Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.0 earthquake hits New Guinea, Papua New Guinea.

5.0 earthquake hits San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

5.0 earthquake hits the Kazakhstan-Xinjiang border.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 19s (Fabian), located approximately 118 nm south-southeast of Diego Garcia, is tracking westward at 05 knots.

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Italy – In an update statement of 17 May, the regional government of Emilia-Romagna reported 8 people have now died as a result of floods and landlsides in the region since 16 may. Six fatalities occurred in the province of Forlì-Cesena, one in the province of Ravenna and another in the Bologna area. Several people are still thought to be missing and thousands have evacuated their homes. Over twenty rivers and streams have broken their banks, causing flooding in 37 municipalities. Authorities reported 250 landslides, including 120 severe landslides, in 48 municipalities.

Further heavy rain fell in the region from 15 May 2023, increasing river levels and triggering landslides. Italy’s fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, said 500 firefighters were working in the affected areas of Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena, Rimini and Bologna Provinces. The Savio River in Cesena broke its banks, flooding wide areas of the city. Vigili del Fuoco said people were stranded on the roofs of buildings due to the high water levels. Rescue operations were carried out using boats and helicopters.


Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon Falls

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by 68 per cent last month compared to April 2022. This is the first significant drop since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office at the start of this year.

Lula, as the left-leaning President is known, campaigned on transforming Brazil into a ‘green superpower’. One of his promises was to combat illegal deforestation, which rose to a 15-year high under former right wing President Jair Bolsonaro. Deforestation typically shoots up between July and September, meaning it is too early to determine if this downwards trend will continue.

President Lula has committed to ending all illegal logging by 2030. A Bolsonaro measure that encouraged illegal mining on protected Indigenous lands has been revoked, and a military campaign has been launched to eject illegal miners. Some Indigenous territories have been demarcated.

Yet several major infrastructure projects in the Amazon threaten to derail this progress. These include the major Ferrograo railway project to transport grains, and the restoration of an abandoned highway that runs through protected parts of the rainforest. The renewal of a licence for the huge Belo Monte hydroelectric dam and a potential licence for an oil drilling project near the mouth of the Amazon River are also being considered by Ibama.


Bird Flu – Brazil

The detection of the first cases of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza virus – H5N1 in three wild birds on the coast of Espírito Santo, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock however, maintains that Brazil retains its status as a country free of HPAI.

Chlamydia is killing Australia’s koalas

Conservationists in Australia have begun vaccinating wild koalas against a highly contagious and deadly form of chlamydia. In recent decades, the marsupials have been plagued with a destructive strain of chlamydia, which belongs to a closely related species of the sexually-transmitted disease in humans.

In koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), chlamydia causes gastrointestinal problems, urinary tract infections and conjunctivitis that eventually leads to blindness, according to Wildlife Health Australia(opens in new tab). Blind and sick koalas are unable to climb trees to eat or escape predators and can die as a result. The disease can also cause infertility in females due to large cysts growing in their ovaries, which has massively decreased koala birth rates.

In an ongoing trial, researchers are catching and vaccinating wild koalas in New South Wales, AP News reported. The percentage of infected koalas in the state has jumped from an estimated 10% in 2008 to a likely 80% today. As a result, the species was listed as endangered in New South Wales(opens in new tab) in early 2022.