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Updated: 4 hours 27 min ago

Democratic People's Republic of Korea: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (21 - 27 March 2017)

7 hours 18 min ago
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Australia, Bangladesh, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Philippines

DPR KOREA

An estimated 18 million people (about 72 per cent of the total population) across DPRK continue to suffer from food insecurity and undernutrition, as well as a lack of access to basic services. To meet the urgent needs of the 13 million most vulnerable people, the Humanitarian Country Team developed the 2017 Needs and Priorities plan calling for US$114 million to provide critical life-saving assistance.

13 million people targeted for assistance

BANGLADESH

Since October 2016, over 70,000 people crossed from Rakhine State (Myanmar) to Bangladesh. No new arrivals to Cox’s Bazar were reported over the past week.
Humanitarian partners continue to distribute NFI kits, tarpaulin and ropes, and water purifying filters in refugee camps and makeshift settlements. WFP is conducting rapid food security assessments. As of 15 March, around 17,000 households received assistance from Malaysian relief donations.

70,000 people crossed from Myanmar since Oct. 2016

MYANMAR

An unknown number of people remain internally displaced inside northern Rakhine State following the 9 October attacks and subsequent security operations, although local authorities are reporting that the majority of the estimated 20,000 people who were internally displaced have now returned to their villages of origin. Most international humanitarian staff is still not being allowed to work outside of the main centres of northern Rakhine.

PHILIPPINES

Between 20 and 24 March, a series of armed encounters between the military and the New People's Army in the municipalities of Tampakan (South Cotabato province), Antipas (North Cotabato province) and Kalamansig (Sultan Kudarat province) displaced an estimated 2,600 people. About 2,300 people remain in four evacuation centres, while the rest are staying with relatives or friends. Municipal and provincial authorities in partnership with local NGOs have provided assistance to the displaced people.

2,600 people displaced

AUSTRALIA

Tropical Cyclone Debbie is forecast to strike the coast of Queensland as a category 1 cyclone on 27 March. Media reports that more than 3,500 people have been evacuated in advance of the storm.5

Philippines: Philippines: Displacement Dashboard, Mindanao, Issue no. 35: February 2017

8 hours 17 min ago
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Protection Cluster Country: Philippines

In February 2017, an estimated 18,700 persons were displaced in Mindanao. Of these, 7,695 persons were displaced due to armed conflict between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) in the following municipalities: Laak (Compostela Valley province); Asuncion (Davao del Norte); Manay (Davao Oriental); Bansalan (Davao del Sur); Arakan (North Cotabato); and Alabel (Sarangani).

In addition, some 2,000 persons fled their homes due to a firefight between two local armed groups in Sultan sa Barongis municipality, Maguindanao province.

To date, all of these IDPs have returned to their habitual residences.

However, an estimated 9,005 persons who were forcibly displaced due to clashes between the AFP and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu, also during the month of February, remain displaced as of this report.

Meanwhile, in Butig municipality in the province of Lanao del Sur, approximately 3,493 families who evacuated due to clashes in 2016 between the AFP and the Maute Group have returned to their places of origin, while more than 637 families are still displaced.

CURRENT NUMBER OF IDPS IN NEED OF DURABLE SOLUTION

  • 114,823 TOTAL NO. OF PERSONS WHO ARE PRESENTLY DISPLACED IN MINDANAO SINCE 2012 - FEBRUARY 2017

  • 38,444 presently displaced due to conflict and violence

  • 76,379 presently displaced due to natural disaster

Philippines: DSWD scales up preparations for ‘Big One’

26 March 2017 - 10:35pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, March 27 -- As the lead agency in the national government's disaster response, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to strengthen its preparations for the ‘Big One’, referring to the predicted 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Metro Manila to be generated by the West Valley Fault.

The Department has been regularly coordinating with other members of the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to discuss the plans and preparations for the earthquake and the devastation it can potentially wreak. It has also prepared predictive analytics for its humanitarian response, and this makes the agency better equipped to provide what the assistance Filipinos will need if and when the earthquake hits.

According to the analytics, the provinces that will experience the greatest impact in the event of the Big One include the National Capital Region (NCR), Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga, Zambales, and Aurora. A total of 5,828,967 families from these regions will be affected.

In Metro Manila alone, a total of 2,570,188 families will experience the massive impact of the disaster. This number include 585,017 families in Quezon City; 351,615 in Manila City; 314,842 in Caloocan; and 160,683 in Taguig. An estimated 159,973 families will also be affected in Pasig; 49,513 in Navotas; 24,373 in San Juan; and 12,744 in Pateros.

The total number of affected families will require 5.8 million supply of family food packs (FFPs) worth P2,098,428,120.00 in the first two days alone.

“DSWD has handled disasters of huge magnitude and scope before, and we will tap the collective experience and strength of the entire agency to rise to the task of helping Filipinos should the Big One strike. As Vice-Chair of the NDRRMC, our duty is to capacitate local government units by providing them with augmentation support, along with disaster mitigation and response efforts,” said DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo.

