On Friday 28 September 2018, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Donggala Region, in the province of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, causing extensive damage and triggering devastating mudflows and a tsunami. Over 1,200 people have been killed and more than 61,000 have been forced from their homes. Queues at petrol stations around Palu reportedly stretch for kilometres. Thousands of people have tried to flee via the city’s airport but only one flight a day is due to leave.
A three-person team of MapAction mapping volunteers in Indonesia at the the request of our partner the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre (AHA Centre) to help them coordinate the response. They will be ensuring that rescue and recovery workers have situation maps which are continually updated and reliable. We have also been providing remote support since the earthquake struck creating maps detailing essential information such as health and transport infrastructure. We’ve launched an appeal to fund this mission.
Catastrophic weather events have affected millions of people around the world in recent weeks. So far this month we have seen six named tropical storms in the Atlantic and Pacific, including three hurricanes and two super typhoons – and storm season is still far from over.
At the same time as the southern US was battered by Hurricane Florence just under a fortnight ago, parts of the Philippines were devastated by Super Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, which also caused widespread damage in Hong Kong and southeast China.
Mangkhut has affected over 2.1 million people in the Philippines, which is still recovering from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 in which over 6,000 people died. The latest death toll has reached 127, with almost the same number still missing, compared to four dead in China. More than 10,000 houses in the Philippines were completely destroyed by Mangkhut and over 100,000 others damaged. More than 50,000 people are in immediate need of assistance and, with damage to agriculture estimated at over £378 million, livelihoods and food security are of concern in the medium-term.
A MapAction member has been in Jakarta, working with emergency response teams at the head quarters of the AHA Centre (the Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as it responds to the emergency. Our latest maps show some of the impacts Mangkhut has had in the Philippines as well as the assistance currently being provided. We are continuing to provide mapping and information management support to support the recovery process.
Two MapAction members were in Vientane, Lao PDR, last week,working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre). They were helping to deliver an Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT) Pilot Course on Information Management.
This collaboration follows on from our recent signing of a Memorandum of Intent with the AHA Centre to formalise our joint efforts to help build mapping and information management capacity among humanitarian actors in the ASEAN region, as well as helping them prepare for disasters by putting in place essential geospatial information and resources.
Last week’s course provided our first opportunity to meet and work with information management teams in the region and MapAction volunteers Mark and Tony used the time to coach them on creating mapping products, as well as gain an understanding of their support requirements and working methods.
This work was made possible thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of a programme to improve the use of geospatial analysis and services across the entire humanitarian response sector.
We are looking forward to many more collaborations with the AHA Centre in future.
Last month, three MapAction members participated in an earthquake simulation training exercise in the Philippines.
The event was organised by the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), a global network of more than 80 countries and organisations under the United Nations umbrella. Around 500 people from 27 countries took part. The MapAction team provided maps and data to help the emergency response teams deal with the aftermath of the simulated 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila.
MapAction’s participation in the exercise was funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID OFDA).