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Archive for May, 2016


Posted by feww on May 31, 2016

CJ Members


  • Details of the KMCW Alert are available from BEACONS.


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Strong Earthquake Strikes ENE of Taipei, Taiwan

Posted by feww on May 31, 2016

M7.2 Earthquake Strikes 73km ENE of Keelung City, Taiwan: CWB Earthquake Report

The quake was felt as far away as the coast of mainland China, about 400km away, according to several reports.

Centered at 25.572°N, 122.516°E the quake struck at a depth of 242.9km, reported USGS/EHP.

EQ Details

Magnitude: 6.1Mw [Downgraded from M6.4, and subject to further changes due to unresolved procedural issues at USGS/EHP]
Location: 25.572°N, 122.516°E; depth of 242.9km
Time: 2016-05-31 05:23:47 (UTC)

  • 92.0 km (57.2 mi) ENE of Keelung, Taiwan
  • 114.0 km (70.8 mi) ENE of Taipei, Taiwan
  • 118.0 km (73.3 mi) NE of Yilan, Taiwan
  • 122.0 km (75.8 mi) ENE of Banqiao, Taiwan
  • 925.0 km (574.8 mi) ENE of Hong Kong

Other Significant Seismicity

Earthquake strikes 230km SSW of Naha, Japan
Magnitude: 5.2Mw
Location: 24.448°N, 126.469°E  – 126km ESE of Hirara, Japan
Depth: 10.0km
Time: 2016-05-30 09:47:47 UTC

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Posted by feww on May 30, 2016

CJ Members


  • Details of the JQTG Alert are available from BEACONS.

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Extreme Rain, Flooding Devastate Texas

Posted by feww on May 30, 2016

“Potential 100-year flood” could inundate hundreds of homes Tuesday

Severe flooding, triggered by extreme rain events, has killed at least six people and left four others were missing in Texas and Kansas.

Most of the deaths occurred in Washington County (Texas), between Austin and Houston, where 420mm of rain fell in some places since late Friday, said local reports.

Harris County officials warned residents to areas flooded by the Spring Creek and the San Jacinto River, and “asked about 750 families in the Northwood Pines Subdivision and the Park at Northgate Apartments to voluntarily evacuate their homes and to stay out until the flooding threat had subsided,” said a report.

Some 800 other families were ordered to evacuate from the city of Simonton in Fort Bend County, where the rising Brazos River is expected to cause flooding in the next few days.

The city of Rosenberg  issued a mandatory evacuation at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Mayor Cynthia McConathy also signed orders declaring a state of disaster for the city. The evacuations were in effect until 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Brazos River in nearby Richmond is predicted to hit major flood stage Sunday afternoon and crest at 53.5 feet Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Officials at two prisons near Houston were moving about 2,600 inmates at the Terrell and Stringfellow Units in Rosharon, about 45km south of Houston, fearing that the Brazos River could flood the units.

Fort Bend County officials have warned residents of “potential 100-year flood” that could inundate hundreds of homes on Tuesday, including those as far as 8km away from the Brazos River.

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Nearly 3M People in Central America Rely on Food Aid to Survive

Posted by feww on May 29, 2016

2.8 Million people Need Food Aid in Drought-Hit Central America: UN

At least  2.8 million people in three Central American countries—El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—need food aid after two consecutive years of severe drought decimated crops and exacerbated hunger among the poor, said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“People are and have been selling their assets to survive, selling land and seeds, reducing the number of meals a day and reducing their amount of protein intake,” said a disaster response coordinator for Central America at the U.N. humanitarian agency (OCHA).

“Right now the situation is very serious, and it’s fragile.”

Losses as of September 2015 (FAO)

At an estimated 3 million tonnes across the subregion, this year’s maize harvest is expected to be far below average and some 8 percent below last year’s already compromised harvest.

Production declines are expected to be particularly sharp in El Salvador and Honduras, which both saw 60 percent of their maize crops destroyed by the irregular rainfall earlier this year. In El Salvador alone, losses are estimated at $28 million in seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and land preparation. Honduras additionally saw 80 percent of its beans perish.

In Guatemala’s most affected areas, some 80 percent of crops are estimated to have been lost, including 55,000 tonnes of maize and 11,500 tonnes of beans, affecting over 150,000 families.

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900 People May Have Drowned in Mediterranean Last Week

Posted by feww on May 29, 2016

550 people including 40 children drown in one shipwreck alone: Report

Up to 900 refugees and migrants are feared drowned in several shipwrecks off the coast of Libya in the past few days, MSF Sea Group says.

