Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 03s (Ava), located approximately 429 nm east-northeast of Europa Island, is tracking southwestward at 12 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 04s (Irving), located approximately 1108 nm east-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking westward at 12 knots.

Newsbytes:

Germany – Rivers swollen by days of rainfall and melting snow are rising in western Germany, with floodwaters spilling into some cities and towns. Shipping was suspended Friday on the upper reaches of the Rhine River, and a similar measure might be taken in the Cologne area over the weekend. Shipping on the Moselle River and the Neckar River, two of the Rhine’s tributaries, had already been halted. A road in downtown Heidelberg was closed on Friday after the Neckar spilled over its banks. In St. Blasien in Germany’s Black Forest, houses were evacuated on Thursday night because of flooding and a landslide.

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Switzerland – The road to the Adelboden ski resort in Switzerland was swept away by a rain-induced mudslide while one skier in the French Alps died after being hit by a falling tree.

China – Central and eastern China have been dealing with heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions since Tuesday. Downed power lines scrapped power in Suizhou, a city of 2.5 million people. The snowfall killed at least 10 people. The hardest-hit provinces were Shanxi, Henan, Hubei, Anhui and Jiangsu. More than 16 inches of snow fell in parts of Henan, Hubei and Anhui. About 200 homes were destroyed by the blizzards.

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Congo – Floods and mudslides killed 44 people in shantytowns in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, the third largest metropolis in Africa. Heavy rains hit Kinshasa on Thursday, starting in the early morning and continuing for hours. The floods had caused a large amount of damage and had destroyed several houses.

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Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits Lac Kivu, Congo.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Jan Mayan Island.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.3 Earthquake hits eastern Iran.

6.1 Earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 Earthquake hits Tonga.

5.2 Earthquake hits the southeast Indian ridge.

5.1 Earthquake hits eastern Iran.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

5.0 Earthquake hits eastern Iran.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Auckland Islands, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Lac Kivu region, Congo.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the North Atlantic Ocean: Hurricane Maria is located about 35 mi…55 km ENE of Grand Turk island and about 490 mi…790 km ESE of Nassau with maximum sustained winds…125 mph…205 km/h. Present movement…NW or 315 degrees at 7 mph…11 km/h.

Post-tropical Cyclone Jose is located about 125 mi…200 km SE of Nantucket Massachusetts with maximum sustained winds…50 mph…85 km/h. Present movement…W or 270 degrees at 2 mph…4 km/h.

Newsbytes:

DR Congo – At least 10 people have died and another 92 are missing in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo due to flooding after torrential rains caused a river to overflow its banks, a local official said on Wednesday.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

Newsbytes:

DR Congo – Flooding this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo port city of Boma killed at least 50 people and left another 10,000 homeless, authorities told Reuters on Wednesday. Torrential rain on Monday night caused the Kalamu River to overflow, flooding two districts of the southwestern city, said Therese-Louise Mambu, health minister for Kongo Central province. “The damage is very serious,” she said. “We continue to look for other bodies.”

Bolivia – Parts of Bolivia go on ‘orange alert’ after massive flooding kills eight people following heavy rains. At least eight people are dead after torrential rains swept through the country causing massive flooding. Bolivia’s national weather service has issued an orange alert for five areas in the west of the country. The flooding stranded drivers and pedestrians alike in Cochabamba. The heavy rains come in the wake of Bolivia’s worst drought in 25 years.

Philippines – Floods triggered by heavy rains have inundated cornfields, roads and a major bridge, which affected traffic in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. Rains have been pounding this city since Tuesday (Dec. 27), prompting operators of the Magat Dam to release water when its reservoir level reached 192.50 meters above sea level.

Disease

Congo declares yellow fever epidemic

DR Congo on Monday declared a yellow fever outbreak in the capital Kinshasa, home to more than ten million people, and in two other western provinces.

Health Minister Kabange Numbi said 67 cases — including five fatalities — had been confirmed in the provinces of Kinshasa, Kongo central and Kwango after an inquiry into more than 1,000 suspect cases.

There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and found in tropical regions of Africa and Latin America’s Amazon region.

The disease is transmitted by the same mosquitoes which spread Zika and dengue.

Environment

Congo Signs Historic Rainforest Preservation Pact

The Republic of Congo has signed an historic $200 million agreement that aims to reverse the rapid deforestation of its vast rainforest, the world’s second largest behind the Amazon.

Congo is the first nation to sign a pact with the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), a seven-month-old program designed to renew forest protection efforts in the Congo Basin.

