South-East Asia: Drought - 2015-2017
In Viet Nam, the worst drought the country has seen in 90 years has been attributed to the El Niño weather event, with 52 out of 63 provinces having been affected by drought. Coupled with the drought's impacts, saltwater intrusion has extended up to 90 km inland in some coastal areas, leaving river water too salty for human or animal consumption, or to irrigate crops and continue fish-farming production. (FAO, 23 August 2016)
In the most affected 18 provinces, 2 million people including 520,000 children and 1 million women, were in need of humanitarian assistance, as of August 2016. Of the total 2 million people affected, some 500,000 live in the drought-affected South Central and Central Highlands Regions, and 1.5 million live in the Mekong Delta. (UNICEF, 15 Aug 2016)
On 15 March 2016, the government of Viet Nam requested assistance from international partners for its relief efforts, prioritizing support to ensure safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene practices and nutritional support in drought-affected areas and enhanced monitoring of potential disease outbreaks. On 26 April 2016 the government of Viet Nam, United Nations and partners appealed to the international community to support a US$48.5 million joint government-United Nations emergency response plan to address the El Niño drought. (UNICEF, 15 Dec 2016)
By October, more than 54.4 per cent or US$ 26.4 million of the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) emergency needs has been mobilized for WASH, nutrition, health, food and livelihood recovery actions. While relief operations are concluding, actions remain vital to address short, medium and long term drought recovery and strengthen the resilience of affected communities. (UNCT, 12 Oct 2016)
In terms of forecast for the 2016/17 dry season (November to April), river water levels are expected to be: 15-35% lower than average in the Mekong Delta; 20-60% lower than average in the Central Highlands and 70% lower than average in the South-Central region. For all three regions, rainfall will be slightly higher than average in the coming months (Nov. 2016-Feb. 2017), but lower in the months after. Drought conditions are expected for the coming dry season in the Central Highlands, but not as severe as in 2015/16. The Mekong Delta will also be affected by higher than normal rates of salinity intrusion, but less severe than the previous dry season. (UNCT, 16 Sep 2016)
During the peak of the drought (February-May 2016), an estimated 2 million people did not have access to water for consumption and domestic use, 1.1 million were food insecure and more than 2 million people lost incomes due to damaged or lost livelihoods. Risks of water- related diseases and severe acute malnutrition also significantly increased. The total costed recovery needs from October 2016 until 2020, as calculated by the 18 drought affected provinces, is estimated at VND 27,241.2 billion (equivalent to US$1,221 million). (Govt. Viet Nam/UNCT/OCHA, 21 Oct 2016)
By October 2016, the annual flooding began in the Mekong Delta. However, the water level is around 1 meter lower than the same period in previous years. With the current water level lower than 2015, salt water intrusion could possibly come back within two months, and could be more serious. (UNICEF, 15 Oct 2016)
In Indonesia, drought associated with El Niño is reported in 16 of 34 provinces, while a total of 43 districts in eight provinces are facing an extreme drought.The Ministry of Health reported that ten people have died and more than 272,000 people have suffered from acute respiratory infection from August to September 2015. (OCHA, 29 Oct 2015)
El Niño meant that the rainy season did not start in December as expected: after a short period of average rain in the first days of January, rainfall returned to well below-average in February. Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), one of the poorest provinces, is one of the most affected, and makes up almost half of the people in need, as high poverty and malnutrition exacerbate the impact of the drought. In NTT, besides the 500,000 people in need of food assistance, an additional 700,000 are considered at risk of food insecurity. (ACAPS, 15 Mar 2016)
An estimated 3 million Indonesians live below the poverty line in severely drought impacted districts with 1.2 million of these reliant on rainfall for their food production livelihood. The late onset of rains and subsequent delays in planting have two critical cascading effects: extension of the lean season and increased exposure of the second rice planting to peak dry season which increases the probability of crop damage or failure. (WFP/Govt. Indonesia)
