Wildlife

Worst Locust Swarm to Hit East Africa in Decades

East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said that Ethiopia and Somalia had not seen a swarm this bad in 25 years, while Kenya was facing its largest infestation in 70 years. Vulnerable families that were already dealing with food shortages now face the prospect of watching as their crops are destroyed before their eyes.

The desert locust swarm came across the Red Sea from Yemen and was encouraged by heavy rains in late 2019, according to BBC News. The UN was already warning that the infestation could spread from Ethiopia in November. Some farmers in the country’s Amhara region lost 100 percent of their crops, and a swarm forced an Ethiopian passenger plane off course in December.

Locusts can travel 93 miles a day, and each adult can eat its weight in food in the same time span. A small swarm can eat enough food to feed 35,000 people in 24 hours, The Associated Press reported, and the locusts have already infested around 172,973 acres of land in Kenya.

Rainy conditions expected in March could cause the locust swarms to grow by a factor of 500 before drier weather is expected in June, the UN said.

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Disease

Novel Coronavirus

Sri Lanka – Officials in Sri Lanka say they have the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in a Chinese tourist.

Japan – Two additional novel coronavirus cases have been reported in Japan, bringing the case total in the country to six, with the first case not linked to China travel.

Thailand – Health officials in Thailand reported an additional six confirmed novel coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s tally to 14.

Germany – Health officials in Germany are reporting (computer translated) the first confirmed novel coronavirus (2019-NoCv) case in the country. The patient is from the district of Starnberg in Bavaria.

Canada – Officials in Ontario, Canada confirmed that the wife of the province’s first case of Wuhan novel coronavirus has tested positive for the virus at Ontario’s public health laboratory.

Cambodia – The Cambodia Ministry of Health reported in a press release (see below) the first confirmed case of novel coronavirus. The case was detected Monday in a 60-year-old Chinese man who arrived from Wuhan on last Thursday.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.2 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

5.4 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits Jujuy, Argentina.

5.2 earthquake hits the southwest Indian ridge.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Esami), located approximately 1260 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking south-southeastward at 14 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 10s (Diane), located approximately 756 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking eastward at 12 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 12p (Twelve), located approximately 279 nm southeast of Niue, is tracking southeastward at 05 knots.

NewsBytes:

Brazil – At least 46 people have been killed in southeastern Brazil as record rainfall continues to cause floods and trigger mudslides. The death toll rose on Sunday as officials expressed alarm about continuing storms. At least 37 had died in the state of state of Minas Gerais and nine more in neighboring Espirito Santo, according to local disaster officials, who said 28 people remained missing.Some 20,000 people had been evacuated due to the threat of floods and landslides.

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Disease

Novel Coronavirus

Australia – The New South Wales Department of Health (NSW Health) reports three cases of novel coronavirus (2019-NoCv) today. Two other cases are under investigation.

USA – Novel coronavirus (2019-NoCv) cases have been reported from Arizona and California.

China – China’s National Health Commission reported today 769 new confirmed cases, 137 severe cases and 24 new deaths (24 cases in Hubei Province).

To date, the National Health and Health Commission had received a total of 2,744 confirmed cases in 30 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities), 461 cases of severe cases, 80 cases of deaths, and 51 cases of hospitalization. There are 5794 suspected cases. So far, over 5 million people have left Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

China banned wildlife trade nationwide starting Sunday due to the deadly coronavirus sweeping across the country, officials said. No wildlife can be transported or sold in any markets and online until the “epidemic situation is lifted nationwide” in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s market watchdog, agricultural ministry, and forestry bureau said in a joint statement. The viral illness is believed to have emerged from wild animals in markets in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.9 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

Two 5.3 earthquakes hit the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits the Kermedec Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits east of North Island, New Zealand.

5.2 earthquake hits east of North Island, New Zealand.

5.2 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits eastern Turkey,

5.1 earthquake hits Puerto Rico.

5.1 earthquake hits east of North Island, New Zealand.

5.0 earthquake hits Salta, Argentina.

5.0 earthquake hits the Banda Sea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Esami), located approximately 1190 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 22 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 10s (Diane), located approximately 676 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southeastward at 24 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 12p (Twelve), located approximately 250 nm southeast of Niue, is tracking south-southeastward at 02 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Australia – Australia’s bushfire-stricken state of Queensland saw heavy rainfalls on Sunday that dampened some of the fires that have razed 2.5 million hectares (1.2 million acres) since September, but the wet weather caused major flooding. Several people were rescued from floodwaters and some bridges and causeways were closed, but no severe damage had been reported.

