Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (26 January - 1 February 2016)
Between 28 and 31 Jan, flooding was reported in both Sumatra and Java. Approximately 2,600 houses were inundated for days and at least six bridges connecting villages in Aceh were damaged. This is in addition to the 4,900 houses that were inundated the previous week and where water has now receded.
Local authorities reported no casualties and provided basic relief assistance.
2,600 houses inundadated
On 28 Jan, the Head of the East Flores District Government, East Nusa Tenggara Province reported severe drought as a result of prevailing El Niño conditions. Around 96% of the 250 villages in the district have experienced harvest failure. The East Flores Government confirmed the current drought conditions are comparable to the severe drought experienced in 1997. Local authorities have provided some water pumps as well as water trucking, focusing on water for community consumption.
240 villages with harvest failure
Forecasters are warning that El Niño drought conditions are developing across Micronesia affecting parts of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the northern Marshall Islands. In the Marshall Islands, assessment teams are being dispatched to the outer islands to verify reports and identify needs. In the Federated States of Micronesia, authorities are attempting to verify reports from Yap and Chuuk States suggesting water shortages are being experienced.
Investigations are underway into 17 deaths which could possibly be related to a recent rotavirus outbreak which now appears to be passing its peak. 3,660 cases of diarrhoeal disease have been identified in the Solomon Islands since the start of November, however the number of new cases being detected has decreased in recent weeks. The country’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services has been working to curb the spread of the virus with support from partners including WHO,
UNICEF and the Red Cross.
3,660 cases of diarrhoeal dissease
The agricultural losses in Zamboanga City attributed to El Niño rose to almost US$272,000 affecting over 700 farmers and 14,900 metric tons of crops including rice, corn and assorted vegetables. Out of over 700 hectares of agricultural land affected, some 650 hectares have no chance of recovery.
Cloud seeding operations to mitigate the effects of the persisting dry spell will commence in February with support from the country's weather bureau.
700 farmers affected
Drier than normal conditions are likely to ease over much of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. However less than average rainfall is very likely for the Philippines, Micronesia, and mainland SE Asia, which even during normal conditions, receives very little rainfall this time of year. Dry conditions are also predicted for Sri Lanka.
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