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Wed, 31 May 2023
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Earth Changes


Magnitude 6.4 earthquake shakes Guatemala and southern Mexico, no damage reported

A strong earthquake struck Guatemala on Wednesday, shaking the Central American nation and parts of Southern Mexico, though the quake's deep hypocenter of more than 150 miles underneath the earth's surface seems to have averted damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude 6.4 quake struck at a depth of 252 kilometers (156.6 miles) and its epicenter was some 2 kilometers southeast of the municipality of Canilla, Guatemala.

Guatemala's natural disaster agency said there were no immediate reports of damage, while the civil protection authorities of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas said there were no injuries or damage to property.

Neighboring El Salvador said on Twitter there was no risk of a tsunami from the quake.


Cyclone Mocha: Deadly storm hits Myanmar and Bangladesh coasts - at least 130 dead (UPDATE)

Three dead as Cyclone Mocha makes landfall in Myanmar

Three dead as Cyclone Mocha makes landfall in Myanmar
A powerful cyclone has hit the coastlines of Bangladesh and Myanmar after intensifying into the equivalent of a category-five storm.

Cyclone Mocha did not make landfall at the sprawling refugee camp in Cox's Bazar as earlier feared, but still tore apart hundreds of makeshift shelters.

At least six people have been reported dead in Myanmar.

Up to 90 per cent of the western Rakhine state's capital city Sittwe has been destroyed, residents told the BBC.

The Burmese military has declared the whole of Rakhine as a natural disaster area.

Comment: Update May 17

Laprensalatina.com reports:
At least 130 dead in Myanmar due to Cyclone Mocha

Cyclone Mocha, which made landfall in western Myanmar during the weekend, has left at least 130 dead in camps for displaced Rohingya people near Sittwe, in the western state of Rakhine.

"I haven't experienced such a situation in my life. It is as if the city has been bombed. The roofs of the houses are no longer there. There is nothing left," Sittwe U Aung Aung, secretary of the Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told EFE on Wednesday.

The official, in his mid-fifties, said he had not been able to leave his home, while "the army and police clean the roads," and reiterated that "there is a lot of damage, although aid programs have not yet arrived. We have to fix the house ourselves."

According to nonprofits and UN agencies, Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State and home to some 150,000 people, is the city most affected by Mocha.

However, the majority of the dead are expected to be concentrated in the displacement camps around the city, where more than 100,000 members of the Rohingya muslim minority reside.

Although three days have passed since its impact, the exact number of victims and the situation on the ground remains uncertain.

Sources from the Alin Yaung volunteer group, who are working in the area, told EFE that at least 130 Rohingyas from 11 displaced camps have died due to the cyclone, with the numbers expected to increase further as hundreds remain missing.

The nonprofit Partners Relief & Development, which operates in the area, tweeted that the Rohingya fields have been "decimated" by the storm and that roads remain blocked and electricity cut off.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) an estimated 5.4 million people were in the area impacted by the cyclone.

The violent storm that made landfall on Sunday destroyed telecommunications and access to the affected area in Rakhine, home to hundreds of thousands of members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, who are persecuted by the army and not recognized as citizens in Myanmar.

Ko Thar Shay, secretary of the Sittwe-based Metta Raya Foundation, told EFE that the distrust of the military may have led many Rohingyas to decide against evacuation before the cyclone hit.

Mocha made landfall on Sunday between the southern coast of Bangladesh and the western part of neighboring Myanmar, with sustained winds of more than 150 kilometers per hour, marking the largest storm to hit the Bay of Bengal in more than a decade.

Ice Cube

Ice jams, snowmelt result in catastrophic flooding in Alaska

significant flooding.
© National Weather Service Alaska Region
An ice jam in Crooked Creek, Alaska, resulted in significant flooding.
On Sunday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a disaster declaration after ice jams and snowmelt led to significant flooding in several communities along the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers this past weekend.

A major ice jam on the Yukon River, which originates in the coastal mountains of Canada and flows nearly 2,000 miles northwest into the Bering Sea, has created catastrophic flooding in several riverfront communities.

"Ice jams are caused when ice breaks up on the river, begins to flow downstream but then gets 'stuck' and acts as a dam. This causes the water in the river to rise, usually quite rapidly, and gives very little notice to the flood threat," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said.

This time of the year is known as the "spring breakup" in Alaska, and while that may sound like the name of a rom-com movie, FEMA officials say it's no laughing matter, especially if you live in The Last Frontier. In April and May, most of the river ice in Alaska thaws and breaks up into pieces. If it melts too quickly, it can result in ice jams and heavy flooding in riverfront communities.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills youth along with 14 cows in Bangladesh

A young man along with 14 cows died in a lightning strike at Ishwardi upazila in Pabna district on Tuesday evening.

