MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
AUGUST 2020 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL REVIEW OF AUGUST 2020
A total of 36 disaster events were recorded for the month of August 2020, which is the same number recorded for the previous month, and similar to the amount recorded for August of 2019. This number was more than twice as high as the August five-year average, however, the figures of affected people, internally displaced, casualties, injuries, and missing persons for August 2020 were all significantly lower than their respective five-year averages. In contrast, the number of damaged houses for August 2020 was 10 times higher than the five-year average. A little over half of the total recorded disasters for the month were flooding events, which struck regions throughout Lao PDR, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam, as well as significant numbers from Indonesia. This may be attributed to a 200mm increase in precipitation amounts for August 2020 compared to the five-year average, with especially large amounts of rainfall in Indonesia’s Sulawesi, Maluku, and Western Kalimantan, according to the Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS). CHIRPS assimilates satellite imagery with in-situ data to create better approximations and more reliable precipitation distribution datasets. This data also showed precipitation deficits of at most -200 mm from the five-year average over Cambodia, Lao PDR, the coasts of Myanmar, northern Philippines and northern and central Viet Nam.
Notably, the effect of Tropical Storm (TS) SINLAKU was largely felt in the Northern and Northeastern regions of Thailand. TS SINLAKU’s impact on Thailand (during week 32) affected 111,190 persons, which was almost 50% of the total number of people affected for the region throughout the whole of August.
There were a total of 32 significant earthquakes (M≥5.0) reported in the region for August 2020, and there was heightened volcanic activity reported for Mt. Sinabung in Indonesia that exposed approximately 15,000 people to adverse impacts. Volcanic activity was also reported for Kerinci, Semeru, Ibu, and Dukono mountains in Indonesia, however the activity caused minimal damage for the surrounding areas. Meanwhile, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Masbate, Philippines resulted in some casualties on August 19.
The Southwest Monsoon conditions that have been in effect since late May are expected to continue into September 2020. However, there will be a gradual transition to inter-monsoon conditions (between monsoon seasons) during the latter part of October. This inter-monsoon period is characterised by increased shower activities, so a heightened frequency of hydrological and meteorological disasters can be expected.
The ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) predicts above-average rainfall over most parts of the southern ASEAN region, as well as the coastal regions of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, serving as an early warning for those Member States. ASMC’s climate models predict La Niña conditions from September 2020, which is typically associated with wetter-than-normal conditions over the Southeast Asia region.
While above-normal rainfall is predicted in the southern ASEAN region, occasional periods of dry weather could lead to escalated hotspot activities especially in vulnerable areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia. This could lead to increased risk of land and forest fires and transboundary haze in the southern ASEAN region. In the northern ASEAN region, however, it is expected to be largely subdued due to the prevalence of rainy conditions.
Data Sources: ASEAN Disaster Information Network, ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre
Written by : Keith Paolo Landicho, Lawrence Anthony Dimailig, Aril Aditian
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.