Inclement weather hit multiple countries in the Southeast Asian region during the holiday season. Disasters have displaced thousands while causing millions of dollars in damages. The early weeks of January are expected to be free from typhoon systems but monsoon rains are to continue per weather forecasts.
Damage caused by Typhoon Phanfone, locally known as Ursula in the Philippines, are still racking up despite leaving the country last December 28, 2019. Phanfone defied weather predictions, maintaining its strength despite making landfall 7 times.
The typhoon entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) before Christmas Eve, continuing along the Visayas and Southern Luzon region. At least 50 people have been reported dead including fishermen who were caught by the storm while at sea. 143 were injured while damages to agriculture and crops have been estimated to reach up to $46 million.
Phanfone exited the PAR after Christmas Day, and totally weakened and dissipated before affecting Hainan, China and Vietnam.
Casualties reach 20 in the worst flooding in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta since 2013. Monsoon rains have battered the city and is expected to continue for the next three days. Power has been cut to some areas for safety concerns while the Halim Perdanakusuma airport was forced to shut down due to weather.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reported prioritization of evacuation and safety procedures as well as coordination between city administration and the central government.
Casualties, missing persons reports, and injuries are expected to rise despite thousands of evacuees.
The Malaysian State of Sarawak is currently suffering from multiple flash floods and mudslides. Water up to half a meter, currently rising, is flooding the town of Sibu. Meanwhile, the City of Miri is hit by mudslides.
Schools continued classes for the first school day of the new year, with evacuation boats at the ready. Authorities are currently monitoring structural integrity of residential houses affected by mudslides, especially areas near hills. No casualties have been reported and all concerned agencies are reported to be on site.
The Sarawak region is Malaysia’s largest state known as a tourist and cultural destination.