TyphoonHaiyan - RW Updates

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Updated: 45 min 9 sec ago

World: Developing strategies to strengthen the resilience of hotels to disasters: A scoping study to guide the development of the Hotel Resilient Initiative

5 hours 18 min ago
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Country: Indonesia, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, World

UN Backs Disaster Resilience Plans for Hotels in Asia and the Pacific

29 July 2015, GENEVA – The head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Margareta Wahlström, today announced a plan to develop and pilot disaster risk management standards for the hotel industry in Asia and the Pacific, home to 80% of the world’s disaster events.

Ms. Wahlström said: “The hotel industry in hazard prone areas of the world is very vulnerable to major setbacks from floods, storms and earthquakes. Such events can result in closure of resorts and have a significant impact on tourism and employment. The hotel industry has a very important role to play in encouraging disaster risk management at the local level.”

A joint study carried out by UNISDR, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) funded by the Federal Republic of Germany has found significant interest in setting such standards among hoteliers, tour operators, tourism bodies, government agencies and insurance companies in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives.

The study was carried out for the Hotel Resilient Initiative which aims to develop internationally recognized standards for hotels and resorts that will assist them in reducing business risk and the risk of tourism destinations to natural and technological hazards, while demonstrating the level of preparedness and safety of their premises to potential clients, insurers and financers.

Ms. Wahlström said: “The report is telling us that there is concern about the lack of universal standards for disaster risk management across the hotel industry. One incentive is that insurance companies could envisage premium reductions for hotels that demonstrate that they are investing in disaster resilience in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which has been adopted with enthusiasm by governments across the region. The standards will be developed together with the partners of the Hotel Resilient Initiative in the Philippines at the end of this year.”

PATA CEO, Mario Hardy, said: “Having standardized procedures accepted by the tourism industry seems to be increasingly important to hoteliers as there are none at the moment. These standards could even become a competitive advantage for hotels in the future if they were internationally recognized.”

World: Disasters, displacement, and climate change: New evidence and common challenges facing the north and south

28 July 2015 - 2:23pm
Source: Brookings Institution Country: Haiti, Philippines, United States of America, World

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre recently released their annual Global Estimates of People Displaced by Disasters, which reports that almost 20 million people were newly displaced by sudden-onset disasters in 100 countries in 2014. Since 2008, an average of 26.4 million people have been displaced by disasters every year—equivalent to one person every second. Their careful analysis of regional and global trends (coupled with impressive infographics) is an important step forward in our understanding of how people’s lives are uprooted by disasters stemming from the effects of climate change. And for the first time ever, their report examines both people who were newly displaced by disasters and those who have been displaced for years. While there is an assumption that people who are forced to leave their homes because of floods or earthquakes will be able to return home quickly, the reality is different—as those affected by Hurricane Katrina can attest. Similar challenges for developed and developing nations

I was once again struck by the realization that rich and poor countries face similar challenges with respect to displacement caused by disasters. Today, the climate change negotiations seem to be stalled in tense north-south negotiations (for understandable reasons given the fact that some countries, such as Pacific Island countries that have contributed very little to global warming, will suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change.) But when you shift the focus to look at disasters and displacement, it is clear that disasters affect people in all parts of our planet—from Miami to Manila, from Christchurch to Port-au-Prince—and that displacement has similar consequences for all affected people.

In all regions of the world, those who are poor and marginalized often suffer disproportionately from the effects of disasters, in part because they tend to live on marginal land and their houses are more weakly constructed. They are also less likely to own their homes, which means that it is less likely they are eligible for assistance to rebuild their homes.

A few years ago, I wrote about the similarities between governmental programs to assist those displaced by Hurricane Katrina and by the Haitian earthquake. In both cases, people were still displaced years after the disaster, and in both cases, the U.S. and Haitian governments turned to rental subsidies to meet the housing needs of particularly vulnerable groups. IDMC’s new study turns an eye to a more recent disaster, superstorm Sandy, reminding us—and hopefully policymakers—that there are still more than 30,000 people in the United States who have not yet found solutions to their displacement. Policymakers in developed and developing countries need to be proactive

Policymakers in both developed and developing countries are also going to be increasingly challenged by the need to relocate people to protect them from the effects of disasters. These planned relocations are already taking place. For example, the Philippines is presently working to permanently relocate a million or so people displaced by the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Communities in the U.S. have also been relocated following disasters, as highlighted in the National Building Museum’s current exhibit on “Designing for Disasters” where reference is made to the relocation of Valmeyer, Illinois. When this town was destroyed by flooding in 1993, the community was relocated to higher ground a few miles away.

While relocating communities may be necessary, it is always an extraordinarily complicated process. Governments of disaster-prone countries, including the U.S., would do well to start thinking and planning about relocations now, before the next major disaster occurs.

Both developed and developing countries are likely to face more displacement as a result of sudden-onset disasters in the future, particularly weather-related disasters which are most affected by climate change. Slow-onset disasters—such as drought and sea level rise—are also likely to force people, perhaps even more people, to leave their communities. The need to develop effective policies to prevent, respond to, and recover from displacement caused by disasters offers hope for new forms of north-south cooperation. Developed and developing countries can learn a lot from one another and work together to find solutions for those who continue to be displaced long after the crisis is over.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 22-28 July 2015

28 July 2015 - 8:31am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 22–28 July 2015

Somalia: More than 10,000 people have been displaced in Lower Shabelle and Bay regions since AMISOM and Somali armed forces began their offensive. Al Shabaab has lost control of Bardhere in Gedo and Dinsoor in Bay. In accessible areas of Hudur town, Bakool, 33% GAM and 19% SAM were observed in a MUAC assessment in July – a significant deterioration since June. Very critical malnutrition rates persist in Bulo Burde, Hiraan.

