Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll nearing 20,000 and more weather news


The death toll in the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake and southeast Turkey is nearing 20,000 in Turkey and Syria – Warming climate may create more dangerous fungi – Social change more important than 1.5C target

Massive earthquake has killed nearly 20,000 in Turkey and Syria

According to authorities, as of Thursday morning, the death toll from the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria was now at least 19,863, CNN reported. Turkey’s death toll was at least 16,546, with 66,132 injured, while Syria’s death toll was at least 3,317.

“Secondary disaster” looming

As teams race to rescue survivors, some fear it is moving toward a recovery effort. Agencies are warning of the potential of a “secondary disaster,” as freezing temperatures and new snowfall hamper efforts, as well as a lack of water, power, and communications.

Western sanctions were also said to be hampering the ability to deliver aid to parts of Syria.

Recap of initial earthquake

A massive earthquake struck in southeastern Turkey on Monday, February 6, registering a magnitude of 7.8, and was felt as far away as Cairo, Cyprus, Lebanon, and even in Greenland and Denmark, CBS reported.

The predawn quake was followed by a second temblor that registered 7.5 on the Richter scale, striking just hours after the first one and not far from the epicenter of the first earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Warming climate may create fungi more dangerous to human health

A new study out of Duke University school of medicine found that raised temperatures cause a pathogenic fungus known as Cryptococcus deneoformans to greatly boost its adaptive responses, increasing the number of its genetic changes, which they speculate could lead to higher heat resistance and possibly greater disease-causing potential, according to a study published Jan. 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Daily reported.

“These are not infectious diseases in the communicable sense; we don’t transmit fungi to each other,” Duke researcher Asiya Gusa Ph.D. said. “But the spores are in the air. We breathe in spores of fungi all the time and our immune systems are equipped to fight them.”

Social change more important than 1.5C global warming target for now

A new study released by Universität Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence “Climate, Climatic Change, and Society” (CLICCS) says that it’s not plausible to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming limit as set as a target by the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate.

Instead, the study concluded that social change, as in “human agency,” is essential for making fundamental changes that will be necessary for meeting the temperature goals, Science Daily reported.