Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 Earthquake hits North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 Earthquake hits off the coast of Aisen, Chile.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Tropical cyclone 15s (Fifteen)  is located approximately 380 nm west-northwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and is tracking north-westward at 04 knots.

NewsBytes:

New Zealand – Flooding after heavy rain in Westport, New Zealand has inundated at least 17 houses and closed State Highway 6.

Environment

Forest Loss Accelerating From Deforestation

Analysis of satellite images reveals that many of the world’s tropical forests are disappearing far more rapidly than previously feared.

Forest researchers from the University of Maryland found that the annual rate of deforestation from 1990 to 2010 in forests from the Amazon to the Philippines was 62 percent higher than during the previous decade.

The greatest increase occurred in the tropical forests of Latin America, where about 5,400 square miles of trees were felled per year from the 1990s to the 2000s.

Earlier NASA research found that deforestation is mainly driven by an increase in urban population, logging and growth of agriculture.

The new study brings into question the reliability of the ground-based Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has until now been the only source available to estimate deforestation.

It had led researchers to project a 25 percent slowdown in the rate of forest loss.

“The FAO report has been criticized for inconsistency in its survey methods and the definition of what is a forest. Our result is important in that we are providing a satellite-based alternative for the FRA,” said Do-Hyung Kim, lead author of the study, which is expected to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Devastated rainforest and peatlands in Riau, Sumatra.

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Disease

Measles – WHO European Region

Between 1 January 2014 and 1 March 2015, WHO received notification of over 23 000 cases of measles in the WHO European Region. The most affected country is Kyrgyzstan with over 7 000 cases reported in just the first seven weeks of 2015. Significant numbers of measles cases have also been reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and Serbia.

Measles virus D8 has been the most commonly identified circulating genotype.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 23 and 25 February 2015, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 10 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. Cases are listed by date of reporting, with the most recent case listed first.

The National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also notified WHO of the death of 2 previously reported MERS-CoV cases.