DRC: Measles has broken out in Maniema, with 415 cases recorded so far. 2,115 cases have been reported in Orientale this year, and 15,000 in Katanga. One reason for the rise in cases is lack of vaccination. Dungu, in Haut-Uele, Orientale, has seen a significant fall in WASH coverage and routine vaccination.

South Sudan: The cholera outbreak continues, with 1,375 cases recorded since 18 May, most in Juba county. At 3.2%, the case fatality rate is double the global average. In Unity state, the government has prevented food aid reaching Malakal.

Updated: 28/07/2015. Next update 04/08/2015.

Philippines: USNS Mercy Crew Participate in Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief Seminar in Philippines

28 July 2015 - 3:33am
Source: Government of the United States of America Country: Japan, Philippines

By Chief Petty Officer Christopher Tucker | Navy Public Affairs Support Element West | July 27, 2015

ROXAS CITY, Philippines – Multinational crew members of the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) wrapped up participation in a humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR) seminar July 24 hosted by Philippine government agencies at Capiz State University.

Dozens of stakeholders representing a diverse makeup of countries and organizations attended the weeklong event to better prepare all involved in responding to a natural disaster in the region.

“This was the first time that something like this has been done in the Philippines, where a whole region came together ” said U.S. Army Capt. John Karlsson, a civil affairs team leader. Representatives from six provinces and ten agencies from the Philippines were in attendance, including the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and multiple government agencies.

The seminar featured discussions from subject matter experts on lessons learned from HADR operations during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines), a category 5 super typhoon, which cut across the central Philippines in 2013. The storm killed more than 6,000 people and caused more than $2 billion in damage.

“We cannot work alone as first responders. We need help in Antique,” said Leoderrick Benitez, a first responder who works for the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) for Antique. “For instance, in Typhoon Yolanda, we were very overwhelmed during that typhoon. We need some logistics resources and a network That’s why we are very grateful to work with people from all of these other countries.” Filipino first responders were taught how to use a vehicle extrication tool to safely remove crash victims from crushed vehicles. Through donations made by Project Handclasp, 10 extrication tool sets were distributed to PDRRMO teams.

“We were able to distribute this equipment, show some people some online videos, and give some hands-on training. We know that this is now going to save lives,” said Karlsson.

Members of the Japan Self Defense Force also provided a briefing on the disaster response efforts following the Great East Earthquake of Japan in March 2011.

“It was apparent during the workshop that our Japanese friends wanted to share their experiences. The one thing that they expressed was the difficulties that they had during the earthquake and tsunami,” said Giselle Grace Gerial, a representative from the Philippine Department of the Interior. “If I hadn’t interacted with them, I might have thought that the Philippines is behind compared to the things other countries are doing. But, after interacting with them I realized that we are actually on par in terms of planning, but our challenges lie in implementation of our plan.”

Pilots and air crewmen from U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, “Blackjacks,” provided training on how to find and mark helicopter landing zones in the field. Also, the aircrew provided a take-off and landing demonstration, as well as familiarization flights at Capiz State University’s sports stadium.

“What we saw during the relief efforts after Typhoon Yolanda, was when a helicopter tries to land, so many people flocked to the helicopter landing zone,” said Karlsson. “It’s a problem across multiple agencies… What we were able to do is bring everyone together and talk about roles and responsibilities, and actually practice that.”

U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy medical personnel also provided training on how to respond to crushing injuries during a disaster scenario. However, probably the most valuable lesson learned during the seminar was learning to work together across multiple countries and agencies, said Karlsson.

“What we really did was get people to solve problems together,” he said. “The region was very interested in collaborating together as a whole. Just by putting all the right people in the room together, there were new ideas, and it showed people how to work together.”

Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.

Mercy arrived in Roxas City July 18 and will depart Aug. 4 to transit to Subic Bay and continue its mission in the Philippines.

Additional information on the Pacific Partnership mission is available on the U.S. Pacific fleet Pacific Partnership website at www.cpf.navy.mil/pacific-partnership/2015/.

Philippines: Feature: Preemptive, quick disaster response makes PH agri resilient

27 July 2015 - 9:42pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, July 27 -- Aside from its regular programs on boosting productivity, the Department of Agriculture said it preemptive and quick disaster response mechanisms have enabled the agriculture sector become resilient from the adverse effects of calamities.

Agriculture Secretary Alcala in a statement said that for instance, despite considerable damage caused by typhoons on the industry, the country was able to attain in 2013 the highest rice harvest in history at 18.4 million metric tons.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also reported that in 2013, the agriculture sector still managed to grow by 1.15 percent in terms of volume and 3.51 percent in terms of value.

“Likewise, from the PSA data, agricultural growth in terms of value in 2013 has actually tripled from the growth recorded in 2012 at 1.17 percent,” Alcala said.

Seed buffer stocking

Alcala said that one measure that has helped the sector cope up with the challenges of calamities and still register growth is seed buffer stocking. He recalled that when Typhoon Santi struck Central Luzon in October 2013, affected farmers received seeds from the DA’s buffer stocks not only from their region but also from the stocks of other regions. The availability of seeds ensured that no cropping season was missed.

“With seed buffer stocking, we have pre-positioned 10 percent of rice seed requirements of every region to enable quick replanting by farmers after calamities,” Alcala said.

Alcala stressed that as calamities have become more frequent and severe, the DA has strived to craft innovative measures to ensure that crops are immediately replaced and livelihoods are restored after these calamities.