“With the threat of the ‘Big One’ looming, we are focused on improving our disaster response operations so we can prepare better to address its devastating effects. As all disasters are local in nature, our team, together with other members of the NDRRMC, are now making the rounds of communities to educate the different barangays on the steps they need to so that can be more prepared against the earthquake. We must strengthen the capabilities of communities and help to be more resilient,” she said.

The DSWD, together with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has earlier conducted a simulation exercise to practice emergency logistics response during disasters. The event was held from February 27 to March 3, 2017 in Pampanga.

The simulation exercise, dubbed as FLEX or Field Logistics Emergency Exercise, was developed by WFP in partnership with DSWD, OCD, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). FLEX provides hands-on training in humanitarian logistics in a realistic learning environment.

To further strengthen its emergency response operations, the DSWD is also developing a Disaster Response Operation Manual with the help of Disaster Response Systems Development Advisor of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ross Hardy. The manual will be based on the policies and guidelines of the country’s National Disaster Response Plan.

The Department will also participate in the 2017 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) led by the NDRRMC and OCD on March 31. The NSED is an annual campaign seeking to promote disaster preparedness activities and increase the public’s awareness on earthquake hazards. (DSWD)

World: The Column AHA Centre News Bulletin Volume 26, February 2017

25 March 2017 - 7:36am
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, World

EDITOR’S NOTE

Greetings fellow ASEANers!
We are excited to reveal this 26th edition, as you may have noticed, it comes with a new look. The Column has always been one of our tools in providing ASEANers with relevant information regarding disaster management.
Through this new layout, we strive to provide our readers with a better reading experience as part of our attempts to offer the best service for ASEANers. In addition, the AHA Centre always perceives the importance of knowledge sharing of our regular operations and activities.
In February 2017, the AHA Centre represented by Ms. Adelina Kamal, our Acting Executive Director, contributed to the Comprehensive Crisis Management Course conducted by Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) in Hawaii.
She delivered an uplifting and inspiring session on how to be an effective leader in crisis. You can find her lecture in this month’s edition of ‘News Highlight’.
Also in this edition, we are pleased to provide you with the summary of APEC Climate Change Centre-ASEAN Disaster Management Regional Symposium. The symposium concluded with a draft research roadmap and a plan for the development of a science-based disaster management platform.
This issue will also provide you with useful tips on Typhoon Preparedness and Response in our ‘Insights’ section. And also, information regarding our regular stock-taking of relief items that was recently conducted at the WFP-UN Humanitarian Resource Depot (UNHRD)
Warehouse in Subang, Malaysia.
In ‘The Other Side’ column, we managed to speak with Mr. Mardiyansyah, one of the newest AHA Centre members, about his thoughts after joining the AHA Centre in mid-2016.
ASEAN will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary. The AHA Centre would like to encourage ASEANers to always stay tune to news about #ASEAN50 commemoration in our social media channels.
Lastly, we are always open to suggestions, comments, or anything you wish to share with us. You know the drill right? Drop us an e-mail at comm@ahacentre.org and we’ll do the rest.

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoons and Floods - Emergency Appeal Final Report (MDRPH020)

24 March 2017 - 10:59pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Appeal history

14 December 2015: Typhoon Melor makes landfall in Batag Island, Northern Samar, and moves westward.

16 December 2015: Typhoon Melor exits to the west of the Philippines. Information bulletin no. 1 issued.

17 December 2015: The President of the Philippines declares a state of national calamity following the devastation caused by Typhoon Melor.

18 December 2015: Tropical Depression Twenty-Three makes landfall in Davao Oriental province, eastern Mindanao. Information bulletin no. 2 issued.

19 December: Almost the whole of Philippines experiences rain, floods and landslides.

22 December: Emergency Appeal launched for CHF 3.7 million.

4 March 2016: Revised Emergency Appeal issued, seeking CHF 2 million.

25 July 2016: The 6-month operation update is published.

28 November 2016: Operations Update No. 3 provides a projection of activities which will be incorporated and implemented as part of the Operational Plan 2017 for Philippines

The situation

Typhoon Melor struck Northern Samar, Philippines, on 14 December 2015, moved westward and made five landfalls before it exited the Philippine landmass through Occidental Mindoro on 19 December. Melor left 42 people dead, almost 300,000 houses damaged of which 98,000 houses were destroyed and some PHP 4.3 billion (CHF 89 million) worth of agriculture and infrastructure assets affected. Melor came a few months after some parts of Luzon were badly affected from the effects of Typhoon Koppu (October 2015). Melor was then followed by a tropical depression (Twenty-Three), which enhanced the northeast monsoon causing heavy rainfall throughout much of the country. More than 800,000 families were affected by Typhoon Melor, Tropical Depression Twenty-Three and the northeast monsoon.

Financial status

The Emergency Appeal sought CHF 2,079,515, of which CHF 1,396,329 was raised (67 per cent coverage). The total expenditure recorded was CHF 1,396,303 (81 per cent of income), leaving a balance of CHF 265,711. Of the total expenditure, CHF 694,631 (61 per cent of total expenditure) was utilized for direct costs to affected people, with the rest covering National Society development and operational support costs, including distribution and monitoring. Total personnel costs were CHF 167,510 (15 per cent of total expenditure). Of the total expenses, CHF 229,656 (20 per cent) was utilized via cash transfer programming.

