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Updated: 16 min 34 sec ago

Philippines: One Year After: Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines - Progress Report

6 hours 29 min ago
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

Executive summary

Just one year after ‘Super Typhoon’ Haiyan hit the Philippines, tremendous progress has been made. The speed and scale of the humanitarian and early recovery response were made possible by the generosity of donors, strong partnerships with the Government and the amazing resilience of the people of the Philippines. While UNICEF and our partners have made a strong start, there is a lot of work ahead to achieve the shared goal of restoring economic and social conditions to at least pre-typhoon levels, with a higher level of disaster resilience.

On 8 November 2013, Haiyan affected more than 14 million people, including 5.9 million children, as high winds and a massive tsunami-like storm surge tore through the Visayas region of the Philippines. A total of 4.1 million people, including 1.7 million children, were displaced from their homes. UNICEF’s humanitarian response was equally massive, as the entire organization mobilised for this Level 3 emergency, the highest level of response possible. The UNICEF appeal for US$119 million was fully funded due to the extraordinary generosity of national, institutional and individual donors.

UNICEF’s response provided more than 1.35 million people with access to safe water, vaccinated 1.78 million children against measles, provided almost 625,000 children learning materials and gave over 58,000 children psychosocial support. UNICEF put the needs of children at the centre of the response, working with communities, government counterparts, civil society and a wide range of local and international partners. By July, the humanitarian phase of the response was declared over by the Government of the Philippines and the focus shifted to early recovery.

One year on, UNICEF’s focus is moving more firmly into recovery, building back better and incorporating disaster risk reduction (DRR) to improve the resilience of individuals, families and communities to future hazards. As part of the recovery 1,706 classrooms have now been repaired, systematically replacing so 2,132 Temporary Learning Space (TLS) tents used during the first months.

Sanitation solutions have moved on to resilience building activities with 74 villages (barangay) mobilized to build their own toilets and change their behaviours to achieve zero open defecation (ZOD) status. Life-saving assistance provided to 1,622 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) has been outstripped by counselling for more than 75,000 caregivers on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) to prevent malnutrition from occurring in the future.

UNICEF has also innovated in its response. For the first time, UNICEF Philippines used cash transfers for most vulnerable families to assist them to better provide for their children. Local Government Units (LGUs) have been used as a cornerstone of our response in the decentralized public service delivery context of the Philippines. Forty of the most affected LGUs were empowered through direct grants with planning assistance and financial oversight from UNICEF. As part of monitoring the response, household surveys were conducted using electronic tablets allowing results to be collated, analysed and acted upon much more quickly than using paper-based data collection. Theatre for Development performances and an exhibition of children’s photos engaged and empowered children and youth. Innovations are continuing with the recent launch of a programme for replacing birth certificates lost in the Typhoon and the creation of ‘cloud based’ records that will be resilient to future disasters.

Thanks to the tremendous generosity of donors, UNICEF’s humanitarian response and early recovery needs for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan are fully funded in 2014. US$5.4 million in additional funding is required for victims of conflict in Mindanao, including Zamboanga. In early 2015, the Humanitarian Action for Children will announce UNICEF’s funding requirements for ongoing humanitarian assistance to children in the Philippines.

Philippines: Tzu Chi’s Relief Operations in the Philippines in 2014 –Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) disaster, Bohol Island Earthquake and Zamboanga Unrest

9 hours 26 min ago
Source: Tzu Chi Foundation Country: Philippines

Overview:

Result of the cash-for-work programs conducted in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

  1. School Relief Program: Installation of 453 pre-fabricated classrooms and rooftop repair for 203 classrooms.

  2. Teaching of Jing Si Aphorisms Program: Calming the mind and soul of school children.

  3. Building of 2,250 temporary houses.

  4. Memorial Ceremony for the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

  5. Pedicab Program – Spreading love across the communities.
    Conclusion: The temporary houses and pre-fabricated classrooms lend help to victims over a transitional period of ten years during which homes and lives are being rebuilt.

Philippines: Philippines: One year after typhoon Haiyan

13 hours 33 min ago
Source: Médecins Sans Frontières Country: Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan, or Yolanda as it is known locally, was the strongest typhoon ever recorded at landfall, ripped through the central Philippines on 8 November 2013. It caused devastation on an unprecedented scale – roofs were ripped off, villages were flattened, livelihoods were swept away and a tsunami-like storm surge claimed more than 6,300 lives and displaced some 4 million people.

In the aftermath of the typhoon, MSF was able to provide emergency assistance to communities on three of the worst-affected islands: Guiuan and nearby towns on Eastern Samar; Tacloban, Tanauan, Palo, Ormoc, Santa Fe and Burauen on Leyte; and Estancia, Carles and San Dionisio on mainland Panay, as well as several outlying islands. This included addressing acute and immediate medical trauma needs; restoring basic medical services and facilities; providing shelter, reconstruction kits, water and sanitation facilities; and offering psychosocial support to both children and adults.

One year later, demands in medical and humanitarian support from MSF have greatly reduced due to the improvements in the capacity of local health services. MSF raised €32.5 million for Typhoon Haiyan emergency response. Read the report for the details of how we spent it.

Indonesia: Learning from Crisis: Strengthening Humanitarian Response Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

17 December 2014 - 11:22pm
Source: CARE Country: Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Sudan, Sri Lanka

Remembering the Tsunami: A Decade of Strengthening Humanitarian Response

Ten years ago, the global community faced what was one of the biggest tests of humanitarianism in recent history.

On Dec. 26, 2004, an earthquake rumbled off the coast of Indonesia, triggering a series of devastating tsunamis that struck 14 countries across the Indian Ocean. At least 228,000 people lost their lives and millions more were left homeless.

A decade later, lessons learned from the tsunami humanitarian response continue to influence and improve how the world responds to disasters today.

A new report from CARE International marking 10 years since the Indian Ocean tsunami outlines some of the major milestones and innovations in the humanitarian system and in CARE’s own emergency work, and raises questions for how the world will continue to evolve and address emerging challenges in the years ahead.

