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Updated: 3 hours 31 min ago

Philippines: Philippine children rebuild lives after typhoon with long-term help from UNESCO

28 June 2016 - 5:45am
Source: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Country: Philippines

UNESCO Jakarta Office and Philippines’ Department of Education has trained 285 secondary school teachers and education key officials in how best to help children rebuild and improve their lives since the 2013 typhoon hit through the Emergency Psychosocial Support for Secondary School-aged Students project.

“Recovery and rehabilitation is not something that happens overnight, said Reynaldo Laguda, Department of Education Undersecretary for Administration and Finance. “This particular project is very special for us because it addresses areas that are sometimes disregarded in recovery. This is essentially talking about things that people don’t usually discuss and providing support for students, emotionally and psychologically.”

The project consists of a psychosocial training module rolled out through workshops for teachers in post-disaster psychosocial support and relayed through the classroom through special activities and practical recovery goals. It also trains education policy decision-makers to ensure the module can be applied in a broader emergency context while local needs are addressed.

Helping children to dream again

Six months ago the joint project was boosted by the Enhanced and Improved Teachers’ Manual on Psychosocial Interventions for Secondary School-aged Students During Disasters and Emergency Situations funded by the Official Development Assistance of the Government of Japan.

Training facilitator Dr Maria Regina Hechanova said: “When you are victimized by a trauma and you lose everything, sometimes you lose even the dreams because they seem very unreachable, because you're starting from scratch. What we're trying to do is get them to dream again,”

“The teacher opens up the door after a disaster and taps the inner strength of the learners, so that they don't have to go through the trauma for a long period of time,” said Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

Ms Daisy Espuglar, Mathematics Secondary Schoolteacher who took part in a recent introductory training workshop said: “We have learned how to prepare our hearts, our bodies and our minds in times of disasters and calamities.”

The 2013 typhoon destroyed more than 1.2 million homes displacing 4 million people. UNESCO responded by sending teams of experts in education, culture, media development, hydrology, early warning systems, resilient infrastructure and disaster and risk reduction from Paris, Jakarta, Beijing and Bangkok.

Philippines: ECHO Factsheet – Philippines - June 2016

23 June 2016 - 6:26am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Philippines

Key messages

  • The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, with several earthquakes and around 20 tropical cyclones per year among other natural calamities.
  • In 2015, the European Commission made available a total of € 2.1 million in response to the decades-long armed conflict in the southernmost island of Mindanao, which has displaced more than 495 000 individuals since 2012.
  • Following Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) in November 2013, the European Commission made available €40 million in relief assistance, early recovery and reconstruction to help the most affected communities. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated to coordinate the delivery of assistance by the EU member states, which provided personnel and material support in addition to financial assistance totaling more than € 180 million.
  • Since 1997, the European Commission has released € 74.7 million in emergency relief interventions for survivors of natural disasters and € 23.7 million to help victims of armed conflicts. Furthermore, € 8.85 million have been allocated for local communities to better withstand future disasters (DIPECHO programme).

World: Integrating gender into humanitarian action: Good practices from Asia-Pacific 1

13 June 2016 - 1:36pm
Source: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Government of Norway, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Women Country: Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, World

Statistics show that women are disproportionately negatively affected by disasters. As an example, the devastating Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Asia, and over 70 percent of the victims were women. Women are often posed at risk when social and cultural norms limit their mobility – according to some studies, women are 14 times more likely to die during a disaster than men.

The humanitarian community has been taking steady steps to ensure an effective humanitarian system for all women, men, boys and girls affected by disasters. As stated in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the reduction of risks from disasters requires engagement and partnership from all in society.

In this brochure, you can read about successful initiatives that have been taken in Asia to ensure an equal treatment of all in society before, during and after disasters.

The document has been developed by Asian Disaster Preparedness Center and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on behalf of the IASC Informal ad-hoc Working Group on Gender in Humanitarian Action in Asia-Pacific Region and with support from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

World: Field Exchange No. 52 (June 2016)

10 June 2016 - 6:10am
Source: Emergency Nutrition Network Country: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chad, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe


This rather large issue of Field Exchange has a typically wide range of material from field practitioners and researchers. Some examples of innovative practice include an article by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) that has developed and is field testing approaches for treatment of uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) by low-literacy community health workers, as part of community case management in South Sudan. We also have a summary of research conducted in Sierra Leone on an integrated moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and SAM treatment programme. It is good to see adolescent care featuring, a huge gap area when it comes to nutrition programming; International Medical Corps (IMC) share experiences of adolescent targeted programming in Nigeria and Zimbabwe. The low profile of and access to SAM treatment in emergency-prone East Asia and the Pacific, despite the high burden of wasting, and actions to address this are the subjects of a thoughtful article by the UNICEF regional team. It complements nicely an article on the progress made in the Philippines on this front, which has partly come about through the capacity gaps identified and addressed with external humanitarian support. As ever, the pros and cons of mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and weight-forheight measures in determining access to acute malnutrition treatment programmes remain a hot topic amongst some of the nutrition fraternity; we feature a cross-section of research that no doubt will fuel discussions that will feature in future issues of Field Exchange.

