Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries continue to battle flooding as a result of prolonged monsoon rains, typhoons and storms. Torrential precipitation and overflowing rivers have affected over nine million people, in what are being called the worst floods in more than 50 years.
In response to these events Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has continued to work with local, national and regional partners to improve early warning and decision support for the affected nations. During this recent flood season PDC deployed VinAWARE, an early warning and decision support system which was specifically designed for Vietnam, based on PDC’s flagship technology, the DisasterAWARE platform. During this season alone, VinAWARE tracked Tropical Storms Nock-Ten (30 July) and Nesat (1 October); and Tropical Depressions Haima (25 June), Haitang (27 September) and Banyan (15 Oct), and also provided:
- 965 flood advisories, watches and alerts;
- 252 storm advisories, watches and alerts; and
- 2,212 high wind advisories, watches and alerts.
PDC has also provided direct support to Thailand this season through subject matter expertise, data collection, and by making analyses available to decision makers and emergency management practitioners through PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform.
For an overview of the flooding impacts sustained in the region see the following Situation Overview provided by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), highlighting the current status as of 17 November 2011.
The number of people now affected by flooding in Southeast Asian has jumped to 9.5 million people. Since June, almost 20 million people have been affected by the floods in five countries. The number of people affected has risen dramatically because the affected population in Thailand has doubled to 5.3 million in the last week, which is due to new areas in Bangkok becoming inundated, areas of high population density.
The Thai Government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are channeling water from flooded northern Bangkok into rivers to the east and west of the city center by way of which the water can drain into the Gulf of Thailand. The floods, which are the worst in over 50 years, have now affected some 5.3 million people and claimed 567 lives (34 since last Thursday). Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes and move into government shelters while as many as a million have become unemployed as the floods have engulfed factories and agricultural land.
Out of the 567 casualties reported, 81 have been children. UNICEF says most of the child fatalities, 70 per cent of which were boys aged 0 – 17 have been due to drowning. UNICEF pamphlets with information on practical and simple actions that families should take to protect the health and general well-being of their children during floods, including the prevention of drowning and other child injuries, are being distributed to affected communities.
The number of provinces still flooded has dropped by two to 20 while 44 provinces are now in the recovery phase (out of the 64 provinces affected in total). According to the Bangkok Governor the flood situation in Bangkok is gradually improving and all main streets will be dry in two weeks. Parts of the city could still be flooded next year according the Thai Prime Minister.
The floods in Cambodia are the worst in 60 years according to the Department of Hydrology and the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM). Three quarters of Cambodia’s land area has been submerged for months. Water is receding in some provinces but an estimated 30 to 60 centimeters will remain for at least another two to three weeks.
It is estimated that some 51,000 households (1.6 million people) are in need of assistance, with many of their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Nearly 20 per cent of this year’s rice harvest may be lost. Water is the main priority for people living in isolated communities. Children are reportedly falling sick and dying as a result of drinking flood water which is causing watery and bloody diarrhea.
As flood water in the Mekong Delta slowly recedes, government agencies, the U.N. and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organization (I/NGO) partners plan to conduct a joint in-depth assessment to look at any remaining needs/gaps and recovery activities, especially those in the livelihood and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectors.
According to the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control, as of 10 November a total of 85 people including 72 children have died as a result of flooding in the Mekong Delta since September. At this time the number of households remaining affected is 34,682 (about 173,410 people).
In Laos, flooding and landslides have affected almost half a million people, causing damage to over 64,000 hectares of farmland. The Government has conducted assessments of the impacts of the two typhoons that hit the country in July and August. Typhoon Haima affected six provinces covering 42 districts, 362 villages. More than 14.362 households (76,818 people) have been affected and 18 people died. Typhoon Nock-Ten affected 42 districts, and 884 villages. More than 35,980 households are affected (209,462 people) and 8 people died. The total damage from the two typhoons is about US$138.21 million.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the number of people still affected as a result of Typhoons Nesat (locally called Pedring) and Nalgae (locally, Quiel) is 990,705 families (4,594,901 people). Of this number, 482,827 families (2,097,532 persons) need assistance in varying degrees. Both national and local governments in the affected areas continue to lead the response and assist affected families with emergency relief items, including food. The two typhoons killed 102 people and left 28 missing.
PDC continues to monitor the flooding situation in Southeast Asia on a daily basis, providing flood warning information to both citizens and emergency managers via the DisasterAWARE Platform and Disaster Alert application for mobile devices.