On 13 February 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) declared the ongoing outbreak of circulating vaccine- derived poliovirus in the country a national public health emergency. A total of 21 children presenting with typical acute accid paralysis (AFP) tested positive for vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cPVDV2) at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South Africa. The outbreak has been ongoing since February 2017 and the date of onset of paralysis in the last case was 3 December 2017. Three provinces have been affected, namely Haut-Lomami (8 cases), Maniema (2 cases) and Tanganyika (11 cases). The confirmed cases are distributed across seven health zones in the three provinces Haut-Lomami [Mukanga (3 cases), Butumba (2 cases), Lwamba (2 cases) and Malemba Nkulu (1 case)], Maniema Province [Kunda (2 cases)] and Tanganyika Province [Ankoro (7 cases) and Manono (4 cases).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has not reported wild poliovirus in the last seven years. The country reported the last case of wild polio virus on 20 December 2011, when a single case was confirmed in the Lusangl Health Zone in Maniema Province. (WHO, 16 Feb 2018)
Tropical Cyclone Gita passed by Samoa on 10 February 2018 and Niue on 11 February 2018, with damages reported in Samoa, including localized flooding. According to the Fiji Meteorological Service, Tropical Cyclone Gita is forecast to arrive in Tonga on Monday, 12 February 2018 in the evening. It is forecast to enter Fijian territory passing the Southern Lau Group on Tuesday, 13 February 2018. (OCHA, 11 Feb 2018)
A State of Emergency was declared by the Government of Tonga at 10 am on Monday 12 February for initially one month. In Fiji, a cyclone alert has been issued for the Southern Lau Island Group, Kadavu and smaller islands in Fiji where the cyclone is expected to be passing through these waters on the 13 of February. This will continue as Tropical Cyclone Category 4 as it approaches further South-West from Fiji. Whilst in Samoa, the Government of Samoa stated a Declaration of Disaster for 48 hours starting on 10 February. TC Gita caused extensive flooding in low lying, coastal and river areas around Savai’I and Upolu. There were damages on vegetation and power was also disrupted. There was widespread flooding especially in the Vaisigano catchment area. (IFRC, 12 Feb 2018)
Tropical Cyclone Gita continued moving south-southwest away from Fiji and Tonga. On 15 February at 0.00 UTC, it was located 460 km south-east of Aneityum island (Vanuatu) and had maximum sustained winds of 194 km/h...According to media, as of 15 February at 7.00 UTC, in Tonga one person died, 33 people were injured, 4 500 people were moved into 108 evacuation centres and over 2 700 houses were damaged in the two worst affected islands of Tongatapu and 'Eua (Tonga). In Fiji, media reported no casualties or injuries. The population of Ono-i-Lau (around 470 people) was evacuated into several evacuation centres inside the island. (ECHO, 15 Feb 2018)
Tropical Cyclone Gita continued moving south-southwest away from Fiji and Tonga. On 16 February at 0.00 UTC, it was located 230 km south-east of Mare island (New Caledonia) and had maximum sustained winds of 176 km/h. Gita is forecast to weaken and pass approximately 100-150 km south of the islands of Koutoumo and Pins (New Caledonia) on 16 February morning UTC. It might then pass west of Norfolk Island on 18 February and could reach New Zealand on 20 February. (ECHO, 16 Feb 2018)
Pacific Humanitarian Team professionals are supporting Government and partners in responding to the immediate health, shelter and water and sanitation needs of affected communities in Tonga. Essential supplies are being sent to support children to return to school and dignity kits for displaced persons. Assistance to support early recovery and education response is now being deployed (UN Resident Coordinator, 19 Feb 2018).
The Government of Tonga has published a Response Plan stipulating that around EUR 20 million would be needed to help the authorities recover access to electricity and potable water, as well as to repair road networks. The plan generally focuses on large-scale infrastructures. Meanwhile, the latest analysis confirms humanitarian needs in the following sectors: shelter and NFIs, water and sanitation, health, food security and livelihoods and protection, although information gaps and contradictory data remain. (ECHO, 22 Feb 2018)
In 2017, a prolonged period of severe dry weather between mid-May and end of July, intensified by extreme high temperatures in June, damaged large swatches of cropped areas and caused a severe deterioration of pastures and rangeland conditions. An estimated 80 percent of the country was affected by drought conditions. This resulted in severe yield and area losses of the 2017 crops...The 2017 wheat production is estimated at about 231 000 tonnes, almost half of last year’s high level and over 40 percent less than the five-year average...Drought also caused a severe deterioration of pasture conditions, which prevented livestock to gain fat stores and strengthen core muscle strength, critical to overcome the normally harsh winter/spring months. According to MoFALI data, as of November 2017, overall livestock body condition is 14 percent below average... Harsh winters following summer droughts significantly increase risks for herders to lose their animals. (FAO/WFP, 22 Dec 2017).
