Brazil – Floods 2024

Since April 29, Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil, has experienced heavy rains that flooded 452 municipalities. As of 15 May 2024, these floods have affected more than two million people, where 538,126 displaced with 76,588 in shelters, about 806 have been injured, 149 confirmed deaths, and 108 missing persons (Civil Defense Bulletin of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Issued on the 15th of May 2024).

In Porto Alegre, the Metropolitan Region, and the Vale do Rio Pardo, heavy and constant rains began in early May, prompting public authorities to declare a state of public calamity on 2nd May. The situation worsened on May 13, with a resurgence of rains and rising river levels, leading to the evacuation of many who had returned to their homes. Porto Alegre, with 1.3 million inhabitants, has 157,000 affected people.

This flood is the largest in the history of Rio Grande do Sul. By Monday, May 13, rainfall in Porto Alegre reached 341.7 millimeters for the month, exceeding the average May rainfall of 113 millimeters (National Institute of Meteorology Inmet). According to the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFGRS), the main concern at the moment is the further rise in levels due to rainfall and wind effects. All scenarios projected by the Institute of Hydraulic Research (IPH-UFGRS) for the next week indicate a prolonged rise in the Guaíba’s water levels, with a subsequent peak expected to exceed 5 meters.

The economic impact is significant, characterized by substantial damage to critical infrastructure and disruptions to food and water distribution systems. Over a million households are currently experiencing water shortages, and the isolation of Porto Alegre poses a threat to agriculture, which is vital to the state’s economy. Authorities have issued warnings of imminent food shortages and price increase that could have ripple effects across the nation. Please see the infographic of this disaster on https://reliefweb.int/report/brazil/maior-catastrofe-climatica-do-rs-abril-maio-de-2024-pt

Communities are devastated. The affected population has lost their homes, belongings, and livelihoods. Among the most affected populations are women from solidarity economic enterprises and their families, the majority of whom are women who already lived communities deeply affected by economic and social inequalities and in high-risk areas. 2,500 informal recyclable waste collectors, including women, lost their livelihood due to the floods in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre and the Vale do Rio dos Sinos. Many of them had their homes, which are also their workspaces, completely flooded and left in a hurry, leaving everything behind.

Households dependent on family and agroecological farming have had their properties flooded, losing production, many animals, and machinery, mainly in the Vale do Rio Pardo region. In quilombola communities (communities of descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from slavery in colonial Brazil and formed their own settlements), the situation is serious. Many are still stranded, without access to water, energy, and food. In the Machado Quilombo and the Quilombola Front of Rio Grande do Sul, a quilombola leader categorically stated that “97% of the area is a total loss.”

For this emergency, the Lutheran Foundation for Diaconia (FLD) is seeking, jointly with community associations, to provide direct emergency response to 500 families (over 2,500 people) in the sectors of food security (delivery of food items), WASH (delivery of cleaning and hygiene products), and Community-based Psychosocial Support (CBPS). As a context, a humanitarian corridor has been established in the city to transport essential items such as food, water, and medicine. Access to the humanitarian corridor for transporting food and essential items is granted to community associations, in coordination with the municipality. This enables the identification of the most needed items and ensures their delivery to the affected population, including the most vulnerable.

ACT Alert Brazilian Floods 2024

SAF 241: Drought

Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi are some of the most drought affected Southern Africa countries having received less than 20% of the typical rainfall expected during the last season. The poor rains have been attributed to the on-going El Niño Southern Oscillation effects (World Weather Attribution).

On 23rd March 2024, Malawi government declared a state of emergency in 23 out of 28 drought affected districts (afrinews) , in Zimbabwe on 4th April 2024 the president of Zimbabwe declared the drought situation in Zimbabwe to be a national disaster (BBC) while in Zambia and the drought was also declared a national disaster on 29th February 2024 as 84 out of 116 districts nationally have been affected (afrinews) by drought induced El Nino effects.

ACT Forum members in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia are planning to respond to the people affected by drought.

SAF 241 Drought Response

Indonesia- Mt. Ruang Volcano Eruption

On Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 02:35 WITA, Mount Ruang in Sitaro Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia erupted with a maximum amplitude of 55 mm and a temporary duration of ± 10 minutes. This eruption was a continuation from the April 16 eruption.