In the Philippines on 7 June, the Province of Davao del Norte, in Mindanao, declared a state of calamity due to El Niño-induced drought. An estimated 57,240 families (229,000 people) were affected. Agricultural damage in the province is estimated at US$19.2 million. A total of 17 provinces across the Philippines were under a state of calamity. (OCHA, 13 June 2016)
For the first seven months of 2016, El Niño contributed to about US$ 258M in crop losses across the country, impacting the production of rice, vegetables and high-value crops. There were some 285,000 affected farmers. (OCHA, 31 Jan 2017)
In February 2016, the Government of Thailand announced that 28 provinces throughout the country were likely to be at risk of water shortages. (Government of Thailand, 26 Feb 2016) In June, a government official said that continuous rainfall that came with the start of the monsoon season had alleviated the country's drought situation. (Government of Thailand, 25 June 2016)
In Myanmar, a total of 146 villages suffered from water shortages during last year’s summer season, while this year has seen those figures increase to roughly 300 villages, with the majority of those villages located in the townships of Ngapudaw, Thabaung, Kyaunggone and Yekyi, according to the records of the Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems. (Gov't of Myanmar, 14 Mar 2016) According to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, since mid-February 2016, Myanmar has been experiencing a severe impact of El Niño including extreme temperatures, unusual rainfall patterns, dry soil, high risk of fires and acute water shortages. (OCHA, 31 May 2016)
According to climatologists the drought affecting Malaysia is likely to continue until June 2016. The current heat wave has been compared to the one in 1997-1998. Sabah and northern Sarawak districts will probably be the most affected. Several hundred hectares of crops have been destroyed by fires in Sabah in the past week. Ten villages were affected. The drought is likely to cause water pollution and water scarcity. (ECHO, 20 Mar 2016)
According to official estimates, approximately 350 000 people, or one‑third of Timor-Leste's total population, were affected by prolonged drought during the previous two years. Although rains improved in recent months, bringing some relief to drought-affected areas, vulnerable households have not recovered fully and may still require humanitarian assistance. (FAO, 14 Dec 2016)
The severe El Niño-caused drought, which has persisted in Timor-Leste since the end of 2015, is expected to escalate a food security crisis at the start of the dry season in July 2017. The November 2016 to May 2017 rainy season has been insufficient and erratic, maintaining drought conditions on most of the island. In the next three months, rains are expected to remain insufficient with the onset of the dry season in June. Expectations of a poor harvest make it likely that people will continue to rely on livestock for food. Food intake reduction and a lack of diet diversity is likely to escalate malnutrition rates. National and international response is underway, but the government has not declared an emergency. (ACAPS, 03 May 2017)
Most of the 25 provinces of Cambodia experienced water shortages due to what is considered the worst drought in about 50 years. According to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM), Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pursat, and Kampong Speu provinces are the worst affected, with around 2.5 million people (625,000 households) severely affected. WFP, UNICEF and FAO are conducting a survey to assess the medium and long term needs related to the prolonged effects of El Niño. (OCHA, 30 May 2016)
The impact of the prolonged drought from early 2015 to mid‑2016 has resulted in an increased level of food insecurity in Cambodia's affected areas. According to official estimates, approximately 2.5 million people, and 18 out of 25 provinces, were affected by the drought. Although rains improved from late July 2016 over most of the country, bringing relief to the drought-affected areas, farming households with little resilience and low agricultural productivity have not recovered fully and may require some humanitarian assistance. (FAO, 12 Dec 2016)
Talk to a fisherman anywhere in the world and it won’t be long before you’ll hear the tales: the first catch, the one that got away, the really big one. On the Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest body of freshwater in Southeast Asia, the fish stories are divided into then and now.
Happy New Year, fellow ASEANers!
It is with excitement we bring you our 35th edition.
From The Column’s beginnings in 2015, our goal was to become the number one reference for disaster management in the ASEAN region.
Fast-forward to the new year of 2018 and this optimism lives on. We believe The Column shall not only become the number one reference in ASEAN, but also outside the region, as ASEAN works towards becoming a global leader, as well as a centre for excellence on disaster management.