“The tsunami was a turning point for the global aid community. Never before had such a massive, coordinated emergency response been launched after a natural disaster. The world succeeded in helping the affected countries rebuild and recover, and the way we respond to and prepare for crises was altered forever,” says Sally Austin, CARE International Head of Emergency Operations who previously worked in Indonesia as CARE’s Tsunami Response Director.

The global community mobilized with a massive emergency effort. CARE was among the leading humanitarian agencies that responded and worked with affected communities across five countries to reconstruct homes and livelihoods and promote economic and social development, reaching more than 1.3 million people.

Since the tsunami, the world has faced a decade of disasters – natural, like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti; as a result of conflict, like the ongoing crises in South Sudan and Syria; and outbreaks of disease such as the Ebola virus in West Africa.

With growing needs, there are emerging challenges both for people affected by disasters and for humanitarian actors. Aid organizations and donors need to be more flexible and innovative; build resilience of communities before, during and after a crisis; and expand partnerships with local communities, governments, civil society groups, the private sector and all who have a stake in responding to crises, according to CARE in its new report Learning from Crisis: Strengthening Humanitarian Response Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

“We hope that this report will be used by many, as it will be by CARE itself, to continue to improve our collective humanitarian efforts to ensure we’re being as effective as possible and having the greatest impact in helping people most affected by these crises, particularly women and girls, as they are often disproportionately affected during a disaster,” said Barbara Jackson, CARE International’s Humanitarian Director. “The people who survived the tsunami worked against the odds to rebuild their homes and communities. The best way to honour them, and the memory of those who died in the disaster, is to continue to work together to find new, innovative solutions to help people affected by crises.”

Return to Aceh, Indonesia, 10 Years Later

CARE’s team recently returned to Aceh, Indonesia, which was the area worst hit by the tsunami. While the losses of loved ones cannot be forgotten, what was found were communities rebuilt and renewed, able to move on from the tragedy.

“It has been extraordinary to see the change in Aceh since the tsunami,” says Ibu Sinarti, a midwife who was seriously injured in the disaster 10 years ago. “Things look normal now, and in some places, like this health clinic, they are better. Everyone here was helped, somehow. The world came to help, and we helped each other.”

NOTE TO EDITORS:

CARE has staff members available to discuss the Indian Ocean tsunami who were involved in the initial response operations and continue to work for the organization today.

In particular, Canadian Melanie Brooks was part of CARE’s emergency response team that responded to the tsunami in Indonesia 10 years ago; she recently returned to Aceh to visit the families and communities affected by this disaster and is available to discuss progress achieved a decade later.

Media contact:

Marie-Jo Proulx
Communications Manger, CARE Canada
613.799.7562
mj.proulx@care.ca

Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit: "We were prepared… "

16 December 2014 - 8:31pm
Source: Handicap International Country: Philippines

Typhoon Hagupit did not spare the province of Leyte. The municipalities of Tacloban, Alang Alang and Pastrana, which experienced the full force of Typhoon Haiyan just one year ago, faced this extreme weather event head on. The storm caused extensive material damage: uprooting trees, knocking electricity lines down, and blowing roofs off.

"The memories of Typhoon Haiyan which left around 8,000 people dead in November 2013, are still extremely vivid,” explains Emilie Rivier, Operational Coordinator for Handicap International in the Philippines. “The local populations therefore took the recent warnings from the government and humanitarian actors very seriously, and actively prepared for the disaster. Across the country, 1,700,000 people were displaced to 5,193 evacuation centers.[1] Today, the inhabitants are already getting started on the repair work. To the best of my knowledge there was no loss of life in Tacloban, Alang Alang or Pastrana. The local authorities have even proudly announced two births!"

Since Dec. 9, Handicap International teams have been assessing the extent of the damage suffered by the association’s beneficiaries, checking on the damage caused to their homes, access to school, healthcare, work, and water, health and hygiene. The teams visited around 30 barangays, or small villages, in Alang Alang, Tacloban and Pastrana, where Hagupit caused considerable damage to the agricultural sector, in particular to banana plantations.

Since Typhoon Haiyan, the association has notably been implementing a project to build 200 permanent shelters, in collaboration with the local population. "In these municipalities the results of our assessment were very positive,” Rivier says. “The permanent shelters, built using 'build back safer' methods[2] resisted the typhoon. We will… shortly be ready to resume our construction projects."

Handicap International also visited the families who were given new working tools[3] following the passage of Typhoon Haiyan. "The winds blew and the rain fell continuously for 48 hours, but the pigs (we) distributed are still in good health and the sari-sari stores[4] were not destroyed. Among the 800 households that benefited from HI’s support, only minor material damage has been reported. We have all learned lessons from Typhoon Haiyan, and we were very well prepared."

Typhoon Hagupit has therefore not had any major impact on the projects implemented by Handicap International in the province of Leyte, and the teams have already been able to resume their work.

[1]OCHA Situation Report No. 4, Philippines - Typhoon Hagupit, 9 December 2014.

[2] Method to build homes which are more resistant to natural disasters and adapted to the local context

[3]In order to assist the vulnerable populations who lost their livelihoods in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Handicap International aims to provide 800 households, from 20 community groups, with a new 'working tool' (tricycle, pig, small store, etc.) and to recover a certain amount of financial autonomy.

[4] Small stores

Philippines: Philippines: WASH Baseline Barangay Assessment April 2014, Atlas of assessed Municipalities - Population Density

15 December 2014 - 7:35am
Source: UN Children's Fund, WASH Cluster, REACH Country: Philippines

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoons Hagupit/Ruby and Haiyan/Yolanda (11 December 2014)

15 December 2014 - 4:04am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) Information Bulletin n° 4

Philippines: Minister Paradis reiterates Canada's support to the Philippines

11 December 2014 - 11:09pm
Source: Government of Canada Country: Philippines

Canada committed to helping Filipinos recover from the impact of Typhoon Hagupit

December 11, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, reiterated Canada’s support for the people of the Philippines affected by Typhoon Hagupit, which has claimed 22 lives and forced the evacuation of over 1.6 million people.