Based on the government’s report and initial assessment, recently, the disaster indicates a moderate impact and is categorised as medium-scale emergency. Around 20,000 people from 12 villages in Tagulandang Resort are greatly affected by this eruption. Communities within a radius of 4-6 km from Mount Ruang have evacuated independently, including those from Bahoi Village, Balehumara Village, Barangka Pahe Village, Mahangian Village, Tulusan Village, Lesa Village and Lesa Rende Village. People were displaced in Sitaro Regency and North Minahasa Regency.

Volcanic ash covered the roads and houses by 2-5 cm, hampering the activities of the community. It also covered several airports around the North Sulawesi region including Sam Ratulangi Manado Airport, Djalaludin Gorontalo Airport, Melonguane Airport, Siau Airport, and Naha Airport, causing access to the North Sulawesi region to be impassable by air for the next couple of days.

According to initial assessments, Food, NFIs, Health and protection are the main needs for the people in the IDPs camps. The ACTIF forum members PELKESI, YEU and MBM are operating in the areas and are planning to respond the emergency through the RRF mechanism.

Indonesia_Alert_Mt. Ruang volcano Eruption May 2024

Philippines- Severe Impacts of Drought (El Niño)

The Philippines is currently facing a catastrophic drought, one of the slow-onset effects of climate change, along with other climate impact drivers such as rising sea levels, increased precipitation, stronger wind patterns, and typhoons. This catastrophic drought is driven by the 2023-24 El Niño, which is, according to the United Nations weather agency, one of the five strongest on record. 

 Climate Change Commission defines Drought as a decrease of 21 to 60 percent in rain occurrences for five consecutive months, or below normal rainfall conditions for three consecutive months. Additionally, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geographical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported on March 25 that 37 provinces have experienced drought conditions (3 consecutive months of way below normal rainfall conditions/more than 60% reduction from rainfall average), 22 provinces with dry spell (3 consecutive months of below normal rainfall condition/21%-60% reduction from rainfall average) and 12 provinces with dry condition (2 consecutive months of below normal rainfall condition).  

 Five (5) provinces declared a state of calamities due to the worst effects of drought in their area, namely Occidental Mindoro (IV-B), Negros Occidental (VI), Sultan Kudarat (XII), and Maguinadanao Del Norte, Maguindanao Del Sur (BARMM). Besides these provinces, 34 local government units also declared a state of calamity. 

According to the data released by the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), as of 24 April 2024, there were 531,114 families or 2,283,636 persons affected in 3,053 villages in 11 Regions.

Food and other livelihood support is the main need of the time. It is expected that the need for food and livelihood support in the affected areas is going to increase. 

Alert Note by NCCP_Drought Situation in Philippines

Lebanon – South of Lebanon Clashes

The escalating conflict in Gaza that started on the 7th of October has impacted the whole Middle East region, with cross-border incidents into Lebanon. Daily clashes have been reported over the Blue Line, the demarcation line on Lebanon’s southern border since 8th of October.

As conflict at Lebanon’s border with Israel continues to escalate, the South of Lebanon has been heavily affected by the ongoing cross border conflict and spillover of the Gaza crisis, with frequent clashes, airstrikes and, military operations leading to widespread destruction and loss of life. The escalation of hostilities has forced thousands of families to flee their homes, seeking safety in neighboring areas, makeshift shelters within the region, or moving to other areas in Lebanon. Thousands have lost their homes, possessions, and livelihood assets.

As of 12 March, 91,316 individuals (52% females) have been displaced from south Lebanon due to the ongoing hostilities along the Blue Line.  It is estimated that at least 60,000 persons have remained in border villages and are highly affected by exchanges of fire while having lost livelihoods and income and the situation becomes more acute.

ACT Lebanon Forum members Christian Aid, DanChurchAid, DSPR- JCC, Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)  and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) are preparing an appeal for responding to the urgent needs with special focus on people who have been directly affected by the current conflict.