Philippines: From Beneficiaries to Buyers: Creating a viable market for toilets in the Philippines

24 March 2017 - 6:43am
Source: Oxfam Country: Philippines

In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc on Eastern Samar and Bantayan Island and triggered a huge humanitarian response. Now the challenge is to support sustainable development. Having a toilet is a ‘damgo’ (a dream), not a necessity for poor families in the Philippines. If you didn’t think having a clean toilet at home was important before the disaster, why would it be important afterwards? By bringing together the right expertise and getting good financial products in place Oxfam has supported poor families to access new markets and products actively, with the intention of supporting long-lasting change.

Philippines: Distribution of P5,000 cash aid for ‘Yolanda’ survivors ongoing

24 March 2017 - 5:50am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), under instructions from President Rodrigo R. Duterte, continues to provide support and technical assistance to local government units to hasten the implementation of the Presidential Financial Assistance (5KPFA) for the Typhoon “Yolanda”-affected households with damaged houses in Regions VI, NIR, VII and VIII.

A total of 196,258 households with damaged houses are targeted to avail of the P5,000 financial assistance from the Office of the President with Region VI having the most number of household-beneficiaries at 126,261 households, followed by Regions VIII (61,916), NIR (7,713), and VII (368).

As of March 23, DSWD field offices from the said regions have already validated 79,581 households, of which 54,277 households have been evaluated as qualified beneficiaries.

On March 1, the Department has already conducted its cash assistance distribution to 211 household-beneficiaries in Tacloban City at the Leyte Pantawid Provincial Office which was graced by DSWD OIC-Undersecretary for Operations-Protective Services Hope V. Hervilla.

In addition, the DSWD also validated the following:

  • 843 household-beneficiaries for the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) cash card opening, 221 beneficiaries in 6 municipalities in Region VI, 420 beneficiaries in 3 municipalities in NIR and 211 beneficiaries in 4 municipalities in Region VIII; and

  • 107 household-beneficiaries in 6 municipalities in the Province of Cebu, in Region VII for direct cash payout by April 15, 2017 located in isolated areas and with no access to Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and its bank partners.

Lastly, complete receipt of assistance by all beneficiaries is expected by the end of June 2017.

Update on ESCAP for ‘Nina’ and ‘Lawin’ survivors

Meanwhile, the implementation of the Emergency Shelter Cash Assistance Program (ESCAP) for typhoon “Lawin” and “Nina”-affected households is still ongoing in all affected regions in Luzon.

For Lawin-affected areas in Regions CAR, I, II, and III, a total of 161,553 households with damaged houses are targeted to be provided with ESCAP amounting to P807.76 million.

As of March 22, some 143,060 household-beneficiaries or 89% of the target number of households have already received the initial ESCAP at P5,000 amounting to P715 million, while the remaining 18,493 household-beneficiaries is expected to receive their assistance by the end of March.

For ‘Nina’ survivors in Regions CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and V, a total of 122,149 household-beneficiaries amounting to P610, 745,890 have been funded using the Department’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) prioritizing beneficiaries with totally damaged houses.

Based on recent reports, a total of 13,847 household-beneficiaries have already received initial Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) amounting to P69,235,000.

In addition, the DSWD Field Office in Region V has already tapped the Food-for-Work (FFW) program to support the shelter repair and rehabilitation of small-scale infrastructures. To date, a total of 50,087 food packs costing P17,915,174.20 have been distributed to approximately 25,044 families who were engaged in the FFW.

Assistance to earthquake survivors

In another disaster-related report, the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit the CARAGA region has already damaged a total of 10,873 houses, of which, 522 houses totally destroyed while the remaining 10,351 houses are partially destroyed.

The DSWD has already provided relief assistance amounting to P17,283,438.69 in the form of food and non-food items, while local government units (LGUs) provided a total of P2,742,838.00 worth of assistance, and P P1,716,273.50 from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

Aside from the given assistance, an initial amount of P16,627,800 was released to cover the ESA and Cash-for-Work (CFW) requirement of 518 households with damaged houses has been released to DSWD-CARAGA last March 8. ###

Philippines: Distribution of P5,000 cash aid for ‘Yolanda’ survivors on going

24 March 2017 - 5:50am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), under instructions from President Rodrigo R. Duterte, continues to provide support and technical assistance to local government units to hasten the implementation of the Presidential Financial Assistance (5KPFA) for the Typhoon “Yolanda”-affected households with damaged houses in Regions VI, NIR, VII and VIII.

A total of 196,258 households with damaged houses are targeted to avail of the P5,000 financial assistance from the Office of the President with Region VI having the most number of household-beneficiaries at 126,261 households, followed by Regions VIII (61,916), NIR (7,713), and VII (368).

As of March 23, DSWD field offices from the said regions have already validated 79,581 households, of which 54,277 households have been evaluated as qualified beneficiaries.