“Around 900 people may have died in the Central Mediterranean in the last week alone. Europe, this is unbearable,” MSF said.

Meanwhile, the Italian officials reported they had rescued about 600 others off Libya on Saturday, making a weekly total of about 13,000.

An estimated 190,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year. About 156,000 entered Greece and 34,000 went to Italy. About 1,375 people are missing, presumed dead, reported the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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Corporate Wealth Trumps Public Health

Posted by feww on May 28, 2016

Submitted by a reader

WHO rejects call for Rio Olympic Games to be moved or postponed, despite outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil

The World Health Organization (WHO) has rejected a call for the Rio Olympic Games to be moved or postponed despite the threat posed by the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil.

WHO public health advice regarding the Olympics and Zika virus: News Release

Based on current assessment, cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus. Brazil is 1 of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes. People continue to travel between these countries and territories for a variety of reasons. The best way to reduce risk of disease is to follow public health travel advice.

Based on the current assessment of Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games,” the WHO said in a statement.

The statement is in response to a letter signed by a group of at least 152 doctors, researchers, and health professionals to the United Nations health agency calling for the Rio Olympics to be postponed or moved because of concerns of the spread of the Zika virus.

“Our greater concern is for global health. The Brazilian strain of Zika virus harms health in ways that science has not observed before,” states the letter, signed by experts in the United States, India, Canada, Britain, Australia, Norway, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan and Brazil, among others.

“An unnecessary risk is posed when 500,000 foreign tourists from all countries attend the Games, potentially acquire that strain, and return home to places where it can become endemic,” it said.

“Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places (e.g., most of South Asia and Africa) the suffering can be great.”

“… the Brazilian viral strain causes microcephaly and probably Guillain-Barré syndrome. Further, because human, animal and in vitro studies demonstrate that the virus is neurotrophic and causes cell death, it is biologically plausible that there are other as yet undiscovered neurological injuries, as exist for similar viruses (e.g. dengue). [… ] That while Zika’s risk to any single individual is low, the risk to a population is undeniably high. Currently, Brazil’s government reports 120,000 probable Zika cases,9 and 1,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (with another 3,300 under investigation)10, which is above the historical level of microcephaly. […] Rio de Janeiro is highly affected by Zika. Brazil’s government reports Rio de Janeiro state has the second-highest number of probable Zika cases in the country (32,000)… and the fourth-highest incidence rate (195 per 100,000), demonstrating active transmission. […] despite Rio’s new mosquito-killing program, the transmission of mosquito-borne disease has gone up rather than down. While Zika is a new epidemic and lacks historical data, using dengue fever as a proxy, cases in Rio from January thru April 2016 are up 320% and 1150% over the same periods in 2015 and 2014, respectively.”

“It is indisputable that option (a) of holding the Games as scheduled has a greater risk of accelerating the spread of the Brazilian viral strain than the alternatives. Postponing and/or moving the Games also mitigates other risks brought on by historic turbulence in Brazil’s economy, governance, and society at large—which are not isolated problems, but context that makes the Zika problem all but impossible to solve with the Games fast approaching.”

The Letter questions whether the UN health agency can give a non-biased view of the situation because of its “secret” high – level partnership with the International Olympic Committee.

WHO and IOC in Partnership

WHO has a decades – long, high – level partnership with the International Olympic Committee. That partnership was last affirmed in 2010 at an event where the Director General of WHO and President of the IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which is secret because neither has disclosed it.

Inappropriately, WHO sees its role as not just providing public health advice. It established a “Virtual Interdisciplinary Advisory Group”, whose “ important promotional point,” according to WHO is “that the Group can help in bidding for major events (like the Olympic Games)”.  That is a clear conflict of interest, when WHO must also evaluate and make recommendations about Olympic travel during a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The overly close relationship between WHO and the IOC is apparent in the comments of WHO’s Executive Director responsible for Zika, just days after it was declared a PHIEC:

“Brazil is going to have a fantastic Olympics and it’s going to be a successful Olympics and the world is going to go there. I just wish I was going there, but there’s not going to be a lot of problems there by then. ”

With respect, this is a troubling statement. WHO cannot credibly assess the public health risks of Zika and the Olympics when it sets neutrality aside. Declaring that “it’s going to be a successful Olympics and the world is going to be there” implies that WHO has given the Olympics an unconditional green light, without regard to rapidly emerging medical, entomological, and epidemiological evidence — all of which must be considered in assessing whether this mass gathering could accelerate the global spread of the Brazilian strain of Zika virus. To prejudge that “there’s not going to be a lot of problems” before reviewing this evidence is extremely inappropriate of WHO, and suggests that a change in leadership may be required to restore WHO’s credibility.