This editorial would like to focus on two sets of material in particular; namely the new Lancet series on breastfeeding and related articles, and a series of case studies on Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) experiences in six recent emergencies (Ukraine, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, Philippines and Bangladesh).

The first paper in a recent Lancet breastfeeding series reinforces that where infectious diseases are prevalent, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is critical to infants under 6 months of age in terms of mortality and infectious disease, and remains significant for children aged 6-24m in reducing mortality and infectious disease morbidity. It’s a worry that in resource poor settings, EBF rates remain stubbornly low. The Lancet paper calls for the need to tailor breastfeeding support strategies to specific patterns recorded in each country. Research from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), summarised in this issue, reflects such an approach, where a short-cut version of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding programme made a difference to EBF rates in the target group. Interestingly, adding in community support groups to the clinic-based programme probably made things worse – misinterpretations and mixed messages by the wider interested community were, in all likelihood, behind this finding.

Behaviour change communication (BCC) on feeding practices is a common thread to socalled ‘nutrition sensitive’ programming. It would be interesting to examine – through literature review and likely research - the impact of such BCC, since many factors influence infant feeding decisions. A selection of these are reflected in an article on the social impact of the Kenyan government’s Baby Friendly Community Initiative. Whilst some expected and unexpected social returns were positive (e.g. having healthier children, more paternal support of mothers), some significant negative outcomes of improving maternal and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) were also identified. Mothers reported they were now more worried knowing how they should be feeding their children but in reality, not being able to do so in their circumstance. Key informants reported less income due to job loss as a result of following optimal feeding practices, increased household expenditure on food and health care, increased workload of healthcare providers, financial strain on, and increased stress of, community health volunteers.

The investment case for breastfeeding is the focus of the second Lancet paper. e costs of not breastfeeding in terms of lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is used to support the case for breastfeeding investment. However the costing - based on economic calculations around cognitive development consequences of not breastfeeding and increased health costs of sicker non-breastfed children – does not capture the significant opportunity cost to mothers of feeding options, in terms of lost income and time. Such costs need to be monetised and captured in economic calculations or explicitly stated as absent; breastfeeding is not free. This paper reflects a lack of data that is critical to moving forward (or to halt us fighting a losing battle) on the feeding front. Six actions are proposed related to advocacy, societal attitudes, political will, breastmilk substitute (BMS) industry regulation, scale-up of interventions, and removal of structural and societal barriers. But reliable estimates of the costs and benefits of the actions needed to support optimal breastfeeding, including maternity entitlements, are missing. Just one available study estimates that it will cost $17.5 billion globally for a large range of interventions, much of which is maternity entitlements for poor women. Asia and Africa account for 80% of the millions of women with no or inadequate maternity protection; the economic implications and feasibility for governments of recommendations, and how accessible changes would be for the poorest women, is poorly understood. How fair is it to engage in BCC with individual mothers in these challenging contexts, in the absence of the societal and community support to enable change, and how much has it cost us trying and largely failing to do so? It would have been valuable if the Lancet economic analysis could have gone further and scrutinised what investments have been made to date and for what gains; it was not possible to ascertain national or overseas aid budgets for the protection or support of breastfeeding.

One of the challenges for humanitarian programming is how to appraise relative risk in mixed feeding contexts and minimise risks for all infants. The Syria and Ukraine crises pose particularly challenging contexts given the lowrates of EBF and increasing tendency prior to the crises to use BMS (the Lancet series calculates that global infant formula sales in 2014 were US$44.8 billion, most of the 50% growth by 2019 projected in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions). Middle income countries inhabit a grey area between high income and low income settings with declining breastfeeding rates (improved rates more likely amongst the better off women), yet still carrying some of the infectious disease burden that fuels morbidity and mortality risk. There are also inconsistencies been global perceptions of best practice and field experiences. Increases in infant mortality have not been demonstrated amongst the refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey amongst refugees nor reported in the Europe migrant crisis, despite widespread infant formula use in risky environments.
Children may well be sicker and undernourished (we just haven’t measured it) but it may also reflect that mothers engage their own risk minimisation strategies and adapt more effectively than we give them credit for. An article by Save the Children on their IYCF response in Croatia reflects the challenges of meeting the needs of both breastfed and formula dependent infants in a rapidly transiting population and the necessary compromises in terms of assessment and support offered. These and many more experiences will be reflected in in an update of the Operational Guidance on IYCF in emergencies currently underway (see news piece in this edition).

