IRI Climate Digest
Climate Impacts - August
Contributions to this page were made by IRI researchers
Dr. A. Giannini,
Dr. B. Lyon,
Dr. A. Seth
Africa - Central African Republic,Chad
Heavy rains in western Central African Republic (CAR) and southwestern Chad caused flooding during August (Reference Map). Bangui, the capital city of CAR, was among the areas worst hit by the flooding in the beginning of the month. As many as 20,000 people were affected when more than 2500 homes were damaged or destroyed in Bangui and the surrounding areas. Many of these homes were built out of clay with no foundations, making them vulnerable to flood waters. Climatologically, August is the wettest month in the region, bringing 240 mm of rain on average. According to FEWSNet, portions of CAR and Chad saw more than 200 mm of rain in the last two weeks of the month alone, which exacerbated the situation in the areas that had already experienced flooding and sparked a second wave of flooding during late August near Bambari. (AFP, ReliefWeb Map, OCHA)
The latest IRI seasonal forecast indicates a slightly- to moderately-enhanced probability of above-normal precipitation for the upcoming October-December 2005 season in CAR and southern Chad.
Africa - Sierra Leone
Heavy rains in mid-August produced flooding in several villages in southern Sierra Leone, which was characterized as the worst flooding there since 1945 (IRIN). According to reports, three days of heavy rainfall caused several rivers, including the Wanjei (Reference Map), to overflow (ACT). At least 20 people had been killed in the flooding, and as of the end of August, about 10,000 people were cut off from assistance, according to the Red Cross (Reuters). About 1000 houses have been destroyed, and hundreds of cattle and chickens had been lost. (ReliefWeb, IFRC)
The most recent IRI seasonal forecast indicates a moderately-enhanced likelihood of above-normal precipitation in Sierra Leone during the upcoming October-December 2005 season.
Asia - Thailand
Heavy rains during August sparked flooding in northern Thailand (ReliefWeb Map). The flooding, which began mid-month, affected more than 100,000 families and killed at least 11 people. The northwestern provinces of Mae Hong Son and Lampang were among the worst hit areas, although damage was also reported in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provinces. According to the IFRC, approximately 2100 homes were destroyed, as were thousands of hectares of crop land. (AFP, IFRC, Xinhua)
Asia - China
Provinces in northeastern and central China were affected by heavy rains (August 2005 Precipitation Percentile Map), flooding, and landslides in August. In the northeastern province of Liaoning, ten people were killed, 35 people were left missing, over 2.3 million people were affected, and as many as 30,000 houses collapsed after the worst flooding since 1995 occurred in mid-August, according to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs. Direct economic losses are estimated at USD 285 million, and about 188,000 people were left homeless (AFP, Reuters). Nearly continuous rainfall during the last half of August also resulted in floods in the central Chinese province of Hubei which killed 28 people and cut off roads, power, and communications (Reuters).
Flooding and mudslides during the summer rainy season cause widespread damage in China every year. Summary statistics released by the Chinese government for the 2005 summer season thus far indicate that at least 1024 people have been killed and 293 people have been left missing since May. Up to 900,000 homes have been destroyed, 10 million hectares of farmland have been damaged, and approximately USD 12.7 billion in direct losses have resulted from this summer's floods (AFP).
The most recent IRI seasonal forecast indicates a slightly-enhanced likelihood of below-normal precipitation along the southeastern coast of China for the upcoming October-December 2005 season.
Central America - Mexico
Above-normal rainfall during August contributed to flooding and landslides in the southern Mexican states of Veracruz, Michoacha and Oaxaca (Reference Map, Aug 2005 Precipitation Anomaly Map). At least 11 people were killed in Veracruz, where 25,000 people were affected and 56 municipalities declared states of emergency. Officials in the state of Oaxaca reported 12 deaths due to flooding. Dozens of people were missing and 5 people were killed after a river flowed through the town of Aguililla, Michoacha. A series of tropical depressions and Tropical Storm Jose contributed to the heavy rainfall in the region. (AP/CNN, AP, DFO)
Europe - Europe: Central,Europe: East
For the fifth straight month (see May 2005 CID, June 2005 CID, July 2005 CID, August 2005 CID), heavy rains have led to destructive flooding in Eastern Europe, particularly the countries of Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Torrential rainfall in mid-August (August 2005 Precipitation Percentile Map) also flooded sections of Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany, and the Czech Republic (Reference Map). At least 30 people in Romania and ten people in Switzerland and Austria were killed by the floods in August, and up to USD 1.56 billion in damage occurred in Switzerland alone (Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg). In Bern, Switzerland, and in areas of Bavaria in Germany, flood waters exceeded the record levels seen in the destructive flooding of 1999 (AFP), and restrictions were imposed on barge traffic on the Rhine River. Romania has been hit especially hard by flooding this year, suffering at least USD 1.9 billion in damage, even before the floods in August, and a total of at least 66 deaths (Bloomberg).
