What we’re watching: Weekly disaster update, August 29

Rescue activities in flood-affected areas in South Punjab, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Punjab Emergency Services; 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, 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 Aug. 29, 2022.

New or Emerging Disasters

Tropical Storm – Philippines: Tropical storm Ma-On, known locally as Florita, made landfall in the northeastern part of the country on Aug. 25. The storm had sustained winds of 68 miles per hour (110 km per hour) and led to three deaths. The country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the storm affected more than 122,000 people, displaced more than 2,100 and damaged 72 homes. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. shut down schools and government offices in the capital and several provinces prone to flooding and landslides.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters

Flooding – Pakistan: Heavy monsoon rains have led to flooding and landslides affecting millions since mid-June. As of Aug. 25, the country has received nearly 15 inches of rainfall (375 millimeters), deteriorating the humanitarian situation further and causing significant damage. All four of Pakistan’s provinces are now affected, including 116 out of 160 districts.

The flooding and landslides have killed more than 1,000 people. In addition to the loss of life, 670,000 homes, nearly 800,000 livestock, more than 17,000 schools and 145 bridges have been damaged or destroyed. The government is leading the response with support from UN agencies and humanitarian partners. The UN is expected to appeal for international assistance on Aug. 30.

For more, visit our 2022 Pakistan Flooding disaster profile.

Flooding – Kentucky: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says more than $60 million has been approved for people that suffered losses in the record flooding in late July. Funds are also being raised across the state, such as the Kentucky Bourbon Benefit, which raised $1.4 million for the state’s Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund. Governor Andy Beshear and state legislators announced a plan to spend $212.7 million over the next six months to help rebuild affected communities. Displaced families are considering their futures, including whether to rebuild in place or relocate.

For more, see our 2022 Central Appalachia Floods disaster profile.

Flooding – Texas: Following the worst flooding to affect the Dallas metro area since 1932, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a disaster declaration for 23 counties. The heavy rain came when Texas was facing a severe drought. While farmers and ranchers welcome the rain, it may have come too late to make a difference for this year’s crops and cattle. The record rain revealed the need for improved flood plans, including communication with the public and stormwater fixes.

Monkeypox – Global: As of Aug. 26, 2022, there are 47,652 cases in 99 countries. The highest number of cases have been found in the U.S. (17,431), followed by Spain (6,459), Brazil (3,984), France (3,421) and Germany (3,405). The cases continue to grow globally.

Last week, health officials said monkeypox cases are declining in New York City and globally as more people get vaccinated and as they change their sexual behavior in response to the outbreak. The Biden Administration said the monkeypox vaccine supply is now sufficient to reach 1.6 million people at the highest risk of infection. Compared to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the early philanthropic response to monkeypox has been muted.

For more, see our Monkeypox Global Outbreak disaster profile.

Humanitarian Crisis – Ukraine: As of Aug. 23, there have been more than 11.5 million border crossings from Ukraine since Feb. 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. According to the UN’s Financial Tracking Service, donors have provided $2.46 billion to support the Ukraine Flash Appeal. However, less than $9 million has gone to national or local actors in the country.

According to CARE, national and local women’s rights organizations and women-led organizations are sidelined by humanitarian actors and need more volume and quality funding. CDP’s Strengthening Local Humanitarian Leadership Philanthropic Toolkit provides information about how funders can effectively support local response organizations in times of crises.

According to Candid, 1,390 grants worth $1,374,71,366 have been granted so far, with an additional 188 pledges worth $763,208,080. 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 Aug. 29:

  • Worldwide, cases have surpassed 606 million.
  • There have been more than 581 million recoveries and more than 6.4 million deaths.
  • The highest number of cases are in the U.S. (96.01 million), followed by India (44.41 million), France (34.78 million) and Brazil (34.38 million).
  • Worldwide, 67.6% of the global population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This number drops to only 20.9% in low-income countries.