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Strong Earthquake Strikes NNE of Visokoi Island, ESR

Posted by feww on May 28, 2016


M7.2 Quake strikes near Visokoi Island, South Sandwich Islands

Centered at 56.203°S, 26.893°W (58.0km NNE of Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) the quake struck at a depth of 72.7km (45.2 mi) on 2016-05-28 at 09:46:59 (UTC), reported USGS/EHP.

A destructive tsunami is NOT expected.

CJ Members: Diagnostic Mapping available from FIRE-EARTH BEACONS.

Other Notable Seismicity

M6.6 – 161km SSE of Ndoi Island, Fiji

Location: 22.021°S 178.161°W (321.0 kmWSW of Nuku`alofa, Tonga) depth=416.8 km
Time: 2016-05-28 05:38:51 (UTC)


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Significant Global Seismicity – May 27, 2016

Posted by feww on May 27, 2016

M5.2 – 13km WNW of Campoverde, Peru

Location: 8.450°S 74.927°W (13.0 km WNW of Campoverde, Peru) depth=132.4 km
Time: 2016-05-27 10:00:49 (UTC)

M4.6 – 103km ESE of Khonsa, India

Location: 26.517°N 96.447°E (103.0 km ESE of Khonsa, India) depth=74.8 km
Time: 2016-05-27 05:03:11 (UTC)

M5.8 quake strikes SSE of Naze, Japan

Location: 26.987°N 130.195°E (168.0 km SSE of Naze, Japan) depth=10.0 km
Time: 2016-05-27 03:44:29 (UTC)

M6.4 – 19km S of Ndoi Island, Fiji

Location: 20.826°S 178.671°W (19.0 km  S of Ndoi Island, Fiji) depth=572.1 km
Time: 2016-05-27 04:08:44 (UTC)

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FIRE-EARTH Warning – May 27, 2016

Posted by feww on May 27, 2016

CJ Members

A FIRE-EARTH Warning -Level 2- is in Effect

  • Details are available on request from BEACONS.


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They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Posted by feww on May 26, 2016

The ‘endgame’ has begun!

“60,000 workers culled from just one factory as China’s struggling electronics hub turns to artificial intelligence” —SCMP

At least 600 other companies look to decimate their workhorses, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

Apple’s supplier Foxconn and three dozen other Taiwanese companies spent about 4 billion yuan (USD610 million) on artificial intelligence last year, according to the Kunshan government.

“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,” said a local official.

“More companies are likely to follow suit.”

Kunshan was regarded as the most economically successful county-level administration in China. Its GDP grew substantially from around 20 billion yuan in 2000 to over 300 billion yuan in 2014.

It manufactured about 120 million laptops a year at its peak, but output had fallen to only 51 million because of falling demand, local officials said.

Home to about 4,800 Taiwanese companies, it accounts for over 60 percent of the county’s GDP, with two-thirds of the population of 2.6 million comprising of migrant workers.

Worker suicide rate could shoot through the roof!

Foxconn, then world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, has been plagued by a spate of suicides since at least 2007, and peaking at 2010, when at least 18 attempted suicides by the employees resulted in a minimum of 14 known deaths. The suicides occurred at “Foxconn City” industrial park in Shenzhen, China.

At least 7 other suicide deaths at the company were reported between 2010 1nd 2013.

Prompted by the first wave of suicides in 2010, two dozen Chinese universities worked together to compile a report on Foxconn manufacturing environment, which they described as a “labor camp.” Foxconn’s management style was criticized as “inhumane and abusive.” Interviews of 1,800 Foxconn employees at a dozen factories also discovered evidence of illegal overtime and failure to report accidents.

Robots replacing bipeds: 260,000 robots are working in U.S. factories

As of February, at least 260,000 robots were working in U.S. factories, according to a report.

“Orders and shipments for robots in North America set new records in 2015, according to industry trade group Robotic Industries Association. A total of 31,464 robots, valued at a combined $1.8 billion, were ordered from North American companies last year, marking a 14% increase in units and an 11% increase in value year-over-year.”

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M5.2 Quake Strikes near Concepción Volcano

Posted by feww on May 26, 2016

Earthquake strikes Cocibolca, Nicaragua

Centered at 11.514°N, 85.693°W, about 2.0 km south of Moyogalpa, the event occurred at a depth of 194.6km, reported USGS/EHP.