Brazil At least 30 people have died after two days of heavy rain caused flooding and landslides in southeast Brazil. Seventeen people have been listed as missing and 2,600 were evacuated from their houses in Minas Gerais state, which has been buffeted by 48 hours of torrential rain. Photos show people, including children, swimming through some of the flooded streets.

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Disease

Novel Coronavirus

Malaysia – The Malaysia Ministry of Health has reported four confirmed imported novel coronavirus (2019-NoCv) cases through Jan. 25.

Canada – Officials with the Toronto-based Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre are reporting caring for a patient who has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

China – China has reportedly cured and discharged its first patient infected with a new coronavirus which has spread to at least a dozen countries. The Chinese state-owned Beijing Daily says that after six days of treatment a 56-year-old woman, identified only as Chen, has shown significant improvement and her latest series tests for the coronavirus have all come back negative.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6,8 earthquake hits eastern Turkey.

At least 19 people have been killed and more than 600 have been injured in eastern Turkey after an earthquake rattled Elazig on Friday evening at 08:55 pm.

5.3 earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

5.3 earthquake hits the Xizang-Qinghai border, China.

5.1 earthquake hits the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

5,0 earthquake hits near the coast of Nicaragua.

5.0 earthquake hits eastern New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 11s (Esami), located approximately 890 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking east-southeastward at 10 knots.

Tropical cyclone (tc) 10s (Diane), located approximately 171 nm east of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking east-southeastward at 16 knots.

NewsBytes:

Argentina – Flooding caused by a storm and heavy rainfall has caused the evacuation of more than 200 people in Tucuman province of northwest Argentina.

Peru – Flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rainfall have affected the departments of Arequipa and Huanuco in Peru, damaging more than 80 homes.

Spain – The death toll from Storm Gloria in Spain rose to 13 people on Friday while four people were still missing as freak weather continued to batter the east of the country. The Balearic Islands and eastern regions including Catalonia and Valencia have borne the brunt of the storm now entering its fifth day. Winds of more than 140 km per hour, waves reaching more than 10 metres and heavy snow and rainfall have unleashed chaos, crippling transport and destroying infrastructure. Seawater has caused devastation as it smashed into and entered coastal towns while the heavy downpour has also prompted fear that swollen rivers could burst out of their beds and flood major cities including Girona. Elsewhere, such as in parts of Valencia, more than 80 cm of snow has accumulated.

Disease

Novel Coronavirus

– Confirmed cases: At least 1,297 in China, 19 abroad

– Deaths: 41

– Cities and provinces that have launched highest level of emergency response: Zhejiang, Guangdong, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Shandong, Fujian, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Hebei, Jiangsu, Hainan

– Human-to-human transmission confirmed

– Health experts say the virus has the potential to mutate

France – France’s Ministry of Solidarity and Health reported Friday three confirmed cases of infection with the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV. The three patients, having stayed in China, are currently hospitalized in referral health establishments (ESR), one in Bordeaux and two in Paris.

Hong Kong – The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reports investigating three additional imported cases of novel coronavirus infection. This brings the total cases in Hong Kong to five.

USA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed the second infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States has been detected in Illinois.

Marburg Virus – Sierra Leone

Scientists have detected Marburg virus in fruit bats in Sierra Leone, marking the first time the deadly virus has been found in West Africa. Eleven Egyptian rousette fruit bats tested positive for active Marburg virus infection.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits Tajikistan.

5.5 earthquake hits Santiago del Estero, Argentina.

5.4 earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.0 earthquake hits northern Algeria.

5.0 earthquake hits Tajikistan.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere – Tropical cyclone (tc) 09s (Nine), located approximately 845 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking southward at 14 knots.

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NewsBytes:

Madagascar – Floods across the island of Madagascar has killed at least 12 people this week, with 18 missing, after unseasonably heavy rain, the national disaster office said on Thursday. Parts of Africa have experienced heavy rain in recent months because the Indian Ocean is warmer than usual, partly as result of a cyclical weather phenomenon and partly because oceans are warming everywhere.

Wildlife

Human Footprint

Around 85% of Earth’s wildlife is now being trampled by intense human pressure, which researchers say is putting some of those species into an extinction crisis.

Scientists from the University of Queensland, the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups point to land species with small ranges as being disproportionately exposed to human competition from factors such as grazing livestock, agriculture and urban sprawl.

The study’s “Human Footprint” report also lists other influences, such as population density, transportation networks, and mining and utility corridors, for their impacts on wildlife.