We know all too well that disaster can strike at any time, in any place in the world. Some disasters make headlines; others do not. Here at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), we keep an eye on status of disasters worldwide and compile a list of the ones we’re tracking weekly, along with relevant disaster-related media coverage.

To stay informed, we invite you to check back every Tuesday for updates on new, ongoing and past disasters. Listed below is information about what we are monitoring the week of Sept. 16.

New or Emerging Disasters
Sioux Falls, SD – Tornadoes: Three EF3 tornadoes touched down in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Each tornado had winds of about 130 mph and made landfall within four minutes of each other. The first two tornadoes were on the ground from 11:24 p.m. to 11:25 pm and the third tornado touched down from 11:28 p.m. to 11:29 p.m.; eight people were injured although none seriously. There was damage to 37 homes and businesses, including a hospital.

North and South Korea – Typhoon Lingling: Typhoon Lingling made landfall on Sept. 7, causing extensive damage and destruction in both South and North Korea. In the latter country, five people were killed and three injured. In South Korea, three were killed and 12 injured. Although South Korea was hit first and the storm weakened before hitting North Korea, more damage was reported there, perhaps due to the increased deforestation and poor drainage and infrastructure. According to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency “…the typhoon left 460 houses and 15 public buildings destroyed, damaged or inundated in the country… 46,200 hectares of farmland were buried or inundated.” There are concerns that this could worsen the already severe food shortage.

Several Countries – Flooding:

  • Nigeria: According to UNOCHA, 600 homes have been destroyed, affecting 3,450 people in Nigeria. The facilities were located in two camps and a village that experienced extremely heavy rains last week.
  • Spain: Heavy rain began on Sept. 11 in southeastern Spain with nearly 16 inches falling in less than 48 hours in some parts. Rivers overflowed in several locations. Six people have died and 3,500 have been evacuated.
  • Mali: Flooding in late August in Mali has affected nearly 7,000 people. Over 850 homes were destroyed and food stocks were washed away.
  • Chad: It was reported last week that flooding in Chad in mid-August displaced 423 households.

Several Countries – Wildfires:

  • Bolivia: Nearly five million acres of forest and grassland have been destroyed in Bolivia since August, half of which are in “protected” areas due to their high biodiversity. Many of the fires are in the Chiquitanía which forms a transition between the Gran Chaco lowlands and the Amazon which has also been hard hit by fires this year. Scientists estimate the local ecosystem will need 300 years to regenerate.
  • Indonesia: Last week Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency indicated that 3,600 fires were burning across Sumatra and Borneo. Over 800,000 acres have been destroyed. Several countries in south east Asia are feeling the impacts of the smoke.

China – Earthquake: A 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit on Sunday, Sept. 8, in Sichuan Province in southwest China. One person was killed and 29 people were injured, two are in serious condition. The Emergency Management Bureau in the city of Neijiang says 17 houses collapsed and an additional 215 were damaged.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters
The Bahamas, Southeastern U.S. Coast and Canadian Maritime Provinces – Hurricane Dorian: CDP continues to monitor the impact of Hurricane Dorian, especially in North Carolina and the Bahamas. At least 1,300 people are missing in the Bahamas and 50 have died. In the United States, the scope and scale of damage is being assessed, including damage from the more than 20 tornadoes in advance of the hurricane. The area most impacted is Ocracoke Island in Hyde County where there was seven feet of water from storm surge. The North Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NCVOAD) estimates there are nearly 300 houses so badly damaged that the electric meters have been pulled. In Dare County, the damage has been assessed at $15 million. Minimal damage has been found in the Canadian Maritimes except for extensive power outages in some areas.

CDP has organized two webinars looking at Dorian recovery. The first webinar explored the major logistical challenges in rendering aid on small islands. The second webinar examined the impact and next steps for philanthropy in both the Outer Banks and in the Bahamas. For more information about the storm and support of recovery efforts, see the CDP Hurricane Dorian Disaster Profile and the CDP 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Ebola Outbreak: As of Sept. 15, there have been 2,095 deaths and the outbreak has now reached 3,129 cases total. See our CDP Ebola Outbreak Disaster Profile for regularly updated information.

Atlantic Hurricanes: Hurricane Humberto spared the Bahamas and the U.S. southeastern coast. As of Monday morning, it was approaching Bermuda and then is expected to head back out to sea. There is a system in the far Atlantic with a 60 percent chance of developing in the next 48 hours and 90 percent in next five days.

Multiple countries – Flooding:

  • Niger: Flooding and damage increased from last week with the government reporting on Sept. 10 that there were now 57 deaths, 12,000 homes destroyed and 132,528 people affected.  
  • Thailand: Heavy rains, especially those from storms Kajiki and Podul, have left 32 provinces flooded since the end of August. The flooding has damaged nearly 400,000 households and left 28 people dead.
  • Laos: Nearly 600,000 people have now been affected by flooding. Several villages are completely cut off due to high flood waters and 102,000 people have been displaced. The government reports that 37 homes have been damaged, 14 people have died (one additional is missing) and 370,000 acres of farmland has been destroyed.

What We’re Reading/Watching

  • When Hurricane Dorian Blew Through the Bahamas, it Exposed one of the World’s Great Faultlines of Inequality – The Washington Post: “Here in one of the Bahamas’ most exclusive communities, the celebrity homeowners arrived in private jets. The cooks and cleaners and construction workers caught the ferry from the Mudd. The Mudd, in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island, was an informal settlement, built with abandoned construction materials on low-lying, flood-prone ground, ravaged periodically by fires. It was an open secret: The rich and famous here were served by — relied on — the residents of what the Bahamian government called ‘an unregulated community.’ For years, wealthy visitors to Baker’s Bay could ignore the precarious living conditions in the Mudd. But now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, that’s no longer possible. The shantytown has been destroyed. Many people were killed; the rest are homeless. The devastating human toll has exposed an economic dependency — there’s no one to repair the mansions.”
  • Our Future After the Fire: Recovering Together – Action News Now: “When the Camp Fire hit, thousands of people lost their homes and needed food, clothing and shelter. The youth pastor at a local church organized people to help survivors in the immediate aftermath. Now – that group has evolved into a long term recovery organization.”
  • Bahamas – Hurricane Dorian Shows Existential Threat Faced by Small Island States Says UN – Floodlist: “The massive destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas over the last few days reveals the existential threat posed to small island states by the ongoing climate emergency, according to the United Nations.”
  • INTERACTIVENotre-Dame’s Toxic Fallout – The New York Times“The April fire that engulfed Notre-Dame contaminated the cathedral site with clouds of toxic dust and exposed nearby schools, day care centers, public parks and other parts of Paris to alarming levels of lead. The lead came from the cathedral’s incinerated roof and spire, and it created a public health threat that stirred increasing anxiety in Paris throughout the summer.”
  • And our good news story for the week Helicopter Pilot Discovers Villagers Stranded in Debris in the Bahamas – NBC News: “A helicopter pilot volunteering in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian was shocked to discover this week that an area full of debris from the storm was inhabited by up to 40 people.”