REGIONAL: DISASTER RISK MONITORING
Following large-scale flooding in Colombia's northern La Mojana region that has affected more than 165,000 people, OCHA is providing US$2 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to the needs of 40,000 people. The allocation follows a 2021 disbursement for US$3 million that sought to provide assistance to more than 92,800 people. The allocation will support rapid response actions such as the delivery of food, medicine and medical equipment, health brigade deployments, public health monitoring and facilitating WASH access.
CUBA: OIL FACILITY FIRE
OCHA is providing an Emergency Cash Grant (ECG) for US$100,000 for relief items to support response to a massive fire at an oil storage facility in Matanzas, north-western Cuba. Firefighters have extinguished the fire at two of the facility's eight tanks and are working on a fire at a third tank. Officials say the fires no longer pose a threat to spread further or cause additional explosions.
The fire also prompted the evacuation of about 4,700 people and has led to at least 130 injuries and the deaths of 2 firefighters. Some 14 people remain missing. Authorities say there is evidence that environmental pollution indicators have decreased following initial reports that smoke from the fire contained poisonous gases and air pollutants.
ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON
The United States’ National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) adjusted their May 2022 Atlantic hurricane season forecast, which now projects a decreased likelihood of an above-normal season (originally 65 per cent, now at 60) and an increase in the likelihood of nearnormal activity from 10 per cent to 30 per cent.
The adjusted forecast nevertheless calls for 14 to 20 named storms, 6 to 10 of which might become hurricanes and 3 to 5 of which could become major hurricanes. Despite the slight reduction in projected activity, NOAA notes that there are several atmospheric and oceanic conditions that may yet favour an active season, including La Niña conditions forecast to remain for the rest of 2022, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active west African Monsoon and above-normal sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic.