Tropical Storm Barry, as seen by NOAA’s GOES East satellite on July 12, 2019. Source: NOAA

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 July 15.

FOCUS ON: Hurricane Barry
Around 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Barry became the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season and the fourth hurricane to ever make landfall in Louisiana in the month of July. After making landfall near Intercoastal, Louisiana (100 miles west of New Orleans) as a Category 1 storm, Barry weakened to a tropical storm.

Barry brought heavy rains, strong winds and storm surge throughout Louisiana, which caused flooding in several parishes. At least three levees overtopped in parishes south of New Orleans, prompting evacuation orders, blocking access to several roads and requiring people to be rescued. By Sunday morning, more than 150,000 customers across Louisiana were without power. Despite weakening to a tropical depression late Sunday afternoon, Barry continued to bring the threat of heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes as it moved north.

On Monday, Tropical Depression Barry moved slowly north through Arkansas. Much of Louisiana and Mississippi were still under flash flood watches, as were parts of Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and Missouri.

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of Tuesday morning, Barry is a post-tropical cyclone drifting across Missouri. The threat of significant flash flooding remains through parts of southern Arkansas.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters
India, Nepal and Bangladesh – Monsoon Rains: Storms and flooding devastated parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh over the past week. In India, monsoon rains have displaced nearly two million people in the state of Bihar and around 1.7 million in Assam. Landslides and flooding have killed at least 67 people in Nepal and displaced more than 10,000. Heavy rains also caused at least 29 deaths in Bangladesh, including in the overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps. The bad weather is expected to continue.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – Ebola Outbreak: As of July 12, the total number of deaths in the Congo are at 1,655 and the outbreak has now reached 2,477 cases total. On Sunday, the first case of Ebola was discovered in the Goma, the largest city in eastern Congo and a major transport hub. This is raising concerns that the virus could spread quickly in the city of 1 million people. Also, two Ebola health workers were attacked and killed in eastern Congo over the weekend, further complicating efforts to stop the outbreak.

See our CDP Ebola Outbreak Disaster Profile for regularly updated information. You can watch CDP’s Ebola webinar here.

Ridgecrest, California – Earthquakes: California residents experienced a 4.9-magnitude earthquake on Friday, July 12, just one week after the largest earthquakes to hit southern California in more than 20 years were felt on Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5. This latest aftershock is one of thousands that will likely be felt over the next several years.

Canada – Wildfires: Wildfires in Manitoba and Ontario have burned thousands of acres of land and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people. As of July 14, there are 20 active fires in the northwest region, seven of which are not under control. Smoke from the fires has spread over parts of southern Canada and into the United States.

What We’re Reading/Watching

  • New Report Predicts Six Major Hurricanes in the 2019 Season – Orlando Sentinel: “Meteorologists are predicting six major hurricanes to develop in the remainder of the 2019 season, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project. CSU defined major hurricanes as categories 3, 4 and 5.”
  • New Orleans resident worried about the storm: “Katrina left a lot of trauma behind” – CNN: I was interviewed in this CNN report on the impending storm…“One woman who lives in New Orleans said the possibility of another disaster is traumatic and stressful for people who lived through Hurricane Katrina. Tanya Gulliver-Garcia, who lives in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood, told CNN: ‘My biggest concern though is for my friends and neighbors, especially those who lived through Katrina. This storm is stressing them out. Trauma stays in your body and Katrina left a lot of trauma behind. I’m also concerned for those who don’t have the means to evacuate. Their choices were and are much more limited than mine. I have a network of folks across the country who would take me in at a moment’s notice and the ability to get there. Many people in this community don’t have that luxury,’ she said.”
  • Why Is Tropical Storm Barry Such a Threat? The Science Behind the Brewing Hurricane – Time“Several factors tied to man-made climate change are contributing to the urgent alarm over soon-to-be Hurricane Barry: unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and water levels elevated by a year of record rainfall.”
  • Rippling Rainbow Map Shows How California Earthquakes Moved the Earth – NPR“The map was created by the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It shows rippling rainbows forming a circular pattern around the faults of the two quakes. Each rainbow stripes means that the ground has been displaced there by some 4.8 inches.”
  • Southern U.S. Border Humanitarian Crisis Assistance Guide: “This guide was created to provide opportunities for Americans to assist in the migrant crisis on our Southern Border.”
  • In Puerto Rico, The Campaign for a Hurricane Proof House – NPR“In Puerto Rico, nearly two years after hurricane Maria, the need for safe, affordable housing is still a massive challenge. ‘We have more than a half million people affected. And we have to build, minimum, 75,000 homes,’ says Astrid Diaz, a well-known architect in Puerto Rico. She was part of a FEMA team that assessed the island’s infrastructure after the storm…But long before the storm, she urged residents on the island to develop a disaster plan and to make their homes hurricane-resistant. Since the storm, Diaz has a new project. She’s designed a modular home, resistant to hurricane-force winds that she says can be built for $30,000. Not coincidentally, that’s the maximum amount of assistance FEMA makes available for homeowners.”
  • Midyear Update: 10 Humanitarian Crises and Trends to Watch in 2019 – The New Humanitarian“From new trends in aid policy and climate displacement to political transitions in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, our reporting has examined the shifting terrain of humanitarian needs and response. Here’s what has changed through the year, what we’re paying special attention to, and how it may affect the lives and livelihoods of people on the ground.”