Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.9 Earthquake hits near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.4 Earthquake hits Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits south of Fiji.

5.2 Earthquake hits Mindoro in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Mariana Islands.

5.1 Earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 Earthquake hits west of MacQuarie Island.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Philippines.

5.0 Earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 04s (Kate), located approximately 680 nm southwest of Cocos Island, Australia, and is tracking southwestward at 09 knots.

Tropical depression 23w (Jangmi), is located approximately 116 nm north of Zamboanga, Philippines, and is tracking southward at 06 knots.

Philippine officials say the death toll has risen to 53 from Tropical Storm Jangmi, which caused landslides and floods in the central and southern parts of the country. Most of the deaths occurred Tuesday as the storm moved away from southern Mindanao Island, where a day earlier its heavy rains closed highways and bridges.

Many local residents and authorities were caught off guard by the massive landslides that buried houses and vehicles under rocks and mud. Officials say dozens of homes were destroyed.

Disease

Bat-Filled Tree May Have Been Source of Current Ebola Outbreak

In the small village of Meliandou, in Guinea, there stood a tall, hollowed-out tree where children loved to play. But thousands of bats lived in the tree, and one toddler — a 2-year-old named Emile Ouamouno — may have contracted Ebola from playing there.

Hollow Tree Bats Ebola 2

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

On 27 December 2014, the Department of Health, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region confirmed a human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Flu deaths are at epidemic threshold – USA

We have passed an epidemic threshold of flu and pneumonia deaths in the U.S. this season, according to the Centres for Disease Control.

As of Dec. 20, 15 children in nine states had died of flu and pneumonia, and it is widespread in 36 states, said the CDC. The proportion of deaths from the disease was at the epidemic threshold, with 6.8 percent of deaths in 122 cities attributed to flu and pneumonia, said the CDC.

The U.S. experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year, and so far, “what we are seeing is a typical pattern for the flu season,” said CDC spokeswoman Darlene Foote. The current outbreak has shown a rise in influenza-like illness over baseline levels for the past five weeks. That was followed by a rise in detection of cases, then hospitalizations, and now an increase in flu-related deaths.