MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
DECEMBER 2020 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL REVIEW OF DECEMBER 2020
December 2020 recorded a significant shift from the five-year average (2015-2019) for ASEAN disaster statistics. Higher numbers of disaster occurrences and affected population were recorded, but at the same time there were lower figures for displacement, casualties, and damage to houses. The number of disasters was six times higher than the five-year average, 3.5 times higher than December of the previous year, and almost two times higher than the previous month (November 2020). Flood events made-up the majority (73.5%) of recorded disaster occurrences, with most such events occurring in Indonesia. This weather was influenced by the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which propagated eastwards towards the Pacific Ocean, dissipating towards the end of the month due to the La Niña conditions. Wetter conditions for most of the ASEAN region were also largely due to La Niña, with this forecast to continue until January 2021.
A total of 26 significant earthquakes (M≥5.0) were reported in the region by local authorities during December 2020, with one earthquake resulting in minor damages in Central Java. Recent volcanic activities were reported for volcanoes for Mount Ili Lewotolo and Sinabung in Indonesia, resulting in closer monitoring together with Mount Merapi and Karangetang volcanoes. Recent volcanic activity was also reported for lower alert level mountains including Indonesia’s Ibu, Semeru, and Dukono, as well as Mayon, Taal, Bulusan, and Kanlaon in the Philippines, but there were limited impacts and damage as a result.
Northeast Monsoon conditions prevailed over the ASEAN region in December 2020. During this monsoon season, the northern ASEAN region typically experiences its traditional dry season, with the prevailing winds blowing mainly from the northeast or east. On the other hand, the southern ASEAN region experiences wet conditions during the initial months of the Northeast Monsoon, and experiences dry and occasionally windy conditions from end January/early February until March, with the prevailing winds blowing mainly from the northwest or north.
For the January to March 2021 period, models predict above-average rainfall over eastern parts of the Maritime Continent and southern Viet Nam. La Niña conditions are still present over the tropical Pacific Ocean, with climate models predicting La Niña conditions to last throughout the first quarter of 2021. La Niña conditions are typically associated with wetter-than-normal conditions over the Southeast Asia region, making hydro-meteo-climatological disasters and derivative disasters –such as rain-induced landslides – more likely.
Sources : ASEAN Disaster Information Network (ADINet), ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), ASEAN Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB), Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), National Disaster Management Agency – Malaysia (NADMA), Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation – Thailand (DDPM), Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA)
Written by : Keith Paolo Landicho, Lawrence Anthony Dimailig
Disclaimer from ASMC: The qualitative outlook is assessed for the region in general and based on the latest runs from models provided by the SEA RCC-Network LRF node. For specific updates on the national scale, the relevant ASEAN Member States’ National Meteorological and Hydrological Services should be consulted.