Vol 47-Monthly Disaster Review and Outlook

/ / Monthly Disaster Outlook



Statistics of recorded significant disasters in January 2019 are significantly below the average for the previous five-years during the same period. While January saw the ASEAN region only registered a little over half of the number of disasters, as well as significantly lower numbers of affected and internally displaced people, the number of casualties and damaged houses were notably much higher than the previous five-year average, with an almost two-fold number of casualties, and twenty times the number of damaged houses. These high numbers were primarily caused by flooding and rain-induced landslide incidents in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. This unfortunate event was a result of the combination of the prevailing Northeast Monsoon and Tropical Cyclone Riley in Australia, which pulled large masses of rain clouds over several parts of Indonesia.

The number of hydro-meteorological disasters is to be expected for this time of year, and influenced a majority of registered situations. Also as expected, due to the effects of the prevailing Northeast Monsoon, the affected areas were mainly found in the equatorial and southern parts of the ASEAN region. Meanwhile, the northern area is experiencing dry conditions, resulting in haze and hotspot situations. In terms of geophysical hazards, there were 65 recorded earthquakes with a magnitude 5.0 and above during January, and several activities reported on active volcanoes in Indonesia and the Philippines. Fortunately, although there were notable incidents such as the M6.7 earthquake in West Sumba Regency and the eruption of Mt Agung, both in Indonesia, there were no significant effects that constituted a disaster situation.


The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre is expecting the Northeast Monsoon to persist until March, before entering into the inter-monsoon period in April. With this seasonal setting, the southern parts of the region will continue to experience scattered rain showers, while the northern areas will continue to experience dry conditions. Flood and rain-induced landslides will continue to be threats in the equatorial and southern parts, especially in areas where above-normal rainfall is expected – such as Malaysia, Sumatra, and Kalimantan. The continuous dry conditions and the expected above-normal temperatures in the north will likely exacerbate haze and hotspot situations, especially in the Mekong sub-region (see Figure 1).

Figure 2. The Rainfall and Temperature Outlook for the first half of February displays dry and warm conditions for some areas in the northern part of the region. Similar effects, with possible difference in spatial distribution, are expected to continue until March due to the Northeast Monsoon.

With these potential incidents, the AHA Centre is strengthening its Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Unit through an internship programme. Successful interns will help the Centre in monitoring hazards throughout the region on a daily basis, preparing necessary datasets, and analysing disaster events to support decision-making and drive actions.

Data Sources: ASEAN Disaster Information Network, ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre

Written by : Lawrence Anthony Dimailig


AHA Centre’s estimation is based on data and information shared by National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) and other relevant agencies from ASEAN Member States, international organisations and news agencies. Further information on each recorded-significant disaster, description and detail of data and information are available at: http://adinet.ahacentre.org/reports.