/ / Monthly Disaster Outlook



The number of disaster occurrences during November 2019 was only slightly above 50% of the previous five-year average. November is the usually the month that sees the beginning of the Northeast Monsoon, bringing more rains, especially to the southern part of the ASEAN region. However, this year the positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has affected several parts of the region resulting in less rain. This is reflected by significant decreases in flooding events for the period – and the year in general – particularly in Indonesia.

The number of affected and displaced persons during the month of November also only reached about 15% and 26% compared to the previous five-year November average, while the number of damaged houses was also less than 20%. Of note is also that during the last five years, two major events (namely as Typhoon Hagupit in 2014 and Typhoon Damrey in 2017) affected more than 8 million people, and displaced more than 500,000. Most of the disasters that occurred in November 2019 were registered as minor to moderate, including Typhoon Nakri, which affected the Philippines and Viet Nam in early November, and several earthquakes in Indonesia, the Philippines, and the border of Lao PDR and Thailand. The overall decreased impact of disasters could be related to both the amount and scale of actual disasters, and also the national capacity of ASEAN Member States to respond internally.


According to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), the transition to Northeast Monsoon season began in mid-November. During this period, the northern ASEAN region typically experiences dry conditions, while the southern ASEAN region experiences rainy weather. With a surge of cool air from the northern Asian landmass expected to blow toward the Equatorial Southeast Asia region, the Mekong sub-region, South China Sea, and the surrounding areas (including Peninsular Malaysia and parts of Sumatra) can expect cooler temperatures during the outlook period. In contrast, warm conditions are forecast over the Indonesian archipelago around the Java Sea region. There is a high likelihood of above-average temperatures over most parts of the region during the December 2019 until February 2020.

In terms of rainfall outlook, there are no clear trends for the December 2019 to February 2020 season, but there is an increased chance of below-average rainfall over most parts of the region south of the equator who may experience drier-than-normal conditions in December 2019. Wetter conditions are expected over the western Maritime Continent, including central Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and parts of western Borneo. Likewise, in December 2019, the Mekong sub-region and the eastern Indonesian archipelago can expect a gradual increase in hotspot activities as the dry season sets in. Based on past trends, an escalation of hotspot activities can be expected in late January and February, particularly over Thailand and Cambodia. Hotspot activities in the southern ASEAN region are expected to remain generally subdued, however isolated hotspots may emerge in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Malaysia during periods of dry weather, especially in February. Generally, above-average temperatures are likely over most parts of Southeast Asia from December 2019 to February 2020. Meanwhile, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) monitoring system remains in “Neutral” state, and model outlooks from international centres are predicting sea surface temperature anomalies to remain at this status until early 2020.


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

Written by : Lawrence Anthony Dimailig and 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.