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Philippines: Lives of danger, poverty on Philippines' typhoon coast

19 December 2014 - 11:36pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Taft, Philippines | AFP | Saturday 12/20/2014 - 03:35 GMT

by Cecil MORELLA

Life is a constant throw of the dice for farmer Nilo Dilao and other residents of the Philippine island of Samar, the ground zero for many of East Asia's deadliest storms.

Homes, boats, crops, livestock and jobs are all on the line each time the monster winds roar in from the Pacific Ocean, leaving survivors to mourn their dead and pick up the broken pieces, year in and year out.

"Life is a struggle here," Dilao, 43, told AFP a few days after Typhoon Hagupit destroyed his shanty and killed more than 20 people this month.

He likened the plight of local people to those of stray chickens.

"We're scratching at the soil non-stop in hopes of finding a scrap to eat," he said.

Hagupit came a year after Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever storm recorded on land, killed 7,350 people on Samar and neighbouring islands.

Samar, about half the size of Belgium, is often the first major Asian landmass hit by the more than 20 tropical storms or typhoons that are born in the Pacific Ocean each year.

With much of the mountainous island stripped by deforestation, most of its 1.8 million residents live on narrow, sea-level strips along the coast, at the mercy of the storms' ferocious winds and tsunami-like ocean surges.

Living in the town of Taft on Samar's east coast, the Dilao family survived both the storm surges of both Hagupit and Haiyan by fleeing to a nearby hill, waiting them out under a raggedy tent made of bamboo frames and a tarpaulin sheet.

In nearby San Julian, small-scale farmer Benjie Baldenero was also struggling to cope with having lost his home in Haiyan when it happened again in Hagupit.

The 40-year-old spoke of pledging the next harvest as collateral so he could borrow money to rebuild his grass hut again and replace flooded rice seedlings.

"We have not even repaid last year's debts and here we are needing to take out more loans," Baldenero told AFP.

  • Typhoons and guerillas -

The vicious cycle ensures Samar and the neighbouring island of Leyte are among the poorest regions of the Philippines, accounting for just 2.2 percent of national economic output.

"Bad weather plays a major role in shaping our economy because typhoons destroy practically everything in their path," Ben Evardone, a congressman and former governor of Eastern Samar province, told AFP.

Six in 10 people on Samar's east coast are poor, according to government data, fuelling a decades-old communist insurgency that has largely petered out across the rest of the Philippines.

Samar is one of only five regions of the country where New People's Army rebels are still active, Philippine Army spokesman Colonel Noel Detoyato told AFP.

"They continue to attract followers due to the poverty," he said.

Typhoons and guerrillas also mean the island attracts few outside investors, Evardone said.

There are few jobs available except farming and fishing, which are among those most vulnerable to the extreme weather.

Those in the few other industries also suffer during the storms.

Jaime Caballa, 53, saw his restaurant in the university town of Can-avid ripped apart by Hagupit, then ransacked by looters.

With banks unwilling to lend without collateral and his modest savings gutted by Haiyan, the father-of-four now has to deal with loansharks to finance repairs.

"The restaurant was shuttered for a week after Haiyan. This time, we'll likely be out of business for months," he told AFP.

The extreme weather leaves the island with coconuts, also the Philippines' principal export crop, as the main source of income.

Farmers also plant much less valuable sweet potatoes, cassava and taro to supplement their rice-based diet.

But even coconuts are no match for the strongest winds.

Haiyan destroyed most of the island's coconut industry last year, felling more than 33 million trees across the central Philippines according to official estimates, while Hagupit took care of much of what was left.

"It takes seven years for coconut trees to bear fruit. In the meantime, what will our people do? The impact of these typhoons will be felt over a long time," Evardone said.

  • Exodus -

Many Samar residents leave the island if they can.

Samar and Leyte are well-known sources of unskilled domestic workers and labourers for Manila, 500 kilometres (311 miles) to the northwest, as well as the central port city of Cebu.