ACT-Alert-South Lebanon Response

DRC: Conflict and regional displacement

Armed conflict, extra judicial killings by security forces and political violence in DRC has caused massive displacement across the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is reported that there is visible movement of displaced persons from areas like Shasha, Kirotse and Sake towards Goma and the Uganda border point of Bunagana. The city of Sake has also been affected by bombs and there have been reports of human rights violations and gender-based violence against women and girls. Children have abandoned their schools; unaccompanied children are also observed in the streets and in the neighborhoods of the city of Goma and its surroundings as well as the city of Minova in South Kivu. The displacement is also caused by rising tensions with neighboring Rwanda on alleged support for militia groups.

In DRC the internally displaced populations are living in churches, schools, and open spaces while some of the most vulnerable are hosted by family and friends. In Uganda and Tanzania, refugees are settled in already established refugee camps.  Uganda received 2,551 refugees since January 2024.  As of 19 February, about 14,599 refugees are in Tanzania.

The forums in DRC, Uganda, and Tanzania are requesting to launch an ACT appeal to support the ongoing response in these three countries.

ACT Alert DRC Conflict

Chile – Wildfires 2024

As of February 5, 2024, a mega wildfire has devastated approximately 26,000 hectares. The affected areas include the provinces of Valparaíso and Marga Marga in the Quinta Región, where over 15,000 homes have been completely damaged. The combination of high population density in challenging terrains, prolonged drought, and soaring temperatures in Chile has greatly facilitated the rapid spread of wildfires. This situation is further compounded by the challenges in accessing affected areas and the limited capacity of Chilean institutions and emergency services to contain the fires effectively. UN Chile has reported that this prolonged heatwave commenced in January 2023, which has created the perfect conditions for the escalation of forest fires in this region of the country.

Current main impacts:

  • As of February, 372 individuals are reported missing, and it is anticipated that this number will increase. 122 people have lost their lives due to the fire. Furthermore, a total of 40,000 individuals have been significantly and comprehensively affected by the destruction of homes.
  • It has been estimated that affected residences in the Valparaíso region are up to 12,000 in Viña del Mar and 2,000 in Quilpué. Affected people would exceed 38,000 (approximately 31,000 people in Viña del Mar and around 7,000 people in Quilpué).
  • Besides the loss of lives and the devastation of residences, schools, and natural spaces, the impact extends to two ecologically vital areas: the La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve, acknowledged as one of Chile’s ten biosphere reserves, and the Viña del Mar Botanical Garden, a key green sanctuary in the region.
  • Severe impacts have been identified on critical infrastructure such as homes, businesses, vehicles, recreational spaces, places of worship, and educational facilities, among other aspects, being damaged or destroyed.
  • The population affected is facing considerable mental health challenges as a result of the loss of human and animal lives, the upheaval of their livelihoods, and the complete or partial destruction of their environment, surroundings, and homes.
  • Long-term solutions will be contingent upon political decisions by the Chilean government, while immediate and urgent measures surpass the current capacity of the government. This is evidenced by the significant involvement of private and civic organizations providing assistance to affected families.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH) is seeking to provide emergency response to alleviate humanitarian needs caused by the fires in three sectors: Psychosocial Support, Food Security (involving the delivery of food baskets), and WASH (with the distribution of hygiene kits and menstrual hygiene kits). An RRF proposal is being drafted with a budget estimate of approximately USD 150,000 for the successful planning and execution of the above activities.

ACT Alert Template Chile Wildfires 2024

Afghanistan – Afghan refugees’ repatriation response

On October 3rd 2023, Pakistan’s interim government announced the repatriation of “illegal” refugees and migrants, citing security concerns but were later also found to be targeting Afghan Citizen Card holders and even those with Proof of Registration cards. Since then, according to UNHCR, more than 450,000 people have returned to Afghanistan.

Afghan deportees are extremely vulnerable, particularly women and children are at risk of losing their lives in a harsh winter if left without adequate shelter.

In Phase one of the government’s plan, effective from November 1st, the focus was on “illegal” Afghans—those lacking documentation, possessing fake Pakistani papers, or overstaying visas. The subsequent phases are targeting Afghan Citizen Card holders and even those with Proof of Registration cards, although no specific timeline has been announced. A hotline established by the Interior Ministry has been encouraging reporting, leading to fines for landlords and firms employing Afghans without proper documents which has resulted in local law enforcement harassing Afghans indiscriminately.