August rainfall in Hungary has reportedly been the heaviest in more than 30 years, and weather-related insured damage for the year had totaled USD 21 million by mid-August. Some provinces in the Moravian region of the Czech Republic have seen their worst flooding in 50 years (Bloomberg, DFO, DFO, DFO).
Oceania - Papua New Guinea
Heavy rains and high tides combined to cause damaging flooding in Papua New Guinea during August (ReliefWeb Map; August 2005 Precipitation Percentiles Map). The province of Bougainville was hardest hit by the flooding, but the provinces of Morobe, Gulf, Madang and Northern were also affected. Large crop losses have been reported in southern Bougainville, and the village of Vito, in central Bougainville, was "virtually destroyed", according to OCHA. As many as 13,000 people in southern Bougainville were affected by the flooding, with more than 1,300 people in urgent need of food and water. Food shortages have been reported across the area as stores, which have been cut off by damaged roads, have started to run out of food. (OCHA, IFRC, East-West Center, Australian Broadcasting Company)
The latest IRI seasonal forecast indicates a slightly-enhanced probability of above-normal precipitation for the upcoming October-December 2005 season in Papua New Guinea.
Africa - Africa: West
A cholera epidemic has continued to spread across 9 countries in West Africa (Reference Map; August 2005 CID). While Guinea-Bissau remains worst hit by the epidemic, cases have also been reported in Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Senegal, according to the World Health Organization. As of 1 September, there had been more than 31,000 reported cases and 488 deaths across the region; Guinea-Bissau accounts for more than 11,000 of the reported cases and nearly half of the regional death toll (224 deaths). The government in Guinea-Bissau has ordered a halt to all traditional ceremonies, as well as the sale of water and food at public markets in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease. Thus far, the country has received aid and supplies from Portugal, France and China. The WHO has warned that the epidemic will likely spread to Central Africa and, if the disease is not checked soon, then the number of reported cases could exceed 100,000.
Cholera outbreaks are not uncommon during the rainy season in the West Africa, but health officials have indicated that this year is particularly bad due in part to abnormally heavy rains and poor sanitation. It is also common for people to move in search of employment during the harvest season, and this migration will likely also facilitate the spread of the disease. (IRIN, Reuters/The Standard, IRIN)
The latest IRI seasonal forecast indicates a slightly- to moderately-enhanced probability of above-normal precipitation for the upcoming October-December 2005 season across the southern boundary of the Sahel.
Asia - India,Nepal
The death toll associated with water-borne diseases following the late-July flooding in the western Indian state of Maharashtra has continued to rise (August 2005 CID). According to a 17 August AFP report, 251 people have died from water-borne diseases, including leptospirosis, gastroenteritis, malaria, dengue fever and dysentery. Another 1070 people drowned in the late-July flooding or were killed in associated mudslides. Most of the deaths have been in or near the city of Mumbai. (AFP)
While below-normal amounts of rainfall were observed over most of India during August, heavy rainfall in the upper reaches of the Ghaghra River, particularly in Nepal, caused that river to overflow its banks in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh (Aug 2005 1-Month WASP Map). At least 300 villages along the Ghaghra River were affected by the flooding, and nearly 300 deaths have been reported due to infrastructure failure, drowning, water-borne diseases and snake bites. An outbreak of Japanese encephalitis has been a particular problem in the area as well. As of 14 September, 696 people had died in Uttar Pradesh, and officials in neighboring Nepal reported a death toll of at least 204 people. Health officials in Uttar Pradesh have requested assistance from UNICEF and WHO in controlling the outbreak. Encephalitis is common during the monsoon season, but the recent heavy rains and flooding have exacerbated the current outbreak which began in mid-June. (AP/CNN, WHO, AFP)
South America - Bolivia,Paraguay
Drought conditions in the Chaco region of Bolivia and Paraguay in recent months have led the governments of Bolivia and Paraguay to issue or consider emergency declarations intended to aid families living in the region. The government of Bolivia declared a state of emergency in the Departments of Beni and Santa Cruz (WFP), and will send aid in the form of food, medicines, and seeds to over 1,700 families affected by drought, fires, wind storms, and frost (Govt. of Bolivia). A declaration of a state of emergency in the Departments of Boquerón, Alto Paraguay, and Presidente Hayes in Paraguay is also under consideration (Paraguay Global, Paraguay Global). Aid in the amount of USD 467,000 is being sought to help over 20,000 indigenous people and 14,000 small-holder farmers to help supply medical aid and fresh water. Four deaths linked to the consumption of contaminated water have been reported in the past two weeks. A decline in summer precipitation (Oct 2004-March 2005 6-Month WASP Index; El Chaco Rainfall Climatology) has been blamed for contributing to the developing drought. There is also concern that forecast low water levels on the Paraguay River will lead to a large decline in barge traffic along the river by the end of 2005 (Jornal Correio do Estado).