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to those have lost loved ones or have otherwise been affected by this difficult situation,” said Minister Paradis. “Canada stands in solidarity with the Filipino people and will continue to closely monitor events in the region and stand ready to provide further assistance as needed.”

Canadian officials have undertaken a series of consultations with Philippine government officials and the Philippine Armed Forces, as well as with key international agencies, humanitarian organizations and key donors on the ground in order to identify any need for additional Canadian support to the relief and early recovery efforts.

Typhoon Hagupit impacted some areas already affected by Typhoon Haiyan just over a year ago. Following an announcement on November 8, 2014, Minister Paradis also announced that Canada will be extending the deadline for the Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction Assistance Call for Proposals to February 13, 2015, in order to give Canadian organizations on the ground additional time to mobilize their responses to Hagupit, as needed, and to consider, where necessary, its implications in Haiyan-affected areas.

Quick Facts

•When Typhoon Hagupit hit the Philippines on December 6, 2014, Canada was already preparing a whole-of-government response, working closely with humanitarian partners and the Government of the Philippines.

•In 2014, the Philippines was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

Philippines: What we've learnt from Haiyan to Hagupit

11 December 2014 - 1:57am
Source: Australian Red Cross Country: Philippines

Did being prepared save thousands of lives over the weekend?

While we grieve with the families of those who died in Typhoon Hagupit, and help those who lost homes, there's a collective sigh of relief as the typhoon leaves the Philippines.

Just over a year ago Typhoon Haiyan passed through these same locations, killing 7,000 people and leaving a million homeless.

So did the humanitarian community do anything that potentially saved lives between those two typhoons?

It's not a straightforward comparison: unlike Haiyan, much of Hagupit's destructive power had diminished by the time it made landfall. And we're still building a comprehensive picture of damage across the country. But several lessons from last year were put into practice.

Getting ready means more than stockpiling relief goods.

Being prepared for a disaster involves systems, processes, people and cash. It's no use filling a warehouse with rations if you don't have trucks to get them to people. Or fuel and drivers for the trucks. Or back-up transport if the roads are inaccessible. Or local volunteers to unpack and distribute the goods. Or a way of keeping track of stock. Or an information management system that alerts everyone involved of an approaching disaster and what they need to do.

Gradually, more donors are starting to invest in disaster preparedness and all the building blocks involved.

Evacuate early using pre-determined plans and locations.

Last weekend saw one of the largest peacetime evacuations in history. Local authorities evacuated close to a million people from the typhoon's path. It's clear that this step, which began long before Hagupit entered the Philippines, contributed to the reduced loss of life.

It can be hard to convince people to develop a household evacuation plan or practise a drill. Yet since Haiyan, these activities have been ramped up right across the country. Much work was done to ensure evacuation centres were structurally sound, weather-resistant and adequately stocked and staffed.

It's critical that we keep trying to make an evacuation centre a safe place for everyone. When emotions run high, people are crowded and facilities are limited, it's vital to help women, children and vulnerable groups stay safe from abuse and neglect.

Local responders need to work together.

There is no way such a mass evacuation could have occurred without collaboration between local authorities and local relief agencies. Over the last 12 months, local Red Cross volunteers have been working with local barangay officials to run evacuation drills and test warning systems. They collaborated again over the weekend, with volunteers serving hot meals and handing out blankets and relief kits in evacuation points.

Help people build back better and stronger.

Filipino people are famously tough: after all, they stare down the barrel of 20 typhoons a year. But we can help them protect what they have. Since Haiyan, a major focus for Red Cross has been 'building back better' using weather-resistant materials and housing frames designed to withstand high winds. An early assessment in Samar and San Isidro indicates that houses built to these specifications sustained minimal or no damage from Typhoon Hagupit.

Manage and share information effectively.

From tweets and photos as Typhoon Hagupit approached, to rapid assessments of the humanitarian impact after it passed through, more information was available to more people than in last year's typhoon. Again, this is the result of local people collecting and sharing information with the tools they had.

Which leads to the most important thing we learnt from Haiyan: no international aid agency 'rushing in' can replace trained local first responders. And the best contribution the humanitarian sector can make is to facilitate effective collaboration between local authorities, agencies and communities. We need to continue to get people together to identify what needs to be done in their homes and communities, work out how best to do it, and broker the resources to make it happen.

Typhoon Haiyan showed us that nature can be immensely, terrifyingly destructive. Typhoon Hagupit showed us that we need not wait helplessly in its path.

Peter Walton, Head of International Programs, Australian Red Cross

Philippines: Picking up the pieces after Typhoon Hagupit leaves the Philippines

10 December 2014 - 7:57am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Nichola Jones, IFRC

As Typhoon Hagupit finally exits the Philippines, a picture of the main needs on the ground is emerging.

Overall, damage appears to be moderate, but in areas such as Masbate, Samar and Leyte there is a need for food, water and emergency shelter. The rain accompanying Hagupit brought significant flooding and some landslides – damaging infrastructure, crops and livelihoods.

Close to the track of the storm where it made landfall on Eastern Samar, unofficial government figures estimate that between 10,000-20,000 homes made from local lightweight materials could be damaged or destroyed.

Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Philippines, Kari Isomaa, said: “It will be several days before we know the true extent of Hagupit’s impact, but the Red Cross is providing emergency supplies to those hardest hit.”

On Tuesday morning over one million people remained in more than 5,000 evacuation centers. Many have returned home but some will remain longer where their houses are flooded or damaged. The Philippine Red Cross has been providing hot meals to hundreds of families in evacuation centres and has hundreds of volunteers working across the affected areas. Relief supplies and equipment including a water tanker, rescue vehicles, an ambulance and vans to provide hot meals have been sent to Samar along with a specially trained emergency crew. The IFRC has provided the Philippine Red Cross with non-food relief items for 10,000 families including hygiene kits, tarpaulins, mosquito nets and jerry cans.

