/ / Monthly Disaster Outlook



April began 2019’s second quarter by continuing the trend of lower disaster occurrences compared to the average of the five previous years, with the number of people affected by disaster reaching only 11% of the previous five-year average. This significant difference is primarily caused by an extreme event during 2016 that skews the five-year average – namely the 2016 drought in Cambodia that affected 2.5 million people. On the other hand, April 2019 witnessed higher-than-average displacement, house damage, and casualty figures. A majority of population displacement during April was due to widespread flooding and rain-induced landslides in Indonesia and Myanmar. Increased atmospheric activity, due to the inter-monsoon period, resulted in scattered rain showers across the region, while the Madden-Julian Oscillation further enhanced the duration and amount of rainfall in Indonesia during the last week of the month. Meanwhile, a majority of house damage was due to a hailstorm in Central Myanmar, that saw hailstones as large as golf balls raining down on homes made from light materials. Three disaster events significantly influenced the rise in casualties across the region – namely flooding, followed by a rain-induced landslide in Bengkulu Province, Indonesia, and the magnitude 6.1 earthquake in Central Luzon, the Philippines.

Geophysical activity registered 56 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 and above during April 2019. Three of these earthquakes resulted in significant impact to people and structures, seeing them classified in disaster statistics – a 6.8M in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia (close to ground zero for the devastating 7.5M earthquake that triggered a tsunami and liquefaction in 2018), and back-to-back 6.1M and 6.5M earthquakes in Central Luzon and Eastern Samar, the Philippines. Lastly, there were four volcanoes, all in Indonesia, being monitored due to increased activities – Mount Agung, Mount Karangetang, and Mount Soputan, all at Alert Level 3, and Mount Sinabung, which is at Alert Level 4, the highest alert level for volcanoes in Indonesia.


The inter-monsoon period is expected to last until June, upon which the Southwest Monsoon will become dominant in the region. During this transition, a northward shift of monsoon rain bands will be observed. While rainy conditions are expected in the northern ASEAN region, the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre forecasts generally below-average rainfall. However, the gradual increase in rain shower activities is expected to subdue hotspot activities and improve haze conditions in the Mekong sub-region. Meanwhile, drier weather conditions are expected to slowly increase across the southern ASEAN region, particularly in Indonesia. Seasonal models tend to exempt the southern ASEAN region from the warmer temperatures expected in most of the region during the second quarter of the year.

As part of its preparatory activities for the rainy season in the northern ASEAN region and dry conditions in the southern ASEAN region, the AHA Centre will conduct a table-top exercise to test its Emergency Response Organisation procedures for responding to any disaster within the region. Alongside this, connectivity testing with respective Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) of each ASEAN Member State is also being planned. Finally, in cooperation with the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC Global), a DisasterAWARE Multi-Hazard Monitoring Platform is planned to be established in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines. DisasterAWARE is a powerful and reliable early warning and multi-hazard monitoring platform, that supports disaster management and emergency response by providing early warning, multi-hazard monitoring, impact assessment modelling, and geospatial data. The Centre has been using the regionally-adapted version of DisasterAWARE, (Disaster Monitoring and Response System – DMRS), in its daily operations for many years. At present, the AHA Centre and PDC Global are working with Myanmar to develop capacity and capability to utilise the DMRS, while several ASEAN Member States already utilise their own versions of DisasterAWARE – including Indonesia, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

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

Written by : Lawrence Anthony Dimailig, Shahasrakiranna


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.