Africa - Kenya
Portions of Kenya are showing signs of recovery from recent food insecurity (June 2005 CID Report), due in part to good long rains (i.e., April – June). Generally speaking, the western half of the country enjoyed beneficial rains during 2005 and has shown significant improvement in household food security, particularly in the northwest. Portions of eastern Kenya, however, exhibited a significant deterioration in household food security, particularly in northeastern pastoral households and localized farming areas in the southeast. WFP has indicated that 1 million people will still be in need of food aid between September 2005 and February 2006, a significant decrease from the July estimate of 1.6 million people. The USDA has estimated that maize production for the 2005-06 season will be approximately 40% higher than last year's poor harvest and 18 percent higher than the five-year average. (WFP, FEWSNet, IRIN)
The latest IRI seasonal forecast indicates a slightly- to moderately-enhanced likelihood of below-normal precipitation in eastern Kenya for the upcoming October-December short rainy season.
Africa - Africa: Greater Horn
Good rains since March/April have reportedly improved food security conditions in Ethiopia. According to FEWS, a good "belg" or minor growing season harvest, and good performance thus far of the "meher" (June-September) rains have led to a reduction of the number of people in Ethiopia estimated to need food aid during August to December 2005 from 3.8 million to 3.3 million (FEWS Net). In northern and central Somalia, above-normal rains during April-June helped to improve water and pasture conditions for pastoralists who have been suffering from years of drought. However, in southern Somalia, destructive floods and dry spells in the sorghum-growing Bay Region and along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers have reduced the estimated cereal harvest for the Gu (April-June) season to only 73,000 metric tons, the lowest level in a decade (FEWS Net, May 2005 CID). In Eritrea, it is estimated that about 2.3 million people are still in need of food aid this year (IRIN). And in rural areas of Djibouti, prices for staple foods and other items have been increasing rapidly. Livestock productivity has also suffered due to the late onset of the June-October rains, threatening rural food security (IRIN, June 2005 CID).
Africa - Mozambique
According to WFP, the agency urgently needs about USD 19 million for feeding programs for 430,000 people in central and southern Mozambique who have seen the price of the staple crop, maize, increase as much as 30 percent over last year. In May of 2005, the government of Mozambique asked for international help for 550,000 people after the loss of about 43 percent of the maize crop in southern Mozambique due in part to dry conditions during the 2004/05 rainy season (Nov 2004 - April 2005 6-Month WASP Index, IRIN, CNN, WFP).
River and reservoir levels in southern Mozambique are also much lower than normal due to the low rainfall during the past year (FEWS Net). The poor 2004/05 rainy season and below-normal harvest in much of Southern Africa is affecting food security throughout the region. About USD 191 million is needed to feed 8.5 million people in Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia from December 2005 to April 2006, before the start of the next major harvest (IRIN).
North America - Canada
According to Statistics Canada, grain and canola production in the province of Manitoba will fall by one-third compared to 2004 because of the effects of above-normal rainfall (June-August 2005 3-Month WASP Index Map) and flooding during the summer of 2005. The flooding, which began in June, delayed planting and substantially decreased the acreage planted (USDA). Estimates of the area of agricultural land in Manitoba left unplanted or abandoned range from 1.5 million acres (Canadian Press Newswire) to 2.5 million acres (Brandon Sun). The government of Manitoba has already paid CAD 57 million in agricultural claims this year and expects to pay out more than the annual average of CAD 100 million, although falling market prices make the final tally uncertain. In contrast, the heavy rains this summer may have contributed to excellent production further west in Alberta and Saskatchewan, in spite of damage otherwise done by flooding (see July 2005 CID).