Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits southwest of Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Santa Cruz Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits southern Qinghai, China.

The death toll from Ecuador’s devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake last week has risen to 654 people, the government has announced.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone (tc) 19s (Fantala), located approximately 630 nm north-northwest of Port Louis, Mauritius, and is tracking west-northwestward at 09 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 20p (Amos), located approximately 46 nm northeast of Pago Pago, American Samoa, and is tracking eastward at 07 knots.

NewsBytes:

India – The Army was called out in Assam’s flood-hit Sivasagar district on Saturday to help the civil administration maintain surface communication as the situation worsened. Over 52,000 people in the three districts of Sivasagar, Jorhat and Lakhimpur have been affected so far.

Global Warming

Global Warming – Paris Climate Change Agreement Signed at UN

Representatives from 175 countries met on Friday at the UN to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and made clear the urgency of taking action to stop global warming.

In order for the accord to take effect, at least 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions must complete the ratification process. At least 15 countries, mostly small island states, have already done so on Friday.

The two countries leading the world in emissions of greenhouse gases, the US and China, committed themselves on Friday to complete the ratification process this year.

France was given the honour to sign the pact first, in recognisation of its hosting of the UN climate change conference in Paris in December 2015, which gave birth to the pact after nearly two weeks of tough negotiations.

Disease

Zia Virus – Colombia

Nearly 72 000 cases of Zika have been reported in Colombia since October, with almost 13 000 occurring in pregnant women, although the country is going through a decline in outbreaks, health authorities said on Saturday.

Additionally, four cases of microcephaly, the rare but irreversible condition in which babies are born with small heads and damaged brains, have been associated with the virus in the country, Colombia’s National Health Institute (INS) reported.

Another 22 cases of potential microcephaly are under investigation, according to the INS, which estimated that some 300 instances of cranial malformation are likely in babies by September, a smaller number than initially predicted.

Earlier this month, US health authorities confirmed that Zika causes microcephaly and other severe foetal brain defects, after months of debate and uncertainty.

Since the beginning of the epidemic in October, a total of 3 292 cases have been confirmed by laboratories and 68,660 suspected cases have been documented.

In pregnant women, a total of 1 703 cases have been confirmed while another 11 099 cases have been noted by health officials.

Brucellosis outbreak in Algeria

Health officials in Algeria are investigating a large human brucellosis outbreak in Ghardaia province in the eastern part of the country. According to an Algeria Press Service report, 819 were diagnosed since the beginning of the year, a number equal to the cumulative cases reported in the previous three years.