In Tacloban in Leyte Province, which was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan last year, there have been reports of some damage to buildings but the Red Cross’s 700 newly built houses have weathered their first typhoon well. Community leader Tarcisio Gernale, in Dagami near Tacloban, said: “When we heard the typhoon was coming we knew our new homes were the safest place to be.”

In Quezon province, tens of thousands of people spent up to three days in 452 evacuation centres, but almost all have now returned to their homes. Initial reports suggest some damage to rice farms in Padre Burgos and Catagauan in Quezon but homes have survived.

Grandmother Noemi Samieu, from Basiao in Quezon, saw her seaside home wrecked by Typhoon Glenda in July and was among the first people to evacuate before Hagupit hit.

Standing in the ruins of her home, the 54-year-old said: “My house was completed destroyed by Glenda so I know the power of typhoons. I evacuated with my family – we weren’t going to take any chances. When we returned, it was a relief to see the rest of the houses here had escaped this time.”

By the time it reached Metro Manila on Monday, Typhoon Hagupit had slowed to a crawl and brought only light rain to most areas. Although the capital escaped unscathed, tens of thousands of people – mostly from poor districts in low-lying areas – were evacuated up to three days before as a precautionary measure. At a Manila evacuation centre on Tuesday, numbers had started to dwindle from a peak of about 100 families the previous night.

Philippine Red Cross provided hot meals, First Aid and medical attention, with milk and biscuits for the children. Volunteers keep them amused with fun games mixed with hygiene promotion activities.

Mary Ann Garcia’s family lives near the school and decided to evacuate after warnings from barangay officials. All too familiar with flooding in their area, Mary Ann, 23, had evacuated the previous night together with her four children. “It is fortunate we weren’t flooded and we only had to stay for one night,” she said.

Philippines: Disaster Risk Reduction and Children’s Rights to Education and Safety: Integrating Humanitarian Response and Development after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines

9 December 2014 - 2:40pm
Source: Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Country: Philippines

Summary

This Paper was presented at Third International Conference on Human Rights and Peace & Conflict in South East Asia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Disasters represent a major humanitarian concern with increasing regularity and intensity due to climate change. Children are one of the most vulnerable groups during a disaster and new challenges arise for at-risk countries to guarantee children their inalienable rights. Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines has again brought these challenges into focus.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 3–9 December

9 December 2014 - 8:17am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 3–9 December

Philippines: Category 5 Typhoon Hagupit, locally known as Ruby, made landfall on 6 December over the town of Dolores in Eastern Samar province (Eastern Philippines). At least 49 of 81 provinces are potentially at high risk. The typhoon is moving very slowly, potentially subjecting each community in the path of the typhoon to high winds and torrential rainfall for much longer. 1.1 million people are affected.

Sierra Leone: 537 new Ebola cases were recorded 23–30 November: 202 in Freetown, with high transmission persisting in Port Loko and the Western Area. Transmission also persists in Bombali, Tonkolili, Bo, Kono, Moyamba, Kambia and Koinadugu. 7,798 Ebola cases, including 1,742 deaths, have been reported in Sierra Leone so far.

DRC: Authorities in North Kivu have moved to close down 60 IDP camps for security reasons, saying that arms were hidden in them. The closure of the Kiwanja camp in Beni, hosting 2,300 displaced people, was ordered on 3 December. Nearly 89,000 people are in need of assistance due to fighting in Beni territory.

Updated: 09/12/2014. Next update: 16/12/2014

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: Lessons of Two Disasters: Building Resilience from Within

9 December 2014 - 4:28am
Source: Nanyang Technological Univ. Country: Philippines

By Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar I. Trajano

Synopsis

The onslaught of super typhoon Hagupit has once again raised fears of massive destruction and high casualties in the Philippines. Being prepared helps mitigate the impact of destructive typhoons.

Commentary

FOR THE communities in central Philippines, a repeat of 2013’s onslaught of super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) raised, once again, fears of devastation and loss of lives with the arrival of Typhoon Hagupit.

The strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, Hagupit barrelled through central Philippines, where thousands were killed by super typhoon Haiyan last year. At less than 200 kilometres per hour (kph), though far weaker than Haiyan which had a strength of more than 300 kph, slow-moving Hagupit was projected to hammer cities, towns and impoverished coastal communities, which were still recovering from the devastation wrought by Haiyan.

Devastation redux

The region experienced heavy rain and intense winds, but few injuries and little damage had been reported so far. At least 27 people have been reported killed, according to the Red Cross, although exact casualty figures are likely to rise as more deaths are uncovered. Still, it did not appear to have wreaked devastation on the same scale as last year's deadly Haiyan.

During the onslaught of Haiyan last year, tsunami-like storm surges flattened what used to be vibrant towns and communities, killed or left missing close to 8,000 people, and displaced as many as four million. In Tacloban City, which was the ground zero for Haiyan, the city's response to another disaster was again tested. And this time, the city suffered no casualties after Hagupit made landfall, thanks to early massive forced evacuation of 49,000 inhabitants.

Local governments in Samar and Leyte provinces declared their typhoon preparedness a “success” as there were no massive casualties during the onslaught of Hagupit. In terms of economic cost, while the damage to infrastructure and agriculture is yet to be assessed by the government, it is unlikely that Hagupit will be as destructive as Haiyan which caused approximately US$700 million worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture. It obliterated more than half a million homes and destroyed the local communities’ sources of agriculturally based livelihood.

Preparedness matters

After the 2013 ‘fiasco’, the Philippine government pulled out all stops to prepare for imminent typhoon. Hagupit was seen as the ultimate test of President Benigno Aquino’s post-Haiyan disaster preparedness mechanism - a year after his administration was criticised for its messy response to Haiyan’s devastation. President Aquino himself, in a pre-Hagupit disaster meeting, pressured his cabinet ministers to ensure minimum casualties. By initial accounts, his administration seems to have passed the test.

