Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.3 earthquake hits southern Iran.

5.3 earthquake hits Golfo de Fonseca, El Salvador.

5.1 earthquake hits Tonga.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 13s (Gelena), located approximately 686 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 11 knots.

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Global Warming

Polar Bear Invasion

Thinning sea ice has driven more than 50 polar bears ashore on an Arctic archipelago in northern Russia, causing chaos for the local population. Fences have risen around kindergartens. Special vehicles transport military personnel to their work sites. Residents of the island settlement are afraid to leave their homes.

Novaya Zemlya is a Russian archipelago stretching into the Arctic Ocean. It once played host to Soviet nuclear tests, including the largest-ever man-made explosion, when the so-called King of Bombs detonated in 1961, releasing 50 megatons of power and deepening an arms race that threatened to turn the Cold War hot.

Today, the barren landscape is under siege — from dozens of polar bears locked in their very own sort of hot war. Marine ecologists have long been sounding the alarm about the peril posed by global warming for the vulnerable species. In the far reaches of Russia, the situation has suddenly become traumatic for humans, too.

But as arctic ice thins, which is linked to the acceleration of climate change, the animals move ashore, ravenous. They scavenge, sometimes coming into contact with human populations.

At least 52 bears were massed near Belushya Guba, the main settlement on the island territory, which is still used as a military garrison, with restricted access to the public. The town had a population of about 2,000 as of the 2010 Census.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – New Zealand

Strong winds are expected to continue to fan forest fires that have been burning for a week through New Zealand’s South Island, that have forced more than 3 000 people from their homes.

Early on Sunday, 155 firefighters were battling the blaze on the ground with air support from 23 helicopters and three fixed wing planes, making it the largest aerial firefight on record in New Zealand.

The Pigeon Valley fire covers 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres) with a 25 km (15 mile) perimeter, NZ Civil Defence said on its website. No deaths have been reported and only one home destroyed as of Sunday.

Disease

Leptospirosis – Fiji

On Jan. 28, the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services declared a leptospirosis outbreak for the Central Division. In an update on the outbreak, Fiji media now reports 98 cases since the beginning of the year, including four deaths.

Echinococcus outbreak – Russia

An increase in infection with the tapeworm, Echinococcus, has been reported among cadets at the Suvorov Guards Military Academy in Ulyanovsk in western Russia. The head of the Main Military Medical Directorate of the Ministry of Defense said worms in the lungs were detected in 31 pupils.

Measles – Philippines – Update

Just days after measles outbreaks were declared in several regions of the archipelago including the National Capital Region (NCR) of Metro Manila, health officials reported some updated data. Philippines health officials reported today that the measles outbreak this year, linked in large part to vaccine hesitancy, has taken 70 lives since January 1. The Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DoH) reports a total of 4,302 measles cases have been reported from 1 January to 9 February.