Many educated residents also eventually move out, said Cristina Colico, 36, a lawyer and San Julian native who now works at the Philippine central bank in Manila.

"Samar residents can endure the storms, that's not why they leave," she told AFP.

"They just want to look for better jobs elsewhere."

But this option is not always open to unskilled workers.

"I wish we could move elsewhere, but in reality we know we have nowhere else to go," said Dilao the coconut farmer.

cgm/kma/lto/kjl

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: UNDP, Korea ink partnership to support typhoon recovery and resilience in Eastern Visayas

19 December 2014 - 11:20pm
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Philippines, Republic of Korea

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have inked a partnership that will enable the recovery and build the resilience of selected local government units and communities in Eastern Visayas.

Assistance from KOICA directly responds to typhoon recovery priorities identified in the recently-completed Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR). This support becomes even more important today as it covers three municipalities affected by Typhoon Hagupit (local name: Ruby).

Through KOICA’s contribution of US$3 million over a duration of one and a half years, UNDP will implement livelihood skills training, cash-for-livelihood, and waste management improvements in the municipalities of Hernani and Guiuan in Eastern Samar and Basey in Samar.

Livelihood skills training will develop the capacities of the survivors to engage in income generating activities and help stimulate economic activity in the communities. The cash-for-livelihood component would help provide short-term employment as well as contribute to the collection of felled coconut trees and the milling of coconut lumber (e.g. for housing repairs). Waste management and landfill development will empower the community to properly dispose waste and promote a cleaner and healthier environment.

KOICA Resident Representative of Philippines Office Song Minhyeon said, “KOICA, on behalf of the Korean Government, is committed to supporting typhoon-affected areas in the Philippines and is carrying out few projects especially in Visayas. We will continue to increasing resilience, ensure a full recovery in this area for building back better.”

Working with the government of the Philippines, UNDP has contributed to improving knowledge about disaster risk and awareness, and have helped develop a more proactive and risk management oriented approach on prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and rehabilitation/recovery.

UNDP Philippines Country Director Maurice Dewulf said, “At UNDP, we know that challenges remain in helping people get back on their feet, but Filipinos are admirably resilient – as they have again shown during Typhoon Hagupit. We will continue to work with the Philippine Government, the communities and our partners so that people can quickly regain their livelihoods.”

World: NGO Perspectives of Humanitarian Response in L3 Crisis

19 December 2014 - 4:51pm
Source: International Council of Voluntary Agencies Country: Central African Republic, Iraq, Philippines, South Sudan, World

A Review from Iraq, South Sudan, CAR and the Philippines

A review conducted in November 2014 by ICVA in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives considered 20 thematic indicators based on coordination and response in humanitarian crisis, with particular emphasis on the elements expected to be affected by the L3 process (coordination, accountability and leadership). While the results vary by each humanitarian crisis and response, six key themes emerged.

• Operational Support: The L3 process provides significant resourcing and surge staffing support for the coordination of the humanitarian response, however additional support and emphasis must be placed on the humanitarian response in terms of operational support to move closer to increased protection and assistance. NGO surge has focused on operational support, while UN has focused significantly on coordination support. Moreover, the operational support provided in terms of common logistics, security and other services appear to have had unintended negative consequences (e.g. CAR and South Sudan have seen operational delays due to common service arrangements and humanitarian access).

• Leadership and Coordination: At both the national and sub-national level, strong leadership has been inconsistent. Where leadership and coordination structures are considered effective prior to the L3, the L3 has been able to positively strengthen these existing systems (e.g. South Sudan’s and the Philippines’ national cluster mechanism). However, where there is weak leadership or a lack of coordination in place at the national level, the surge capacity has not necessarily made its way out of the capital nor has it resulted in effective subnational coordination (e.g. CAR reportedly has only 8% of coordination outside of Bangui) This echoes the results from the L3 simulation (summer 2013): the one-way downward coordination and leadership to sub-national rather than a two-way street of empowered leadership and coordination. In several circumstances such as Iraq and South Sudan, coordination architecture is duplicated (particularly with refugee crises) requiring additional resources from NGOs to effectively engage, exacerbated by the L3 process with the surge and additional coordination mechanisms brought in.