Moyogalpa is the largest village on the Ometepe Island, which is formed by Concepción and Maderas volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua (aka, Cocibolca or Granada), a massive crater left behind by an ancient supervolcano in Nicaragua. [FIRE-EARTH proprietary research material.]

Magnitude: 5.2Mw
Location: 11.514°N 85.693°W depth=194.6 km (120.9 mi)
Time: 2016-05-26 01:02:36 (UTC)
Nearby Places:

  • 2.0 km (1.2 mi) S of Moyogalpa
  • 16.0 km (9.9 mi) ENE of Rivas
  • 47.0 km (29.2 mi) SE of Nandaime
  • 54.0 km (33.6 mi) SSE of Granada
  • 91.0 km (56.5 mi) SE of Managua, Nicaragua

‘Strong’ Earthquake Rattles Central NZ

Magnitude: 4.3 [geonet]
Location: 41.52°S, 174.41°E, Cook Strait (35 km northeast of Seddon, NZ)
Depth: 11km
Date/Time: May 26, 2016 at 07:21:13UTC

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Major Disaster Declared for the U.S. State of Montana

Posted by feww on May 25, 2016

Montana Declared Federal Disaster Area

  • Incident period: April 15, 2015 to April 16, 2016
  • Major Disaster Declaration declared on May 24, 2016

The federal government has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Montana in the areas affected by a severe winter storm and straight-line winds during the period of April 15-16, 2016.

The areas that are worst affected by the extreme weather events include the counties of in Glacier, Liberty, Pondera, Teton, and Toole.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments, officials said.

Major Disaster Declarations (2016)

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Drought Severely Affects Malawi and Zimbabwe

Posted by feww on May 25, 2016

Severe food shortages in southern Africa worsening dramatically

Severe drought said to be related to El Nino weather pattern is affecting southern and eastern Africa. Drought follows extreme rain events and severe flooding that had previously inundated parts of the region.

“The crisis has affected some 32 million people in Southern Africa alone, and experts say they expect new assessments to rise to nearly 50 million people in early June.”

Africa’s breadbasket is empty

The UN World Food Program estimates that 16 million people in southern Africa are affected by the El Nino phenomenon, and that’s not counting the drastic increase of numbers in South Africa. Seven of the country’s nine provinces have been declared disaster areas. The government has channeled the equivalent of 55 million euros towards emergency aid. A country which normally produces so much corn that it can provide for the needs in neighboring Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland is now forced to import huge quantities.

Hunger in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe declared a state of emergency back in February. Owing to the drought, today almost one out of three Zimbabweans is dependent on aid. In the past twelve months, rain precipitation was about half that of the previous year.

The situation is particularly dire in the Mudzi district in northeastern Zimbabwe, on the border with Mozambique. Over 85 percent of the population there is dependent on food aid.

Malawi plagued by extreme drought

Malawi is also suffering from extreme drought. Prices for staple foods like corn, beans and rice, have risen steeply. People this year have less than five percent of the amount produced in recent years at their disposal. More than half of the country’s population of 15 million is now dependent on aid. Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika declared a state of emergency in April and called on the world to help.

Mozambique: Drought in the south, floods in the north

Most water sources in the country have dried up. Much of the water that can still be found is salty. Animals are dying and the harvest will be even more meager than last year. A total of 600,000 Mozambicans are dependent on emergency aid. Authorities expect the number to increase significantly in the next couple of weeks. Rita Namucho, spokesperson for the country’s national water utilities, is very worried about the situation in Combumune: “For the last few months it has been possible to cross the river on foot. This is unusual because we are still in the rainy season.”

Meanwhile, recent rains in the north have destroyed 3,500 houses. “Many people drowned in the floods,” director of the Mozambican Center for Civil Protection told DW. Mozambique is one of the ten countries of the world hardest hit by climate change.

Angola’s government ‘is looking away

In Angola, the areas most affected by drought are the southern provinces of Cunene and Huila. DW correspondents have reported about people dying of hunger in an area inhabited by some three million people.

Read more…


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M5.4 Earthquake Rattles Crete

Posted by feww on May 25, 2016


Earthquake strikes S of Palaikastron, Crete

Centered at 34.74ºN, 26.20ºE the quake struck at a depth of 25km, emsc-csem reported.

“I was kneeling on the floor when there a tremor which became more violent shaking the house then it tailed off. It felt like it lasted about 90 seconds,” said a witness living in Stavrochori about 44km NW from epicenter.

“Sitting in chair, facing East, I was moved left to right, four or five times,” said another witness living in Elounda about 72km NW from epicenter.