The dead was Sajib Hossain, 25, son of Alhaj Pramanik, a resident of Kamalpur village of the upazila.

Locals said Sajib was returning home from Kamalpur Char of Padma in the evening along with 41 cows. A lightning struck on him, and he died on the spot along with 14 cows.

Ishwardi Police Station officer-in-charge Arbinda Sarkar confirmed the matter.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills man and hospitalizes 6-year-old child, Texas sheriff says

A lightning strike killed a man and hospitalized a 6-year-old child as rainstorms moved through Central Texas, authorities said.

First responders were called to the Laguna Park area at about 5 p.m. Monday, May 15, FOX44 reported.

Upon arrival, deputies found an unresponsive man and child, according to a news release from the Bosque County Sheriff's Office.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said, and the child was rushed to a hospital for emergency care. The child was breathing on their own.

Cloud Precipitation

Ethiopia - Flooding continues in several regions, displacing thousands and threatening food security

Floods in the Somali Region in Ethiopia, May 2023
© UN OCHA Ethiopia/Gul Mohammad Fazli
Floods in the Somali Region in Ethiopia, May 2023.
The United Nations reports that continued flooding in Ethiopia has caused widespread destruction and displacement in the regions of Somali, Oromia, SNNP (Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples'), South West and Afar. Over 90 fatalities have lost their lives.

In early April this year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) reported flooding and heavy rain affected or displaced around 240,000 people in Somali, Oromia and Afar regions from mid-March, with 29 fatalities reported. Flooding has worsened since then, causing significant damage and displacements. According to the latest UN report, around 190,000 households have been affected by flooding across the country, with over 200,000 people forced to leave their homes.

The flooding has deepened the vulnerability of populations whose resilience is already highly affected by the impact of a prolonged drought since 2020 as the areas most affected by flooding and drought overlap, UN OCHA said.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rains caused floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Currently, there is an extraordinary hydrological situation in the area of the Una and Sana river basins, as was forecast in the Notification on the forecast of an extraordinary hydrological situation from May 12.

The levels for the start of notification have been reached at all hydrological stations that are defined by the Federal Operational Plan for Flood Protection, the Agency for the Sava River Water Area announced.

During the day, new precipitation is expected in the area of the Una-Sana Canton. However, according to the results of simulations of prognostic systems, the water level is expected to stagnate during the day and decrease in the evening in the upper and middle parts of the Una basin.

Cloud Precipitation

Croatian army steps in as heavy rains flood homes, roads and schools

© AP
Rescue teams and hundreds of soldiers were deployed on Monday to help people in parts of Croatia hit by floods.

Heavy rain in recent days caused some rivers to overflow their banks, flooding homes, roads and public buildings in some towns.

Classes in the town of Obrovac were cancelled after water got into the schools there.

Parts of the town were left without electricity, and water covered the centre of Obrovac. In nearby Gracac, about a dozen people had to move to upper floors or evacuate their homes to avoid surging water.


Shark attacks kayak off Hawaii coast in harrowing encounter caught on video

The terrifying moment a huge tiger shark takes a bite out of a fisherman’s kayak off the coast of O’ahu, Hawaii.

The terrifying moment a huge tiger shark takes a bite out of a fisherman’s kayak off the coast of O’ahu, Hawaii.
A shark attacked a man fishing from his kayak off the coast of Hawaii in a harrowing encounter that he caught on video. The man wasn't hurt in the brief attack.

Scott Haraguchi was fishing less than 2 miles off the island of Oahu around midday Friday. After he caught a fish, he told a local TV station he left his GoPro camera running.

"It was incredibly bad luck but incredibly good luck to capture it," Haraguchi told KITV.


Bear attack on angler suspected after human head found at Japan lake

A bear in Hokkaido
A bear in Hokkaido
Police are searching for an angler who went missing at a lake in Hokkaido, suspecting he may have been attacked by a bear after a human head was found in the area Monday, they said.

According to the police, a boat dropped off Toshihiro Nishikawa, 54, to fish unaccompanied at a spot on Lake Shumarinai in Horokanai early Sunday. An employee of the boat operator later saw a bear nearby with waders dangling from its mouth and attempted to call Nishikawa by phone, but could not reach him.

The information prompted the town office to launch a bear hunt operation and a member of the group killed one Monday afternoon, according to a town official.