• UN-NGO Partnership: NGOs believe their value added is as a complementary actor to UN, Government and other stakeholders, though the implementing partnership arrangements of UN can limit these complementarities. This can be exacerbated in L3s when there is a rapid scaling up of activities, which provides a disincentive for local NGO engagement or supporting international NGOs that have specific sectoral capacities (e.g. South Sudan’s 3 sectors by 3 areas approach to prioritising scaling up, Iraq’s pipeline funding for distribution with limited community engagement from some agencies). This reinforces the findings of the L3 simulation presented to the IASC in July 2013 that notes a tendency for ‘business as usual’ rather than a collective responsibility to the response.

• Financial Resourcing: While the L3 processes are intended to increase the scale of financial resources available, as well as the process for rapidly accessing these funds, too often resourcing has been slow to be projectised or inflexible for reallocations (e.g. slow funding disbursement to scale up of NGOs and inflexibility in Iraq for refugee support due to IDP focused funding as a result of L3 declaration; Philippine shelter funding slow to be resourced limiting transition from temporary shelters).

• Core Issues: Issues such as protection, gender, and accountability to communities within L3 crisis particularly are not prioritised at the leadership level, in favour of scaling up distribution of material assistance. These are infrequently considered life-saving support and therefore do not receive the same level of attention despite human resources being sent on surge (e.g. CAR, South Sudan).

• Information Management: While information management has improved, on-going improvement in gap analysis and evidence-based prioritisation linked to operations is weak. The L3 surge capacity has largely focused on improving the needs identification and mapping of agency responses, but not analysis. This was considered an issue in South Sudan and CAR specifically due to poor access to information.

A full report including specific information on the four L3s reviewed will be released by end of 2014.

Philippines: One year after Typhoon Haiyan

19 December 2014 - 3:30pm
Source: Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA Country: Philippines

19 December 2014

APHEDA donors helped the health volunteers from our Philippines partner organisation reach over 7,000 patients during six medical and relief missions in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

On November 8 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, a category 4 storm with winds registering up to 320 km per hour, struck the Philippines. It is considered the strongest tropical storm ever recorded to hit land. The disaster left more than 8,000 people dead with thousands still missing. Of the almost 4.1 million people living in the affected areas, 280,968 families or almost 1.2 million people were rendered homeless.

Electricity, water, communications and transportation were all paralysed and 600 local and district level health centres and hospitals were partially or totally destroyed.

APHEDA's partner organisation response

Between November 2013 and September 2014, our Philippines partner, Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) took part in six medical and relief missions providing essential medical treatment for 7,666 patients and distributing emergency relief packs to over 10,000 families.

"Months after the calamity struck, people [were] very angry at what the government had not done. The assistance provided by APHEDA was very crucial in providing immediate relief sorely needed by the people and communities," said COMMED Director Dr Julie Caguiat.

To assist with psychological recovery, COMMED also held 44 group psychosocial therapy sessions with 1,969 people - mainly mothers, children and the elderly.

Dr Caguiat also explained some of the stresses being felt by survivor; "A lot of patients seen had stress related symptoms and illnesses, including inability to sleep well, hypertension, muscle aches and pains, and hyperacidity. A contributing factor is the damage done to their livelihood, destruction of their agricultural produce including vegetables and coconut trees".

Livelihoods destroyed

The region's agriculture was severely damaged. Coconut and banana crops and fishponds, which provide livelihoods and food for many families, were hard hit.