Magnitude Mw 5.4
Location: 34.74 N, 26.20 E (Crete Region, Greece)
Depth: 25km
Date time: 2016-05-25 08:36:14.0 UTC
416 km S of İzmir, Turkey [pop: 2,500,603]
116 km SE of Irákleion, Greece [pop: 137,154]
67 km SE of Ágios Nikólaos, Greece [pop: 10,799]
40 km SE of Makry Gialos, Greece [pop: 4,204]
Source: emsc-csem


M4.1 quake strikes Utah

Magnitude: 4.1Mw
Location: 40.486°N, 110.647°W
Time: 2016-05-25 13:01:07 UTC

  • 41.0 km (25.5 mi) NNW of Duchesne, Utah
  • 89.0 km (55.3 mi) ENE of Springville, Utah
  • 90.0 km (55.9 mi) ENE of Provo, Utah
  • 90.0 km (55.9 mi) SSE of Evanston, Wyoming
  • 109.0 km (67.7 mi) ESE of Salt Lake City, Utah

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States of Emergency Declared in Peru and Nigeria

Posted by feww on May 24, 2016

Mercury contamination prompts state of emergency declaration in Peru

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala has declared a 60-day state of emergency in the three provinces of Madre de Dios, Southern Amazon, because of extremely high levels of mercury contamination allegedly from illegal gold mining.

The Executive Order proclaims states of emergency in the three province of Manu, Tahuamanu and Tambopata, covering the towns of  Puerto Maldonado, Inambari, Las Piedras, Labyrinth, Fitzcarrald, Huepetuhe, Madre de Dios, Iñapari and Iberia said a report.

About 41% of the population, 40,000 to 50,000 people,  have been exposed to high levels of mercury contamination, particularly in the area of the Upper and Lower Madre de Dios and reserves inhabited by indigenous people in Amarakaeri area, where the exposure is six times the maximum permissible levels, said the country’s environment minister.

The mercury exposure is poisoning the people, polluting rivers and contaminating the fish, he said.

Nigeria declares a state of emergency as insects destroy crops

Nigeria’s Kaduna State has declared a state of emergency after moths destroyed up to 80% of tomato farms across the state. The damage caused by the tomato leafminer (aka tuta absoluta and South American tomato moth) exceeds 1bn naira ($5.1m).

More than 200 tomato farms in Kaduna have been affected over the past month.

A leaf miner is the larva of an insect that lives in leaf tissue of crops and consumes it. Most leaf-mining insects are moths, sawflies (a type of wasp) and flies, though several types of beetles also destroy plants in similar ways.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai has declared a state of emergency on tomatoes in the state. In the past one month 12 local government areas of the state who produce tomatoes have lost 80% of their tomatoes harvest,” said the Commissioner of Agriculture.

“In three local government areas about 200 farmers have lost one billion naira worth of their tomatoes. So you can imagine the magnitude of the losses. It is so severe that even Dangote [conglomerate] who has established a tomato processing plant in Kano had to shut down production.”

At least eight other states in northern Nigeria have also been affected by the insects, the Commissioner added.

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Latest Significant Global Seismicity – May 24, 2016

Posted by feww on May 24, 2016


M5.2 quake strikes 11km W of Cintalapa de Figueroa, Mexico

  • Location: 16.747°N, 93.822°W depth=124.0 km (77.1 mi)
  • Time: 2016-05-23 at 19:20:39 (UTC)

Chile, China, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan

  • 4.9 – 50km SSE of Putre, Chile 2016-05-24 00:29:35 UTC 120.7 km
  • M4.6 – 52km N of Miyako, Japan 2016-05-24 09:48:03 UTC 35.0 km
  • M4.8 – 4km SE of Pilar, Philippines 2016-05-23 23:57:33 UTC 74.2 km
  • M4.5 – 178km NNW of Dili, East Timor 2016-05-23 21:14:00 UTC 511.4 km
  • M4.5 – 5km SSW of Yachimata, Japan 2016-05-23 16:42:58 UTC 56.4 km
  • M4.8 – 102km W of Makurazaki, Japan 2016-05-23 15:17:42 UTC 14.8 km
  • M4.8 – 30km WNW of Chaoyang, China 2016-05-22 09:08:06 UTC 16.5 km
  • M4.9 – 20km N of Pingtung, Taiwan 2016-05-22 02:06:18 UTC 10.0 km
  • M5.0 – 21km ENE of Pingtung, Taiwan 2016-05-21 20:51:39 UTC 10.0 km
  • M4.8 – 3km N of Carlagan, Philippines 2016-05-21 11:14:49 UTC 40.0 km
  • M4.5 – 107km NE of Agrihan, Northern Mariana Islands 2016-05-21 08:17:35 UTC 32.0 km
  • M5.5 – 239km S of Hachijo-jima, Japan 2016-05-21 06:06:42 UTC 130.4 km

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Global Disasters/ Significant Events – May 23, 2016

Posted by feww on May 23, 2016

Tropical Storm ROANU displaces more than 1.3 million in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

More than 1 million people have been evacuated in Bangladesh following the devastation caused by Tropical Storm ROANU.