The Secretary cited its experience with Yolanda, when the super typhoon-hit areas in Eastern Visayas were able to produce 201,722 metric tons of rice from 53,168 hectares land. Their farms yielded 8.6% more as the farmers, who previously did not have access to quality seeds, received certified seeds from the DA’s buffer stocks.

The Department has similarly provided quality seeds and other inputs for disaster-hit farmers planting other crops such as corn, root crops, fruits and vegetables.

“Bangkang Pinoy” for fisherfolk

But DA’s response efforts to Yolanda, as well as other calamities, have not only focused on crops as a significant portion of the devastated communities depends on fishing. Secretary Alcala explained that the DA has given special attention to fishers as they are the most disaster-vulnerable sectors, given their poverty incidence level and geographic location.

With the AHON! Rehabilitation Initiative of the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), the agency has been able to help at least 31,465 fisherfolk families and 103 fisherfolk associations to rebuild their boats or acquire new ones, enabling them to resume their fishing activities after the typhoon.

At least 5,000 Bangkang Pinoy fiberglass fishing boats have already been distributed to affected fisherfolk communities, enabling them to recover from their losses and contribute to the country’s fisheries production anew.

A component of the AHON! Rehabilitation Initiative, the Bangkang Pinoy project targets the distribution of at least 30,000 fishing boats for Yolanda-hit smallholder fisherfolk in the MIMAROPA, Central and Eastern Visayas regions.

These fiberglass fishing boats are sturdier and more durable, thus are cost-efficient than the traditional wooden boats. The distribution of these boats has helped realize the administration’s “build back better” rehabilitation approach.

Aside from boats, the DA-BFAR has provided motor engines and fishing gears as well for the Bangkang Pinoy beneficiaries.

During the Typhoon Ruby in 2014, the DA-BFAR has also deployed its pre-positioned multi-mission boats for quick response and relief operations in typhoon affected areas.

DA Undersecretary for Fisheries Asis Perez said that since after the onslaught of Yolanda, the DA-BFAR has pre-positioned multi-mission boats in strategic areas along expected typhoon corridors as a proactive measure to quickly respond to emergencies.

Insurance for farmers, fishers

Aside from providing material assistance to disaster-affected communities, the DA has likewise enhanced its existing insurance program for crops, livestock and fisheries.

“We are working within the context of changing climate and worsening disasters; hence, we want our existing programs such as insurance to be more responsive to the situations that confront our farmers and fishers,” Secretary Alcala said.

Through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), a government-owned and controlled corporation under the DA, the department has intensified insurance coverage of agricultural producers against losses of crops and non-crop agricultural assets due to natural calamities, pests and diseases, and other risk factors. Insurance has become a necessary component of the DA’s banner commodity programs.

Alcala stressed that in these times of unpredictable and extreme weather events, insurance for agricultural assets is indispensable to help farmers and fisherfolk recover faster from post-disaster losses.

Resiliency is sustainability

Secretary Alcala said that enabling agricultural producers become more resilient means making the agriculture sector as whole more sustainable.

“As our farmers and fishers recover more quickly from disasters, the overall agricultural growth is not compromised. This ensures the sector’s stable contribution to the country’s economy,” Alcala said, adding that livelihoods and food security are likewise protected.

The Secretary however stressed that response is not a stand alone strategy. He noted that a more resilient—and productive—agriculture industry also requires sustainable management and utilization of natural resources through practices such as multi-cropping, ecological agriculture and integrated pest management, among others. The DA has been promoting all these sustainable and climate-adaptive practices to complement disaster response programs. (DA)

World: All Under One Roof: Disability-inclusive shelter and settlements in emergencies

26 July 2015 - 11:26pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Handicap International, CBM Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mongolia, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Summary

Persons with disabilities often experience discrimination and exclusion, despite the adoption of an increasingly rights-based approach to humanitarian assistance. The past three decades have witnessed a growing awareness of disability issues and the emergence and spread of disabled people’s organisations.

The growing awareness must be accompanied by practical measures to identify and reduce the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in an emergency situation.

The the capacity of disabled people's own organisations must be developed and used to inform humanitarian action and build resilient and inclusive communities.

All Under One Roof wants to transform the way humanitarian organisations approach inclusion and accessibility in their shelter and settlement programmes. It is the result of a collaborative process that started in 2013, involving CBM, Handicap International and IFRC.

World: Protracted displacement following disasters worldwide in 2014/2015

23 July 2015 - 9:49am
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Armenia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, United States of America, World, Zimbabwe

Global Estimates 2015 - People displaced by disasters

Philippines: Philippines regions affected by disaster-related displacement in 2014

23 July 2015 - 9:35am
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Philippines

Global Estimates 2015 - People displaced by disasters

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 15–21 July 2015

21 July 2015 - 8:00am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 15–21 July 2015

Iraq: More than 74,440 people have been displaced from Saqlawiyah in Falluja district since 8 July, and tens of thousands reportedly remain trapped in Falluja and Ramadi districts. There are now more than 3.1 million IDPs across 3,613 locations in Iraq; 300,000 people have been displaced from and within Anbar since military operations began in April.

Yemen: The number of IDPs has increased by 24% since mid-June, to reach almost 1.27 million. The fuel crisis continues to worsen. Pro-government forces, with the support of Saudi-led airstrikes, have taken the city of Aden: 100 people were reported killed and 200 injured.