All the coconut fields in Leyte, Biliran, Eastern Samar and Western Samar were damaged - 60% were knocked down completely, and the other 40% remained standing but were stripped of fruits and leaves. It will take up to three years for standing trees to become productive again. Where the trees were knocked over it could take between 7-10 years to restore coconut production.

Bananas, sweet potatoes, cassava and vegetable crops were also wiped out. The cost to fisheries is estimated at over AUS$160 million.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update Sitrep No. 93 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

19 December 2014 - 7:59am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

A. Alert level status of Mayon Volcano has been lowered from alert level 3 to alert level 2 as of 19 December 2014, 8:00 AM

B. Since the last recorded seismic swarm on 29 November 2014, a general decline in the overall activity of Mayon Volcano has been observed, as indicated by the following monitored parameters:

  • Volcanic Earthquake Activity: For nearly the past three weeks, seismic activity has declined to an average 2-3 mostly volcano-tectonic earthquakes daily that are attributed to rock fracturing beneath the northern flank of the edifice. There have been even lesser low frequency earthquakes associated with magma or volcanic gas movement recorded, while few minor rockfall events detected were more likely enhanced by intense rainfall over the volcano summit rather than by lava extrusion at the crater. Such overall low-level seismicity indicates that there is currently no active transport of eruptible magma to the shallow levels of the volcano.

  • Ground Deformation: Since June 2014, Mayon’s edifice has been inflating or swelling due to very slow intrusion of subsurface magma beneath the northern flank of the edifice, based on Precise Leveling (PL) surveys and continuous electronic tilt measurements. Distinct short-term increases in edifice inflation in October 2014 notably preceded episodes of short lava flow from the summit crater on 12 and 19 October. However, short-term increase in edifice inflation recorded by PL surveys in the last week of November 2014 was not succeeded by lava extrusion. Although the volume of yet unerupted magma accumulated beneath the volcano since June 2014 is in the order of 107 m3 based on ground deformation data, intrusion to shallow levels has not occurred in nearly three weeks, based on stationary tilt data for the corresponding period.

  • Gas Emission: Sulfur Dioxide emission or SO2 flux from Mayon crater has declined since 2 October to below 500 tonnes/day, which is the baseline value during quiescence. SO2 flux levels have decreased from a high of 2,360 t/d on 6 September, with the latest flux measured on 9 December at 259 t/d. The low levels of SO2 flux indicate that shallow magma degassing has declined, due to either the progressive loss of volcanic gas from shallow magma, or the generally low volcanic gas content of magma intruded at deeper levels beneath the edifice, or both.

  • Visual Observation of the Summit: Since the last observation of lava flow on 19 October, no new lava material has been observed at Mayon’s summit crater. Crater glow, which is incandescence associated with superheated gas emission at the summit vent, has not been observed since 28 November. The decline in observable parameters at the summit is consistent with the cessation of magma supply to the shallow levels of the volcanic edifice.

Philippines: SitRep No.27 re Effects of Typhoon "Ruby" (Hagupit)

19 December 2014 - 7:45am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

"RUBY" exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on the evening of 10 December 2014.

II. AFFECTED POPULATION (Tab A)

• A total of 944,249 families / 4,149,484 persons were affected in Regions III, IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, CARAGA and NCR

• A total of 18,938 families / 100,264 persons are currently being served inside and outside 327 evacuation centers

III. CASUALTIES (Tab B)

• Eighteen (18) deaths were reported in Regions IV-A, IV-B, VII, and VIII

• A total of 916 injured persons were reported in Regions IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, VII, and VIII IV.

Philippines: IOM Calls for More Storm Shelters Across Asia-Pacific

19 December 2014 - 6:04am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Bangladesh, Philippines

Thailand - When Typhoon Hagupit roared across the east coast of the Philippines two weeks ago, the death toll was in the tens, rather than in the thousands, unlike Typhoon Haiyan the previous year.

This was in part due to Hagupit being weaker than Haiyan, but mainly due to a massive evacuation effort by the Philippine authorities, assisted by IOM and other humanitarian partners.

