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

Damage following flash floods in Ghazni province, Afghanistan on July 10, 2022. (Photo credit: Bakhtar News Agency 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 July 11, 2022.

New or Emerging Disasters

Flooding – Afghanistan: Heavy and unseasonal rainfall across central and eastern regions of Afghanistan on July 5 and 6 led to the deaths of at least 10 people and damaged more than 280 homes. The provinces most affected are Nangarhar and Nuristan in the eastern region and Ghazni and Parwan in the central region. The eastern region experienced flash floods in late June that killed 19 people.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters

Flooding – South Asia: Record-breaking floods in June affected 7.2 million people in Bangladesh, the worst floodings in recent memory in a country accustomed to natural hazards. The flooding resulted in the deaths of at least 190 people in the northern Indian state of Assam.

The United Nations response plan calls for $58.5 million to meet the food, shelter and sanitation requirements of 1.5 million people in Bangladesh over the next six months. Priority needs include food security and nutrition, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection in Sunamganj, Netrokona, Sylhet, Habiganj and Moulvibazar districts.

Bangladesh’s efforts to improve disaster management in recent years have contributed to the relatively low death toll from the flooding considering the significant numbers of people affected. Recovery will take time and considerable resources, and improved adaptation is also needed.

Earthquake – Afghanistan: On June 22, an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 on the Richter scale hit 29 miles southwest of Khost city. The earthquake struck at a shallow depth of only 6 miles in a region with buildings vulnerable to earthquake shaking. The multi-sectoral Emergency Earthquake Appeal targets 362,000 people across provinces in southeastern Afghanistan. A total of $110.3 million is needed to provide life-saving assistance.

Afghans are helping one another and supporting recovery in their communities. The country was already facing a humanitarian crisis with a struggling economy, displacement and acute food insecurity. In Khost and Paktika provinces, the hardest-hit areas, up to 50% of the population were already acutely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 or above) before the earthquake. Inclusive humanitarian support is needed for marginalized populations, including people with disabilities.

For more, see the 2022 Afghanistan Earthquake disaster profile. Donors can support long-term recovery efforts through the CDP Global Recovery Fund by choosing “2022 Afghanistan Earthquake.”

CDP hosted a webinar on July 7 to explore the impact of the earthquake and how funders can support immediate & ongoing needs. View the webinar recording.

Monkeypox – Global: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 767 cases in the U.S. As of June 27, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were 3,413 reported cases from 50 countries since January. Nearly all the cases have been reported since May, and 86% of confirmed cases are from the WHO European Region. Other sources show even higher numbers of global cases. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on July 7 that it would distribute 144,000 doses of the two-shot Jynneos vaccine. However, the vaccine rollout has hit glitches in New York City, where more cases have been recorded than in any other American city thus far.

Humanitarian Crisis – Ukraine: As of July 5, there have been more than 8.7 million border crossings from Ukraine since Feb. 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As of July 6, United Nations (UN) agencies and partners have reached more than 10.3 million people with life-saving assistance. Damages to civilian infrastructure are heavily impacting people’s access to essential services like water, electricity and health in the Donbas region. The war has displaced millions of children who need protection and assistance in dealing with trauma.

According to Candid, 1,002 grants worth $1,305,824,562 have been granted so far, with an additional 179 pledges worth $703,738,080. 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 July 11:

  • Worldwide, cases have surpassed 560 million.
  • There have been more than 533 million recoveries and more than 6.3 million deaths.
  • The highest number of cases are in the U.S. (90.3 million), followed by India (43.6 million), Brazil (32.8 million) and France (32.1 million).
  • Worldwide, 66.8% of the global population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This number drops to only 20.2% in low-income countries.

Other notable news:

  • The Omicron offshoot BA.5 became the dominant variant in the U.S. last week. Undercounted COVID-19 cases (especially because of rapid home testing and the lack of free PCR testing) leave the country with less information about transmission levels. As a result, the CDC is once again recommending that people wear masks indoors.

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:

  • Heavy rain on July 5 led to flash flooding in Albert Lea, Minnesota. By the following morning, the water was gone, but there was damage to some homes and businesses.
  • Damaging storms affected much of Montana on July 3, including flooding in Helena. Nearly one inch of rainfall was reported at the Helena regional airport in just ten minutes. Local businesses and public buildings were damaged.
  • An EF-1 tornado hit Grand Island, Nebraska, on July 4. The tornado had maximum winds of 110 miles per hour, damaging at least six homes.
  • In less than an hour, several inches of rainfall led to flash flooding in Box Elder, South Dakota, on July 1. Residents continued with cleanup this past week. For some, this was the second time their home was flooded in a month.

Complex Humanitarian Emergencies –Central African Republic (CAR)

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.

Chronic violence, persistent shocks and the breakdown of essential services have significantly worsened the living conditions of Central Africans. In 2022, 3.1 million people, 63% of the population, will need humanitarian assistance and protection.

After several years of displacement, humanitarian actors and partners are helping internally displaced persons and refugees rebuild their lives. In April, ministers from seven countries signed a new declaration that aims to establish a regional coordination mechanism for advancing solutions to one of the continent’s largest displacement crises.

Food security is expected to worsen during the lean season months of April to September as prices continue to rise, supplies are limited and fuel shortages continue. Prices of imported staple foods, including rice, white beans and oil, continue to rise. The increase in prices results from restrictions on the sale of products by Cameroon and the impact of high global prices for agricultural materials and fuel from the war in Ukraine. Ongoing violence and a challenging security situation continue to displace people and disrupt livelihoods.

CAR has one of the highest proportions of critically food-insecure people in the world, with 50% of the population not eating enough. The country’s food insecurity crisis is similar to Yemen, South Sudan and Afghanistan in terms of the proportion of the population acutely food insecure. The UN says it needs $68.4 million to help 2.2 million people in CAR.

What We’re Reading

  • Ukraine’s shadow: Deadly crises like Somalia starved of aid – The Associated Press: “This year’s global shift in money and attention is perhaps most urgently felt in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia and Kenya, where some areas could be declared in famine within weeks. The United States Agency for International Development says regional authorities haven’t seen anything on this scale in well over 100 years.”
  • Famine: what is it, where will it strike and how should the world respond? – The Guardian: The world is experiencing an unprecedented hunger crisis. For example, 7 million people in Somalia will likely face acute food insecurity between June and September this year. Increased funding is urgently required so humanitarian actors can act early to save lives.
  • How the focus on Ukraine is hurting other humanitarian responses – The New Humanitarian: “Despite increasingly urgent fundraising campaigns for countries on the brink of disaster, political interest remains fixed on Ukraine, with donor pledges following suit – even though many senior humanitarian figures argue that funds are now more urgently needed elsewhere.”
  • Climate change is making flooding worse: 3 reasons the world is seeing more record-breaking deluges – The Conversation: More intense precipitation, shifting snow and rain patterns and the effects of wildfires on the landscape are behind the higher flood risks in mountainous regions due to climate change.
  • World Bank approves creation of ‘ambitious’ pandemic preparedness fund – Devex: The prevention, preparedness and response financial intermediary fund (FIF) will pool public and private money. It was launched with more than $1.1 billion pledged. The World Bank and World Health Organization say $10.5 billion is needed annually to help lower- and middle-income countries prevent and prepare for future pandemics.

The “beach animal” creations of Dutch artist Theo Jansen blend the disciplines of art and engineering, bringing the artificial to life.