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World: Safe Spaces: The Urgent Need for Early Childhood Development in Emergencies and Disasters

19 September 2016 - 1:06am
Source: A World at School Country: Central African Republic, Chad, occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines, Syrian Arab Republic, World

The international community is neglecting millions of vulnerable babies and young children affected by conflicts and disasters, a shocking report by children’s charity Theirworld warns today.

They will suffer from psychological trauma, toxic stress and poor brain development unless their needs are prioritised in humanitarian response plans.

The failure to plan for and finance early childhood development services in emergencies - ensuring "safe spaces" for all children - could have lifelong detrimental effects, according to Theirworld.

More than 16 million babies were born in conflict zones in 2015 - an average of 43,835 per day. Despite that, more than 60% of education aid appeals lack clear plans for early learning programmes or psychosocial support for children under five to access the safe spaces they need to learn, grow and recover.

Theirworld President Sarah Brown said: “We know that 80% of brain development is completed by age three and 90% by age five.

"Babies and toddlers absolutely cannot afford to wait for the end of a crisis to learn, play and receive care.

"Children are incredibly adaptable and resilient. With proper services and support, and close relationships with nurturing caregivers, they will not only survive emergencies but manage to thrive in spite of even the most adverse circumstances.”

After five years of war in Syria, 3.7 million children - or one in three of all Syrian children - have only ever known life in a violent conflict and 306,000 Syrian babies were born as refugees.

Zeinah - a psychosocial support expert working with Syrian children in Turkey - said: “Safe child-friendly spaces are helping the youngest children to forget and recover from what they have been through in Syria.

"Children are psychologically and physically affected by the war. When they first come they don’t interact with other children and hardly speak.

"Sometimes children as young as three and four are telling me about their dreams. They are seeing war in their dreams - people have died, often relatives and loved ones."

Zeinah said she deals with each case individually and over time most children are getting better. They are able to laugh, play with their friends and be more interactive.

She added: "Parents have a lot of pressure and stress at home. They cannot always pay interest in their children - but it is important to work with the parents to get more involved with their children to support their early development needs.”

Early learning programmes increase young children’s readiness for school and improve learning outcomes. This is especially important in emergencies because children living through conflict are much more likely to be excluded from school or fall behind academically.

Theirworld is working to ensure that more attention and resources in this critical time in a child’s life is prioritised.

One mother who knows the value of that is Baria, a 41-year-old Syrian teacher who fled her home in Al Raqqah and arrived in Turkey as a refugee two years ago.

She now works at a children's centre and has three children of her own, aged three, four and seven.

"Early childhood education is extremely important, as it helps the child to understand the difficult situation we are in and to develop despite the hardships," said Baria.

"These children have lost everything. Before if they would want to play in a park they would be frightened that a plane would bomb them. They had lost their childhood innocence.

"They don’t realise that they are safe now. We have to work to return the child’s sense of security which they have lost."

Baria believes children who go to kindergarten before primary school will benefit hugely in their development and education.

She added: "The children will already have a routine installed into them, where education is part of their life. They will have the basic reading and writing principles before starting school.

"They will know how to work with other children and will have confidence in themselves and would have developed a sense of independence."

World: Mapping of current Initiatives, interagency projects and key reports related to Accountability to Affected Populations - 2016

16 September 2016 - 7:34am
Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

This mapping will be regularly updated :

Are you looking for :

  1. Accountability Working Groups at country or regional levels ?

2.Examples of inter-agency information and feedback mechanisms or call centers ?

3.Examples of inter-agency projects related to Accountability to Affected Populations ?

4.Examples of how accountability to affected population is integrated into Humanitarian Response Plans?

5.Examples of how accountability to affected population is integrated into key global reports ?

6.Key initiatives and standards related to Accountability to Affected Populations ?

7.Specific guidance on how to integrate Accountability to Affected Population in the Humanitarian Program Cycle?

8.E-learning, online videos and mobile applications on Accountability to affected population ?

9.Examples of donors commitments to support Accountability to Affected Populations ?

Philippines: Looking beyond the disaster

9 September 2016 - 4:26am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Sam Smith, IFRC

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Situated on the Pacific ‘ring of fire’, the Filipino archipelago is hit by floods, landslides, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes on a regular basis.

In this piece we revisit three communities that were caught in the path of three huge typhoons – Bopha, Haiyan and Ketsana – to see the long-term impact of Red Cross work.

My New Home

“That’s where they found a lot of bodies.”

Ian Adlawan slowed the car as we passed an innocuous river inlet along the roadside.

“People were washed away by the floodwaters and their bodies were just dropped there,” said the Philippine Red Cross driver.

Everyone has a story to tell about Typhoon Bopha, one of the strongest storms to hit the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. When it made landfall on 4 December 2012, Bopha brought gusts of 130mph and torrential rain that triggered floods and deadly landslides.

Nearly a quarter of a million homes were damaged or destroyed, and around 1,100 people lost their lives. The Philippines is struck by an average of 20 typhoons every year, but they usually hit further north.