As of 20 December 2017, the dzud risk map for winter 2017-2018, published by National Agency of Meteorology and the Environmental Monitoring shows that about 40 percent of the country is at the extreme risk of dzud and about 20 percent of the country is at high risk of dzud. In order to reflect the evolving needs of affected population, to address the recommendation from the final evaluation of previous emergency appeal operation and with the additional funding from donors, MRCS and IFRC revised the operational plan and extended the timeframe. In addition to relief activities, the operation is now supporting Dzud preparedness and National society capacity building by taking account of close consultation with the affected population and relevant authorities. (IFRC, 24 Jan 2018).
On 15 February 2018, IFRC released US$ 277,000 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to assist 2,500 herder families facing very severe winter conditions in seven provinces with cash grants or emergency supplies. The emergency helpwill target the hardest-hit households, those with young children, or five or more children, an older person, or someone with a disability. A national total of 141 out of 330 soums and a city are in “dzud condition”; temperatures approaching minus 50 Celsius were expected to continue through February. (Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Change, 15 Feb 2018)
Heavy rains began pouring in Kinshasa province during the night of 3 to 4 January 2018 and continued until 7 January. The water levels of the 5 Rivers2 that cross Kinshasa province rose abnormally and the waters flew out of the river beds, causing flooding, landslide and silting in nine (9) communes of Kinshasa, namely Galiema, Bandalungwa, Selembao, Masina, Limete, Kalamu, Bumbu, Kimbaseke and Ndjili. The disaster caused the destruction of 465 houses, left 17 people injured, and claimed 51 human lives. In total, 15 743 people (2,624 households) were affected by the disaster in many ways.(IFRC, 19 Jan 2018)
During the morning of the 20th of January, intense rain resulted in an accumulated rainfall of 290 mm in Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña (Taking in consideration that the wettest month is January with an average of 100mm of rain), causing flooding that isolated zones across the city as well as cutting the electricity supply and causing the collapse of the sewerage system. Some homes and public buildings were flooded by between 10 cm and 150 cm of water. Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, which is part of the Chaco Province, is located 170 km from Resistencia (provincial capital) and 1,100 km from Buenos Aires. The affected neighbourhoods are: Santa Mónica, Tiro Federal, Ginés Benítez, Monseñor de Carlo, Santa Elena, Hipólito Yrigoyen, Sáenz Peña, Milenium, San José, Piñeiro, Nala, Pablo VI and Quinta Ocho...At the time of writing the present report, 1,134 people were sheltered in three evacuation centres, of which two have problems with access to water that is fit for human consumption and difficulties with solid waste management in bathrooms.
Due to this situation, some people are suffering from illnesses such as gastro- intestinal pain and skin rashes. People who are sheltered in some of these centres do not have access to sanitary services, and there are some temporary difficulties in accessing food due to challenges in accessing the region. (IFRC, 2 Feb 2018)
The water overflowed a ring of defenses 600 kilometers from the city of Formosa. In as much, in Salta the river continues in low, although there is alert by rains in the high river basin.
Some 2,500 people from 630 families of indigenous peoples who live in the west of the province of Formosa began to be evacuated this morning by the flood of the Pilcomayo, which exceeded the defenses, while in Salta the river is still low, although there is warning of rain in the upper basin. (Gov't of Argentina, 16 Feb 2018)
Since the first week of January 2018, Mauritius has been experiencing heavy rainfall over the island (over 2,000mm) within one week. On Saturday 13 January 2018, a cyclone warning Class 1 was issued for the Rodrigues due to the presence of a tropical disturbance near the island. The tropical disturbance was centred 230km north-east of Rodrigues moving west-southwest direction at about 15km per hour and was expected to increase in intensity with winds exceeding 110km per hour. On 14 January, the cyclone warning was upgraded to Class 3 for Rodrigues island which based on the trajectory of the cyclone, was going to be most affected. The winds were moving at a speed of 50km per hour with gusts of up to 120km per hour.
On Monday 15 January 2018, a cyclone warning class I was issued for Mauritius and on Tuesday 16 January 2018 a cyclone warning class II was issued as the Cyclone intensified and continued to move in a general west south westerly track at about 10 km/hr. Active bands passed over the island on the night of Wednesday 17 January 2018 as active cloud bands continued to affect the island.