Meteorological experts and the Asian Development Bank warn that the Asia-Pacific region can expect stronger storms, affecting rapidly growing urban areas. Accordingly, IOM is calling for greater investment in multi-purpose buildings which can accommodate large numbers of evacuees in the event of severe weather.

“Many municipal buildings, churches, warehouses and other large structures were used as typhoon shelters during Haiyan and Hagupit,” said Brian Kelly, IOM’s Emergency and Post-Conflict advisor for Asia-Pacific. “The problem is: they were often not designed with that purpose in mind, so it’s literally hit or miss as to whether they are fit for purpose.”

IOM is looking at Bangladesh as a model, where purpose-built typhoon shelters have been in use since the 1970s, following the catastrophic Cyclone Bhola in 1970, which killed up to half a million people.

The country has a network of almost 2,000 shelters, which double up as schools and community centres. While expensive to build and maintain, their existence and multi-purpose utility – alongside resilient housing programmes – allows people to quickly resume their lives after severe storms, making economic, as well as humanitarian, sense.

“We are looking closely at the Philippines as a blueprint for rolling out advanced preparation systems across the region,” said Kelly. “There is definitely a willingness to step up preparedness there, and in other storm-prone countries. This would have to be part of an integrated package that builds on the excellent work the Philippine government has already done.”

In Bangladesh, aid agencies and the authorities have added measures such as latrines on higher ground, fresh-water tanks, and rapid escape routes, to optimize the effectiveness of the shelters. IOM is also considering how these shelters could lower the death toll in floods, tsunamis and storm surge events, and prevent the large-scale displacement that accompanies disasters.

Analysis: Nearly one-third of the world's tropical cyclones form within the western Pacific. Along with a high storm frequency, this basin also features the most globally intense storms on record, including November 2013’s Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall. Tropical cyclones form in any month of the year across the northwest Pacific Ocean, and concentrate around June and November in the northern Indian Ocean. The area just northeast of the Philippines is the most active place on Earth for tropical cyclones. In 2008 Cyclone Nargis hit southern Myanmar with catastrophic effect. Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, India and Cambodia have all been hit by large storms in recent years.

For more information, please contact

Brian Kelly IOM’s Regional Office for Asia-Pacific in Bangkok Email: bkelly@iom.int

Philippines: Farmer-to-farmer seed delivery to help Dolores recover from Typhoon Hagupit

19 December 2014 - 4:33am
Source: Greenpeace Country: Philippines

Dolores, Eastern Samar, Philippines, 19 December 2014 – A farmer-to-farmer delivery of ecological seeds took place today in Dolores, Eastern Samar in the Philippines to help farmers regenerate agricultural land badly damaged by Typhoon Hagupit. It was the first delivery of seeds to Dolores since the typhoon made a direct hit on the town two weeks ago.

A group of farmers from the islands of Cebu, Bohol and Negros – strong movers of sustainable and ecological agriculture – came together in the spirit of 'Balaynihan' [1] to aid fellow farmers by collecting ecologically farmed rice seeds, root crops, vegetable seeds and organic fertilizers [2]. The seeds were today presented to 125 of the most affected farmers in Dolores.

Typhoon Hagupit made a direct hit on Dolores on December 6, damaging much of the region's farmland and crops, before crawling across the rest of the country. Nationally, crop losses have been estimated at PHP1.9 billion (USD $42.5 million).

Dolores Mayor Emiliana Villacarillo said:

"This has been a terrific initiative and different to a government response, which can often be mistaken by farmers as a dole out which can mean they do not give much importance to it. When it's a farmer-to-farmer exchange, the farmers that offer the seeds are people who have nothing to gain from it, but are doing it out of goodwill, out of a sense of community. It also means farmers on the receiving end can personally offer their thanks. It also changes the perspective of farmers by showing their capacity to help others in need and that our farmers have the solutions at hand. For this, we thank Greenpeace for initiating this approach. Farmers who are experiencing difficulties can now spring back and recoup their losses."