Ukraine: Security continues to deteriorate, with shelling reported in Donetsk city for the first time since the February ceasefire. Access to water is a serious problem in non-government areas, affecting over 470,000 people in Luhansk region alone. Water trucks are facing difficulties reaching the affected, and insecurity is preventing repairs to infrastructure.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

World: Drones and satellites for good - Chatting with Drone Adventures

16 July 2015 - 4:01pm
Source: RESET Country: Haiti, Japan, Philippines, World

From the bottom of the ocean to the outer reaches of the galaxy – the possibilities offered by drones and satellites are practically unlimited. Unmanned aerial vehicles are no longer only used in war zones. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, they are also valuable aids in the fight against pollution and social injustice. They can expose polluters and even locate people buried under rubble. In our RESET Special 'Drones and Satellites for Good', we will introduce projects that use satellites and drones towards sustainable development. Today: we chat with the team from Drone Adventures.

The relative low cost and speed with which drones can be put to use to gather data in particular regions has seen a number of activists and organisations of late make use of this technology to swiftly and safely obtain information. Founded in 2013 and based in Switzerland, Drone Adventures is an organisation that partners with activists, companies, individuals, insitutions and NGOs to bring to life projects that use drones to protect the planet; help people; and preserve culture.

Drone Adventures has realised projects that have helped map the Philippines after Taiphoon Haiyan; plot cleanup and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima; and created imagery and 3D models of areas still recovering from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, all through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. We recently spoke with co-founder and vice president of Drone Adventures, Emanuele Lubrano, to find out how (and why) they are using drones toward the greater good.

Drones have a controversial reputation. What made you want to use them for good?

Myself and other people volunteering at Drone Adventures also work for the Swiss drone manufacturing company senseFly. We know drones very well and we know that civil drones are completely harmless. We are also aware of the reputation that they have worldwide.

We wanted to do something to change the bad status they have. In fact, the whole goal of Drone Adventures is to demonstrate that drones can be used to do good things… even if lately, we love doing the good thing itself more and more.

Which issues do you specifically want to address using drones?

For the moment, we use the senseFly eBee drones a lot. These drones are principally used for aerial photography and maps. Therefore, our missions involve the generation of maps and 3D models or taking aerial photos.

Once the data is acquired, the possibilities to use it are basically endless. So we participate in missions with a really broad spectrum:

  • Cartography to do a census of shantytowns
  • 3D modelling to simulate the water flow in a ravine to help build dams
  • Animal counting in the Savanna for nature protection
  • Cartography of landmine fields
  • General 2D maps or 3D models for surveys, delivered directly to local people, in order to self-administrate themselves
  • Archaeology (2D maps and 3D models)
  • Post-disaster assessment

People currently buy and use civil drones for several applications (mapping, agriculture, etc). From our side, we try to push the limit of this technology, selecting missions that can’t be defined as “standard”.

Could you please briefly explain your process (i.e. selecting projects to work on, developing a plan of action and how you carry out your work)?

Generally, we are contacted by an organisation of any kind that needs data (2D or 3D model of a certain location). We select the projects that have a real interest from a humanitarian, nature-conservation or cultural [viewpoint]. Also, the project has to lead to a concrete application (like building a bridge or shelter, helping people, saving animals, etc), so that we can show real results in the end. We also like to aim for missions that are not standard i.e. where there is a certain difficulty in flying drones.

Once the choice has been made, we move to the location for 1-2 weeks with our drones. [Once on site,] we try to understand what the best pictures would be that we could take in order to fit the final application in our contact. Then, we fly the drones and we obtain aerial images.

We come back to our base in Switzerland and we perform the data processing. This consists of stitching together all the photos taken by the drones in order to generate maps or 3D models.

The data is then delivered to our client who will then use it for its final application.

What are some of the highlights of the projects you've undertaken?

Even though Drone Adventures is a little more than two years old, we have already done a lot of interesting projects. Every project is a story on its own, an adventure to live with, [offering] places to discover and new people to meet. I would say that every time, [we have] a different life experience that enriches all of us.

For example...meeting the people in Haiti has been incredible for me. Or...going to Lima to help the local people has been a completely different experience than going there as a tourist. It has also been unbelievable to work in the Savanna in Namibia, having a semi-desert area as an office for a few days with the wildlife surrounding us.

What are some of the challenges you face when working in this field?

Even if drones generally have a bad reputation, we have never had challenges from this side. The senseFly drones we use look completely harmless so people [that are] curious come and see how we work, how the drone is deployed and how it lands. So, the challenges we have had until now were more on the technical side (flying in narrow valleys, flying at high altitudes, trying to land in tiny spots etc).

What are the future plans for Drone Adventures?

The future for us is continuing to do what we have done until now, trying to do it better and bigger. We want to consolidate partnerships with our technology partners and our clients. We would also love to start to have different “bases” around the world where we could deploy our team faster. Maybe having local teams that are trained to act fast in case of natural disasters or to provide constant aid to a certain cause.

Broadly speaking, what role do you think digital tools can play in humanitarian and environmental issues?

Technology will play THE important role in the coming years in all that is humanitarian, conservation and cultural preservation. I saw it with my eyes. Technology - especially when cheap and easy to use - literally empowers local people to help themselves. It is incredible how it is now possible to locate people that need help after a disaster [using] Twitter and smartphones. I heard of another interesting project that can transform any smartphone into a very good tool for ophthalmologists by adding a small lens onto the camera.

I have friends that develop equipment to perform radiography in the [developing] world or startups using cheap mass-production techniques to build a cheap and strong configurable prosthesis for people that have lost a leg after walking on a mine. There are plenty of examples like this in all possible domains. Drones are only a part of it and our application in particular allows people to have cheap, precise and updated maps of a place of interest, to perform a census, surveys, simulation, animal counting, agriculture surveys and more. The possibilities are endless!

Head to the Drone Adventures website for more on what they do.

World: Towards a World with Zero Hunger

16 July 2015 - 3:25pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Central African Republic, Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

WFP’s life-saving mission is to end global hunger. Universal access to food is the starting point for freedom, justice and peace for all.