Other notable news:

  • The world has reached the “tragic milestone” of one million COVID-19 deaths so far in 2022. The World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged all governments to step up action to vaccinate all health workers, older persons and others at highest risk as part of efforts toward inoculating 70% of the global population.

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

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:

  • The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed five tornadoes touched down in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota metro area on Aug. 27. The tornadoes caused concentrated tree damage.
  • Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has authorized state disaster assistance for eight counties following damaging storms between April 22 and July 5.
  • Feeding America announced initial grant awards as part of the Food Security Equity Impact Fund, totaling nearly $10 million. The fund was established “to drive investments to communities of color which are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity while honoring Feeding America’s commitment to advance equity.”

Complex Humanitarian Emergencies – Somalia

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, and what CDP considers Level 1 CHEs are profiled in this weekly blog and tracked.

A three-decade-long civil war, political instability combined with one of the worst droughts on record and food price shocks are pushing Somalia toward famine. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) says, “Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected to be widespread through the remainder of 2022, with more than 200,000 people likely to be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).”

In Somalia, the drought has displaced 1 million people, 7.1 million are now acutely food insecure, more than 3 million livestock have perished, and 3.9 million people cannot access enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. The drought is also increasing the risk of death and disease. Humanitarian partners’ ongoing response is helping to mitigate health consequences; however, people remain vulnerable to epidemic-prone diseases, particularly acute diarrheal disease and measles.

Food prices are increasing in drought-affected areas across the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, due to macroeconomic challenges, below-average harvests and rising prices for food and fuel on international markets. According to the World Food Programme’s price monitoring, staple food prices in drought-hit areas of Somalia have surpassed the levels recorded during the 2017 drought and the 2011 famine.

While resilience-building efforts have made important progress and continue to be required, the frequency and severity of droughts in recent years have made it harder and harder for families to recover between shocks. In the near term, 5 million people are at risk of starvation and additional funding is urgently required to prevent famine. Donors have recently increased funding for the Somalia response. However, around one-third of the country’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan is unfunded.

What We’re Reading

  • U.N. Faces Record Humanitarian Aid Shortfall — but Not for Ukrainians – The New York Times: Funding to alleviate the world’s humanitarian crises is falling further than ever behind what is needed. UN agencies and the groups they work with need $48.7 billion in 2022 to assist more than 200 million people, but so far, they have raised less than one-third of that.
  • Drought and the Ukraine War Are Pushing Somalia Toward a Catastrophic Famine – TIME: Drought has displaced more than 1 million people and decimated crops and livestock, the primary source of income for 80% of the population. Now, 5 million people are at risk of starvation. Short-term, lifesaving assistance is needed but also important is strengthening resiliency to climate change-fueled crises.
  • Nearly half the people in Ethiopia’s Tigray in ‘severe’ need of food aid, World Food Programme says – Reuters: The United Nations agency says malnutrition rates have skyrocketed and are expected to worsen. The nearly two-year conflict in the country has pushed more people into hunger, and insufficient fuel supplies make it difficult for aid groups to reach the population.
  • As Colorado River Dries, the U.S. Teeters on the Brink of Larger Water Crisis – ProPublica: This interview with Jay Famiglietti, the executive director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, talks about what comes next and what the public still doesn’t understand about water scarcity in the United States.
  • What would happen if Category 5 Hurricane Andrew hit Florida today – The Washington Post: In the 30 years since Hurricane Andrew made landfall, more forecast models are available, forecasts are improved and building codes are stronger and better enforced. However, southeast Florida may be more vulnerable to a major hurricane due to higher sea levels, a fragmented communications environment and more people at risk.
  • Barriers to talking about nonprofit failures and how to overcome them – Alliance: In 2020, India Development Review launched an initiative called Failure Files. Two years in, they share learnings about the perception of failure among nonprofits and philanthropies in India, including what needs to change.
The Texas drought revealed dinosaur tracks last week, belonging to an Acrocanthosaurus, which would have stood around 15 feet tall and weighed a whopping 7 tons.
Updated on 8/30/2022 with a link to the new 2022 Pakistan Flooding disaster profile.