The cyclone was projected to make landfall at 12:00 hours on Thursday January 19, 2018. However, the cyclone was downgraded to a tropical storm projected to make landfall as a category 1 tropical storm. On 19 January, Tropical Cyclone BERGUITTA, continued its south westerly direction and passed at about 70 Km from the south of Mauritius. BERGUITTA reduced its intensity and finally passed near Mauritius as a Severe Tropical Storm. (IFRC, 24 Jan 2018)
On the evening of 14 January, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS) raised Mayon Volcano’s alert level from II to III, signifying that Mayon has increased tendency towards hazardous eruption. On the morning of 15 January 2018, two lava collapse events occurred in the volcano, producing rockfall and small-volume pyroclastic density currents. Ash clouds were also produced with ashfalls reported in 29 villages (barangays) in the municipalities of Camalig and Guinobatan in the southwest of the volcano. Furthermore, on 16 January, lava flow and more rockfall events and short pyroclastic flows were also observed. PHILVOLCS recommended that the 6-km permanent danger zone and a 7-km extended danger zone be enforced due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows. As a result of the heightened alert level, precautionary evacuations have been conducted in 25 villages (barangays) in 3 municipalities and 2 cities. As of 15 January, a total of 5,318 families (21,823 people) have been displaced, with 4,134 families (16,877) staying in 18 evacuation centres. (IFRC, 16 Jan 2018)
On 22 Jan 2018, alert level-4 (hazardous eruption imminent) was raised over Mayon Volcano located in Albay province. The danger zone was extended to an 8 km radius, up from a previous 7 km where local authorities were advised to prevent any human activity due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows. As of 22 January, 7,900 families (30,000 people) have evacuated from seven Albay municipalities neighbouring Mount Mayon. (OCHA, 22 Jan 2018)
On 24 Jan 2018, the danger zone has been further extended to a 9 km radius. Around 60,500 people have been displaced and are sheltered in 52 evacuation centres or are being hosted by relatives and friends. (OCHA, 24 Jan 2018)
As of 29 January, nearly 90,000 people have been evacuated from their homes due to ongoing eruptions at Mount Mayon. The majority of displaced people are staying in 74 evacuation centres. Lack of drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene and dignity kits have been noted in areas where evacuees are staying. (OCHA, 29 Jan 2018)
As of January 30, Alert level-4 (hazardous eruption imminent) remains in effect over Mayon Volcano. The volcano is showing high levels of continuing unrest, with lava fountains and frequent ash explosions occurring several times a day, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) (OCHA, 30 Jan 2018).
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, 90,183 persons have been affected by the eruption, with 72,872 taking temporary shelter in 76 evacuation centers (Govt. of Philippines, 30 Jan 2018)
Mayon Volcano remains on Level 4 alert. As of 5 February, 86,000 people are affected, with 65,000 people staying in 59 evacuation centres. A total of 57 schools and 91,300 students within the 6-9-kilometer danger zones are affected. (OCHA, 05 Feb 2018).
As of 10 February, 88,500 people from 61 barangays have been displaced due to the Mayon Volcano, with most people staying in emergency centres. The Mayon seismic monitoring network recorded 108 volcanic related earthquakes as of 11 February that resulted in lava fountains. The Department of Agriculture has provided farm supplies and materials to 10,500 affected farmers. Medical missions and psychosocial activities, as well as food and non-food items, are being delivered at the emergency centres for displaced people. (OCHA, 12 Feb 2018).
As of 19 February 2018, a Level 4 alert remains raised over Mayon Volcano. Up to 90,000 people in six municipalities and two cities of Albay province are affected, with 62,000 people currently in 57 evacuation centres. The health department has deployed a team from the regional and provincial health offices to reassess the health conditions in evacuation centers, while NGOs are conducting psychosocial activities for children living inside evacuation centers. (OCHA, 19 Feb 2018).
At the start of 2018, temperatures are below seasonal norms in various parts of the world. In Morocco, starting from 5 January, temperatures are generally below normal. Heavy snowfall has affected the High Atlas and the Middle Atlas, from 900 meters above sea level, with temperatures as low as minus 5 ° C, where the average tempratures in January (the coldest of the 3 winter months) hovers around 18 degrees Celsius. This average includes a low of 7 degrees and a high of 23 degrees.
In the interior of the country, several roads have been cut due to snow, according to the Ministry of Transport. With its terrain mountains accustomed to very harsh winters, this area is the most affected by the cold wave that has raged between 5 and 9 January, 2018.
The cold also affects, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic coast. In Rabat, a hailstorm hit the city. An impressive amount of seaweed has been observed off the administrative capital. The heavy rains are greeted with some relief by farmers who were worried about the risk of drought. People find themselves isolated, the roads are cut, and farmers can no longer feed livestock at the foot of the Middle Atlas. (IFRC, 24 Jan 2017)
As of 8 February, a total of 43,896 families in 22 provinces have benefited from the foodstuff and blanket distribution operation, as part of efforts to open up areas hit by snowfall and a sharp drop in temperature.