On March 1, the Department has already conducted its cash assistance distribution to 211 household-beneficiaries in Tacloban City at the Leyte Pantawid Provincial Office which was graced by DSWD OIC-Undersecretary for Operations-Protective Services Hope V. Hervilla.

In addition, the DSWD also validated the following:

  • 843 household-beneficiaries for the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) cash card opening, 221 beneficiaries in 6 municipalities in Region VI, 420 beneficiaries in 3 municipalities in NIR and 211 beneficiaries in 4 municipalities in Region VIII; and

  • 107 household-beneficiaries in 6 municipalities in the Province of Cebu, in Region VII for direct cash payout by April 15, 2017 located in isolated areas and with no access to Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and its bank partners.

Lastly, complete receipt of assistance by all beneficiaries is expected by the end of June 2017.

Update on ESCAP for ‘Nina’ and ‘Lawin’ survivors

Meanwhile, the implementation of the Emergency Shelter Cash Assistance Program (ESCAP) for typhoon “Lawin” and “Nina”-affected households is still ongoing in all affected regions in Luzon.

For Lawin-affected areas in Regions CAR, I, II, and III, a total of 161,553 households with damaged houses are targeted to be provided with ESCAP amounting to P807.76 million.

As of March 22, some 143,060 household-beneficiaries or 89% of the target number of households have already received the initial ESCAP at P5,000 amounting to P715 million, while the remaining 18,493 household-beneficiaries is expected to receive their assistance by the end of March.

For ‘Nina’ survivors in Regions CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and V, a total of 122,149 household-beneficiaries amounting to P610, 745,890 have been funded using the Department’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) prioritizing beneficiaries with totally damaged houses.

Based on recent reports, a total of 13,847 household-beneficiaries have already received initial Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) amounting to P69,235,000.

In addition, the DSWD Field Office in Region V has already tapped the Food-for-Work (FFW) program to support the shelter repair and rehabilitation of small-scale infrastructures. To date, a total of 50,087 food packs costing P17,915,174.20 have been distributed to approximately 25,044 families who were engaged in the FFW.

Assistance to earthquake survivors

In another disaster-related report, the 6.7 magnitude earthquake that hit the CARAGA region has already damaged a total of 10,873 houses, of which, 522 houses totally destroyed while the remaining 10,351 houses are partially destroyed.

The DSWD has already provided relief assistance amounting to P17,283,438.69 in the form of food and non-food items, while local government units (LGUs) provided a total of P2,742,838.00 worth of assistance, and P P1,716,273.50 from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

Aside from the given assistance, an initial amount of P16,627,800 was released to cover the ESA and Cash-for-Work (CFW) requirement of 518 households with damaged houses has been released to DSWD-CARAGA last March 8. ###

Philippines: Surigao quake survivors receive psych first aid, psychosocial support

24 March 2017 - 12:17am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, March 21 -- Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), in partnership with the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), tapped Xavier University Psychology Department to take the lead in organizing a team of volunteer experts from Cagayan de Oro City who would be sent to Surigao del Norte to provide psychosocial support to the survivors who are in the “state of shock” after the disaster.

From March 3 to 6, 12 psychologists-psychometricians and the members of PAP from Bukidnon, Iligan City, CDO, and Butuan City stayed in Surigao del Norte to offer their expertise in the field of providing psychological first aid and psychosocial support.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, psychological first aid “can help change people into active survivors rather than passive victims. Psychosocial support responds to the psychological and physical needs of the people concerned, by helping them to accept the situation and cope with it.”

The participants completed a creative activity called "Color my Emotion" which allowed the facilitators to assess how the traumatic event affected the survivors' current state of emotion. This small group sharing activity also served as a springboard for the survivors to share their ideas on the disaster and release their psychological tension. It was then processed by the facilitators, highlighting their strengths, collective support, and the decision to move forward.

Selected participants underwent one-on-one counseling sessions with Xavier University (XU’s) resident psychologists, while those survivors who needed further psychological intervention were referred to the Department of Health.

During the plenary session, Xavier University (XU) faculty member and registered psychologist Jayme Leonen elaborated on possible coping strategies that the survivors could follow to process the effects of the trauma from the disaster.

Participants were also taught how to do a "mindfulness exercise" to calm down the tension and anxiety. In an emergency response, providing psychosocial support is an essential part to help the survivors in healing the psychological wounds brought about by the disaster.

The PFA session culminated with a community ritual to foster social support, led by XU Psychology Department chairman Jason Manaois. Participants were asked to write positive messages and letters of encouragement to one another. They also held hands during a community singing to elicit a sense of companionship and support, carrying the message, “We are all together in this journey towards recovery.”

At 10:03 p.m. on the 10th of February 2017, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake had shaken Surigao del Norte and its nearby provinces in Northeastern Mindanao.

Due to the destructive intensity of the quake, a series of strong aftershocks occurred in the areas, affecting more than 16,000 people from 60 barangays. (Rio Rosal Baliling/XU)

Cambodia: Satellite data secure rice farmers’ income in Southeast Asia

22 March 2017 - 2:36pm
Source: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Country: Cambodia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam

22.03.2017 – Satellites supply data about the condition of approximately 15 million hectares of land under rice cultivation. Insured farmers can access compensation quickly in the event of crop losses.