The storm made landfall in Bangladesh on 21 May, killing dozens of people and destroying or damaging  about 100,000 houses across 15 districts. The Chittagong, Noakhali, Lakshmipur and Chandpur districts being among the worst hit, said the Bangladeshi Department of Disaster Management.

Sri Lanka

Floods and landslides triggered by Tropical Storm ROANU have affected 400,000 people across Sri Lanka, since May 15.

The storm related disasters have killed about 90, and left 116 others missing.  The floods have displaced about 300,000 people. “The majority of the displaced are in Colombo and Gampaha districts. Water, sanitation and hygiene, health, shelter and food have been identified as priorities.” OCHA reported.


Continuous heavy rainfall and storm surges on 15 islands have  damaged/destroyed homes and properties.


All four island states of Micronesia remain under States of Emergency due to severe drought which continues to affect 100,000 people. Yap and the Chuuk Northwest region are the worst affected. The Government reports that food security for the outlying islands is a serious concern with saltwater intrusion destroying taro patches, the main staple crop. Yap State is currently providing food assistance to residents of the outlying islands. [UN OCHA]

Marshall Islands

Despite recent rainfall, an estimated 21,000 people remain severely affected by El Niño-induced drought across the Marshall Islands. Food baskets are being prepared for distribution to people in the outer islands. An outbreak of conjunctivitis or pinkeye (inflammation of the eye) was also reported in Majuro.
Health officials have linked the outbreak to the limited water available for handwashing. [UN OCHA]

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Drought Disaster Declared for Counties in Arizona, California

Posted by feww on May 23, 2016

Drought destroys crops in eight counties across two U.S. states

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated a total of eight counties in Arizona and California as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought. Those areas are:

Arizona. La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapai and Yuma counties.

California. Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on one or more crops.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

Crop Disaster Designations – 2016

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Volcano Watch – May 22, 2016

Posted by feww on May 22, 2016

How Many Volcanoes Firing?

New eruptions, ongoing activity, unrest and abnormalities reported in at least 66 volcanoes globally over the last seven days…

Latest Global Volcanic Activity

  • Awu Sangihe Islands (Indonesia)
  • Etna Sicily (Italy)
  • Fuego (Guatemala)
  • Ruapehu North Island (New Zealand)
  • Santa Maria – Santiaguito Dome Complex (Guatemala)
  • Sinabung – North Sumatra (Indonesia)

Map of Volcanoes.
Background Map: University of Michigan. Designed and enhanced by Fire Earth Blog. Click image to enlarge.

Cleveland Volcano

Landsat-8 data from 15 May 2015 at 22:17 UTC (2:17 PM AKDT) show robust steaming and high temperatures in Cleveland Volcano’s summit crater (in the shortwave IR), indicating continued unrest. The high-temperature feature is visible in this image as a red pixel. Robust steaming observed extending to the west and seen as a shadow on the lower meteorological cloud deck. Shortwave IR has very little reflectance from snow, which is why Cleveland appears blue.  Photographer/Creator: D. Schneider – URL:

Landsat-8 true color composite from Cleveland Volcano,15 May 2016, 22:17 UTC (2:17 pm AKDT), sharpened with panchromatic data. Robust steaming observed extending to the west and seen as a shadow on the lower meteorological cloud deck. Photographer/Creator: D. Schneider

Ongoing Activity

  • Aira Kyushu (Japan)
  • Alaid Kuril Islands (Russia)
  • Chirpoi Kuril Islands (Russia)
  • Cleveland Chuginadak Island (USA)
  • Colima Mexico
  • Cotopaxi Ecuador
  • Dukono Halmahera (Indonesia)
  • Kilauea Hawaiian Islands (USA)
  • Klyuchevskoy C. Kamchatka (Russia)
  • Kuchinoerabujima  Kyushu (Japan)
  • Langila New Britian (PNG)
  • Masaya Nicaragua
  • Nevado del Ruiz Colombia
  • Pavlof  Alaska (USA)
  • Sangay Ecuador
  • Sheveluch C. Kamchatka (Russia)
  • Sinabung Indonesia
  • Telica Nicaragua
  • Turrialba Costa Rica

