Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.6 earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.4 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.2 earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.1 earthquake hits Fiji.

5.1 earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.0 earthquake hits near the coast of Ecuador.

5.0 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 22s (Joaninha), is weakening and is located approximately 796 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking south-southwestward at 10 knots.

NewsBytes:

Cyclone Idai – Update

The following is an outline of the disaster, according to government and United Nations officials:

MOZAMBIQUE

Cyclone Idai landed on the night of 14 March near the port city of Beira, bringing heavy winds and rains. Two major rivers, the Buzi and the Pungue, burst their banks, submerging entire villages and leaving bodies floating in the water.

People killed: 501

People injured: 1,523

Houses damaged or destroyed: 99,317

Crops damaged: 669,903 hectares

People affected: 1.85 million

ZIMBABWE

On 16 March, the storm hit eastern Zimbabwe, where it flattened homes and flooded communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.

People killed: 185, according to the government. The UN migration agency puts the death toll at 259.

People injured: 200

People displaced: 16,000 households

People affected: 250,000

MALAWI

Before it arrived, the storm brought heavy rains and flooding to the lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, in Malawi’s south. The rains continued after the storm hit, compounding the misery of tens of thousands of people.

People killed: 60

People injured: 672

People displaced: 19,328 households

People affected: 868,895

Global Warming

Alaska bakes under heat wave linked to climate change

Alaska residents accustomed to subzero temperatures are experiencing a heat wave of sorts that is shattering records, with the thermometer jumping to more than 16.7 degrees Celsius above normal in some regions.

Cities and towns in the northern half of the state, including Wainwright, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik and Barrow (also known as Utqiagvik), could see temperatures soar 14 to 22 degrees Celsius above normal this weekend as the warm trend continues.

The dramatic warming Alaska has experienced in recent years — which is partly linked to a decline in sea ice and Arctic ocean warming – had wreaked havoc on local communities, wildlife and the economy.

Many recreational sled dog races have had to be canceled this year and the routing of the famed Iditarod race had to be changed as what is normally solid sea ice was open water on part of the race route.

Crab fishing has also been affected as the sea ice used as a platform for fishermen was non-existent or too thin in some areas.

Seal population is also likely to be affected in the coming months as some of the species give birth on solid ice.

The warmer temperatures have melted the rive ice to the extent it is no longer safe for truck or car travel.”

Global warming had led to the lowest ice levels in the Bering Sea — which connects with the Arctic Ocean – since 1850, when sea ice records began.

Wildlife

Australia’s Wildlife in Crisis

A new report, which reveals that record numbers of threatened forest dwelling fauna and many species are heading towards imminent extinction.

Released by the Wilderness Society this week, the report identified 48 federally-listed threatened species of forest-dwelling vertebrate fauna living in areas subject to state-run logging operations.

Four of those species – the leadbeater’s possum, swift parrot, western ringtail possum and regent honeyeater – are among the 20 bird and 20 mammal species most likely to become extinct within 20 years.

It also found that in the last 20 years, since the government allowed logging, 11 forest vertebrate species had been raised to “endangered” or “critically endangered” categories, bringing the total to 24, and none had been lowered. Another 15 species were listed as threatened for the first time.

The report called for an end to exemptions for logging operations from federal environmental laws, an overhaul of those laws, and the establishment of new assessment and regulatory bodies.

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Disease

Ebola – DR Congo – Update

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have reported 29 new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in the past two days, the largest 2-day spike since the outbreak began, bringing the total cases to 1,059.