After traveling close to 600 km by land and sea, an estimated 4 tonnes of rice seeds from Negros, 1 tonne of farmer-developed rice seeds from Bohol and diverse vegetables seeds (for 1,000 families) from Cebu were delivered to Dolores. All the seeds were organically grown.

The seeds will be enough to replant about 125 hectares of rice farmland. Seeds earlier provided by the Department of Agriculture had been planted prior to the typhoon's landfall. Farmers in Dolores did not have any other seeds to replant damaged fields.

As part of the seed transfer, experts and practitioners of organic farming have also travelled to Dolores to begin training farmers on how to grow healthy, climate-resilient crops using ecological agriculture practices.

Greenpeace Philippines and partner organizations responded immediately to the seed recovery mission by arranging and facilitating the skills-sharing and seed delivery, organizing the logistics and acting as a contact point between the farmers in Cebu, Bohol and Negros and the impacted farmers and authorities in Dolores.

"As our climate changes, there is an increasingly urgent need for Filipino farmers to adopt more resilient farming practices. This seed delivery is a good step; it not only helps get farmers in Dolores back on their feet, but it also reinforces the need to strengthen farmer-to-farmer seed exchanges and the setting up of community seed banks and diverse seed stocks," said Wilhelmina Pelegrina, Ecological Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace International.

"Farmers are still the major source of seeds, especially rice, so a reliable system for seed exchanges will prove crucial in building resilience to future climate shocks."

Resilience can also be improved by the adoption of ecological agriculture, which uses the diversity of nature to help the soil retain more water and stay healthier to provide nutrients to crops in times of extreme weather. Crop diversity also enables farms to withstand different stresses, including climate shocks such as typhoons.

Philippines: Emergency Assistance to the Republic of the Philippines for Typhoon Disaster

19 December 2014 - 2:51am
Source: Government of Japan Country: Japan, Philippines
  1. On Wednesday, December 10, the Government of Japan decided to extend emergency relief goods worth approximately 22 million yen (blankets, sleeping pads, plastic sheets, etc.) to the Republic of the Philippines, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), based on the request from the Government of the Philippines.

  2. Typhoon Hagupit (Philippine name: Ruby) landed the Philippines on December 6 and brought about massive damages including casualties. Over 1.7 million people have evacuated so far due to the typhoon.

  3. Based on the request from the Government of the Philippines, and in light of friendly relations between Japan and the Philippines, the Government of Japan has made the decision to extend emergency assistance for humanitarian aid for the affected people.

World: IOM Calls for More Storm Shelters Across Asia-Pacific

18 December 2014 - 7:00pm
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Bangladesh, Philippines, World

Thailand - When Typhoon Hagupit roared across the east coast of the Philippines two weeks ago, the death toll was in the tens, rather than in the thousands, unlike Typhoon Haiyan the previous year.

This was in part due to Hagupit being weaker than Haiyan, but mainly due to a massive evacuation effort by the Philippine authorities, assisted by IOM and other humanitarian partners.

Meteorological experts and the Asian Development Bank warn that the Asia-Pacific region can expect stronger storms, affecting rapidly growing urban areas. Accordingly, IOM is calling for greater investment in multi-purpose buildings which can accommodate large numbers of evacuees in the event of severe weather.

“Many municipal buildings, churches, warehouses and other large structures were used as typhoon shelters during Haiyan and Hagupit,” said Brian Kelly, IOM’s Emergency and Post-Conflict advisor for Asia-Pacific. “The problem is: they were often not designed with that purpose in mind, so it’s literally hit or miss as to whether they are fit for purpose.”

IOM is looking at Bangladesh as a model, where purpose-built typhoon shelters have been in use since the 1970s, following the catastrophic Cyclone Bhola in 1970, which killed up to half a million people.