Forests in the Congo Basin cover about two million square kilometres, about the size of the Central American country of Mexico. But the forests in the Congo Basin are shrinking by about 5,600 kilometres a year due, in part, to the expansion of palm oil plantations.

Wildlife

Illegal mining hits Congo gorilla population

The world’s largest gorilla sub-species has seen its population fall 77 percent over the past two decades, a trend linked to illegal mining for coltan, a key mineral used in the production of cell phones and electronics, a new report has found.

Grauer’s gorilla, the planet’s biggest primate which can weigh up to 400 pounds (180 kgs), is found in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where minerals have been plundered for decades under the smokescreen of conflict and instability.

A report this week by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Fauna & Flora International found that its numbers had fallen to 3,800 from an estimated 17,000 in 1995.

“One of the primary causes of the decline in Grauer’s gorilla numbers has been the expansion in artisanal mining for coltan and other minerals. Most of these artisanal mining sites are remote, which means that the miners often turn to local wildlife for food,” the organisations said in a statement.

Artisanal mining often involves the illegal extraction of minerals by hand or other makeshift methods.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.3 Earthquake hits the Molucca Sea.

5.2 Earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Andaman Islands off India.

5.1 Earthquake hits Lake Kivu, Congo.

5.1 Earthquake hits Luzon in the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Pagan region in the North Mariana Islands.

Three 5.0 Earthquakes hit offshore Coquimbo, Chile.

Disease

Microcephaly – Brazil

On 8 December 2015, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil provided PAHO/WHO with an update regarding the unusual increase in the number of cases of microcephaly among newborns in the northeast of Brazil.

As of 5 December, 1,761 suspected cases of microcephaly, including 19 deaths, have been identified. The cases are distributed across 422 municipalities of 14 federal units. Pernambuco and Paraíba are the most affected states with 804 and 316 cases, respectively. Fatal cases were reported in Rio Grande do Norte (7), Sergipe (4), Bahia (2), Rio de Janeiro (2), Ceará (1), Maranhão (1), Paraíba (1) and Piauí (1).

Cholera – Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has notified WHO of ongoing outbreaks of cholera across the country. Although the overall trend is decreasing, there are still areas reporting a high number of cases.

Since the beginning of the year, 19,705 cases have been reported in DRC. As of 29 November, the following provinces had reported cases: South Kivu (4,906), ex-Katanga (4,565), Maniema (3,971), North Kivu (3,294) and ex-Oriental (2,969). A high number of cases are still reported in the province of South Kivu where the situation is particularly worrying because of the presence of camps hosting refugees from Burundi. Furthermore, there are concerns that the epidemic in Maniema could spread to other provinces of the country as observed during the 2011 cholera epidemic when areas of Kinshasa were also affected.

Foot-and-mouth outbreak hits Limpopo, South Africa

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed in the Limpopo province.

The department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that laboratory tests had confirmed the outbreak and had also identified the virus as the SAT 3 strain. “The outbreak occurred in the Matiane community, in the Thulamela local municipality of the Vhembe District which is within the FMD protection zone of South Africa, where vaccination for FMD is routinely conducted,” the department said in a Times Live report.

The areas is reportedly close to the Kruger National Park where infected buffalo were a constant source of the infection. The department speculated that the drought in the area may be causing cattle and buffalo to come into increased contact due to limited grazing and water sources.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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Tropical cyclone 05s (Five), located approximately 439 nm south-southwest of Diego Garcia, is tracking westward at 08 knots.

NewsBytes:

DR Congo – Torrential rains and flooding have claimed the lives of at least 31 people and left 20,000 families homeless in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of the deaths occurred along the banks of the giant Congo river.

Disease

Measles Epidemic in DR Congo

A growing measles epidemic in the province of Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, has sickened more than 20,000 people and killed 300 people this year, according to official figures, while resources to combat the outbreak are still lacking, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned Tuesday.

More than 20 of Katanga’s 68 health districts are now affected—up from 10 districts in June—but the Congolese government has still not made an official declaration of the epidemic, which may have delayed a timely response.

Measles is now almost endemic in the region and particularly dangerous for the very young who are already exposed to other pathologies such as malaria and acute malnutrition. The absence of free care in public health facilities discourages mothers from taking their sick children to be treated.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Siberia

Wildfires destroy forest around the world’s oldest and deepest fresh-water lake, Lake Baikal in Russia. By Thursday over 25,000 hectares of forest had been scorched.

Wildfires – DR Congo

At least three people have been killed and thousands left homeless by bush fires raging in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.