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Latest humanitarian snapshot highlights Cyclone Zena, drought conditions in India and Sri Lanka

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From 4 to 8 April, a series of tropical depressions and the passage of Tropical Cyclone Zena near the island of Viti Levu caused widespread flooding, further compounding the impact of Cyclone Winston which struck the Fijian islands in February. Three fatalities were reported and more than 12,000 people sheltered in evacuation centres. The floods washed away seeds planted after Cyclone Winston, increasing the country’s vulnerability to food insecurity in the coming months.

The risk of mosquito and water-borne diseases is also heightened. Since January, health authorities confirmed 13 cases of the Zika virus in Fiji.


Several states in eastern India, including parts of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh, continue to suffer the impact of drought related to erratic and below-normal rainfall during the 2015 South-West Monsoon season (June to September). Primarily affecting rural areas and small farmers, crop damage ranges from one third to half of crops.

The central and state governments have allocated more than US$ 390 million to support drought relief since November 2015, primarily for seed distribution as well as extending the number of work days guaranteed under the Mahatma Ghandi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from 100 to 150 or 200 days. The MGNREGA primarily benefits women in rural households.


On 10 and 11 April, eruptions of Mt. Bromo, an active volcano in Malang city, East Java province, forced closure of the Abdulrachman Saleh Airport. The volcano alert status is maintained at Level II.
In Karo, North Sumatra province, Mt. Sinabung continues to erupt. Some 9,300 people (2,600 families) remain in IDP sites where they have been living since the beginning of June 2015. An additional 4,970 people (1,680 families) are staying in temporary housing waiting to be relocated. Relocation is hindered by lack of available land and livelihood.


The national weather bureau has forecasted a high probability of below normal rainfall in April across Sri Lanka. Prolonged dry weather has triggered drought conditions in Mannar District, Northern Province, affecting some 3,600 families (15,000 people) – 15 per cent of the total district population. The Disaster Management Centre reported that water supply is urgently needed as affected families travel around 3 km to water sources.

District authorities are providing water trucking services. To date, there is no request for additional assistance from humanitarian partners. While Mannar is generally an arid zone, the lack of rain has further exacerbated the situation.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.