Our second editorial focus relates to findings from recent and ongoing GNC coordination experiences summarised in this issue. Three themes and challenges from the GNC case studies are worth mentioning here. The first relates to the default response in emergencies (first reported on extensively in the Field Exchange special issue (49) on the response to the Syria crisis) to focus on treatment of acute malnutrition in young children and IYCF to the exclusion of other groups and nutrition challenges. There are many questions for us to ponder. For example, do we have sufficient capacity and understanding to address the needs of the elderly in emergencies (including non-communicable diseases (NCDs)) and do we know how to address high levels of stunting. Emergency contexts are rapidly changing and yet our protocols and institutional capacity seems to be lagging behind these changes.

A second challenge appears to be how to effect inter-sector planning and coordination so that nutrition objectives can become part of so called ‘nutrition sensitive’ planning in emergencies.
Again, the response to the Syria crisis first highlighted the lack of influence of nutrition actors on widespread social protection planning. The GNC case studies in this issue again demonstrate lack of coordination between the nutrition sector and other sectors to enhance the nutrition sensitivity of programming in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), food security, health and social protection. A key question is whether the overall cluster mechanism does enough to support the potential for inter-sector collaboration and planning and what role the nutrition cluster can have in realising this potential.

Finally, the case studies show a highly variable engagement in preparedness and longer-term coordination mechanisms – especially where a formal inter-agency standing committee (IASC) activation of the cluster is not needed or wanted. Engagement of the cluster with Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) actors and mechanisms may provide an excellent opportunity to strengthen links between humanitarian and development planning. The new ENN programme of work to support the SUN Movement’s knowledge management work in fragile and conflict affected states should ensure that ENN is able to fully capture this type of collaboration in the future. e new thematic areas on SUN opened on ennet should also, we hope, help cross-fertilise experiences between cluster/SUN mechanisms (for example, see www.en-net.org/question/ 2485.aspx) and develop connections between humanitarian and development practitioners.

A final word on Field Exchange itself. As you’ll have noticed, the size of our print edition has grown over the last couple of years (issue 24 was just 28 pages!). This reflects, no doubt, the appetite to share and learn from each other and the breadth of programming and research now relevant to nutrition. However, we do need to consider what is manageable to sustain (in terms of resources) and digest (for our readership).

So over the coming months, we’ll be looking to innovate a little on how we deliver Field Exchange content to you, such as selected content for print, online editions, changes in format, etc.
We’ll contact those of you who have shared your email addresses for feedback and welcome unsolicited suggestions anytime; make sure your contacts are up to date (or add them) at: www.ennonline. net/subscribe/fex

Jeremy Shoham & Marie McGrath Field Exchange Co-editors

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Shelter Response Outcome Assessment Final Report Philippines May 2016

9 June 2016 - 2:15pm
Source: Shelter Cluster Country: Philippines


When Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, reached the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines on 8 November 2013, it was the strongest typhoon ever recorded to make landfall. Yolanda was the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history, killing over 6,000 people as it crossed the Visayas. Millions were left homeless across an area that included some of the poorest provinces in the country, with poverty incidence in 2012 estimated at above 60% of the population in Eastern Samar and above 45% in Samar.1 Given the large scale destruction of homes and livelihoods, Shelter formed a significant part of the humanitarian response that followed. In the Typhoon Haiyan Strategic Response, the shelter response was valued at USD 178,442,176, accounting for 23% of all requested funds and the second largest single component.2 To inform the development of the Shelter Cluster Strategy and monitor changing needs over time, REACH conducted three assessments on behalf of the Shelter Cluster: a baseline assessment of Shelter and WASH in December 20133 , a joint Shelter and WASH monitoring assessment in April 20144 , and a second monitoring assessment of the Shelter response in September 2014.

Following deactivation of the Philippines Shelter Cluster in October 2014, this Shelter Response Outcome Assessment aimed to assess the outcome of the large-scale response by affected populations, governmental and non-governmental (NGO) agencies that followed Yolanda, and focuses on shelter recovery. Planned and implemented with the Global Shelter Cluster and operational shelter in the Philippines, this report examines some of the characteristics influencing shelter recovery. Analysis was based on a review of secondary data, and primary data collected from 13 case study locations. The data was analysed to address a series of overall research questions, summarised below.

