What we’re watching: Weekly disaster update, June 13

Crews are conducting suppression activities around much of the Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire perimeter. (Source: Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak Fire via Facebook.)

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 June 13, 2022.

New or Emerging Disasters

Tornadoes – U.S.: Severe storms and tornadoes hit several states last week. An EF-1 tornado touched down in Rush County, Indiana, on June 8, damaging five homes and at least two public buildings. Five small tornadoes were confirmed across Johnson, Republic, Marshall and Miami counties in Kansas on June 7, causing minor damage. On June 9, an EF-1 tornado touched down in New Jersey’s Camden County, with some home damage reported. In Miami County, Ohio, an EF-2 tornado heavily damaged a Meijer distribution center in Tipp City on June 8.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters

Wildfire – New Mexico: The Hermits Peak Fire was started on April 6 by a U.S. Forest Service prescribed burn that got out of control. The fire later merged with the Calf Canyon Fire to become the state’s largest fire in history. As of June 13, the fire had burned 320,495 acres and was 70% contained. President Biden issued a major disaster declaration (DR-4652-NM) for the state on May 4. On June 11, he amended the declaration so the federal government would cover 100% of costs for protective work and debris removal. The fire damaged hundreds of homes across 500 square miles in a part of the state where many low-income people live.

Monkeypox – Global: British health officials detected another 104 cases of monkeypox in England, where 99% of the cases have been in men, and most are in London.

Regardless of sexual orientation, anyone is susceptible to catching monkeypox if they are in close, physical contact with an infected person. Officials in the U.S. are attempting to balance the desire to warn gay men about risk while not fueling hate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 49 cases in the U.S. As of June 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were 1,285 confirmed cases reported from 28 countries in regions where the virus is not usually found. Other sources show even higher numbers of global cases. Since the beginning of the year, the WHO reported 1,536 suspected cases and 72 deaths on the African continent, where many countries have long experienced monkeypox.

Humanitarian Crisis – Ukraine: Since June 9, there have been more than 7.3 million border crossings from Ukraine since Feb. 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As of June 2, United Nations (UN) agencies and partners have reached more than 7.8 million people with life-saving assistance, a 3% increase compared with May 26. The World Food Programme (WFP) warned acute hunger globally is expected to rise by 47 million people if the conflict in Ukraine continues.

According to Candid, 866 grants worth $1,090,619,698 have been granted so far, with an additional 171 pledges worth $695,293,080. 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 June 13:

  • Worldwide, cases have surpassed 540 million.
  • There have been more than 515 million recoveries and over 6.3 million deaths.
  • The highest number of cases are in the U.S. (87.3 million), followed by India (43.2 million), Brazil (31.4 million) and France (29.8 million).
  • Worldwide, 66.3% of the global population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This number drops to only 17.8% in low-income countries.

Other notable news:

  • On June 10, the Biden administration announced it is dropping COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound air travelers from abroad.

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.

Here is some of the latest news the ERF team is following:

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.

Multiple areas of Somalia face the risk of famine (IPC Phase 5) due to severe drought, rising food prices and heightened conflict. The current “gu” rain season ranks among the top three driest on record. At least 3 million livestock have died in Somalia, and 7.1 million people are acutely food insecure, including 213,000 in IPC Phase 5. More younger girls are facing violence, and the drought has disrupted education for 1.4 million children.

In their May 2022 Hunger Hotspots report, WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) added Somalia to the shortlist of countries where “humanitarian action is critical to prevent starvation and death.” The report also says violence and displacement will likely increase around contested presidential elections in the coming months, with al-Shabaab likely to capitalize on the security vacuum.

The warning bells have been ringing for over two years about crisis levels of hunger across the Horn of Africa. A recent report from Oxfam and Save the Children says that millions still face high levels of hunger. It also notes that “hunger is not about a lack of knowledge, hunger is a political choice.” The report recommends supporting locally-led early warning and action, expanding social protection systems and localizing funding.

In late April, donors pledged $1.39 billion for drought response in the Horn of Africa. Yet, Somalia’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan remains just 18.3% funded. Immediate action is required to mitigate the loss of life and avert the risk of famine.

What We’re Reading

  • Most aid funds go to just a few disasters. What about the rest? – The New Humanitarian: Lesser-known disasters, many fueled by climate change, can have devastating consequences at the local and regional level. However, these disasters receive limited funding to support recovery and risk reduction.
  • UN: Climate shocks, war fuel multiple looming food crises – Associated Press: A report from WFP and FAO issued warnings about food crises “driven by climate ‘shocks’ like drought and worsened by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine that have sent fuel and food prices soaring.”
  • Funding needed for climate disasters has risen ‘more than 800%’ in 20 years – The Guardian: Last year was the third costliest on record for extreme weather events. According to a new report from Oxfam, “While poor countries appealed for $63-75bn in emergency humanitarian aid over the last five years, they only received $35-42bn.”
  • Indigenous farmer seeks solutions in drought-plagued Central Oregon – KNKX: Governor Kate Brown has declared drought emergencies in 16 Oregon counties. Indigenous farmer Upingaksraq Spring Alaska Schreiner said, “It’s imperative that we look for guidance from Indigenous people on fire management, climate change, water usage, how we grow our crops, when, why.”
  • Mixed Results: Assessing Philanthropy’s Year Two Response to the Pandemic – Inside Philanthropy: Mike Scutari shares insights and reflections on a report from CDP and Candid that looks at philanthropy’s pandemic-related giving in 2020. Scutari says, “The CDP/Candid report’s big-picture takeaway is that funders need to regain their 2020-era footing because the pandemic is far from over.”

As if trying further to cement their position as “people’s best friend,” a recent study found that dogs may be better at detecting COVID-19 cases than laboratory tests.