Worldwide virtually no other food item is so widely cultivated as rice. Some 90 per cent of the world's rice is grown in Asia. Rice is thus not only the local population’s staple diet but also the main source of income for Asia's farmers. However, the entire region is plagued by extreme weather conditions such as floods or periods of drought that repeatedly wipe out entire harvests.

In 2013, the Allianz Re, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the software company Sarmap SA, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH founded an initiative that is now assisting rice farmers and governments in Southeast Asia to monitor rice production using satellite data.

So-called SAR satellites scan and monitor some 15 million hectares of land under rice cultivation in Cambodia, India, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. SAR technology documents the time of planting, the area under cultivation, rice plant growth patterns and the anticipated yield.

SAR also enables droughts to be detected early, and the scale of possible flooding to be determined. This helps the authorities to respond quickly, for example by making rice seeds available for re-cultivation after flooding. The farmers also benefit when insurance companies make use of satellite data, as an insurance agent no longer has to come and inspect the damage on site. This means that instead of having to wait several months, farmers can now get compensation more quickly, giving them greater income security.

To find out more about rice field monitoring and how the various insurance models work, see the new reference 'Southeast Asia: Satellite data secure rice farmers' income.'

Philippines: Water flows and helps protect IDP families in Kabengi

22 March 2017 - 4:41am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Philippines

Recurring conflict in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao have displaced hundreds of families over the years. UNHCR and its partners are helping displaced families in Barangay Kabengi by providing a water system in their community.

KABENGI, Datu Saudi Ampatuan – On a hillside village called Kabengi in the Municipality of Datu Saudi Ampatuan sits a few government-built houses which displaced families now call home. Datu Saudi Ampatuan, a fourth class agricultural municipality in southern Philippines, regularly hosts thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by protracted conflict within and outside of its borders.

The repeated conflict in Central Mindanao comes in the form of clashes between the government and non-state armed groups, tension amongst the various non-state armed groups, as well as clan feuds or rido. Once conflict occurs, residents in Datu Saudi Ampatuan have no choice but to flee to safer areas in the municipality, while some people from affected neighbouring municipalities like Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha are also forced uproot their lives to Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

“The recurring conflict really has a domino effect on the lives of the people,” explains Municipal Administrator Mastura Tapa. “As the conflict continues, the IDPs also have to continually return to evacuation centres. In these evacuation centres, of course, we first see that that they have no houses. There is also inadequate sanitation. And then aside from that, the conflict also has a psychological effect on the children.”

For Administrator Tapa, the most memorable displacement incident in their municipality was in 2015 when law enforcement agencies clashed with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the “SPMS box”, referring to the neighbouring areas of Barangay Salbu in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Barangay Pagatin in Datu Salibo, Mamasapano, and Shariff Aguak where the BIFF are reported to operate. The incident happened after the Mamasapano encounter between the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force and the BIFF.

“More or less 4,000 individuals were displaced during that time,” shares Tapa.

In the immediate aftermath of the displacement, the government got to work to distribute immediate food assistance to families at the evacuation centres. The municipal government also came up with a long-term solution by creating a new relocation community at Kabengi. The Department of Social Welfare and Development facilitated the construction of the houses while the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional government, through its Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (ARMM HELPS) programme, built a health centre, marketplace, and barangay hall in the newly-created community on the hill.

Since the community is new, there was initially no water nor electricity on the site. UNHCR, through a quick impact project implemented by non-government partner Community and Family Services International, assisted by providing a water system in the IDP community.

One of the families that relocated to Kabengi are the Anwar family. Rahima Anwar, a 24-year old farmer, lives with her husband and two daughters. They transferred to this site a month ago, hoping for a fresh start.

“We came from another area in Datu Saudi,” says Rahima. “We had to escape the clashes that were happening.”

When there was no working water system in Kabengi, families like Rahima’s had difficulty in living at the relocation site. Families who had motorcycles were the ones who could stay since they could fetch water from other areas, while those who don’t were forced to find other places to live.

“My husband has to fetch water from below, which takes around one hour. Sometimes, when he has to go to work, I have to be the one to fetch the water,” shares Rahima.

The water system, however, was not without its challenges given the lack of continuous electricity in the community. To help augment this, the Municipality of Datu Saudi Ampatuan provided a generator to help sustain the water system.

“We called up the engineer to fix it so that the residents here will immediately have water,” Tapa reveals.

Once the power source for the water was fixed by the municipal government, the delight that the water brought to the residents was unmistakable. Children immediately went to get pails and jugs to get water for their families. Others took a quick bath while some immediately drank the flowing potable water.

With a working water system in place, the residents will have easier access to water within their community which they can use for their household needs. Mothers like Rahima are protected since they will no longer have to go downtown and possibly be endangered just so her family will has access to water.

“Water is really important for us to live. Which is why we are very thankful that we now have water here,” says Rahima.