- How did shelter agency assistance support the rebuilding of safe, adequate and appropriate homes and which types of assistance helped people implement ‘Build Back Safer’ messages when rebuilding their homes?

Safety. Affected households that had received shelter assistance were widely reported to have achieved a higher level of Build Back Safer (BBS) standards when rebuilding and repairing their homes compared to those that relied only on their own resources, who struggled to balance shelter with other priorities.

Overall, the affected population already knew most BBS techniques to some extent before Yolanda, but techniques had become known in more detail following the typhoon, which was often reported to be due to the extensive dissemination of the 8 key BBS messages that was undertaken by government and shelter agencies. When comparing the safety of different types of shelter assistance, the highest BBS standards were observed in cases where complete permanent or transitional shelters had been constructed. Families that received other types of recovery assistance, such as materials, cash support or training, were not always found to prioritise all BBS considerations during reconstruction. Training for the wider community was reported only to be effective when materials were distributed to participants in conjunction with the training. Community members that did not receive assistance were frequently reported to have learned about BBS techniques by watching people they saw as the most skilled local carpenters, while they worked on other structures.

Adequacy. Shelter agencies generally aimed to follow adequacy standards in line with those outlined by the Humanitarian Shelter Working Group (HSWG) in all interventions. However, low awareness of these standards among beneficiaries, as well as their own competing priorities often posed challenges to achieving them. For instance, shelter agencies and affected households alike struggled to build shelters in line with adequate space standards in heavily populated areas. Durability of materials used for construction, especially coco-lumber, was a challenge, with both shelter agency assisted and selfrecovery rebuilding, due to depleting stocks of coco-lumber. As with BBS messaging implementation, where durable materials were available, these were reportedly only available to households that had the resources to pay for them – especially due to price hikes following increasing rebuilding demand.

Appropriateness. The environmental impact of both Yolanda and the subsequent rebuilding effort was apparent, with rising temperatures in many communities due to the absence of shade; reported increases in flash flooding; and delayed replenishment of forests as communities and shelter agencies resorted to using young trees for construction. A gradual change in materials felt to be culturally appropriate and preferred by beneficiaries was also noted amongst assessed communities. These altering preferences were reportedly due to a mixture of BBS messages and direct observations of effective and less effective shelter structures in the face of typhoons.

- To what extent did shelter agencies support the rebuilding of communities with access to essential facilities and needs?

Shelter agencies and communities alike explained that requirements for safety and access are often inherently conflicting. Finding a safe site which simultaneously had access to community infrastructure and livelihood opportunities continued to pose enormous challenges, leaving many communities in no build zones (NBZ)8 with nowhere to go. Some relocated households were said to use their shelters at relocation sites when they needed to evacuate in the face of typhoons, while returning to live on the coast, closer to livelihoods and services. Lack of access to key infrastructure and services was a key issue at relocation sites, often due to lack of available facilities or livelihoods but sometimes also due to lack of integration of the relocated population, which prompted people to return to their barangay of origin to access services that were otherwise not available at the new location. Agencies felt that guidance outlining standards for safety and access to essential services could better advise on how such conflicts should be approached.

Loss of livelihoods, particularly amongst copra farmers and fishermen, had been partially mitigated by shelter agencies through the surge in demand for construction labour that followed Yolanda. Another positive access effect of the response was that access to sanitation had considerably improved overall amongst affected communities compared to before Yolanda, although the increased use in latrines led to new challenges in safely disposing of latrine content and obtaining water needed for flushing. Water network access had sometimes not been restored at original sites and remained to be installed at relocation sites.

- How did shelter agencies complement each other to support reconstruction?

Coordination during the emergency and early recovery phase was reported to have been relatively strong.

One key challenge faced in terms of duplications was the interventions conducted by smaller, largely unknown organisations that did not connect with the wider coordination system. Shelter agencies reported a reduction in coordination following the closure of the clusters and some feared that unknown gaps remained due to lack of harmonised response data. Complementing activities were reported especially with the WASH sector, facilitated by WASH activities often implemented by shelter agencies themselves. However, some relatively well-assisted communities reported gaps occurring where agencies had planned to complement each other but one or more did not eventually follow up on their commitment.

- What were the key overall challenges that people faced when building safe, adequate and appropriate homes with access to essential facilities livelihoods opportunities? How did shelter agencies work to alleviate these?

Land issues indirectly underpinned almost every challenge related to the recovery of affected populations.

