What we’re watching: Weekly disaster update, October 24

Flood damage in Bosconia, Colombia, on Oct. 23, 2022. (Source: Government of Cesar; @GobdelCesar 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 Oct. 24, 2022.

New or Emerging Disasters

Flooding – Colombia: One child has died due to floods in the municipality of Bosconia, in the Colombian department of Cesar, in the east of the country. Damages to vehicles and businesses were reported. The floods affected nearly 20,000 people, and the mayor of Bosconia declared a state of emergency.

Hurricane – Mexico: Hurricane Roslyn brought damaging winds and storm surge to west-central Mexico on Oct. 24 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and breaking up inland. Roslyn made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane at 5:20 a.m. local time (1120 GMT) near Santa Cruz in northern Nayarit. The storm disrupted power to nearly 100,000 people across the country and resulted in the deaths of two people. In southern Durango, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Nayarit and Zacatecas, rainfall of one to three inches was expected. Forecasters warned that landslides could result from heavy rain in rugged areas.

Tornado – France: A tornado left one person injured and damaged dozens of homes as it moved across northern France near Calais on Oct. 23. Electricity was down in the municipalities of Bihucourt and Hendecourt-lès-Cagnicourt, and about 50 homes were damaged in the latter. Local authorities in Conty and O-de-Selle said winds there had damaged about 60 homes and other buildings.

Previous/Ongoing Disasters

Flooding – Australia: A flood crisis continues in two of Australia’s most populous states, New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria. The recent flooding has killed five people and led to hundreds of people being rescued from rising waters. Some residents along Australia’s longest river, the Murray, were urged to evacuate as the river rose to around 311 feet (94.80 meters) on Oct. 23. Conservative estimates of crop loss in NSW are nearly $120 million (AUD$190 million). Already flooded areas remain on high alert as a weather system could persist until later this week and trigger riverbank bursts. On Oct. 24, the federal government said it would set aside $370 million (AUD$577 million) to accelerate the processing of relief payments.

Flooding – Missouri and Illinois: Months after historic floods tore through the St. Louis metropolitan area in July, business owners and residents continue with recovery but face challenges along the way. On Oct. 17, the White House announced a formal disaster declaration for St. Clair County, Illinois. However, flood-affected people have been frustrated with the delay considering Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s request for a disaster declaration was approved on Aug. 8. One reason is the higher threshold for a major disaster declaration in Illinois than in Missouri due to its larger population.  

In addition to the disasters listed above, we are actively monitoring the following disasters or humanitarian emergencies. For more information, see the relevant disaster profiles, which are updated regularly.

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.

This is one of the latest disasters the ERF team is monitoring:

  • A wildfire that sparked in a field by a combine devastated the small community of Wooldridge, Missouri, on Oct. 22. The wildfire quickly spread and damaged 23 buildings. No one was killed, but the entire town of fewer than 100 people had to be evacuated.

Complex Humanitarian Emergencies – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

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 post and tracked.

The DRC remains one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. The crisis is characterized by population movements, food insecurity, acute malnutrition, epidemics and protection issues. In 2022, 27 million people will need humanitarian assistance, 7.4 million more than the previous year.

Violence between the Téké and Yaka communities in Maï-Ndombe province has led to the deaths of dozens and displaced thousands. The violence is attributable to long-standing land disputes. At least 27,000 displaced people need urgent assistance in Kwilu and Mai Ndombe provinces. Heavy rains have made reaching safety challenging and have presented difficulties for humanitarian access.

In addition to ongoing insecurity and protection issues, about 26.4 million people in the DRC are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or higher). Driving factors include conflict, food cost increases, poor infrastructure and climate shocks affecting agricultural activities.

Funding for the world’s humanitarian crises, including in the DRC, is falling further than ever behind. As of Oct. 6, donors had funded only 37% of the country’s 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan. Nearly 82% of the food security cluster’s financial requirements have not been met.

What We’re Reading

  • In Ukraine’s liberated east, winter aid and heating worries – The New Humanitarian: A significant concern in recently liberated areas and across the country is how people will keep warm when winter begins to start next month. International organizations are distributing winterization kits.
  • Somalia faces worst famine in half a century, UN warns – Al Jazeera: The United Nations says a child is being admitted for medical treatment for malnutrition every minute in Somalia as drought worsens. The financial resources needed for battling hunger in the country has soared since the start of the year, from $1.46 billion to $2.26 billion.
  • Haiti on verge of collapse, NGOs warn as UN talks on restoring order continue – The Guardian: Overlapping crises are becoming deadlier by the day as armed gangs continue to blockade Haiti’s principal port and fuel terminal. The country is experiencing its worst hunger in history, the spread of a deadly cholera outbreak and an increase in sexual violence as a form of warfare.
  • NOAA winter outlook predicts another La Niña and no end to extreme drought – Yahoo! News: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s winter outlook says La Niña will return for the third consecutive year. The climate pattern affects the jet stream’s position, resulting in dry conditions in the southern U.S. and wetter conditions in the country’s northern half.
  • Wildfire smoke chokes U.S. Northwest, residents don masks – Reuters: Wildfires in Oregon and Washington are blanketing much of the Pacific Northwest with smoke. According to government data on Oct. 20, the 10 U.S. locations with the worst air quality were all in Washington or Oregon.
The shortlisted photos are out for the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and include a farting zebra, a standoffish penguin and a superhero squirrel.