Philippines: Ready, safe water for displaced families in Maguindanao

22 March 2017 - 3:49am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

The barangays of Elian, Dapiawan, Madia, Kitango, and Salbo, all in Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipality in Maguindanao Province, are now better equipped to host displaced families whenever armed clashes erupt in the interior villages. Since 2003, civilians fearing for their lives have sought temporary shelter in these areas due to their strategic location and proximity to their homes.

Given that potable water and sanitation are among the basic needs of communities affected by the repeated clashes between government forces and armed groups in Maguindanao, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) built hand pumps with slow sand filters in 14 sites in Datu Saudi Ampatuan and in February turned over the project to the host barangays. This project aims to improve access to safe drinking water for people affected by conflict and for host communities to better cope with the influx of evacuees.

"Due to the unpredictable situation in Maguindanao, the ICRC continues to equip and help prepare identified evacuation centers and host communities for future displacements," explained Tomoko Matsuzawa, head of the ICRC office in Cotabato.

The facilities will benefit more than 16,000 people, both residents and evacuees. The ICRC also built toilets in all 14 sites that were identified as evacuation centers in the event of hostilities.

Prior to the handover, orientation sessions were held by ICRC engineers to help the residents operate the facilities, particularly the slow sand filters. Each community received a spare hand pump. The ICRC regularly monitors the water quality to confirm its potability and safeguard the health of the communities.

The Datu Saudi Ampatuan water and sanitation project drew on the experience and expertise of the ICRC in responding to the needs of conflict-affected communities in the Philippines and around the world. Similar water and sanitation facilities were constructed in nine sites in three barangays of Datu Salibo in 2015 to help local communities cope with the immediate needs of the conflict-affected civilians.

Philippines: Armed conflict evacuees in Agusan del Norte town return home, DSWD continues to monitor situation

21 March 2017 - 2:15am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Following the continuing skirmishes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vows to continue to monitor the situation of the 93 families displaced by the armed conflict. The families have now returned to their homes, but their security is still under threat.

On March 11, farming and other livelihood activities as well as classes were suspended when an armed conflict between the Philippine Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion and suspected NPA rebels erupted in Barangay Hinimbangan. A total of 347 civilians were initially displaced by the incident.

Based on reports from the DSWD Field Office-CARAGA, the affected families already received food and non-food items worth P251,007 from the DSWD composed of the following: 186 Family Food Packs (FFPs), 186 malong, 93 mosquito nets, 93 plastic mats, and 93 dignity kits.

The local government also provided assistance worth P36,771.27 to the displaced families. Trained Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) staff members are now providing psychosocial support and holding stress debriefing activities for the affected individuals to help them process their traumatic experience.

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo stressed that protection of civilians must always be prioritized not only during disasters but also during armed conflicts and other civil disturbances.

“It is our mandate to protect the people and their rights. The government and all its agencies must ensure that no civilians must be caught between the crossfire and ensure that appropriate assistance and protection will be provided to them until they can return to their normal lives,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.

She also said that armed confrontations continue to threaten the lives of children and communities and that the peaceful negotiation between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) must continue to push through to minimize the loss of lives.

“We need everyone’s cooperation to assist those affected by armed conflicts around the country and we also hope that the public will support the government in creating a substantive agenda for just and lasting peace based on social justice which ultimately aims to solve the issues of inequality and poverty in our country,” the Secretary ended. ###

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Myanmar: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (14 - 20 March 2017)

20 March 2017 - 6:20am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka

MYANMAR

More than 30,000 people are estimated to have fled the Kokang Self Administered Zone after fighting erupted on 6 March between the Myanmar Military and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. Fighting continues around Laukkai. The Government of China and humanitarian partners confirmed the arrival of more than 20,000 people across the border. In addition, humanitarian organizations estimate more than 10,000 migrant workers left Laukkai to return home to other parts of the country. In another incident, at least four civilians were reported to have been killed in fighting between the Myanmar Military and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army in Kutkai Township in northern Shan State.

On 13 March, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck north of Yangon at a depth of 10 km. The earthquake killed two people and injured 36 people. Homes, offices and religious structures were damaged in Taik Kyi near the epicentre of the tremor.

PHILIPPINES

As of 15 March, nearly 8,000 people remain displaced (6,400 inside evacuation centres) in the town of Datu Salibo (Maguindanao province) as a result of continuing law enforcement operations against non-state armed actors that began on 13 March. The municipal social welfare office is providing relief assistance with support from the regional DSWD offices.
Local health clinics are also continuing to monitor the health status of the displaced people.

8,000 people remain displaced

SRI LANKA

As of 19 March, over one million people are affected by prolonged drought in 17 out of 25 districts of Sri Lanka. According to a joint household assessment, an estimated 900,000 people were identified as in urgent need of food assistance, with 25,000 people severely food insecure. Food, water and sanitation, health and agriculture are urgent priority needs. UN agencies are currently finalizing a request for UN Central Emergency Response Fund grant application.

900,000 people in urgent need of food assistance

BANGLADESH

Since October 2016, an estimated 74,000 people originating from Rakhine State in Myanmar have crossed to Bangladesh – this figure has remained steady since 2 February. As of 4 March, Bangladesh confirmed that 384 undocumented Myanmar nationals returned to Myanmar through the Damdamia check point. With the fluid movements along the border, verifying the returns, however, remains a challenge. Additional WASH services and facilities are urgently needed by the new arrivals particularly in Kutipalong and Balukhali.

