MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
FEBRUARY 2019 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL OVERVIEW OF FEBRUARY 2019
February 2019 was characterised by an unusually low number of recorded disaster events, registering less than a quarter of the five-year average of occurrences for the month. Although the region experienced scattered rain showers in the south, and generally dry and hazy conditions in the north, the record-breaking low number of impact on communities (only 6% and 1% of the five-year average number for affected and displaced people respectively) could reflect the improving effectiveness of disaster management practices among ASEAN Member States. On the other hand, the recorded number of damaged houses was more than five times the five-year average. An overwhelming majority of the damage was caused by hailstorms and strong winds in Northeastern Viet Nam. Fortunately, about 84% (or 3,436) houses incurred only minor damage. In general, February 2019 was a more settled month for disaster managers across the region.
In addition to Indonesia’s South Solok Regency earthquake that resulted to minor damages, there were 30 other earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 and above in Indonesia and the Philippines during February. While still a high number, it forms only 48% compared to last month’s seismic activities of the same strength. There was also intensified dynamicity in volcanic activities in the region, most notably in Indonesia. Fortunately, only Mt. Karangetang (on Siau Island) experienced damage, which was also considered minor. This result is influenced by the increasing awareness of both authorities and communities to volcano-related risks, and their improved cooperation to mitigate and prevent impacts and damages.
The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre reported that the prevailing Northeastern Monsoon season is expected to transition into the inter-monsoon period by the end of March 2019. During the inter-monsoon period, the region is expected to experience an increase in rain activity. This is good news for the Mekong sub-region, as it will help ease transboundary smoke haze in the area. However, this could also mean flooding, rain-induced landslides, and other hydrological hazards in the equatorial and southern parts of the ASEAN region – particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia. There remains a likelihood that the hotspots and smoke haze conditions in the Mekong sub-region could persist, however, it is expected that the prevailing dry season in northern ASEAN will gradually come to an end by April 2019.
With the expected increase in hydro-meteorological activities within the region, the AHA Centre is preparing by strengthening efforts to share early-warning information, and monitoring data and information between the Centre and National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs). This is being undertaken through conducting an ASEAN Workshop on Disaster Reporting and Big Data for Disaster Management, and the development of the proposed AHA Centre Information Management Technical Working Group (AIM-TWG). The workshop aims to build regional and national capacity in utilising current and new information and communication technologies, while AIM-TWG is envisioned to be a platform for cooperation and collaboration between and among AHA Centre and NDMOs for strengthening regional and national disaster information management capacities, capabilities, and practices.
Written by : Eviana Rosida, Lawrence Anthony Dimailig
Disclaimer: 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.