Prior to Hagupit’s onslaught, the Philippines implemented one of its largest-ever peacetime evacuations. More than one million people have been evacuated and placed in 81 evacuation centres. Some private properties, including hotels and even houses of local politicians, were likewise opened to host evacuees. The government’s disaster response equipment, emergency workers and relief aid items were also prepositioned to ensure prompt post-typhoon relief assistance.

Another post-Haiyan innovative measure of the government was the regular issuance, through mainstream and social media, of storm surge warnings, which were used by local governments to identify disaster-prone communities and kept affected residents informed. Also, local governments - as first responders - seem to be more prepared in protecting their communities, through enforced evacuation.

During Haiyan last year, affected local governments were virtually incapacitated to immediately respond to the needs of their communities and uphold peace and order. But this time, local police and military personnel were strategically deployed to prevent looting, a common occurrence in the aftermath of Haiyan as desperate residents received no relief supplies.

Disaster-relief initiatives from the international community also appear to be more coordinated and, evidently, less political. It must be noted that in the course of massive international relief efforts last year, China was heavily criticised for its delayed and paltry contribution to the relief efforts due to, arguably, its lingering territorial disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

This time, China is among the first 11 countries to pledge relief and rehabilitation assistance, along with the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbours Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei.

Lessons learnt: Regional response

Indeed, one important lesson in this episode is that a regional disaster mechanism can now be easily activated to complement the relief assistance of the international community. A six-man ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT), which included four Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, was deployed prior to the onslaught of Hagupit.

The team comes under the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA). Its critical function is to provide rapid assessment and determine the critical resources - such as tents, medical kits, and sanitation facilities - required for the areas affected by the typhoon. ERAT helps ASEAN and the international community identify what needs to be delivered to affected communities.

Working with the AHA, Singapore has also deployed its Swift Emergency Evaluation Deployment (SEED) team, a nationally-organised needs assessment team to assist the Philippines in getting a comprehensive analysis of the situation in the affected areas and enhance information-sharing. This helps facilitate decision-making by armed forces, for instance, by directing them to affected areas most in need of disaster assistance.

Engaging local communities

Another key takeaway in the aftermath of Hagupit is the importance of getting communities involved to boost community resilience. While both local and national governments prepared themselves to protect communities, the people had already inculcated the habit of cooperating with authorities in the massive evacuation efforts.

Local governments credited the cooperation of communities to ensure quick and orderly evacuation which undeniably saved thousands of lives. People are also now more informed of the possible deadly consequences of Hagupit should they refuse to heed authorities.

Indeed, natural disasters are now regarded as a major security threat affecting communities regionally. Powerful typhoons such as Haiyan and Hagupit are no longer just one-off events, but yearly occurrences due to worsening climate change. As this kind of disasters affect millions of lives irrespective of political boundaries, it is essential to assist communities to be more disaster-resilient, primarily through coordinated efforts of national and multilateral actors.

Mely Caballero-Anthony and Julius Cesar I. Trajano are respectively Head and Senior Analyst with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.

World: A Guide to Social Media Emergency Management Analytics - Understanding the Place of Analytics through Typhoon Haiyan Social Media Analysis

9 December 2014 - 4:26am
Source: Humanity Road Country: Philippines, World

By Cat Graham

Humanity Road in collaboration with Statistics Without Borders is pleased to announce the publication of a guide to help emergency managers understand social media analytics. This twenty page guide and report contains helpful tips for emergency managers.

Emergency Management is a mature field of study but Social Media Analytics is still in its infancy and navigating this field requires an understanding of the opportunities it presents. We are publishing this guide as a helpful tool for emergency managers and decision makers to help them identify and discuss relevant questions in planning their SMEM response. One example of key lessons to include in your own SMEM plan is establishing a baseline for communications activity in your area of operation.

Extract:

“While the idea of leveraging social media is intuitively attractive, there are a number of key considerations to ensure that the analysis is designed to meet the objective. The opportunity for data analysis must be properly and promptly identified, and the disaster response resources and the analytical resources must work together to determine how to best house, extract, and analyze the data. The parameters and the specifics of the social media data to be extracted for analysis must be carefully defined and understood based on the objectives of the analysis.”

Examining the use of social media across space and time may signal a change or development in the behavior of people and their use of social media. For example, the results of this type of analysis may be useful for the design and prioritization of outreach programs as well as top-down communication from the government towards affected populations. Using a subset of data collected, analysts can provide a geographic display of tweets over time for a specific location. This might be tweets about urgent needs, damage or some other topic.

Transformation through innovation is possible through discovering, testing and leveraging digital humanitarian and technology partners. Knowing how to tap these partners is crucial for quickly responding to disaster in your region. We are really excited to be working with partners such as Statistics Without Borders, Translators Without Borders and technology partners such as ESRI and encourage emergency management professionals to reach out to start talking with potential data management partners.

We wish to thank Michiko Wolcott, project lead along with Joseph Pollack, and Minh Tran volunteer analysts with Statistics Without Borders for all their help in performing the data study and in contributing to this guidebook. We also wish to express our thanks to Kara Pisklak with SparksGrove, a division of NorthHighland for assisting with the presentation and design.

World: A Guide to Social Media Emergency Management Analytics

9 December 2014 - 4:26am
Source: Humanity Road Country: Philippines, World

By Cat Graham

Humanity Road in collaboration with Statistics Without Borders is pleased to announce the publication of a guide to help emergency managers understand social media analytics. This twenty page guide and report contains helpful tips for emergency managers.

Emergency Management is a mature field of study but Social Media Analytics is still in its infancy and navigating this field requires an understanding of the opportunities it presents. We are publishing this guide as a helpful tool for emergency managers and decision makers to help them identify and discuss relevant questions in planning their SMEM response. One example of key lessons to include in your own SMEM plan is establishing a baseline for communications activity in your area of operation.

