/ / Monthly Disaster Outlook



A total of 89 disaster events were recorded for the month of October 2020, which is almost twice the amount recorded in September 2020 (45), and is eight times the amount recorded in October 2019. The number of recorded disasters for the month is also six times that of October’s previous five-year average. Along the same lines, the figures show significantly higher occurrences of affected people, internally displaced people, damaged houses, casualties and missing persons when compared to the previous 5-year averages, however, there was a decrease in the number of disaster-related injuries recorded. Such high figures can be attributed to the impact of tropical cyclones that affected the Philippines and Viet Nam (namely Tropical Depression OFEL and Typhoon MOLAVE). A combination of weather systems has also been reported as affecting both Cambodia and Lao PDR according to the National Disaster Management Office of Lao PDR and the National Committee on Disaster Management of Cambodia. Additionally, with the onset of La Niña conditions, torrential rains became more likely across the ASEAN region, and with this, the potential for hydro-meteorological and climatological disasters is significantly higher than previous five-year averages – according to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre and the Bureau of Meteorology Australia.

On the geophysical front, a total of 33 significant earthquakes (M≥5.0) were reported in the region during October 2020. Ongoing volcanic activity was reported for the Indonesian mountains of Ibu, Semeru, Dukono, and Kerinci, as well as Bulusan, Kanlaon and Taal mountains in the Philippines. No significant damage occurred as a result of volcanic activity during October 2020, which in some cases can be attributed to improved preparedness and response mechanisms around the active volcanic areas.


The Southwest Monsoon gradually made way for inter-monsoon conditions during early November 2020, as the prevailing winds over the ASEAN region became generally weak and variable. Inter-monsoon conditions are characterised by increased shower activities over most parts of southern ASEAN, as the monsoon rain band lies close to the equatorial region. The inter-monsoon conditions are expected to last for around one month, before transitioning to the Northeast Monsoon. During the Northeast Monsoon, the northern ASEAN region enters its traditional dry season, while the southern ASEAN region can expect more rainy weather.

For the November 2020 to January 2021 period, above-average rainfall is predicted for the ASEAN region south of the equator, as well as the Philippines and parts of Viet Nam, Lao PDR, and Cambodia. La Niña conditions are present over the tropical Pacific Ocean, with most climate models predicting La Niña conditions to persist for this period, of which will typically result in wetter-than-average conditions over the Southeast Asia region. In turn, the region should expect a potential increase in hydro-meteo-climatological hazards (floods, flash-floods, rain-induced landslides).

While warmer-than-average temperatures are expected to continue over much of the Maritime Continent for the next three months, parts of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam may experience below to near-normal temperatures.

With wetter conditions expected in November, the hotspot activities in the southern ASEAN region are forecast to remain subdued, although isolated hotpots and localised smoke plumes may still be detected during brief periods of drier weather. A gradual increase in hotspot activities may be expected over the northern ASEAN region from December 2020, as this is the period when the region enters its traditional dry season with the onset of Northeast Monsoon.

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

Written by : Keith Paolo Landicho, 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.