The enforcement measures have raised international human rights concerns, and the situation is further complicated by the inadequate preparedness of Afghanistan to accommodate many deportees amidst existing crises.

From January to December 2023, 49,468 families and 283,029 individuals had returned to Afghanistan. In Nangarhar, 58,241 females (35387 children and 22854 adults) and 63433 males (40388 children and 23045 adults) have returned.

Whereas, till January 15th, 2024, 386 families and 1913 individuals have returned to Afghanistan.

Based on the initial findings of a Multi-Sectoral Need Assessment (MSNA) survey (please refer to the attached report) conducted by CWSA in Laghman and Nangarhar provinces.

100% of the people are reportedly food insecure and urgently need food assistance. Nearly all respondents i.e., 98% reported anxiety, uncertainty and insufficiency of food. 42% mentioned that they have no income, 37% mentioned selling households’ assets, and 21% mentioned humanitarian assistance as their source of income after the resettlements.

According to the initial assessment conducted by CWSA, the priority needs are;

  1. Emergency shelter (tents, as well as longer-term solutions to withstand winter),
  2. Cash assistance,
  3. WASH (latrines, potable water and storage containers),
  4. Food assistance and protection,
  5. Healthcare and medicines,
  6. Livelihood,
  7. Quality & accountability (Q&A)
  8. Education.

ACT Alliance member Community World Services Asia (CWSA) is currently working in Afghanistan and supporting the needy communities.  To address the urgent needs of the people repatriated from Afghanistan, CWSA is planning to extend support in areas of Nangarhar province.

ACT Alert Afghan Returnees

Indonesia – Lewotobi Laki-Laki Volcano Eruption

A series of explosive eruption from Mt. Lewotobi Laki-Laki occurred from December 23rd to January 1st, 2023. After the eruption on December 23rd, 2023, a crack was seen in the northwest of the peak 160 meters long and emitting thick white smoke with the height around 300 meters. On January 1st, 2024, at 00.03 Central Indonesian Time there was an increase in continuous earthquakes with an amplitude reaching 7 mm. A new eruption center was observed originating from a fracture in the south-southeast of Mt. Lewotobi Laki-Laki’s summit. The eruption occurred 1,000-1,500 meters high from the peak, the eruption ash column was white, grey to black.

Based on the government’s report and initial assessment, recently, the disaster indicates in a moderate impact and is categorised as medium-scale emergency. Nevertheless, there is a possibility for status raise since Mt. Lewotobi Laki-Laki’s was increased by PVMBG to Level III since January 1st, 2024. The local government of East Flores District has also declared a disaster emergency alert for 14 days starting from January 1st, 2024.

Indonesia forum is planning to respond to the urgent needs of the affected population with life saving activities focus on the most vulnerable population. ACT Alliance members including Pelkesi, YEU, MBM and CWS are currently working in the areas and planning to expand to the affected areas.

Indonesia_Alert_Lewotobi Volcano Eruption_2024

Jordan: Humanitarian Crisis

On 7 October 2023, Palestinian militant groups launched a major attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip. The attack included rocket barrages and vehicle-transported attacks across the border on Israeli communities and forces. In response, the government of Israel declared a state of emergency and war. The Israeli military retaliated by conducting a counteroffensive and an extensive aerial bombardment campaign on Gaza followed by an invasion.

This conflict created a short term crisis for families from Gaza Strip, around 115 families, who were visiting Jordan for family reasons, and university students, around 30 students, who is studying in Jordan and got stuck due to the boarder’s closure who were not able to return back to Gaza which forced them to stay in Jordan with no source of income required in paying their housing rent, securing their daily needs of food and non-food items, medication, and university tuition fees for the students who are already studying at the Jordanian universities and lost all financial support to continue their studies. Adding to that the crises created a negative impact on psychological wellbeing of those who got stuck in Jordan creating the feeling of insecurity and stability.

ACT Jordan Forum member DSPR is preparing an RRF for responding to the urgent needs with special focus on people who have been directly affected by the current conflict in Gaza.

ACT Alert- Jordan Humanitarian Crisis