Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 Earthquake hits off the west coast of South Island, New Zealand.

5.6 Earthquake hits west of Macquarie Island.

5.2 Earthquake hits the South Georgia Island region.

5.2 Earthquake hits the southern Mid-Atlantic ridge.

Yesterday’s M 5.0 moderate earthquake in central China has injured three people and damaged nearly 8,000 houses.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Storm in Bhutan has damaged more than 300 houses in eleven dzongkhags. Strong winds also brought down all phone and mobile connections since yesterday (Monday) morning.

Flash floods in Kenya have claimed the lives of at least twelve people causing widespread destruction of property and infrastructure in Kajiado County. Areas near major rivers are kept on high alert and local residents are advised to move to higher ground.

Seven homes were destroyed and more than 150 damaged when a tornado struck a Palm Coast neighbourhood in Florida, USA on Saturday.

Disease

Malaysia: Dengue Outbreak Leaves Dozens Dead

So far, nearly 38,000 cases of Dengue fever have been reported in Malaysia this year, up from nearly 21,000 cases during the same period last year. With the number of reported cases having nearly doubled, it should come as no surprise that the death toll rose from 34 to 79 people.

US Doctors Warn Against Raw Milk for Kids, Pregnant Women

In a new position statement, U.S. paediatricians say raw milk and cheeses are simply too risky for infants, children and pregnant women.

The statement urges parents not to let their kids drink unpasteurised milk or eat cheese made from it.

The doctors also called for a ban on the sale of all raw-milk products in the United States.

According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw-milk products were reported to the agency between 1998 and 2011.

Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurised, or briefly heated to at least 161 degrees Fahrenheit to kill harmful germs. Before milk began being widely pasteurised in the United States in the 1920s, it routinely made people sick.

Raw milk can harbour bacteria that cause tuberculosis and diphtheria, as well as the germs that cause nasty bouts of stomach trouble such as Listeria and E. coli, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Children are more susceptible to these illnesses than adults, and they tend to get the worst of the complications, such as sudden and sometimes life-threatening kidney failure. Illnesses tied to raw milk also can cause miscarriages in pregnant women.

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity:

Etna (Sicily, Italy): It seems that the latest, highly unusual paroxysm can be regarded as over. Lava effusion ceased (or almost completely ceased) over night and tremor has continued to drop to again low levels.

The activity has dropped although a small new fissure has now opened on the lower NE side of the cone, producing a small lava flow visible in the picture; whether it is the near end of the current episode or only a pause is difficult to say.

Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Several ash plumes to altitudes of 17-20,000 ft (5-6 km) have been detected by VAAC Tokyo during the past 24 hours. Webcam images are mostly obscured by clouds, but glow can be sometimes seen at the lava dome. Most likely the ash plumes were generated by partial collapse events and/or explosions, which in turn might have been associated with new pyroclastic flows.

Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands, Japan): (16 Dec) Activity continues at the new island and has apparently picked up in strength again. Lava flows have created a significant new delta of new land during the past 3 days, enlarging the island to a current width measuring approx. 400 (E-W) by 300 (N-S) meters.

Fuego (Guatemala): (16 Dec) Activity remains elevated but stable; the lava flow increased its length a bit to 600 m this morning, while explosions have become a bit weaker and occurred at rates of 2-3 per hour. Many of them produce shock waves that rattle windows and roofs of houses in nearby villages.