WFP provides food assistance in emergencies and works together with governments, UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), companies and private individuals, to tackle the underlying factors causing hunger, to build self-reliance and improve food security.

In 2014, WFP provided food assistance to more than 80 million people in 82 countries.

World: 4 Low-Tech Solutions for Communications in Emergencies

15 July 2015 - 11:19pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Haiti, Indonesia, Philippines, World

BY REBECA MORENO JIMENEZ, LINK LAB MANAGER, JULY 15, 2015

Innovation, in the humanitarian realm, is about finding sustainable and dignified solutions to the most pressing issues that affect the wellbeing of people affected by conflict, man-made or natural disasters, diseases, and food insecurity. Sometimes, in the process of finding these solutions, we encounter tools that help us deliver them in a better, faster, and more participatory way. Some of these tools are considered ‘high-tech’, while others are ‘low-tech’. This is particularly the case for Communicating with Communities (CwC) during emergencies.

So, what is the difference between ‘high-tech’ and low-tech’ solutions? OECD attributes ‘high-tech’ to those industries that engage in intensive Research and Development (R&D), for example the aircraft, computing, or pharmaceutical industries. Every day we see developments on ‘high-tech’ products: drones made out of lighter materials, computers that fit on your wrist, and medicines that cure new diseases.

Normally, when we think of a “technological solution” to a humanitarian emergency, we think of social media networks set up to report missing people; we think of 3-D printers that create first-aid and hygiene kits; or drones that capture temperature photos of disasters in order to locate warm bodies in rubble.

However, in rapid-onset or complex emergencies, some of the infrastructure that is needed to implement ‘high-tech’ solutions is non-existent. This is why humanitarian workers have turned to a whole territory of solutions that come from the ‘medium-low’ or ‘low-tech’ industries, such as automotive, machinery, textile, and simple electrical devices. These technologies are considered ‘low-tech’ because, as they’ve existed for many years, they engage in fewer R&D activities. Nevertheless, they are the ‘grandparents’ of more current technological innovations and they have proven to be quite effective in responding to humanitarian crises, especially where ‘high-tech’ solutions fail.

During emergencies, communicating effectively with communities can often be life-saving. And, ‘low-tech’ solutions have proven to be effective in improving contact and dialogue with emergency-affected populations. Here are four cases:

1. FM Radio

Category-5 typhoon, Haiyan (Bagyong Yolanda) reached the shores of eastern Samar in the Philippines in early November 2013, killing 6,300 people in its path. Haiyan is considered the deadliest super-typhoon in the history of modern Philippines, displacing more than 1.9 million people who were forced to leave their homes.

With a 10-minute sustained speed of 230 km/h (145 mph), the typhoon interrupted major satellite telecommunication, leaving people without access to mass media or cellphones in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. As a result, people turned to a ‘low-tech’ solution to obtain critical information and community support: the local community radio.

Radio Abante (‘move forward’, in local dialect) started life in a suitcase 6 days after the typhoon in Tacloban. With local journalists trained in first-response radio broadcasting, Radio Abante provided information on humanitarian services provision to affected surrounding communities.

The community used radio as a way to share messages on the provision of basic services. They also collected feedback through short-message service (SMS) and phone calls from concerned populations. In addition to this, radio programming provided psychosocial support to listeners. And on Saturday mornings the station broadcasted “The Accountability Hour”, where listeners called in to ask questions on service delivery for health, sanitation, and shelter to humanitarian agencies and government representatives.

2. SMS short code

On January 2010, a magnitude 7.0 Earthquake hit Haiti, with an epicenter approximately 25 kilometers (16 mi) away from the capital, Port-au-Prince. The earthquake killed 220,000 and forced 1.5 million to abandon their homes due to severe infrastructural damage. Telecommunications were also greatly affected as the island nation lost the majority of communication towers.

Humanitarian organization, InSTEDD partnered with DigiCel, the largest cellphone provider, to develop an SMS short code to report emergency messages: the 4636. The service was offered freely to affected populations so that they could send emergency messages. These messages included updates on food distribution and reports on missing persons. Ushahidi scaled this idea and input the SMS emergency messages into a database where they could be mapped. But, it wasn’t technology that took this innovation to the next level; it was manpower. An army of volunteers – supported by technology – assisted with translating messages from creole into English/French. This information was sent to humanitarian organizations for immediate response.

3. Level Sensors

Indonesia is one of several countries that are most affected by monsoon rains. In June 2014 heavy rains caused such massive flooding in the northern part of the country that 13 people were killed and 40,000 were displaced from their homes. People lost their lives and their precious belongings because there were no early warning signs that water levels were rising suddenly to dangerous levels. Sensors can solve this problem.

Sensors can be ‘high-tech’ or ‘low-tech’ devices. One example of a ‘high-tech’ sensor is a remote sensor, which obtains imagery and data from a distance, usually using satellites or aircraft such as drones. A level sensor is one example of a ‘low-tech’ sensor. These sensors directly detect the level of fluid in a body of water whenever there is an increase.

This technology, combined with SMS can serve as an early-warning system for floods. When the water level rises, the sensor will trigger an alert to a GSM modem to send an SMS to phone subscribers. This video demonstrates how it works on a large scale.

‘Low-tech’ solutions can also be accompanied by ‘high-tech’ solutions to strengthen their effectiveness. This can be seen in the case of the city of Jakarta where a government-led initiative on social media made it possible to share flood information on Twitter, while the data was then visualized on a map.

4. Shortwave Radio

Telecommunications infrastructure is not always caused by natural disasters. In many cases such infrastructure may be depleted by conflict. In other cases, the infrastructure never existed. This is the case of Somalia.