2017 in brief
Recognising the need to integrate DRR and CCA into policies and institutions in The Member States, JICA has supported implementation of a project for ‘Strengthening Institutional and Policy Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) Integration’.
Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister of **New Zealand** and Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that New Zealand has earmarked US$2.5 million to support agricultural development and food security in **Mindanao**. The New Zealand assistance will fund a project that is expected to reach at least 3 000 farming families in Maguindanao and Cotabato provinces.
UN report says natural disasters to become more destructive in Asia-Pacific without action on disaster resilience
Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and intense and disaster risk is outpacing resilience in Asia-Pacific, the most disaster-prone region in the world, according to the latest report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
UNDP highlights success stories in gender-responsive climate resilience
Women will play an essential role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, protecting our planet’s natural resources, and building a climate-resilient future for generations to come, according to case studies and analysis presented in a new Gender Impact website from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Ben Tre Province in Vietnam suffered a severe drought the whole year, leading the residents of two communities to lack access to clean water. Since July of this year, volunteers of Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation have begun to distribute 500 horizontal water towers to help them.
Tzu Chi volunteers once again came to An Hiep area of Ben Tre Province after their first water tower distribution here in mid-July. The 117 water towers that are placed on the sports ground of this junior high school are the gifts to local residents from Tzu Chi.
A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
VIENTIANE – Today, the Lao PDR Ministry of Health, jointly with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), launched the country’s first Fill the Nutrient Gap report. The report confirmed that despite significant progress, Lao PDR has some of the highest rates of malnutrition in South East Asia, with more than one third of children under five (35.6 percent) suffering from stunting or chronic malnutrition.
By Ganug Nugroho Adi
Residents of 13 villages in Kemalang district, Klaten, Central Java, are being forced to buy clean water, as the dry season has caused wells and rivers in the area to dry out.
The villages, which are remote and geographically difficult to access, have seen the price of water skyrocket up to Rp 300,000 (US$ 22.49) for each 5,000-liter tank. Clean water usually costs from Rp 100,000 to Rp 150,000 per tank.
In 2016, the central and southern regions Vietnam experienced their worst drought and salt intrusion in 90 years, 18 provinces declared a state of emergency at the same time. One million people were left in dire need of food assistance as a result, and close to two million saw their livelihoods lost or badly affected. The area known as the Central Highlands - one of the poorest areas in Vietnam - was amongst the most affected regions.
To address the impacts of drought, salinity intrusion, and flooding in rice production in the Mekong River Delta, a participatory climate-related risk mapping was conducted to develop adaptive measures.
Greetings fellow ASEANers!
The ”One ASEAN, One Response” vision, which has been shared amongst the ASEAN Community since 2015, is a comprehensive effort coordinated by the AHA Centre to help ASEAN Member States (AMS) respond to disasters as one and to establish mechanisms that reduce disaster-related losses.
From January 2015 to June 2017, a total of 39,375 children under the age of five years and 54,555 pregnant and nursing mothers were treated for malnutrition.
From January 2015 to June 2017, 327.3 mt of locally-produced Timor Vita, a specialized nutritious food for women, and 109.5 mt of Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food was distributed to 125 health facilities in six municipalities.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable rains boost prospects for 2017 main season crops
Rice exports in 2017 forecast to remain close to 2016 levels
Rice prices mostly stable in recent months
Favourable prospects for 2017 main season crops
This bulletin examines trends in staple food and fuel prices, the cost of the basic food basket and consumer price indices for 69 countries in the second quarter of 2017 (April to June). The maps on pages 6–7 provide impact analysis dis-aggregated to sub-national level.
Food Security Snapshot
- Cereal production in 2017 forecast to increase from last year’s reduced level but remain below average
- Cereal import requirements in 2017/18 forecast to decrease from last year’s high level
- Acute food insecurity persists in some pocket areas
Cereal production in 2017 to increase from last year’s reduced level but remain below average