Extract:

“While the idea of leveraging social media is intuitively attractive, there are a number of key considerations to ensure that the analysis is designed to meet the objective. The opportunity for data analysis must be properly and promptly identified, and the disaster response resources and the analytical resources must work together to determine how to best house, extract, and analyze the data. The parameters and the specifics of the social media data to be extracted for analysis must be carefully defined and understood based on the objectives of the analysis.”

Examining the use of social media across space and time may signal a change or development in the behavior of people and their use of social media. For example, the results of this type of analysis may be useful for the design and prioritization of outreach programs as well as top-down communication from the government towards affected populations. Using a subset of data collected, analysts can provide a geographic display of tweets over time for a specific location. This might be tweets about urgent needs, damage or some other topic.

Transformation through innovation is possible through discovering, testing and leveraging digital humanitarian and technology partners. Knowing how to tap these partners is crucial for quickly responding to disaster in your region. We are really excited to be working with partners such as Statistics Without Borders, Translators Without Borders and technology partners such as ESRI and encourage emergency management professionals to reach out to start talking with potential data management partners.

We wish to thank Michiko Wolcott, project lead along with Joseph Pollack, and Minh Tran volunteer analysts with Statistics Without Borders for all their help in performing the data study and in contributing to this guidebook. We also wish to express our thanks to Kara Pisklak with SparksGrove, a division of NorthHighland for assisting with the presentation and design.

Philippines: Ruby’s damage on agri sector not as grave as Yolanda’s—DA chief

8 December 2014 - 10:59pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 9 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the public that with department's proactive response, typhoon Ruby’s damage on agriculture is expected to be not as severe as what the sector had experienced during the onslaught of Yolanda last year.

In a statement, Secretary Alcala stressed that initial figures on damages presented by Assistant Secretary Edilberto De Luna and Undersecretary Emerson Palad of DA Field Operations are much lower, compared during typhoon Yolanda.

De Luna and Palad reported that as of 2:00pm on December 8, total cost of damages and production losses in crops and infrastructure reached P1.02 billion, involving 55,850 hectares of farmlands and with estimated production losses of 56,090 metric tons in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

The volume of palay production affected is at 48,054 metric tons; 7,550 tons for corn and 486 tons for high-value crops all valued at P941.04 million. For fisheries, production losses amounted to P48.225 million, while damage inflicted to the livestock sector amounted to P809,550.

Damage to various agri-fishery infrastructure and equipment P29.993 million.

According to Alcala, damage on agriculture was worse during Yolanda because farmers had yet to harvest their crops. For typhoon Ruby, farmers were able to harvest mature crops even before the typhoon had its landfall while fishers were also able to place their boats into safety, following DA’s and other government agencies’ advisories.

“What we can [also] assure the public is that although Ruby is also a destructive typhoon, we are ready to roll out remaining assistance, aside from what had already been prepositioned,” Alcala said.

Secretary Alcala said that DA had prepositioned a total of 78,479 bags for rice and 17,554 for corn nationwide intended to lessen the impact of any weather disturbance.

Meanwhile, in a text message also on Monday, the National Food Authority (NFA) said that its rice inventory on areas affected in regions 5 and 8 is enough to supply the needed volume of the main staple

For Region 8, about 5.9 million cavans were currently at the area, while Region 4 has 236,557 cavans in its inventory, according to NFA’s Director Rex Estoperez.

The National Capital Region’s rice inventory stands at 1,190,816 cavans, while a total of 1,243,842 cavans were already distributed to relief agencies and institutions including LGUs, according to NFA administrator Renan B. Dalisay, adding “today the agency will also send additional rice to affected areas particularly in Maslog, Samar.

With regard to supply of fruits and vegetables for the holiday season, Secretary Alcala also assured the public that this will not be significantly affected as the top sources of fruits and vegetables such as Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya will not be seriously affected by the typhoon.

Secretary Alcala as well said that the poultry industry may be negatively affected but not as worse as during typhoon Glenda, which has devastated southern Luzon earlier this year.

“Looking at its trajectory, typhoon Ruby will not affect poultry production areas. As of now, our supply of chicken is stable and the SRP has not changed, so hopefully, we can maintain this. We will also facilitate in balancing the supply,” Alcala added.

Meanwhile, Atty. Asis Perez, Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR Director, stressed that there might be a slight increase on the price of seafood this holiday season because of the increased demand.

“Lapu-lapu and shrimp will be of high demand, because we usually prepare red-colored food during Christmas. It’s not the supply but the demand that will increase the prices, so we should not be surprised if there will be a slight increase,” Perez explained.

Secretary Alcala said that basing on the lessons learned from typhoon Yolanda, DA has been conscious in mainstream mechanisms to cope up with extreme weather events in its programs, hence reducing the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to damage and losses. (DA)

Philippines: Ruby’s damage on agri sector not as grave as Yolanda’s—DA chief

8 December 2014 - 10:59pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 9 -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the public that with department's proactive response, typhoon Ruby’s damage on agriculture is expected to be not as severe as what the sector had experienced during the onslaught of Yolanda last year.

In a statement, Secretary Alcala stressed that initial figures on damages presented by Assistant Secretary Edilberto De Luna and Undersecretary Emerson Palad of DA Field Operations are much lower, compared during typhoon Yolanda.

De Luna and Palad reported that as of 2:00pm on December 8, total cost of damages and production losses in crops and infrastructure reached P1.02 billion, involving 55,850 hectares of farmlands and with estimated production losses of 56,090 metric tons in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

The volume of palay production affected is at 48,054 metric tons; 7,550 tons for corn and 486 tons for high-value crops all valued at P941.04 million. For fisheries, production losses amounted to P48.225 million, while damage inflicted to the livestock sector amounted to P809,550.

Damage to various agri-fishery infrastructure and equipment P29.993 million.

According to Alcala, damage on agriculture was worse during Yolanda because farmers had yet to harvest their crops. For typhoon Ruby, farmers were able to harvest mature crops even before the typhoon had its landfall while fishers were also able to place their boats into safety, following DA’s and other government agencies’ advisories.