Frequency Modulation (FM) is the most common radio wave, and it is used particularly because of the quality of sound. However, if FM waves encounter a mountain, for example, the signal is lost. For this reason, shortwave, which is a type of Amplified Modulation (AM), is the best way to transmit radio in inaccessible places, because their waves travel farther due to their length.

This is the case of Radio Ergo that created a program called Freedom Fone that allows listeners from remote areas to call the station and ask questions on, for example, health-related issues. The station studio is located in Nairobi, but it transmits to Somalia via United Arab Emirates. A setup like this can give journalistic freedom in a case where there may be government-imposed restrictions on access to radio programming. Humanitarian agencies are taking advantage of this, and are developing new programming with Radio Ergo that focuses on disaster and disease prevention, protection, and livelihoods.

‘Low-tech’ solutions, either combined with ‘high-tech’ solutions or used alone, can be lifesaving and inspire hope in a situation of despair. They are by no means the panacea for communicating with disaster-affected communities in onset or complex emergencies. However, they provide an additional channel for reaching those in most need. ‘Low-tech’ can never substitute human interaction or face-to-face contact, but it can be effective in communicating vital information to save lives.

Philippines: Philippines: Community of Practice on Community Engagement Timeline (15 July 2015)

15 July 2015 - 12:42am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

2012

Typhoon Bopha

Communications with Communities (CwC) was established as an inter-cluster communication support service and coordination mechanism. The information needs and preferred communication channels assessment was also conducted in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and other humanitarian media groups.

2013

Zamboanga Siege (September)

CwC (and later the inclusion of the Accountability to Affected Populations or AAP) field level working group was established. It brought together all actors working on public information and community resource mobilization. It resulted to the conduct of series of transparency forum caravans.

Bohol Earthquake (October)

The first joint and coordinated assessment of information needs and preferred communication channels was conducted by various UN agencies and INGOs, with support from PIA and local government units (LGU). Conduct of transparency forum across all affected areas was considered a good practice.

Typhoon Haiyan (November)

An integrated CwC and AAP field level working groups across humanitarian hubs in Eastern and Western Visayas regions was established. Community consultations and accessibility of various communication and feedback platforms enhanced the meaningful participation of the affected communities. The merging of CwC and AAP was the first in any emergency response.

2014

Typhoon Hagupit

The Community of Practice (CoP) on Community Engagement was established as part of the preparedness initiative. CoP members were able to preposition both technologies and staff days before the landfall. The use of social media, pre-evacuation community consultations and assessments as well as strong coordination with the local government units worked successfully this time.

2015

CoP Formalized

The CoP was formalized by January. It has its own Terms of Reference (ToR), strategy and workplan. It also expanded its role to Communications, Accountability, Community Participation and Common Service Partnerships.

Philippines: ‘Yolanda’ survivors in Capiz, Iloilo now have safe homes

14 July 2015 - 6:03am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

About 660 family-survivors from Capiz and Iloilo are now proud homeowners of core shelter units through the Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in partnership with the UN Habitat for Humanity, and with funding support from the People of Japan.

The homeowners received their Certificates of Occupancy during the turnover ceremony last week in Barangay Pawa, Panay and Belle Village III, Pontevedra, which are both in Capiz.

CSAP provides disaster victims with permanent shelter units that can withstand typhoons with wind velocity of up to 220 kilometers per hour and earthquakes up to intensity 4. These are also constructed in safe relocation areas.

DSWD provided P42.7 million as a counterpart fund for the project. UN Habitat managed the construction of the housing units.

The houses are located in Panay, Pontevedra, and Roxas City, all in Capiz; and Estancia, Iloilo.

Starting anew

The beneficiaries of the housing project expressed their gratitude to DSWD and partners for their brand-new, sturdy homes.

Ramir Barrera, 39, from Brgy. Pawa said, “Nagpapasalamat kami dito sa bagong bahay na binigay sa aming pamilya (We are really grateful for this house given to us).”

Another beneficiary, May Deleona, 23, with her six-month-old son Nathan Lance, enthused, “Grabe gid ang pasalamat namon kay nakabalay kami. Ang amon balay totally gid, gin ubos gid ni ‘Yolanda’ guba (We are very thankful because we now have a house. Our previous home was totally washed out by typhoon Yolanda).”

Likewise, Nora Vegas stated, “Indi gid kami maka-balay sang amo sini ka dalagku kun wala sa inyo bulig. Ang amon mga hayob hayob sang una nagkala-washout gid (Building a house this big would not be possible without the help of the government. Our small huts were totally washed out).”

On the other hand, Joan Alcazarin of Belle Village III, Pontevedra, Capiz, a mother of seven children, said, “Pamatyagan ko mas nag gwapa ako kay nagapauli ako sa manami kag mabakod nga balay (I feel like I am more beautiful now that I’m going home to a nice and sturdy house).”

“Tungod sa bagyo ang amon haligi gatakilid. Daw buktot ako kon magtig-ang. Pasalamat gani kami kay gintagaan kami trapal pagkatapos sang bagyo. Kun wala pa gid trapal, daw wala na ko paagi kun diin ko patulugon ang akon mga puya kay sa atop kag sa dingding nagasulod ang ulan (The typhoon destroyed our house. It leaned on one side and so I had to bend my back often when cooking. We were just thankful that we were given tents immediately after the typhoon. Had we not been given the tents, rain water would get us all wet because water passes through our roof and walls),” she added.

