HAMNET Report 8th December 2019

Climate-fuelled disasters are forcing 20 million people to flee their homes each year, which is equivalent to one person every two seconds, a new report finds. The analysis found that floods, cyclones and wildfires are more likely to displace humans when compared to geophysical disasters or conflict.

While no one is immune to a changing world, the report discovered it is poor countries that are most at risk – even though they contribute the least amount to global carbon pollution.

The shocking report was released on Monday by Oxfam International, a charitable organization that focuses on the alleviation of global poverty.

The document, called ‘Forced from Home’, highlights statistics of climate related weather disasters that are pushing people out of their homes, which have increased five-fold over the last decade.

The group is now calling for ‘more urgent and ambitious emissions reductions to minimize the impact of the crisis on people’s lives, and the establishment of a new ‘Loss and Damage’ finance facility to help communities recover and rebuild.’

The report notes that people are seven times more likely to be displaced by cyclones, floods and wildfires than they are by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and three times more likely than by conflict.

Approximately 95 percent of people were forced to move due to tropical cyclones and storms from 2008 through 2018.  While no one is immune, people in poor countries are most at risk, the report warns,

‘People in low and lower-middle income countries such as India, Nigeria and Bolivia are over four times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather disasters than people in rich countries such as the United States,’ reads the document.

Chema Vera, Acting Executive Director of Oxfam International said:

‘Our governments are fuelling a crisis that is driving millions of women, men and children from their homes and the poorest people in the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price.’

The report notes that wealthy countries are burdening the poor ones with the cost of these disasters. The Oxfam analysis shows that economic losses from extreme weather disasters over the last decade were, on average, equivalent to two percent of affected countries’ national income.

Thank you to MailOnLine for this excerpt from their report.

Since Tuesday of this week, the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) has been reporting daily on the progress of Tropical Cyclone Kammuri-19 from East to West across the central parts of the Philippines. Wind speeds of 120 kph were expected to affect 4.7 million people, since the path of the cyclone was more predictable.

Greg Mossop G0DUB reported that he had been informed on Tuesday by Dani YB2TJV that the frequencies of 7090, 7095 and 7110 kHz were being used for emergency communications there. Dani requested all regions to be aware of these uses, and please to steer clear of the frequencies.

By Friday, Dani had informed Greg that Kammuri had crossed the Philippines, leaving behind severe flooding in the northernmost parts of Luzon (call area DU2), and that only 7095 kHz was being monitored by the HERO Net. Presumably, reports of damage and destruction will start coming in over this weekend.

Upon the request of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), the IARU tasked Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ and Leon Lessing ZS6LMG to attend the African Telecoms/ ICT Day 2019 commemorative workshop in Maputo, Mozambique from 5 to 7 December 2019.

The theme of the workshop was “Using Technology to Save Lives: Emergency Communications for Disaster Risk Reductions and Management”.

The aim of the workshop was to identify ways technology can be used to mitigate future disasters like Cyclone Idai and Kenneth,  that struck Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi earlier in the year. Some of these countries were without communications of any sort for up to 10 days, which is a major catastrophe.

Brian and Leon provided two presentations at the workshop that were prepared under the leadership of Don Beattie G3BJ the IARU Region 1 President and Hans Welens-Vrijdaghs ON6WQ the Region 1 STARS Working Group Chairman.

The first presentation presented by Brian discussed what amateur radio is, the role and value of amateur radio in an emergency, and where all other communications systems have failed.

This presentation was so well received, that the Mozambiquan regulator overnight initiated contact with the Mozambique Amateur Radio Society that had stopped functioning, and will now assist them to get on their feet again and to be in a position to assist the Republic of Mozambique with emergency communications.

Leon introduced the IARU STARS program to assist the ATU member states in re-initiating amateur radio or establishing amateur radio within their respective countries. Again this was very well received and after this presentation the Ugandan delegation requested information about their member society so that they could make contact with them and ensure that amateur radio takes its rightful place in the Ugandan emergency communications plans.

The Member of Parliament leading the delegation from Sierre Leone also requested information about their amateur radio society as they saw the value that amateur radio offers the country in times of emergency.

The workshop resulted in a strategy document with definite goals, outcomes and time lines for the ATU and Member States to develop cooperative and harmonised communications solutions encompassing all forms of telecommunications across all the African Regions.

These include the following technical areas:

  • Disaster and emergency telecommunications capacity and strengthening.
  • Radio Spectrum Management (emergency/universal) frequency harmonisation for Public Protection Disaster Response (PPDR), including free of cost allocation for the foregoing.
  • Regional equipment type specification and approval and licensing.
  • Cross-border customs and immigration arrangements and protocols for disaster personnel and emergency equipment.
  • A Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).
  • Regional Early Warning Systems (EWS).
  • A National Emergency Telecommunications Plan (NETP).
  • The Tampere Convention, including ATU Member States ratification, and the application of the relevant parts of the agreement.

The contribution from the IARU/SARL/HAMNET team was very well received and gave the ATU Member States a new positive perspective on amateur radio and their role in emergency communications/ ICT.

Thanks Brian for this comprehensive report.

Finally, here is an advance warning of Tropical Cyclone BELNA-19, tracking South West down the Western shores of Madagascar, and due to hit land tomorrow (Monday). If you hear any emergency traffic on 40 or 80, please respond if appropriate, or keep the frequencies clear. Thanks very much.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.