Lack of access to safe sites led not only to affected households remaining in NBZ but also to lack of implementation of BBS due to lack of permission to build stronger structures and lack of incentive to build secure structures with durable materials that would later have to be taken apart or were in any case not felt to be intended for long-term use. Lack of safe land near livelihoods and community facilities meant that some relocated communities were travelling long distances for all services and livelihoods. Shelter agencies tried several strategies to mitigate challenges faced due to land issues. Rental assistance had been given to households with damaged houses in NBZ; legal assistance was provided to households to facilitate longer-term tenancy with land owners; some tried coordinating with governmental agencies to procure land; and relocation sites were searched for near livelihoods and services.

Another key underlying challenge was lack of availability of durable materials, in turn intimately linked with the negative environmental and livelihoods impact that resulted from the repeated typhoons and subsequent rebuilding efforts that gradually demolished the mature trees desperately needed for construction lumber, copra and shade.

- To what extent did the shelter cluster assistance meet community priorities and expectations?

Satisfaction with assistance appeared to be closely linked to perceptions of whether support had been fairly targeted. Targeting perceived as unfair included cases where more vulnerable households were given assistance quickly and therefore did not qualify to receive more substantial assistance later on, which was instead given to less vulnerable households that had not already received assistance.
Similarly, it was also felt to be unfair where households were excluded from assistance due to previously received assistance, without having had a chance to choose between assistance types. In other cases, households were reported to intentionally delay rebuilding to receive assistance, since people perceived that those who had already begun rebuilding would not be eligible. Complaints were also raised that land owners received more durable assistance due to land tenure requirements of more permanent housing solutions, which excluded households that did not have formalised ownership or long-term rental agreements.

The Shelter Cluster’s priority of BBS standards in particular was otherwise fully aligned with the priorities of affected populations that largely considered the BBS techniques effective and important. Shelter agencies and communities alike indicated a need to better adapt the minimum space standards depending on level of population density. However, some reported that recovery assistance was felt to have arrived too late, with households that started to rebuild their homes immediately sometimes receiving training in BBS techniques several months after finishing rebuilding.

Philippines: EU, UNDP turn over evacuation centers to Yolanda-affected communities in Biliran province

2 June 2016 - 3:21am
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Philippines

31 May 2016, Tacloban City, Philippines– The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today turned over two newly-built evacuation centres to Typhoon Yolanda-affected communities in Biliran province.

The construction of the community evacuation centres is part of the EU’s package of assistance, through the UNDP-implemented ‘Project Recovery’, to help Yolanda-affected families recover after the devastation. Project Recovery is building 11 community evacuation centres, six of which have been completed, in the provinces of Biliran, Leyte and Eastern Samar.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen and UNDP Philippines Country Director Titon Mitra today led the turnover ceremony of the community evacuation centres to local government units of the municipalities of Cabucgayan and Biliran in Biliran province.

With funding support of EUR 9.7 million (approx. Php508 million) from the EU and to be implemented until July 2017, Project RECOVERY complements the efforts of national and local governments in enabling the timely and sustainable recovery of Yolanda-affected communities and also builds their resilience to future natural disasters.

Project Recovery focuses on: rebuilding disaster-resilient infrastructure; restoring livelihoods and jobs in farming and fishing communities; addressing land management issues and shelter construction models to ensure relocation of displaced populations; and strengthening capacities for and linkage of national and local governance disaster response and preparedness.

Ambassador Jessen said, “The EU values its strong partnership with the Philippine Government, both at the national and local levels, and with UNDP particularly in helping disaster-affected communities get back on their feet. More than two years since Yolanda happened, we commend the Philippine Government on the remarkable and impressive progress in its recovery and rehabilitation efforts. The EU remains to be a committed partner of the Philippines not just in responding to and recovering from disasters but also in the journey towards sustainable development.”

Guided by the principle of building back better and safer, the CECs are designed and constructed to withstand a 300 KPH wind velocity, integrates water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and fitted with solar panels and generator set. These will also function as a multi-purpose community center during non-disaster events.

Project Recovery is also constructing 165 disaster-resilient core shelters with level 2 water system and electrical support facility in the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc and the municipality of Hernani in Eastern Samar. These housing units, to be completed by June 2016, are constructed with counterpart in the form of sweat equity from the beneficiary families to ensure better ownership of the project.

The project has also assisted more than 2,000 people with employment and livelihood opportunities including on fish and seaweed processing, food production and handling, and sustainable agricultural management.

“There is still much to do not only for those affected by Yolanda but also to prepare the systems and processes for any future event. The recovery process must continue apace. Now is also the time to examine closely what worked and make the structural fixes required to further enhance capacity to respond and recover in the future. This is a time for shared responsibility in building resilience to the new normal of a world affected by rapid climate change,” UNDP Philippines Country Director Titon Mitra said.