74,000 people crossed from Myanmar since Oct. 2016

World: Communicable Disease Threats Report, 12-18 March 2017, Week 11

17 March 2017 - 1:17pm
Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Country: Afghanistan, Belgium, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Mozambique, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, World, Yemen, Zambia

​The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals on active public health threats. This issue covers the period 12-18 March 2017 and includes updates on cholera, measles and Legionnaires disease.

World: Internal Displacement Update, Issue 12: 23 February - 8 March 2017

17 March 2017 - 7:49am
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Afghanistan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, United States of America, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

FEATURE

Iraq

AFFECTED AREAS Mosul district, Salahuddin governorate

CAUSE OF DISPLACEMENT Conflict

FIGURES About 43,000 new displacements between January and 5 March

CONTEXT

About 42,000 people were displaced from Mosul between 27 February and 5 March. This is the highest continuous displacement since 17 October when the government began an offensive to take control of eastern Mosul from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). More than 13,000 people were displaced on 3 March alone. Most displacements between 27 February and 5 March were due to military operations in western Mosul, which were initiated on 19 February (OCHA, 5 March 2017). The displacement came as the battle for Mosul entered more densely populated areas, including the Kuwait, Ma’mun, Tayaran and Wadi Hajar neighbourhoods, and Abu Saif village (OCHA, 28 February 2017).

The most recently displaced people said food shortages and intense fighting forced them to join more than 195,000 Iraqis in 21 camps built by UN agencies and the government around Mosul. “The newest arrivals are in a desperate condition, visibly traumatized, hungry and dehydrated. Many arrived without shoes and wearing soaking clothes, having walked long distances to reach safety at government checkpoints” (UNHCR, 7 March 2017).

Up to 750,000 people in western Mosul city remained largely inaccessible to humanitarians, sheltering from the fighting or waiting for a better time to flee. They risked being caught in the crossfire, and suffered shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel (OCHA, 2 March 2017; IOM, 28 February 2017).

Of the 256,000 people displaced from Mosul between 17 October and 2 March about 192,000 remained displaced as of 2 March, the highest number of IDPs since the crisis began. The remaining 64,000 people returned to their areas of origin (OCHA, 2 March 2017).

About 125 families (more than 800 people) were displaced in Salahuddin governorate between January and 5 March by forces backed by the Iraqi government because they were thought to have ties to ISIL. The displaced people were held against their will in a camp near Tikrit. Some of their homes were destroyed. Hundreds of other families were displaced after an August 2016 decree that ordered the expulsion of relatives of ISIL members and said anyone affiliated with ISIL had no right to return to the governorate. Families from Babil and Anbar governorates faced similar difficulties when returning (Human Rights Watch, 5 March 2017).

Philippines: Human Rights Commissioner on the situation in the Philippines

17 March 2017 - 7:46am
Source: Government of Germany Country: Germany, Philippines

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (16 March) on the situation in the Philippines:

"On 7 March 2017, the Philippine House of Representatives passed a bill to reimpose the death penalty and passed it on to the Philippine Senate for approval. I am deeply worried by this, because ever since it signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Philippines has been considered a close partner of those who, like the Federal Government, reject this inhumane punishment under all circumstances.

This situation is highly regrettable, particularly in view of the close cooperation between Germany and the Philippines in the United Nations, for example in the fight against human trafficking, as well as on poverty reduction and international climate policy.

Nearly 8000 people have already been killed since President Duterte began his “war on drugs”. Against this background, I see an urgent need for a visit by Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. I call on the Government of the Philippines to withdraw the conditions it has set and that to date have prevented Ms Callamard from conducting a country visit.

Furthermore, Philippine Senator Leila de Lima has been in custody since 24 February. I demand that she be given the opportunity for a speedy and fair trial. She is among the strongest critics of the “war on drugs” and the thousands of killings that have been committed in this connection, along with the suspension of key aspects of the rule of law in the Philippines. The Department of Justice, which she herself headed between 2010 and 2015, recently filed illegal drugs trafficking charges against her. As a result, she has been in custody since 24 February 2017.

As long as Senator de Lima has not been convicted, she must be able to exercise her mandate. In particular, the Philippines must ensure her safety in detention. Senator de Lima strongly criticised President Duterte’s “war on drugs” from the outset. I call on the President to put aside personal enmity and to instead focus on the future of the country.

This future includes trade with the EU. In this regard, I welcome the clear statement made by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in Manila. She underscored that trade incentives are not to be taken for granted, but that the EU also ties these to the observance of human rights standards. "

Philippines: Philippines: Mindanao Returnees - Information Bulletin n° 1

17 March 2017 - 5:45am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Malaysia, Philippines

The situation

Since 15 February 2017, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Filipino returnees – from the state of Sabah in Malaysia – arriving in Zamboanga City, Mindanao. While repatriations are common, the sinking of a vessel that was previously used for the same prompted suspension of repatriations in September 2016.

