Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (15 - 21 March 2016)

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 21 Mar 2016


A month after Tropical Cyclone Winston struck Fiji, the Government-led response has delivered life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of people. The first round of emergency food distributions reached more than 370,000 people and access to safe drinking water has been restored for 150,000 people. An additional 100,000 people still need water assistance.
Temporary learning spaces have enabled classes to resume in 95 schools. A State of Natural Disaster was extended for another month.


The country’s two most populous states (Koror and Airai) have implemented rationing to conserve its water supply as the El Niño drought situation further deteriorates. Assessments are ongoing and projections suggest rainfall will be below normal for the next two months, particularly in the outer islands.
The Ngerimel Dam has run out of water and flow from the Ngerikill River is very low.


Drought assessments are underway in Yap and Chuuk states where States of Emergency have been declared. Lack of rainfall has resulted in critical shortage of drinking water.
Assessment teams have been deployed to the outer islands of Chuuk, Pohnpei and Yap to further gauge the severity of the drought, identify key areas of concern and deliver essential water supplies.


A State of Natural Disaster has been declared in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in response to the El Niño-induced drought. More than 50,000 people are affected with the worst impact in the outer islands, with a population of 15,000 people. An updated nine month Drought Response Plan has been developed seeking US$9 million to provide support to 58 communities (1,831 households) in the outer islands. A total of 27 portable reverse osmosis water purifying machines have been deployed to affected areas.


On 13 January, the Prime Minister of Lao PDR declared a national public health emergency due to an ongoing polio outbreak. In the high-risk provinces of Bolikhamxay, Xaisomboun, Xiengkhuang,
Vientiane and Vientiane Capital, the number of people with acute flaccid paralysis (symptoms of muscle weakening which may be associated with the polio virus) increased from 11 to 72 cases during the past four months. Health authorities supported by partners have intensified polio vaccination campaigns across the country covering over 3 million people.


From 15 to 21 March, floods directly affected more than 17,000 people across eight districts on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan. The floods in Kalimantan and Java have been ongoing for the past two weeks – floodwater is slowly receding. Local authorities provided relief assistance to the affected communities.

The forest and land fire situation has improved compared to the previous week. The number of hotspots peaked at 11 with most located in Riau province. The Government has deployed thousands of personnel to contain the fires including helicopters, from the private sector, to areas which are inaccessible by land.


Armed conflict continues to affect various areas in Shan State. During the past week, more than 1,300 people were newly displaced following clashes north of Kutkai Township.
In February, 4,200 people were displaced in Kyaukme Township – over 3,000 people have since been able to return home. Of the 1,200 people who were displaced in Nahmkam Township (to Mong Wee village), some 1,000 people remain displaced. Local CSOs, NGOs and the UN continue to closely liaise with authorities on the provision of humanitarian assistance.

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