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)
Most read reports
- Myanmar: Natural disaster risks and past events (as of 31 May 2016)
- Philippines: Drought and Dry Spells - Information Bulletin n° 1
- Leave No One Behind: Disaster Resilience for Sustainable Development - Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2017
- Philippines - Mindanao: Impact of El Niño (January 2016)
- Impact and Causes of Disasters and Migration in Southeast Asia
Enhance household food security and nutrition and reduce disaster risk through the promotion of conservation agriculture to reduce crop losses caused by the increasing frequency and severity of droughts (associated with climate change and variability) leading to a sustained increase in agricultural productivity.
4 106 smallholder farmers.
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A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
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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.
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