The suspension led to a backlog of approximately 7,000 undocumented Filipino migrants in Sabah.

The vessel with the first batch of 411 returnees arrived on 15 February, with the second batch (of 430 people) arriving on 1 March. The third batch (301 people) arrived on 8 March, the fourth (423 people) on 12 March and the latest (201 people) on 15 March. The repatriations followed an agreement reached by Philippine and Malaysian governments in November 2016 on the gradual repatriation of undocumented Filipino migrants.

In all, a total of 1,766 returnees have arrived in Mindanao since 15 February. More are expected over the next weeks, and based on assessments – conducted through key informant interviews with those who have arrived – immediate needs include temporary accommodation, food, sleeping materials, hygiene items, medical support and psychosocial support.

World: Twenty-one countries in the Americas and in Asia share dengue expertise in PAHO/WHO Seminar

16 March 2017 - 1:14pm
Source: World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization Country: Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana (France), India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Singapore, Thailand, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World

Washington, DC, March 15, 2017 (PAHO / WHO) —Experts on dengue and health professionals from 21 countries are exchanging experiences and best practices in diagnosis of dengue, clinical management of patients and surveillance this week, in a workshop organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Singapore Cooperation Program in Brasilia.

Meeting Dengue expertsThe participants come from 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries (Barbados, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela) and six countries in Asia, including India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Dengue fever is the world’s most widely-spread mosquito-borne viral infection, with some 390 million infections reported annually, and is a serious public health problem. It is "the disease of the century, with a very undefined distribution," noted Raman Velayudhan, the coordinator for Ecology and Vector Management at the World Health Organization (WHO). "While malaria is declining, dengue is growing. One mosquito is replaced by another, " he said.

Velayudhan described dengue as a dynamic and at the same time neglected disease. "These vectors, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus have the ability to transmit at least four diseases. Dengue is the biggest threat due to climate and environmental change, which facilitates the adaptation of vectors," he said. "These mosquitoes are able to store eggs in many different places. How can we eliminate them all? On a large scale, it will be a virtually impossible challenge, so we have to bring the population to a level of awareness for this to happen," he noted and said that WHO has been working on a number of tools and technologies to assist countries in vector control.

The first records of dengue in Latin America date back 400 years, according to José Luis San Martín, PAHO / WHO regional advisor for dengue control. "America is a continent with a long history of virus circulation. In the 1980s, there was stabilization, but this cycle has been disrupted in the last four years with the entry of Chikungunya and Zika viruses,” he said. "Since then, areas that had not reported transmission began reporting cases.”

According to Luis Gerardo Castellanos, head of the Neglected, Tropical and Vector-Borne Diseases Unit at PAHO / WHO, the organization focuses its efforts on people living in conditions of vulnerability and extreme poverty in the Americas. "Dengue is a problem of generations, which challenges us more and more. We have to be stronger than this vector and this disease," he said.

Castellanos said the meeting of the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia is an enriching initiative in terms of public health. "We have to share the best practices that our countries have accumulated over time" to strengthen the fight against this disease, he said.

The general coordinator of the National Program for the Control and Prevention of Malaria and Diseases Transmitted by Aedes of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Divino Valero Martins, explained the situation in his country: "We are going through difficult times, mainly due to the capacity of Aedes for new arboviruses." One of the concerns expressed was related to the infestation of Aedes, which is already present in up to 80% of Brazilian municipalities. "We have simultaneous circulation of the three arboviruses, dengue, chikungunya and Zika. The similarity between them raises questions from the clinical and laboratory points of view, since the results are often crossed," he said.

Martins said issues such as inadequate basic sanitation, disorderly urban expansion, high population density in cities, and irregularities in water supply and domestic waste disposal are responsible for about 80 percent of mosquito foci. These factors contribute to the propagation of arboviruses, and are essential to help understand how complex it is to carry out vector control in a more integrated way. “We have to reconsider our policies. We need various measures from all sectors to combat dengue,” he said.

Siew Fei CHIN, Head of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Brasilia, spoke about how her country is tackling the main dengue transmitter, the Aedes mosquitoes. "We are testing new methods of vector control, such as the use of male Aedes mosquito carrying the Wolbachia bacteria, which is expected to complement current efforts in reducing Aedes mosquitoes in the community," she said. "We are happy to share what we have learnt. We hope that the exchange of ideas and information will benefit all countries," she said.

The first International Asia-Latin America Workshop on Diagnosis, Clinical Management and Dengue Surveillance, which ends on March 16, was cited as an opportunity for learning and exchange for health professionals in the region, where the diagnosis of dengue has become more complex since 2013 due to the circulation of other arboviruses such as Zika and chikungunya, which present similar clinical pictures.

Syrian Arab Republic: R2P Monitor, Issue 32, 15 March 2017

15 March 2017 - 6:57pm
Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 32 looks at developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Myanmar, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Philippines and Central African Republic.

Issue 32 also includes an insert regarding states that have endorsed the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians. For more information on the Kigali Principles, see: Peacekeeping and the Kigali Principles.