Tropical Cyclone in the South Pacific; Ebola Response and Food Security; Update on Flooding in Southeast Africa
Niko Brings Heavy Rains, Strong Winds to French Polynesia
Tropical Cyclone Niko, which formed north of French Polynesia on January 20, is still active in the South Pacific with maximum sustained winds at approximately 63 miles per hour (55 knots) (JTWC Warning #5). As of January 22 (2100 UTC), Niko is located approximately 276 nautical miles southeast of Tahiti and tracking south-southeastward toward the southernmost islands of French Polynesia (The Austral Islands), where as many as 6,000 people live. Heavy rainfall, strong winds and high seas are forecast to affect the islands along Niko’s path as the storm strengthens into a minimal hurricane before dissipating in cooler waters (NASA/ReliefWeb).
Closed Borders, Movement Restrictions Lead to Projected Food Insecurity in Countries Hardest Hit Ebola Outbreak
According to a report by the Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS) Network, food insecurity is expected to reach “stressed” and “crisis” levels by June 2015 for poor households across the regions most impacted by Ebola (FEWS). Fears related to the Ebola outbreak, as well as the closing of borders and population movement restrictions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, have led to disruptions in trade and crop sales, resulting in below-average incomes for households in the area. The 2014-2015 harvests are expected to be average to slightly below average, but with most agricultural households consuming their recent harvests, food security outcomes among non-agricultural households and those directly impacted by Ebola are currently more severe.
According to recent reports by the World Health Organization, the number of Ebola cases in the most intense-transmission countries is continuing to decrease (WHO). As of January 18, there have been more than 21,000 confirmed cases of Ebola and 8,641 deaths since the outbreak was first reported in March 2014.
Ongoing Rain, Chedza Exacerbates Flood Conditions in Madagascar; Malawi Starts Raising Funds for Flood Victims
At least 13 people were killed and more than 3,000 homes destroyed or damaged by heavy rains and strong winds as Tropical Cyclone Chedza made landfall in Madagascar on January 16 (NASA). As of January 21, over 117,000 people in Madagascar have been affected and 44,389 are still displaced due to ongoing heavy rainfall in the region (ReliefWeb).
Heavy rainfall also continues to affect people in Malawi. As previously reported on PDC’s Weather Wall, a state of emergency had been declared in Malawi due to ongoing flood conditions since December 2014. As of January 21, the number of affected people had reached 638,000 with 121,000 remaining displaced, 153 missing, and more than 50 others known dead (ReliefWeb). According to reports, “for the first time in Malawi’s history, a campaign is being started locally for the benefit of victims of a disaster” as several Malawi organizations are joining forces to start domestic fund raising for flood victims (ReliefWeb).
Current Hazard Warnings
Drought: Kenya (Northern), Somalia (Southern)
Biomedical: West Africa
Tropical Cyclone: Niko (Pacific)
High Surf: United States (Hawaii)
Flood: England (Midlands), Australia (Queensland, New South Wales), Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi
Severe Weather: United States (Southwest), Australia (Queensland), Kazakhstan (Northern), Switzerland (Southern), Canada (Northwest Territories, British Columbia, Yukon), Malaysia, Spain, France, Nepal
Volcano: United States (Hawaii)
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