Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.8 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia.

5.4 Earthquake hits the southern east Pacific rise.

5.2 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits Vanuatu.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

USA – Tornadoes brought Christmas Eve havoc to the southern US killing at least 14 people and damaging or destroying dozens of homes. In Benton County, Mississippi, four people – including a married couple and two neighbours on the same street – were confirmed dead and their homes destroyed. Unseasonably warm weather on Wednesday helped spawn twisters from Arkansas to Michigan. The line of spring-like storms continued marching east on Christmas Eve, dumping torrential rain that flooded roads in Alabama and caused a mudslide in the mountains of Georgia. Authorities confirmed seven deaths in Mississippi, including a seven-year-old boy who was in a car that was hit by a storm. Six more died in Tennessee. One person was killed in Arkansas. Dozens more were injured, some seriously.

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Argentina – At least 7,000 people have been evacuated in north-eastern Argentina as heavy rains cause rivers to swell. Those living close to the Uruguay River in Entre Rios province are reported to be among the worst affected. The mayor of the town of Concordia, on the border with Uruguay, was quoted as saying a quarter of the town was underwater. Thousands of people have also been affected by the rains in neighbouring Paraguay and Uruguay. The provinces of Formosa, Chaco and Santa Fe are also reported to be badly affected.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Scores of houses and buildings are feared lost in Victoria’s Great Ocean Rd fire as emergency crews focus on saving lives.

The Country Fire Authority believes between 53 and 60 houses have been lost by the fire threatening to smother much of the Otway Ranges about 200km south west of Melbourne.

The full impact of the fires will not be known until tomorrow with the blaze to burn for days.

The worst affected towns are Separation Creek and Wye River. The fate of Kennett River was unclear tonight.

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Disease

Swine Flu Outbreak in Israel

One woman has died of swine flu and another ten people have been hospitalized with the disease. Four of them are on artificial respiration.

The Health Ministry added that some of the sick have other conditions which make them more susceptible to flu complications. These include heart disease, diabetes, Down’s Syndrome and pregnancy.