What we’re watching: Weekly disaster update, April 11

NSW Rural Fire Service rescued a man in Kangaroo Valley south of Sydney after he was stranded in floodwaters on April 7, 2022. (Source: NSW Rural Fire Service via Twitter)

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 the status of disasters worldwide and compile a list of the ones we’re tracking weekly, along with relevant disaster-related media coverage.

Here’s what we’re watching for the week of April 11, 2022.

New or Emerging Disasters

Flooding – Australia: The third intense weather system in six weeks led to another round of rain and flooding on the east coast. Sydney received nearly a month’s rain overnight on April 7, and thousands of people were ordered to evacuate. The east coast has been impacted as a consequence of the La Niña weather phenomenon, typically associated with increased rainfall, for the second year running.

For more, see the 2022 Australian Flooding disaster profile.

Tornadoes – U.S. South: Three people were killed following the latest outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather across the South the week of April 4. Damage reports were received from several states, including Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on April 6.

For more, see the Southern U.S. Tornadoes – Spring 2022 disaster profile.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters

Tropical Cyclone – Mozambique: Cyclone Gombe made landfall over the coastal area of central Nampula province on March 11. As of April 1, Gombe affected at least 736,015 people, caused 63 deaths and injured 108 people. The provinces most affected were Nampula and Zambezia, and to a lesser extent, Sofala, Beira, Tete and Niassa. Following assessments, a total of 141,854 houses were damaged as well as 69 health centers, 1,458 classrooms and 21 water systems. Four out of five Mozambicans rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Agricultural assistance is needed to address food insecurity amidst conflict and climatic shocks such as Gombe.

Humanitarian Crisis – Ukraine: As of April 10, more than 4.5 million refugees have left the country since Feb. 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As of April 7, United Nations (UN) agencies and humanitarian partners have reached more than 2.1 million people with life-saving assistance. The Ukraine Flash Appeal is 59.5% funded as donor support continues to increase. However, there are still funding gaps.

According to Candid, 599 grants worth $700,690,634 have been granted so far, with an additional 137 pledges worth $662,691,350. Funders can share their grants data with them by emailing egrants@candid.org.

For more, see the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis disaster profile and Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund.

Worldwide – Coronavirus: 
Key facts as of April 11:

  • Worldwide cases have surpassed 499 million.
  • There have been more than 448 million recoveries and over 6.2 million deaths.
  • The highest number of cases are in the U.S. (82 million), followed by India (43 million), Brazil (30.1 million) and France (26.9 million).
  • Worldwide, 64.8% of the global population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This number drops to only 14.8% in low-income countries.

Other notable news:

  • The U.S. recently passed the grim milestone of 1 million COVID-19 deaths.
  • According to the New York Times, “Although caseloads have been relatively low in the weeks since the Omicron surge receded, the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant is contributing to a new wave in some places, especially in the Northeast.”
  • The island nation of Tonga continues to see the virus spread following the influx of humanitarian responders and increased cargo traffic following a volcano eruption on Jan. 14.

For more, see the COVID-19 Coronavirus disaster profile.

Complex Humanitarian Emergencies – Cameroon

Many places worldwide are experiencing emergencies caused by conflict, climate change, drought, famine, economic challenges and other conditions that combine to create a complex humanitarian emergency (CHE). CDP maintains complete profiles on several CHEs, which can be found on our website.

Cameroon continues to be affected by three CHEs – the Lake Chad basin conflict, the North-West and South-West (NWSW) crisis and the Central African Republic (CAR) refugee crisis.

Humanitarian needs are exacerbated by development weaknesses and chronic vulnerabilities. The impact of COVID-19 and climate-related crises also undermine resilience. The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is targeting 2.8 million people based on an analysis of the severity of needs and requests $371.5 million to meet these needs.

The situation in the NWSW remains tense with continued violence. The civilian population, as well as health and education providers, face high risks when accessing facilities or when delivering services. In early April, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) suspended its work in the southwest region as it calls for the release of four staff members who have been unjustly detained for months.

Humanitarian needs in the NWSW region include access to education, food and livelihood assistance, cholera treatment and gender-based violence prevention. As of March 31, there are 1,941,349 people of concern, according to UNHCR, including 477,318 refugees.

U.S. Midwest Low-Attention Disasters

The Midwest is regularly faced with low-attention disasters that affect people across the region. CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund (ERF) effectively funds efforts that catalyze equitable disaster recovery.

These are some of the latest disasters the ERF team is monitoring:

  • A wildfire in Beaver County, Oklahoma, burned at least 23,000 acres, which led to evacuations on April 7 for residents of Beaver and Forgan.
  • A separate fire in Harper and Woodward counties burned around 2,000 acres and attracted assistance from the Southwest Kansas Wildland Task Force.
  • On March 30, a tornado hit the city of Springdale, Arkansas causing damage and leaving several people injured. Now the city is waiting to learn if it will receive state assistance.
  • Funding spotlight: An innovative homeownership program funded by disaster recovery dollars related to the 2019 floods in Iowa will add 40 new and affordable homes to the Woodbine area.

What We’re Reading

  • Stopping Climate Change Is Doable, but Time Is Short, U.N. Panel Warns – The New York Times: A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says nations need to move away much faster from fossil fuels “to retain any hope of preventing a perilous future on an overheated planet.”
  • The future cost of climate inaction? $2 trillion a year, says the government – MPR News: According to the Office of Management and Budget’s first study looking at how unchecked global warming would impact the federal budget, the cost of federal disaster-related programs could rise anywhere from $25 billion to $128 billion by the end of the century.
  • As drought pushes east, more intense wildfires are sparking in new areas – CNN: 2022 is already proving to be a dreadful year for wildfires. As drought conditions expand eastward, landscapes in the southern Plains are primed for dangerous, fast-moving fires.
  • Fire danger is likely to remain high in Colorado this spring – KRCC: “The latest seasonal outlook from the National Interagency Fire Center – Rocky Mountain Area Predictive Services Unit is pointing toward higher than normal temperatures with less rain and snow forecast for this region into early summer.”
  • What we know about the deadliest U.S. bird flu outbreak in 7 years – CPR: The worst U.S. outbreak of the avian flu since 2015 has killed nearly 23 million birds, and the outbreak is driving up consumer prices for eggs and chicken meat.

A couple of weeks ago, I included in this section a story about the return of beavers to London after a 400-year absence with the aim of restoring habitats and reducing flood risk. Here is another story about beavers and their role in sparing areas of Colorado affected by wildfire in 2020.