She expressed how grateful she is of the help that their family has received saying, “Indi na ako magbuktot kon magdegamo, safety na amon tulog, safe kami sa amon balay, bisan todo ulan wala na kami nahadlok. Madamo gid nga salamat (I won’t have to bend my back anymore when I cook meals, we are safe while sleeping and at home, and even when it rains hard, we are not scared.)”

People’s Process

More than providing the beneficiaries with safer homes, CSAP is a community development initiative utilizing the principles of community organizing, convergence of services, and capability building.

Under the program, the beneficiaries are organized into a Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA), wherein they participate in the actual construction of their respective units.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman urged the beneficiaries to ensure that their houses continue to be in good condition.

“Eto ay patunay ng inyong kakayahang baguhin ang inyong katayuan sa buhay dahil kayo ang nagpursigi para ang mga ito ay maitayo (These are the proof of your ability to improve your situation in life because you persevered to build these yourselves),” Sec. Soliman said.

They also undergo Values Formation Orientation and other capability building sessions to understand their situation and problems at hand, and to intently work to arrive at solutions.

“We would like to commend the people, the homeowners. You have made us believe that people’s process works. Now, we can say that we can do this to the rest of the country, as well,” said Christopher Rollo, Country Programme Manager of UN Habitat during the turnover ceremony.

Consultation with community groups helped UN Habitat design and refine the sturdy homes to meet the basic needs of the beneficiaries.

The design was developed in collaboration with the Capiz chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines, and its structural integrity has been checked by the Capiz chapter of the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines.

Partner BDO Foundation also donated a Multi-purpose building, which will serve as a venue for community activities and as an evacuation center.

World: International Annual Report 2014

13 July 2015 - 11:12pm
Source: SOS Children's Villages International Country: Albania, Central African Republic, Guinea, Lebanon, Liberia, Morocco, Mozambique, occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Syrian Arab Republic, World

The 2014 International Annual Report of SOS Children's Villages, published today, presents risk factors for family breakdown and positive impacts of family strengthening, along with programme statistics and financial results.

In 2014, SOS Children’s Villages International provided sustained care for more than 439,000 children, young people and adults through its Family Strengthening and Family Based Care programmes.

SOS kindergartens, schools, vocational training centres and social centres provided education and learning opportunities for over 206,000 people.

SOS teams provided essential health or emergency services more than 1.6 million times.

Donors, sponsors and partners (corporate, foundational, institutional and governmental) provided over €1 billion in funding for programmes, services and operations.

These and many more figures regarding the reach and impact of SOS Children's Villages International's work to help children and families at risk are included in the 2014 International Annual Report, which takes as its theme the words 'Listen - Act'.

Through programme data, case studies, and the words of children and young people, their caregivers, SOS co-workers, donors and partners – the report explores how listening first, then acting, is a key factor in how SOS Children's Villages works to respond with the right help for individuals and communities, and continually improve as an organisation.

The Programme Report presents important trends affecting the world's most vulnerable children and families.

2014 Facts and Figures is an abridged report featuring just the ‘facts’ and ‘figures’ about children and families at risk, the impact of SOS Children's Villages International programmes in 2014, financial results, and some of the organisation's core principles and positions.

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 6 | 1 June – 3 July 2015

6 July 2015 - 12:41am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Zamboanga Communications Working Group readies over 28,000 remaining IDPs for durable solutions.

  • Back-to-school campaign benefits conflict-affected children in Mamasapano.

  • Communication, accountability and community participation prompted for better humanitarian response and preparedness.

  • Carpenters build resilience in communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

FIGURES

Zamboanga Crisis

Number of IDPs remaining in Grandstand evacuation centre: 1,900

Number of IDPs in transitional sites: 15,100

Number of IDPs hosted by relatives and friends or renting temporary homes: 11,300*

Number of IDPs awarded permanent shelters: 2,900**

Number of IDPs received home material assistance: 8,300**

Source: CCCM Cluster (as of 22 June 2015), *Protection Cluster (as of December 2014) **National Housing Authority (June 2015)

Flooding in Mindanao

Number of IDPs: 380

Number of houses damaged: 65+

Source: OCD (ARMM and Regions X and XII) (as of 3 July 2015)

Philippines: Post Haiyan shelter project wraps with 660 families getting resilient houses and households strengthened against disaster

2 July 2015 - 12:04pm
Source: UN Human Settlements Program Country: Philippines

Barangay Pawa, Philippines 2 July 2015— Rising from the wreckage of Super Typhoon Haiyan, 660 families finally completed the building of their houses and 54 community infrastructure projects in 28 communities in Capiz and Iloilo as the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements project implemented by UN-Habitat came to a close last month.

Consequently, a handing over ceremony was held at Barangay Pawa, Municipality of Panay, Province of Capiz, Philippines. The project sought to facilitate shelter recovery and rehabilitation in Yolanda-affected communities in Capiz and Iloilo.

Launched in July 2014, it had a startup fund of USD 2.5 million from the Government of Japan, later augmented with USD 946,000 from the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The primary goal of the project was to capacitate Yolanda-affected communities in the two provinces as well as local government units (LGUs) through a community-driven approach called People’s Process, hinged on enabling a community to champion its own recovery.

Set targets and what was achieved

As the project comes to a head, we revisit targets that were set and how the project fared. The project initially targeted the accelerated recovery for 20 communities, but damage assessment showed a need to extend the reach of the project. Including more communities under an existing national government programme that gives underprivileged communities access to affordable land was done to accommodate as many Yolanda-affected communities as possible.

From the initial target of 20 communities, 28 signed on for the project and the number of resilient core houses to be built was raised from 610 to 660 due to augmentation funds from DSWD. The project was also able to find additional resources from both local government and private entities, enough to raise the number of infrastructure projects from 20 to 54.