“What we can [also] assure the public is that although Ruby is also a destructive typhoon, we are ready to roll out remaining assistance, aside from what had already been prepositioned,” Alcala said.

Secretary Alcala said that DA had prepositioned a total of 78,479 bags for rice and 17,554 for corn nationwide intended to lessen the impact of any weather disturbance.

Meanwhile, in a text message also on Monday, the National Food Authority (NFA) said that its rice inventory on areas affected in regions 5 and 8 is enough to supply the needed volume of the main staple

For Region 8, about 5.9 million cavans were currently at the area, while Region 4 has 236,557 cavans in its inventory, according to NFA’s Director Rex Estoperez.

The National Capital Region’s rice inventory stands at 1,190,816 cavans, while a total of 1,243,842 cavans were already distributed to relief agencies and institutions including LGUs, according to NFA administrator Renan B. Dalisay, adding “today the agency will also send additional rice to affected areas particularly in Maslog, Samar.

With regard to supply of fruits and vegetables for the holiday season, Secretary Alcala also assured the public that this will not be significantly affected as the top sources of fruits and vegetables such as Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya will not be seriously affected by the typhoon.

Secretary Alcala as well said that the poultry industry may be negatively affected but not as worse as during typhoon Glenda, which has devastated southern Luzon earlier this year.

“Looking at its trajectory, typhoon Ruby will not affect poultry production areas. As of now, our supply of chicken is stable and the SRP has not changed, so hopefully, we can maintain this. We will also facilitate in balancing the supply,” Alcala added.

Meanwhile, Atty. Asis Perez, Undersecretary for Fisheries and BFAR Director, stressed that there might be a slight increase on the price of seafood this holiday season because of the increased demand.

“Lapu-lapu and shrimp will be of high demand, because we usually prepare red-colored food during Christmas. It’s not the supply but the demand that will increase the prices, so we should not be surprised if there will be a slight increase,” Perez explained.

Secretary Alcala said that basing on the lessons learned from typhoon Yolanda, DA has been conscious in mainstream mechanisms to cope up with extreme weather events in its programs, hence reducing the vulnerability of the agriculture sector to damage and losses. (DA)

Philippines: From Haiyan to Hagupit - what changed?

8 December 2014 - 12:24pm
Source: IRIN Country: Philippines

MANILA, 8 December 2014 (IRIN) - On the second full day of operations responding to what entered the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit - since downgraded to a tropical storm - national officials say disaster coordination has improved since last year's Super Typhoon Haiyan. [ http://www.humanitarianresponse.info/programme-cycle/space/document/typhoon-haiyanyolanda-final-periodic-montoring-report-pmr-22oct2014 ]

Tacloban, the city that bore the bulk of the estimated 6,000-plus fatalities 13 months ago, has reported no casualties thus far.

"We evacuated sooner this year. People need longer than one to two days to evacuate," Tacloban's mayor Alfred Romualdez told IRIN, admitting he broke rules to suspend classes before the storm had even entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. "People need three to four days to evacuate. You cannot force evacuation. Before they can think about evacuating, they need to borrow money from their employer. Then it takes at least one day to return home to provinces."

More than one million people were transferred to 3,640 evacuation centres, as reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) [ http://www.ndrrmc.gov.ph/attachments/article/1356/Sitrep_No_10_re_Effects_of_Typhoon_Ruby_as_of_08DEC2014_1800H.pdf / ] and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on 8 December. Eight of the country's 17 administration regions were affected.

In Tacloban, some 50,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm, almost all of whom were already displaced from last year's Typhoon Haiyan. Romualdez estimated at most 6,000 newly displaced. Almost all have returned to their residences.

Rather than waiting until damage assessments were in to request additional military presence, Romualdez requested military reinforcements four days before the typhoon hit, allowing the city to prepare relief goods and "custom-fit" disaster risk reduction to Tacloban's needs, he said.

When the typhoon made landfall in the central Philippines on the evening of 6 December, hitting first the town of Dolores, on Eastern Samar (250km from Tacloban), its winds reached up to 195km/hour, causing heavy rains, flooding and landslides.

NDRRMC has confirmed two deaths from the disaster, while local media and the Philippine Red Cross are reporting 21 deaths, including 16 deaths by drowning as flood waters rose in Borongan, the main town in Eastern Samar. [ http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/391652/news/nation/weakened-ruby-hits-batangas-red-cross-puts-death-toll-at-21 ]

Don't bypass national government

Assistant-Secretary Camilo Gudmalin, who oversees for DSWD the region of Western Visayas, parts of which were still emerging from last year's super typhoon when they were hit again in the latest calamity, said coordination between national and international responders has improved.

"[During last year's Typhoon Haiyan] humanitarian agencies used protocols for a level 3 emergency, which required sending headquarters staff to replace local staff. Those staff did not have the contacts or local knowledge of those they replaced. That was a major lesson. We suggested to humanitarian agencies, that whether it was a level 1, 2, or 3 emergency, that local members shouldn't be excluded. We applied this lesson to Ruby [local name for Hagupit]."

Noting that responder "cluster" coordination meetings were working well, he added: "We need [to continue] strengthening the cluster approach so as to not bypass the government. There's a need to involve the government in decision-making."

In a recent conference on disaster risk reduction hosted by the Philippine government, DSWD Secretary Corazón "Dinky" Solíman told participants: "One lesson I have gained from Haiyan is that while experiences and expertise can help, it will only be effective if it is practised with proper understanding, proper grasp of the context of the place. And so, the surge of compassion and desire to help expressed by foreign agencies must be balanced with an understanding of the situation and capacities of the country they will support." [ http://www.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/2013-06-27-21-50-36/dfa-releases/4330-philippines-hosts-global-conferences-on-disasters-and-displacement ]

"We cannot make a final determination yet [on coordination]", added Gudmalin, noting there are still joint assessments in the coming days to extend aid to unreached areas. "Our initial assessments are that we have not encountered any problems on coordination."