“It was the first time we had encountered a typhoon of this magnitude,” said Randy Loy, who heads up the Philippine Red Cross chapter in Compostela Valley, one of the worst affected areas.

“We have strong winds, landslides and floods, but we had never had a typhoon like this one.

“When you saw the aftermath – the flattened trees, the debris, the damaged houses, the mud, the floods – you really had to wonder what on earth had happened that day.”

There were warnings on TV and radio about the approaching typhoon, but people did not know how to prepare for the storm or where to go.

Many fled to evacuation shelters that were in the path of the storm or at risk from landslides.

“I was terrified. The roof of our house was ripped off and water started pouring in,” said Ulpiana Holotba.

“I ran with my husband as fast as we could. The flash floods came with no warning.”

Ulpiana, 62, sought refuge in a community shelter, along with her husband. They spent the following year living in a temporary shelter and surviving off relief items – they were unable to find work.

“My husband works on banana plantations, but they were completely destroyed. And I used to sell food to the workers on the plantations,” said Ulpiana.

“We are both used to working. So it wasn’t easy just sitting there and waiting.”

As part of the recovery effort, the Philippine Red Cross, with support from the IFRC, built 550 houses for people who had lost their homes. A further 3,050 households were given support to carry out repairs.

The newly-built homes are typhoon resilient, meaning they can withstand strong winds and rain.

“When I found out we were going to be given a new home I was so happy,” said Ulpiana, tears rolling down her cheek as she recalled the moment.

“We had given up. Living in the tent I thought there was no hope. We had no food, no work and then suddenly we were told we were getting a new house.”

They moved into their new home one year after Typhoon Bopha. It is located in a purpose-built village for families who lost their homes to the typhoon.

We meet Ulpiana nearly four years after the disaster. The rain is lashing down and the softly-spoken mother-of-two is stood under a canopy in front of her home, flipping pancakes.

She sells them for three pesos each and makes about 50 pesos profit a day (1USD). It’s not much, but it supplements her husband’s income on the banana plantations.

“I feel so much safer here. My last house was made from thatch. This is concrete and much stronger,” said Ulpiana.

“My grandchildren often come to stay with me. It’s safe for them here.”

The community is what’s known as a ‘Red Cross 143 village’. Red Cross 143 is an initiative that aims to create teams of volunteers in every village across the country.

Each teams consists of one leader and 43 members who are trained in how to prepare for and respond to disasters.

For example, they know how to give first aid, how to use rescue equipment and how to identify warning signals.

“They are our eyes and ears on the ground,” said Randy. “We give them information about approaching storms and they also feed us situation reports.

“It means everyone stays informed and communities are prepared and ready to stand on their own feet when disaster strikes.

“Typhoon Bopha was a wake-up call. Since then we’ve worked with the local government to institutionalise disaster risk reduction training at a grassroots level.”

To view the full story, click the following link.

Philippines: Innovative electronic cash transfer programme for emergencies: an Oxfam–Visa case study in the Philippines

8 September 2016 - 11:20am
Source: Oxfam Country: Philippines

Delivering aid to a large, displaced population provides challenges for governments, the private sector and aid organizations in the aftermath of any humanitarian crisis. The increasing scale and impact of disaster events call for innovative solutions for a more efficient and effective delivery of cash to affected populations.

This case study describes how Oxfam and Visa teamed up to develop a safe, simple and efficient solution that allows individuals from the most vulnerable communities to benefit from the power of electronic payment. The goal is to increase efficiency in financial aid disbursement, speed up processing and distribution, and reduce security risks.

Philippines: Turnover of Japan-funded equipment of National Maritime Polytechnic under the Programme For Rehabilitation and Recovery from Typhoon Yolanda

2 September 2016 - 12:24pm
Source: Government of Japan Country: Japan, Philippines

The government of Japan turned over the equipment of National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) to the Government of the Philippines in a ceremony held on July 27, 2016 in Tacloban City, Leyte as one of the projects under the “Japan-funded Program for the Rehabilitation and Recovery from Typhoon Yolanda”. The ceremony was attended by First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Koji Otani and Undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, Nicon F. Fameronag. In the ceremony, the representatives of recipients expressed their deepest appreciation.

In this grant project, equipment of NMP which severely damaged by Typhoon Yolanda (generally known as Typhoon Haiyan outside the Philippines) in November 2013 was rehabilitated so as to enable NMP, one of the major seafarers’ education and training facilities in the Philippines, to continue their training activity for seafarers. The Philippines is the country supplying largest number of seafarers in the world and many Philippine seafarers are working on Japanese ships. The rehabilitation of equipment of NMP is expected to benefit not only Philippine economy but also activities of Japanese shipping companies. The Program for the Rehabilitation and Recovery from Typhoon Yolanda provides assistance for recovery and reconstruction in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda and focuses on social infrastructure such as healthcare facilities, schools and local government offices; economic infrastructure such as airport, common industrial facilities and power facilities; and disaster preparedness infrastructure such as meteorological radar systems. Through this Program, Japan helps the Philippines to build a resilient society against natural disasters and achieve sustainable growth.