Current Status of Indonesian Volcanoes [Badan Geologi]

Indonesian volcanoes status

Orange Alerts

  • Nishinoshima  Japan region
  • Fukutoku-Oka-no-Ba  Japan region
  • Sakurajima Kyushu (Japan)

Yellow Alerts

  • Asamayama  Japan
  • Aso Kyushu (Japan)
  • Bezymianny  Kamchatka (Russia)
  • Copahue Chile
  • Karymsky  Kamchatka (Russia)
  • Kirishimayama (Shinmoedake) Kyushu (Japan)
  • Kusatsu-Shirane  Japan
  • Mauna Loa Hawaii
  • Ontake  Japan
  • Planchón-Peteroa Volcanic Complex  Chile
  • Snow Kuril Islands  (Russia)
  • Zhupanovsky Kamchatka (Russia) 

Abnormalities Observed

  • Bulusan Philippines
  • Kanlaon Philippines
  • Taal Philippines

MAUNA LOA: The largest active volcano on Earth!

HVO Weekly Update: Thursday, May 19, 2016 20:47 UTC – Seismicity remains elevated above the long-term background level, but no significant changes were recorded over the past week. Deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone continues, with inflation recently occurring mainly in the southwestern part of the magma storage complex.

BULUSAN VOLCANO BULLETIN 22 May 2016 8:00 A.M. [Source: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, PHIVOLCS]

Bulusan Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded three (3) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Weak emission of white steam plumes that crept downslope towards southwest was observed coming from the active vents. Precise leveling survey results from April 27 to May 5, 2016 indicated slight deflationary changes of the edifice relative to February 2016, consistent with the measurements from continuous GPS data as of 30 April 2016.

Alert Level 1 (abnormal) remains in effect over Bulusan Volcano. This indicates that hydrothermal processes are underway beneath the volcano that may lead to steam-driven eruptions. The local government units and the public are reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited due to the possibility of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions. Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft. Furthermore, people living within valleys and along river or stream channels especially on the southwest and northwest sector of the edifice should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall. DOST-PHIVOLCS is closely monitoring Bulusan Volcano’s condition and any new development will be relayed to all concerned.


Kanlaon Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded one (1) volcanic earthquake during the past 24 hours. Moderate emission of white steam plumes that rose up to 300 meters and drifted southwest and northwest was observed. Ground deformation measurements from continuous GPS data as of 30 April 2016 indicated slight inflation of the Kanlaon edifice since December 2015.

Alert Level 1 status remains in effect over Kanlaon Volcano, which means that it is currently in a state of unrest probably driven by hydrothermal processes that could generate more minor eruptions. The local government units and the public are reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or minor ash eruptions. Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as airborne ash from a sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft. DOST-PHIVOLCS is closely monitoring Kanlaon Volcano’s activity and any new development will be relayed to all concerned.


Taal Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded two (2) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Field measurements conducted on 19 May 2016 at the western sector of the Main Crater Lake yielded a slight increase in water temperature from 32.9°C to 33.0°C, a decrease in water level from 0.19 meter to 0.18 meter, and an increase in water acidity from pH 3.03 to 2.73. Precise leveling survey results from 28 March to 8 April 2016 indicated slight deflation of the edifice compared to November 2015 survey. Results from continuous GPS data as of 30 April 2016 showed deflationary trend since January 2016, however the edifice remains inflated relative to the 2014 baseline level.

Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous eruption is not imminent. The public, however, is reminded that the Main Crater should be strictly off-limits because sudden steam explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate. The northern portion of the Main Crater rim, in the vicinity of Daang Kastila Trail, may also become hazardous when steam emission along existing fissures suddenly increases. Furthermore, the public is also reminded that the entire Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and permanent settlement in the island is strongly not recommended.

Nicaragua  [INETER]

  • Telica: Intense levels of micro-seismicity and low gas emissions reported.
  • Masaya: Moderate tecto-volcanic tremors continue, representing MARS values of between 300 and 700 units. Lava lake observed in the Santiago crater.
  • Momotombo: “Low-level seismicity, with moderate gas emissions reported.  “The real-time seismic amplitude (MARS) is lower than 60 units.”
  • San Cristobal: Low-level seismicity, with moderate gas emissions observed on May 19, 2016.

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Mt Etna Spews Ash, Smoke and Fire

Posted by feww on May 22, 2016


Strambolian eruptions continue at Etna

The eruption follows reports of volcanic tremors starting five days ago.

