Zika virus infection – Dominica and Cuba

Between 15 and 16 March 2016, PAHO/WHO was notified of cases of Zika virus infection in Dominica and Cuba.

Microcephaly – Panama

On 18 March 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Panama notified PAHO/WHO of a newborn with concomitant microcephaly, occipital encephalocele and Zika virus infection.

Guillain-Barré syndrome – Panama

On 15 March 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Panama informed PAHO/WHO of a case of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) with concomitant Zika virus infection.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

On 18 March 2016, the Department of Health, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region notified WHO of a confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Sakurajima (Kyushu, Japan): Over the past days, vulcanian-type explosions have again picked up in number and size, after only very few events during the first 3 weeks of March. Ash plumes rose to up to 10-12,000 ft (3-3.6 km) altitude. The remarkable novelty is that most of the recent explosions occurred from the Minamidake crater, the volcano’s old summit vent, and not from the Showa crater on its eastern flank, which had been (an almost exclusive) protagonist during the 10 years since 2006 until very recently.

Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity continues at the Caliente lava dome with little changes. The volcano observatory reported strong degassing, some weak to moderate explosions with ash plumes rising up to approx. 900 m and constant block lava avalanches on the eastern and southeastern flanks of the lava dome. The latter suggests that effusive activity has been elevated recently compared to during previous months.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Mild activity continues at the intra-crater cone of the Mackenney crater. INSIVUMEH reports a steam and gas plume rising 600 m and glow from lava visible at night.

Fuego (Guatemala): After its latest paroxysm a few days ago, activity of the volcano has returned to normal levels with intermittent (one every few hours) weak to moderate-sized strombolian explosions. During the past week, activity at the volcano gradually increased into the 5th paroxysm in 2016, generating pulsating lava fountains, lava flows and possibly pyroclastic flows. After the previous such episode in early March, the volcano had continued to produce its typical, persistent, but intermittent strombolian activity. The latter started to become more and more intense from around 22 March, and became near-constant during 24-25 March.

Momotombo (Nicaragua): A slight increase in activity occurred last week between 23-26 March, when the volcano again produced some mild to moderate explosions, some of which were strong enough to send bombs to its upper outer slopes. During the past days, activity has again been calmer, although crater glow continues to tell the presence of fresh lava in the summit crater.