The Office of Civil Defence reported on 8 December that the preliminary cost of the damage, including production losses in crops and infrastructure, has reached nearly one billion Philippines pesos (US$22.4 million), involving some 56,000 hectares of farmland and an estimated production loss of 56,000 tons in the regions of Bicol, Western Visayas, and Eastern Visayas. [ http://www.gov.ph/2014/12/08/da-chief-with-das-proactive-response-rubys-damage-on-agri-sector-not-as-grave-as-yolandas/ ]

Last year's super typhoon destroyed three times as much cropland. [ http://www.fao.org/giews/english/shortnews/Philippines_11_2013.pdf ]

The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm on 8 December [ http://kidlat.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/ ] as it moved towards the West Philippine Sea. Public storm signals remained over 16 areas, including the Metro Manila area.

For Mina Marasigan in the public affairs office of NDRRMC, it was still too early to exhale. "It is still in our area of responsibility. It will hit another province. There are still a lot of areas with heavy rains and winds."

NDRRMC has forecast the storm exiting the Philippines on 10 December by local evening time.

pt/fm/cb

[END]

Philippines: From Haiyan to Hagupit - what changed?

8 December 2014 - 12:24pm
Source: IRIN Country: Philippines

MANILA, 8 December 2014 (IRIN) - On the second full day of operations responding to what entered the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit - since downgraded to a tropical storm - national officials say disaster coordination has improved since last year's Super Typhoon Haiyan. [ http://www.humanitarianresponse.info/programme-cycle/space/document/typhoon-haiyanyolanda-final-periodic-montoring-report-pmr-22oct2014 ]

Tacloban, the city that bore the bulk of the estimated 6,000-plus fatalities 13 months ago, has reported no casualties thus far.

"We evacuated sooner this year. People need longer than one to two days to evacuate," Tacloban's mayor Alfred Romualdez told IRIN, admitting he broke rules to suspend classes before the storm had even entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. "People need three to four days to evacuate. You cannot force evacuation. Before they can think about evacuating, they need to borrow money from their employer. Then it takes at least one day to return home to provinces."

More than one million people were transferred to 3,640 evacuation centres, as reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) [ http://www.ndrrmc.gov.ph/attachments/article/1356/Sitrep_No_10_re_Effects_of_Typhoon_Ruby_as_of_08DEC2014_1800H.pdf / ] and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on 8 December. Eight of the country's 17 administration regions were affected.

In Tacloban, some 50,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm, almost all of whom were already displaced from last year's Typhoon Haiyan. Romualdez estimated at most 6,000 newly displaced. Almost all have returned to their residences.

Rather than waiting until damage assessments were in to request additional military presence, Romualdez requested military reinforcements four days before the typhoon hit, allowing the city to prepare relief goods and "custom-fit" disaster risk reduction to Tacloban's needs, he said.

When the typhoon made landfall in the central Philippines on the evening of 6 December, hitting first the town of Dolores, on Eastern Samar (250km from Tacloban), its winds reached up to 195km/hour, causing heavy rains, flooding and landslides.

NDRRMC has confirmed two deaths from the disaster, while local media and the Philippine Red Cross are reporting 21 deaths, including 16 deaths by drowning as flood waters rose in Borongan, the main town in Eastern Samar. [ http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/391652/news/nation/weakened-ruby-hits-batangas-red-cross-puts-death-toll-at-21 ]

Don't bypass national government

Assistant-Secretary Camilo Gudmalin, who oversees for DSWD the region of Western Visayas, parts of which were still emerging from last year's super typhoon when they were hit again in the latest calamity, said coordination between national and international responders has improved.

"[During last year's Typhoon Haiyan] humanitarian agencies used protocols for a level 3 emergency, which required sending headquarters staff to replace local staff. Those staff did not have the contacts or local knowledge of those they replaced. That was a major lesson. We suggested to humanitarian agencies, that whether it was a level 1, 2, or 3 emergency, that local members shouldn't be excluded. We applied this lesson to Ruby [local name for Hagupit]."

Noting that responder "cluster" coordination meetings were working well, he added: "We need [to continue] strengthening the cluster approach so as to not bypass the government. There's a need to involve the government in decision-making."

In a recent conference on disaster risk reduction hosted by the Philippine government, DSWD Secretary Corazón "Dinky" Solíman told participants: "One lesson I have gained from Haiyan is that while experiences and expertise can help, it will only be effective if it is practised with proper understanding, proper grasp of the context of the place. And so, the surge of compassion and desire to help expressed by foreign agencies must be balanced with an understanding of the situation and capacities of the country they will support." [ http://www.dfa.gov.ph/index.php/2013-06-27-21-50-36/dfa-releases/4330-philippines-hosts-global-conferences-on-disasters-and-displacement ]

"We cannot make a final determination yet [on coordination]", added Gudmalin, noting there are still joint assessments in the coming days to extend aid to unreached areas. "Our initial assessments are that we have not encountered any problems on coordination."

The Office of Civil Defence reported on 8 December that the preliminary cost of the damage, including production losses in crops and infrastructure, has reached nearly one billion Philippines pesos (US$22.4 million), involving some 56,000 hectares of farmland and an estimated production loss of 56,000 tons in the regions of Bicol, Western Visayas, and Eastern Visayas. [ http://www.gov.ph/2014/12/08/da-chief-with-das-proactive-response-rubys-damage-on-agri-sector-not-as-grave-as-yolandas/ ]

Last year's super typhoon destroyed three times as much cropland. [ http://www.fao.org/giews/english/shortnews/Philippines_11_2013.pdf ]

The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm on 8 December [ http://kidlat.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/ ] as it moved towards the West Philippine Sea. Public storm signals remained over 16 areas, including the Metro Manila area.

For Mina Marasigan in the public affairs office of NDRRMC, it was still too early to exhale. "It is still in our area of responsibility. It will hit another province. There are still a lot of areas with heavy rains and winds."

NDRRMC has forecast the storm exiting the Philippines on 10 December by local evening time.

pt/fm/cb

[END]