Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.5 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits the Hindu Kush, Afghanistan.

5.1 Earthquake hits the State of Yap, Micronesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

5.1 Earthquake hits the Sumba region, Indonesia.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit Tonga.

Two 5.0 Earthquakes hit New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

No current tropical storms.


Myanmar – Another tragedy at the Myanmar jade mines when at least a dozen people were swallowed up after two piles of mining waste collapsed on Monday afternoon in Kachin State’s Hpakant jade mining region. Ten people remain missing. Last year, more than a hundred people died in a jade mine landslide in northern Kachin State.

France – One person was killed on Tuesday in a mudslide at a laboratory of France’s national nuclear waste management agency in the northeast of the country. At least two people were working at the site which was being prepared to receive highly radioactive nuclear waste, which would be stored at a depth of 500 metres (1,650 feet). The second person suffered minor injuries.


Wildfires – Tasmania

About 150 residents of northwest Tasmania have been relocated by boat after spending much of the day sheltering on a beach from raging bushfires.

A 7,000-hectare blaze that has been burning for days posed a threat to holiday shacks at the small communities of Temma, Arthur River and Nelson Bay, where people were told to evacuate at about 5am on Wednesday.

Many people had nowhere to go but the beach, where they remained until the firefront passed late in the afternoon.


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

Between 27 December 2015 and 13 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 4 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Globally, since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,630 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 586 related deaths.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – United Arab Emirates

Between 11 and 14 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates notified WHO of 2 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 1 death.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H5N6) virus – China

On 18 January 2016, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 1 additional laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N6) virus.

Typhoid in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare has been rocked by a typhoid outbreak and authorities have deployed medical experts to determine the magnitude of the spread of the disease.

A report in Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald newspaper on Wednesday said since last Friday health authorities in that country had confirmed three cases in Glen Norah, two in Hopley and one in Hatfield.

Swine Flu Outbreak in Eastern Europe

An outbreak of swine flu has killed 72 more people and is putting thousands more lives in danger as the deadly virus continues to spread across eastern Europe.

Up to 40,000 people are expected to contract the disease in the Ukaine capital Kiev, where residents are covering their faces with masks or scarves.

Schools have been closed for more than a week and some public gatherings have been banned as authorities struggle to head off the outbreak.

The Ukrainian health ministry has confirmed 72 swine flu deaths, of which 47 were in the past week.

The number of fatalities in areas of the Donetsk region held by pro-Russian rebels could be as high as 300, according to the intelligence service.

The virus has spread to many former Soviet countries, reaching epidemic levels in St Petersburg, Russia, where at least 30 people have died.

At least 18 people have also died in Armenia.

The respiratory disease, caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1, can be spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

El Salvador issues Pregnancy Advisory – Zika Virus

As worries intensify about the Zika virus due to its association with a rare paralysis syndrome and rise of birth defect called microcephaly, health officials are taking drastic measures to stop the disease.

In a stunning development in El Salvador, health officials have advised all women of reproductive age to delay pregnancy until 2018 due to concerns about possible birth defects linked to the virus. Earlier this month, the El Salvador Health Department disclosed they had found 492 Zika cases.

The spokeswoman for El Salvador health department confirmed they are advising women from becoming pregnant but have not issued any official guidelines or policy statements.

The El Salvador advisory comes after thousands of children in Brazil were born with a dangerous birth defect called microcephaly, where head and brain are not fully developed. In Brazil, the government has called in the military to assist with a nationwide push to eradicate the virus. The health minister said that the military and civil defence services would be called in to help health workers combat the virus, which is spread my mosquitoes.


Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity

Nishino-shima (Volcano Islands, Japan): An aerial survey on 19 Jan showed that no activity occurred recently. The eruption can now be regarded as over.

Bromo (East Java, Indonesia): According to a local news article referring to information from the volcano observatory, the volcano’s eruption started to eject visibly incandescent lava bombs this morning. In more technical words, this suggests that by now the eruption entered a so-called magmatic phase where fresh lava arrives at the surface (as opposed to ash emissions from mostly pulverized older rocks, which might have been the activity so far). The head of the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation, Edi Prasojo, said that” Bromo has entered an eruption phase”, the article mentions. On a side note, incandescent ejected rocks alone, however, do not necessarily (although often) mean that they are from fresh magma. In some cases, they can also be older, very hot rocks from the conduit ejected by phreatic activity). An analysis of a sample or the ash would tell the difference.

Kilauea (Hawai’i): No significant changes have occurred in the ongoing eruption both at the volcano’s summit and on its eastern rift zone. Degassing, seismicity and deformation are at normal levels. Summit lava lake: The lava lake in Halema’uma’u continues to be active, fluctuating in level around 35 m below the crater rim.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō (East Rift zone): A small new circular lava pond, approx. 20 m in diameter, has formed in mid January in the western end of the crater.

Planchón-Peteroa (Central Chile and Argentina): An increase in seismic activity started on 15 Jan 2016 triggered a raise of the volcano’s official alert status to “yellow” on 22 Jan. Chile’s Sernageomin reported that during January, 289 seismic events mostly of long-period type, related to fluid movements inside the volcano, had been registered.