What we’re watching: Weekly disaster update, June 6

Flood rescue in Cuba following heavy rain caused by Potential Tropical Cyclone One, which later became Tropical Storm Alex, June 2022. (Photo credit: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez/Government of Cuba 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 June 6, 2022.

New or Emerging Disasters

Floods – Florida: The state’s first tropical threat of the hurricane season brought heavy rain and flooded streets to South Florida. Miami received 10 inches of rain over 72 hours. After moving over South Florida, the storm system became a tropical storm named Alex, heading for Bermuda, where it was expected to bring 1-2 inches of rain on Monday.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters

Hurricane – Mexico: Hurricane Agatha, the first hurricane of the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season, made landfall just west of Puerto Angel on May 30. At least 11 people were killed following the strongest storm to make landfall in Mexico this early in the season. The hurricane affected more than 40,000 people and damaged roads and bridges. Villages in the region’s mountainous areas were hit hard.

Monkeypox – Global: The World Health Organization said there had been 780 confirmed cases in countries where the virus is not usually found. Other sources show even higher numbers. Infectious disease experts and scientists are searching for answers to why the virus made such a dramatic appearance in the last few weeks. The U.S. distributed 1,200 monkeypox vaccine doses for people who have had high-risk exposures to the virus. A large number of the cases have been diagnosed in the gay and bisexual men’s community leading to a mix of homophobia, gay panic and more reasoned health warnings from public health for men who have sex with men. The prevalence is based on where the cases started spreading – two gay raves in Europe – but the disease is not related to sexuality, except in that sexual contact is a means of transmission.

Humanitarian Crisis – Ukraine: As of June 1, there have been more than 6.9 million border crossings from Ukraine since Feb. 24, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. As of May 26, United Nations (UN) agencies and partners have reached more than 7.6 million people with life-saving assistance. According to UNOCHA’s June 3 Situation Report, “Humanitarian conditions worsen as civilians shelter without basics, including water and, in some cases, cannot be reached with aid and cannot be evacuated safely.” An expert report concluded that Russia is guilty of inciting genocide in Ukraine.

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 6:

  • Worldwide, cases have surpassed 535 million.
  • There have been more than 506 million recoveries and over 6.3 million deaths.
  • The highest number of cases are in the U.S. (86.5 million), followed by India (43.1 million), Brazil (31.1 million) and France (29.6 million).
  • Worldwide, 65.7% of the global population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This number drops to only 16.2% in low-income countries.

Other notable news:

  • A recently published study found that the death rate of low socioeconomic position American adults in 2020 was five times higher when compared to high socioeconomic position adults.

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 at least eight tornadoes in Minnesota following storms on Memorial Day. As many as 100 homes were damaged in Forada, a small town in central Minnesota.
  • The Memorial Day storm system also brought severe weather and heavy rains to eastern South Dakota. The NWS confirmed four tornadoes, including one in Deuel County that received a rating of EF-3. According to reports, there was some damage but no injuries.
  • The storms on May 30 also reached central Iowa, where significant damage was reported. On May 31, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a disaster proclamation for six counties: Boone, Des Moines, Hamilton, Ida, Lyon and Webster.

Complex Humanitarian Emergencies – Myanmar

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.

For the first time, the number of displaced persons in Myanmar has exceeded 1 million, including nearly 700,000 displaced by conflict since the military takeover in February 2021. Myanmar’s military seized power on Feb. 1, 2021, declaring fraud in the general election won by the National League for Democracy.

In May, fighting between the military junta and local resistance groups in the Sagaing region has fueled the recent surge in displacement. The fighting in Sagaing disrupts harvests and prevents crops from getting to markets, with devastating impacts on the local population. Although Sagaing contains the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) since February 2021, displacement occurs across the country.

The primary needs of IDPs include food, health care and shelter. Returning home permanently is not an option for many displaced persons due to the presence of armed groups or because their homes have been destroyed. Despite the unsafe conditions in Myanmar, authorities in neighboring Thailand have been sending thousands of people who fled violence by Myanmar’s military back home.

According to UNOCHA, the funding situation for 2022 is now “dire,” with the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan only 10% funded.

What We’re Reading

  • US foundations decrease global COVID-19 giving despite ongoing needs – Devex: “There has been a sharp decline in philanthropic giving for the COVID-19 response among U.S. foundations, especially corporate foundations — suggesting a drop in interest for pandemic-related funding, according to new data from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Candid.”
  • A ‘Perfect Recipe for Extreme Wildfire’: New Mexico’s Record-Breaking, Early Fire Season – The New York Times: The early start to this year’s fire season in the southwest reflects the merging of long-term trends, including an overgrown forest landscape parched by drought, warm spring temperatures caused by climate change and relentless winds.
  • A country-by-country guide to worsening drought in the Horn of Africa – The New Humanitarian: Around 17 million people are going hungry in the Horn of Africa, and aid agencies warn that the hardest-hit areas are threatened by famine. This piece describes what is happening in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan.
  • Ethiopia set a world record for displacements in a single year: 5.1 million in 2021 – National Public Radio: “Conflict and violence triggered over 5.1 million displacements within Ethiopia in 2021 — triple the number reported there in 2020 and the highest figure recorded for any country in a given year, according to a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.”

The United Nations has accepted a request from Turkey’s government that it be referred to as Türkiye (tur-key-YAY) as it is spelled and pronounced in Turkish.