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Jul
28
2016

Hazard Highlights

Warning-level Flooding Continues Across Three Continents

Flooding

The Global Hazards Atlas centered on Africa and displaying PDC Integrated Active Hazards and Rainfall Accumulation (7 Day). Intense rainfall can be seen from Myanmar in the east to the Atlantic coast of northern South America. Just off-screen to the west, flooding is also impacting Colombia.

For the past two weeks, we have watched the flooding intensify in India. Now, that flooding has become regional, affecting Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, while continuing to impact India. According to a report published on Thursday, July 28, on ReliefWeb, “Floods and landslides in Nepal and India have killed more than 90 people in recent days, with at least two million residents forced to flee their homes… Images released by the army, which is involved in the operations, showed villagers waiting on rooftops to be evacuated in motorboats.” (ReliefWeb) “An estimated two million people have been rendered homeless after the floods hit 3,000 villages in 21 districts,” Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal told journalists during a tour of hard-hit areas on Thursday.

To the east, in Myanmar, the primary impact area of the flooding as of Thursday, is the villages in Sagaing Division’s Kalewa Township along the Chindwin River. Tragically, according to another ReliefWeb report, “these villages are now experiencing a shortage of clean drinking water amid floods inundating homes and sullying water sources….” This flooding has been ongoing for weeks: “Our village has been inundated since 9 July and now we are experiencing a drinking-water shortage,” said one local man. “Now we have to take a boat to the middle of the river to fetch clean water.” Adding to their woes, and raising the risk of health problems, he added that many villagers are unable to boil water because of a lack of fuel. In addition to the ReliefWeb report, interested readers may want to look at the original one from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) because it includes links to many current stories of disasters in Myanmar (Burma).

In Africa, flooding is at warning level in both the eastern portion of the continent, primarily Sudan, and in the west, Burkina Faso and its neighbors. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s Africa Hazards Outlook for July 28–August 3 (CPC) gives this forecast for the flooded areas: “Torrential rain is forecast to continue over western Sudan and the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea….” The same Africa Hazards Outlook, mentions that the flooding in West Africa has continued and increased “over the past several weeks,” and then offers this look ahead: “During the next week, moderate to heavy rain is forecast… maintaining elevated risks for flooding over southern Mali and parts of Burkina Faso.” So, for these regions, there is no relief in view over the coming six or seven days.

Sudan, situated in a part of the world where armed conflict and the mass movement of refugees is currently in progress, is not particularly well equipped to handle disaster without these added stress factors, as you can see below.

Sudan 07-2016

Multi Hazard Risk

This Week in Hazards

  • There is some good news for Australia. For the past week, there was warning-level flooding in Victoria and Tasmania. Conditions changed such that the warning was allowed to expire this morning (July 28) and now the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, reporting for the entire country (BOM) says, “The following Watches/Warnings are current: Moderate Flood Warning for the King River, Minor Flood Warning for the Ovens River, Minor Flood Warning for the Kiewa River, Minor Flood Warning for the Latrobe River, Minor Flood Warning for the Murray River U/S of Lake Hume, Minor Flood Warning for the Thomson River.” Now, seven flood warnings may not sound like good news, but in this case it is. Conditions are greatly improved. Flood watches, less ominous than warnings, are still in effect for Victoria and Tasmania, as they are for New South Wales, and the national capital territory.
  • Two earthquakes of note have stricken very recently in/near Chile. The first, a magnitude 6 off the coast of Aisen, Chile, struck on July 27 at 1:25 in the morning UTC (9:25 p.m., July 26, Chile time). The second, a magnitude 5.6 hit 155 kilometers south southeast of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, on July 27 at 6:59 in the morning UTC (2:59 a.m., Chile time). It’s good news again: a search of all relevant web resources turned up no reports of damage or injury.

Current Hazard Warnings

Extreme Heat: United States (eastern states, California, Nevada, Arizona)

Flood: Sudan, Western Africa, Myanmar, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Colombia

Wildfire: United States (Idaho, Wyoming) 

Drought: United States (western and southern states)

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