According to data from the Ministry of Interior, this operation concerns a total of 514,000 people in 1,205 villages in 169 communes. (Gov't of Morocco, 8 Feb 2017)
The remote Kadovar Island volcano became active on 5 January 2018 with mild volcanic activity on the south-eastern side of the island. The aerial assessment estimated 50-60 percent of the island covered in lava. The entire population (591 people) has been relocated to Brup Brup island. Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) has assessed that there is a possibility for Kadovar to explode which could trigger similar explosions on near by volcanic islands of Brup Brup and Biem. This may also trigger a tsunami due to landslides. (IFRC, 9 Jan 2018)
As of 15 January 2018, there is an immediate need for food, water, shelter and clothing due to the evacuation of entire population of Kadovar Island to Brup Brup Island (population 1,400). The Prime Minister’s Office is supporting the provincial government to provide 2,000 people with food and water. Meanwhile, the Provincial Government is planning to evacuate the entire population of Kadovar, Brup Brup and Biem islands (up to 4,000 people) to a site on mainland East Sepik due to risk of tsunami, and the potential for a further eruption on neighbouring Biem Island. (OCHA, 15 Jan 2018)
According to the Provincial Governor, the Government is planning to resettle Kadovar islanders on the mainland for up to three years, and will provide support to those who are displaced. The National Capital District Commission has donated Kina100,000 (US$31,000) to the ongoing relief efforts while several private sector companies have provided in-kind contributions including flour, rice and sugar. (OCHA, 22 Jan 2018)
As of 26 January, the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory (RVO) has indicated that the situation on Kadovar remained dynamic but has settled into a reasonable stable situation. There remained a small risk of tsunami to the mainland and neighbouring islands should the volcanic structure collapses. The National Disaster Centre has developed a PGK4 million response plan ($1.21 million) to meet the assessed needs of Kadovar islanders at Dandan Care Centre for up to six months. (OCHA, 27 Jan 2018)
Madagascar is on alert following the identification of a low weather pressure system off the north-east coast of the country, which is expected to strengthen in the southwestern Indian Ocean basin. The weather system is already causing weather disturbances in northern Madagascar and on the islands of Réunion and Mauritius. It is expected to gain strength during the week as it tracks westward, prior to making landfall on Madagascar on 4 or 5 January 2018 (OCHA, 3 Jan 2018)
Tropical Cyclone AVA reached Madagascar’s northeast coast in the afternoon of 5 January. Heavy rains associated with AVA have been recorded in the north, north-east and east of the country since 3 January. Rising water levels have been observed in the Alaotra Mangoro and Analanjirofo regions, while flooding, interruptions to communications networks and power cuts have been reported in Fokontany Ambinany (Soanierana Ivongo). Preventive evacuations began in Brickaville on 4 January. The Malagasy authorities have issued a red alert (imminent threat) for the regions of Analanjirofo, Atsinanana and Alaotra Mangoro for 4 to 5 January, and Vatovavy Fitovinany for 5 to 6 January. In addition, several districts remain on yellow and green alert.(OCHA, 5 Jan 2018)
Tropical cyclone AVA continued moving south along the eastern coast of the country as Tropical Storm. On 8 January at 0.00 UTC its centre was located off the eastern coast of Madagascar, 200 km north-east of Taolagnaro city (Madagascar) and 800 km south-west of La Reunion island, and it had maximum sustained winds speed of 74 km/h (Tropical Storm). Over the next 24 hours, it is forecast to keep moving, heading south away from Madagascar and weakening. Heavy rain, strong winds and a storm surge could still affect southern and eastern regions of Madagascar. (ECHO, 8 Jan 2018)
According to the Malagasy authorities, as of 9 January, about 123,000 people had been directly or indirectly impacted by Tropical Cyclone Ava, with 24,800 people evacuated, 33 dead and 22 missing.
The cyclone damaged 19 health centres and affected 141 schools, including 77 classrooms used as shelter for displaced people. About 34,640 children are out of school.
Road access to some south-eastern and southwestern parts of the country has been cut off. River levels have started to moderately decrease in Antananarivo and in the south-eastern coast.
However, evacuated people are still staying in several temporary sites. Remaining displaced people are mainly in Antananarivo and in the south-eastern coast; while almost all displaced people in Brickaville and Toamasina have already returned to their homes. It is common that the number of displaced people reduces in the days following a cyclone, as people return home if there are no floods or landslide threat. (OCHA, 8 Jan 2018)