Japan, as the top ODA donor to the Philippines as well as a disaster-prone country itself, has supported the Philippines’ disaster mitigation efforts by sharing its experiences and lessons learned from past natural disasters. This project, with its policy of “Build Back Better”, is expected to further foster the strategic partnership between the two countries and serve as a model for other disaster-prone areas of the Philippines.

World: The Challenge of Climate Disasters - From delivering aid to ending need

2 September 2016 - 7:10am
Source: World Vision Country: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

In the wake of El Niño

We are living in the most unusually warm period in history and this is taking a huge toll on the world’s most vulnerable. 2015 was the hottest year on record and 2016 looks set to be even hotter.
As this year’s El Niño in the Pacific lurches towards becoming a La Nina1 , the run of record temperatures looks set to be broken again. But in some ways, this year is not unique. It has become widely acknowledged among the development community that weather-related disasters are the ‘new normal’.

Over the last twenty years, 90 percent of disasters have been caused by floods, storms, heatwaves and other weather related events. Over this period, weather-related disasters claimed 606,000 lives, an average of some 30,000 per annum, with an additional 4.1 billion people injured, left homeless or in need of emergency assistance.2 60 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance due to El Niño.3 More than 26 million children are at risk from hunger, disease and lack of water in Africa alone.4 On a continent where 70 percent of the population is dependent upon agriculture,5 El Niño is having catastrophic consequences. Economic losses due to disasters can be 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries compared to developed countries.

World Vision’s Response

A dollar invested in resilience, disaster risk reduction and early action can save around four dollars in emergency relief. Funding needs to support these kinds of programmes as well as humanitarian relief. It also needs to be multi-year and flexible – at least ten percent of development finance needs to be made available to manage climate risks.

World Vision works in and with communities for up to 15 years and is able to release 20 percent of its community development budget for immediate humanitarian support.

Officially, World Vision has emergency responses to the disaster in 16 countries (Angola, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, TimorLeste,
Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Haiti, Somalia, Honduras)

Recognising the unjust toll that disasters take on those who are already struggling, World Vision has focused on four specific areas in order to minimise the impact of some of the worst weather-related disasters:

• Preparedness & response,

• Resilience,

• Disaster risk reduction; and

• Recovery.

In the Philippines, we have integrated development with emergency response in our nutrition hubs. In Ethiopia, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration has made communities resilient and resistant to drought. In Zambia, our water programmes have reduced the affects of disasters by reducing the exposure to water borne diseases that so many children are susceptible to.

World Vision has so far reached over five million people affected by El Niño – half of those were children.

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 8 | 1 to 31 August 2016

1 September 2016 - 1:45am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines


  • Mines and Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) in farmlands, roads, villages and waterways in Mindanao continue to cause harm to the community, with children being the most vulnerable.

  • In preparation for La Niña in the coming months, the authorities have issued a directive for all local governments to carry out disaster preparedness measures and develop La Niña action plans.

  • There is growing capacity and political will in AsiaPacific governments to lead in disaster management.

  • World Humanitarian Day in the Philippines honoured those who brave tremendous difficulties to assist those who are most in need.

  • Armed conflict in Maguindanao that started on 13 July 2016 has ceased following intervention by authorities. Over 30,000 people were displaced, affecting 20 schools.


Southwest Monsoon

Families affected Over 250,000 (1.18M people)
(Source: National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as of 24 August)

Basilan Displacement

# of IDPs hosted by friends and relatives 19,333
(Source: Integrated Resource Development for Tri-People Inc. (IRDT) as of 15 August)

Zamboanga Crisis

IDPs in transitional sites 13,899
(Source: Zamboanga City Social Welfare and Development Office as of 8 August)

Mines and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in Mindanao

In conflict areas, non-state armed groups often use mines and munitions during combat, putting the local populace at risk of death and disability. Unlike weapons that are aimed or fired, mines are explosive containers that lie dormant until a person or vehicle triggers their detonating mechanism. UXOs are munitions that did not explode when they were employed, and pose a risk of detonation. Abandoned ordances such as artillery shells or hand grenades, are stocks of explosives left behind on the battlefield. In Mindanao, mines and munitions are strewn across roads, villages and waterways, putting at risk the lives and limbs of people, in particular children. The long-term damage to people, livestock and farmland greatly hinders development in the region. Mine risk education is aimed at reducing the risk of mines, UXOs and abandoned ordnances by raising awareness and promoting behavioral changes through public information campaigns, training and engaging with communities. Old mines from as far back as the Second World War and UXOs from recent conflicts continue to maim or kill people in southern Mindanao.

Mine Education in Mindanao

From 2013 to July 2016, 107 cases involving UXOs and 6 cases involving old mines were recorded by Fondation Suisse de Deminage (FSD), or the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, an international non-government organization that is undertaking focused mine risk education in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Children are the most vulnerable to mine risk. Fifty-four per cent of the victims are under the age of 18. Hand and rifle grenades constitute 66 per cent of the UXO casualties while 51 per cent are caused by M79 grenades.