The infrastructure component was carried out with the homeowners associations hiring private builders, who eventually built close relationships with the communities. This close relationship saw several of them voluntarily delivering more than the agreed specifications as their donation to the community. This allowed the project to have an impact on the whole community to include families who were unable to receive the new houses.

Initially, 250 carpenters were supposed to be trained on disaster resilient house construction. But with budget savings, the increase in number of houses to be built and strengthened interest among communities, UN-Habitat was able to train 323 semi-skilled artisans and 31 foremen. Of those trained, over 100 carpenters and over 20 foremen were tapped to construct the houses.

Others have now been able to get construction jobs outside the project, with their DRR and construction skills training certificates and solid experience as handy passports to new jobs. Over 170 household self-assessors and guiders (HAGs) were trained to conduct disaster risk reduction trainings and house assessments for 4,000 households in their respective communities. The HAGs eventually also trained families outside their own assigned communities, reaching over 4,500 households.

The impact goes beyond numbers and targets

But the impact of the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements goes well beyond numbers and targets. Communities have come together in working towards common goals – be it lowering construction costs by ordering materials in bulk, or evolving from dormant neighborhoods into active ones through organized activities that promote well-being, dignity, and solidarity.

The financial transparency mechanisms set by the project helped instill trust of community members in their leaders, and developed financial literacy that enabled the communities’ finance and auditing committee members to manage millions in project funds―a skill that may serve them well outside the project.

People also discovered their voice and can now ask government and even the private sector for assistance in improving their communities. They realize that they can be more than recipients – they can be collaborators. Many of them are now able to articulate the principles of DRR in shelter recovery and the People’ Process to other communities and have welcomed visits from various entities to discuss their experiences and learning’s in great detail.

Targets have been exceeded with 28 communities served, 660 houses built, 54 community improvements done, and over 4,500 households equipped with DRR know-how. But the major takeaway from the project, which can be carried over in future initiatives, is the full demonstration of how recovery and building resilience thrive best as a shared endeavour—with the communities and families themselves driving the process.

Philippines: Post Haiyan shelter projects wraps with 660 families getting resilient houses and households strengthened against disaster

2 July 2015 - 12:04pm
Source: UN Human Settlements Program Country: Philippines

Barangay Pawa, Philippines 2 July 2015— Rising from the wreckage of Super Typhoon Haiyan, 660 families finally completed the building of their houses and 54 community infrastructure projects in 28 communities in Capiz and Iloilo as the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements project implemented by UN-Habitat came to a close last month.

Consequently, a handing over ceremony was held at Barangay Pawa, Municipality of Panay, Province of Capiz, Philippines. The project sought to facilitate shelter recovery and rehabilitation in Yolanda-affected communities in Capiz and Iloilo.

Launched in July 2014, it had a startup fund of USD 2.5 million from the Government of Japan, later augmented with USD 946,000 from the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The primary goal of the project was to capacitate Yolanda-affected communities in the two provinces as well as local government units (LGUs) through a community-driven approach called People’s Process, hinged on enabling a community to champion its own recovery.

Set targets and what was achieved

As the project comes to a head, we revisit targets that were set and how the project fared. The project initially targeted the accelerated recovery for 20 communities, but damage assessment showed a need to extend the reach of the project. Including more communities under an existing national government programme that gives underprivileged communities access to affordable land was done to accommodate as many Yolanda-affected communities as possible.

From the initial target of 20 communities, 28 signed on for the project and the number of resilient core houses to be built was raised from 610 to 660 due to augmentation funds from DSWD. The project was also able to find additional resources from both local government and private entities, enough to raise the number of infrastructure projects from 20 to 54.

The infrastructure component was carried out with the homeowners associations hiring private builders, who eventually built close relationships with the communities. This close relationship saw several of them voluntarily delivering more than the agreed specifications as their donation to the community. This allowed the project to have an impact on the whole community to include families who were unable to receive the new houses.

Initially, 250 carpenters were supposed to be trained on disaster resilient house construction. But with budget savings, the increase in number of houses to be built and strengthened interest among communities, UN-Habitat was able to train 323 semi-skilled artisans and 31 foremen. Of those trained, over 100 carpenters and over 20 foremen were tapped to construct the houses.

Others have now been able to get construction jobs outside the project, with their DRR and construction skills training certificates and solid experience as handy passports to new jobs. Over 170 household self-assessors and guiders (HAGs) were trained to conduct disaster risk reduction trainings and house assessments for 4,000 households in their respective communities. The HAGs eventually also trained families outside their own assigned communities, reaching over 4,500 households.

The impact goes beyond numbers and targets

But the impact of the Post-Yolanda Support for Safer Homes and Settlements goes well beyond numbers and targets. Communities have come together in working towards common goals – be it lowering construction costs by ordering materials in bulk, or evolving from dormant neighborhoods into active ones through organized activities that promote well-being, dignity, and solidarity.

The financial transparency mechanisms set by the project helped instill trust of community members in their leaders, and developed financial literacy that enabled the communities’ finance and auditing committee members to manage millions in project funds―a skill that may serve them well outside the project.

People also discovered their voice and can now ask government and even the private sector for assistance in improving their communities. They realize that they can be more than recipients – they can be collaborators. Many of them are now able to articulate the principles of DRR in shelter recovery and the People’ Process to other communities and have welcomed visits from various entities to discuss their experiences and learning’s in great detail.

Targets have been exceeded with 28 communities served, 660 houses built, 54 community improvements done, and over 4,500 households equipped with DRR know-how. But the major takeaway from the project, which can be carried over in future initiatives, is the full demonstration of how recovery and building resilience thrive best as a shared endeavour—with the communities and families themselves driving the process.