MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
MAY 2019 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL OVERVIEW OF MAY 2019
Only four disaster occurrences were recorded in the ASEAN region during the month of May 2019 – all of which are hydro-meteo-climatological in nature. While the number of disaster occurrences registered was only around 27% compared to May’s previous five-year average, the number of reported affected people and damaged houses, were significantly above average, as much as 8 and 17 times respectively. The results are due to the drought and other related effects of El Niño in the Philippines (for affected people), and the combination of several atmospheric disturbances that brought storms and a rain-induced landslide in Thailand (for damaged houses). The geographic extent of drought conditions saw widespread impact in the Philippines, with 10 of the 17 regions in the country reported to have been affected. This formed a key driver for high numbers of affected people. In the case of Thailand, heavy rainfall conditions throughout the country were influenced by the strengthening of the Southwest Monsoon, coupled by multiple low pressure cells. This resulted in continuous heavy rainfall which eventually overwhelmed soil water absorption capacity, thereby resulting in rain-induced landslides. The combination of storms and rain-induced landslides resulted in higher numbers of damaged houses.
Generally, there were no fatalities or significant damages directly caused by geophysical hazards during the month. Nineteen earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 and above were recorded in Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines, while four volcanoes in Indonesia are still under increased monitoring. In addition, an eruption at Mt. Agung in Indonesia was reported during the month, with several areas affected by ash rain. Fortunately, most of the population are located outside the hazard zones, and hence no evacuations were triggered.
The Southwest Monsoon is normally experienced by the ASEAN region during June. Traditionally, Southwest Monsoon results in the rainy season through the northern part of the region, while the southern parts experience a dry period. Meanwhile, the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre expects the borderline El Niño conditions in the region, which have been observed since the last quarter of 2018, to continue until August 2019. Also, the Indian Ocean Dipole is expected to develop into its positive state, with lower than average sea surface temperatures. As a result, while rainy conditions are expected across most of the region, the amount of rainfall may potentially be below normal levels. There are, however, several areas that may experience wetter-than-normal conditions – specifically, Western and Southern Myanmar, and parts of Sumatra, Northern Sulawesi, Moluccas, and Papua in Indonesia. Finally, above-normal temperatures are expected in most of Central and Eastern Southeast Asia, including parts of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Central and Western Indonesia during the next 3 months.
As the Southwest Monsoon is predicted to be in full effect throughout the region across the next few weeks, the occurrence of tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal and Western Pacific are expected. This puts the Mekong sub-region and the Philippines at-risk. To support such anticipated events, the AHA Centre is finalising its preparations for the launch of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouses in the Philippines and in Thailand, that aims to improve the delivery of relief resources to Member States. For longer-term impact, the AHA Centre, in partnership with the Pacific Disaster Center, aims to gain a deeper understanding of disaster risk of countries in the ASEAN region through the National Disaster Preparedness Baseline Assessment (NDPBA). With a more detailed assessment, the NDPBA is expected to identify specific risk elements for increased investment focus, in order to increase resilience. The NDPBA has been launched in Viet Nam, and has scheduled upcoming launches in Indonesia and the Philippines. Lastly, the AHA Centre will explore a new concept in Disaster Risk Reduction through the upcoming 3rd Asia Pacific Dialogue Platform on Forecast-based Financing (FbF). FbF is a programme that enables access to humanitarian funding for early action based on in-depth forecast information and risk analysis. The goal of FbF is to anticipate disasters, prevent their impact if possible, and reduce impact on human populations.
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.