“On May 17th we witnessed an increase in the amplitude of volcanic tremors and recorded intense degassing accompanied by occasional, weak emissions from the northeastern crater,” the Catania branch of Italy’s National Volcanology and Geophysics Institute said in a statement.

Etna lies above the convergent plate margin between the African and the Eurasian Plates, making it one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, and currently stands 3,330m high. The volcano covers an area of 1,190km² with a basal circumference of 140km.

One of the 16 Decade Volcanoes, Mt Etna is in an almost constant state of activity.

Mt Etna. Image source: marcorestivo

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Mt Sinabung Eruption Turns Deadly

Posted by feww on May 22, 2016


Superheated pyroclastic flows roar down Sinabung flanks, killing or injuring villagers in Sumatra

At least a dozen people were killed or seriously injured after Sinabung erupted on Saturday, ejecting large clouds of smoke and ash about 3km into the air, as an avalanche of superheated pyroclastic flows descended down the mountain  inundating the village of Gamber.

The victims are thought to be local villagers farming within the 4-kilomere exclusion zone when they were consumed by pyroclastic clouds.

Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra. ANTARA PHOTO/Rony Muharrman/ (Image may be subject to copyright.)

“People and visitors/tourists are not allowed to conduct any activity within a radius of three kilometers from the mountains top. People living in the south and southeast sector are also prohibited to get as near as seven kilometers from the mountains top while those in north and northeast sectors are prohibited to get as near as four kilometers from the mountains top,” said an official at the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

About 60,000 people have been displaced since Sinabung volcano awoke in 2013 after a period of dormancy.

Indonesia has 129 active volcanoes, of which at least 79 have erupted since the 1600s. Some 66 volcanoes are continuously monitored from 76 observatories.

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Turrialba Volcano Erupts Violently

Posted by feww on May 21, 2016


Hell Hath No Fury Like the Primed Costa Rica Volcano!

The powerful explosion, said to be the volcano’s most powerful eruption in 6 years, ejected a thick column of ass and smoke more than 3km into the air.

Hundreds of people have inundated the local hospitals, complaining of breathing difficulties and skin burns, as multiple layers of ash covered the buildings and roads, and a strong stench of sulfur filled the air.

The 3,343-meter Turrialba Volcano, located in central Costa Rica, about 45km east of the capital, San Jose, began activity on Wednesday with the first wave of eruptions occurring on Friday, officials said.

Image source: itsjustaimy


Turrialba has been quiescent since a series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century that were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Photo by Federico Chavarria Kopper, 1999. Caption: GVP.

Volcano Details

  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Volcano Number: 1405-07=
  • Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
  • Last Known Historic Eruption: 1866
  • Summit Elevation: 3,340 m
  • Latitude: 10.025°N  (10°1’30″N)
  • Longitude: 83.767°W  (83°46’1″W)

Related Links

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Strong Earthquake Strikes Australia

Posted by feww on May 21, 2016

M5.9 Quake Strikes Northern Territory, Australia

Centered at 25.534°S, 129.805°E [460.0 km WSW of Alice Springs] the event occurred at a depth of 10.0 km (6.2 mi), reported USGS/EHP.

Significant Earthquakes Australia Region

Some 34 events measuring magnitude 5.0Mw or greater have been registered since 1990 [80 events since 1916] including

M 7.1 – south of Australia
Location: 42.813°S, 124.688°E
Depth: 10.0 km
Time: 2001-12-12 14:02:35 UTC

M 6.3 – Western Australia
Location: 16.013°S, 124.329°E
Depth: 10.0 km
Time: 1997-08-10 09:20:30 UTC

M 5.2 – near the southeast coast of Australia
Location: 38.304°S 146.200°E
Depth: 10.0 km
Time: 2012-06-19 10:53:29 UTC

M 5.0 – Queensland, Australia
Location: 20.085°S, 147.764°E
Depth: 7.0 km
Time: 2011-04-16 05:31:18 UTC

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51ºC – Hottest Day Ever in India

Posted by feww on May 20, 2016

Life-threatening heat breaks temperature record in India 

City of Phalodi in Rajasthan state has broken the country’s temperature record after registering 51°C (123.8°F), the highest in India since records began, said the weather office.

The new record surpasses the previous record for the hottest temperature set at 50.6°C in 1956.

Much of northern India has been plagued by a lingering heatwave with temperatures exceeding 40°C for several weeks, while dozens, more likely hundreds, of people have died from extreme heat in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The record [contested] for the highest air temperature in the world, 56.7°C (134°F), was  set on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley, California.


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