The country has a network of almost 2,000 shelters, which double up as schools and community centres. While expensive to build and maintain, their existence and multi-purpose utility – alongside resilient housing programmes – allows people to quickly resume their lives after severe storms, making economic, as well as humanitarian, sense.

“We are looking closely at the Philippines as a blueprint for rolling out advanced preparation systems across the region,” said Kelly. “There is definitely a willingness to step up preparedness there, and in other storm-prone countries. This would have to be part of an integrated package that builds on the excellent work the Philippine government has already done.”

In Bangladesh, aid agencies and the authorities have added measures such as latrines on higher ground, fresh-water tanks, and rapid escape routes, to optimize the effectiveness of the shelters. IOM is also considering how these shelters could lower the death toll in floods, tsunamis and storm surge events, and prevent the large-scale displacement that accompanies disasters.

Analysis: Nearly one-third of the world's tropical cyclones form within the western Pacific. Along with a high storm frequency, this basin also features the most globally intense storms on record, including November 2013’s Haiyan, the strongest storm to ever make landfall. Tropical cyclones form in any month of the year across the northwest Pacific Ocean, and concentrate around June and November in the northern Indian Ocean. The area just northeast of the Philippines is the most active place on Earth for tropical cyclones. In 2008 Cyclone Nargis hit southern Myanmar with catastrophic effect. Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, India and Cambodia have all been hit by large storms in recent years.

For more information, please contact

Brian Kelly IOM’s Regional Office for Asia-Pacific in Bangkok Email: bkelly@iom.int

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

18 December 2014 - 5:22pm
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

18 December 2014 - 2:25pm
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.

World: Global Food Security Update, Issue 16 - December 2014

18 December 2014 - 12:39pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Afghanistan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Tracking food security trends in vulnerable countries

Highlights

· According to the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster analyses, 9.8 million people in Syria need various types of food, agriculture and livelihood-related assistance.

· As fighting prevails in Iraq, an estimated 2.2 million people across the governorates of Anbar, Kirkuk, Diyala, Ninewa and Salah al-Din are in need of emergency food assistance.

· Following the main harvest, food insecurity has temporarily eased in South Sudan. However, 1.5 million people remain in Crisis or Emergency Phases through December 2014.

· According to the FAO/WFP CFSAM, as of December 2014, approximately 500,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are food insecure due to the Ebola epidemic.

· According to the October 2014 EFSA in the Central African Republic, 1.4 million people are food insecure.

· The 2014-2015 rainfall season has been mixed across the region, with below average rainfall in the eastern half of Kenya and southern half of Somalia.

· In the Philippines, following Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) 400,000 people are expected to experience the most severe food security impacts, according to an initial WFP estimate.

· Assessments show that dry spells in September have increased food insecurity in areas of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit Situation Report No. 7 (as of 18 December 2014)

18 December 2014 - 10:35am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

Highlights

  • More than 41,200 houses were destroyed; families whose houses need reconstruction will face prolonged displacement and require extended humanitarian aid.

  • Authorities to ensure worst-affected communities in Region VIII receive uninterrupted aid during the approaching holiday season.

  • No indication of disease outbreaks to date.

  • International assistance limited to localized and targeted support using in-country resources to complement government relief efforts.

3.9 million affected people

149,000 people in evacuation centres

458 evacuation centres

41,200 totally damaged houses

231,500 partially damaged houses

18 verified deaths

Philippines: Philippines: One year after typhoon Haiyan

18 December 2014 - 10:19am
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.

World: Asia Pacific Food Price and Policy Monitor, November 2014 - Issue 16

18 December 2014 - 6:21am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

HIGHLIGHTS

  • General inflation in the region continued to slow, falling to 3.7 percent from 3.8 percent, while food price inflation was unchanged.

  • Nominal rice prices rose 7.7 percent in South Asia in October.

  • In Afghanistan retail prices for wheat and wheat flour fell by a respective 2 percent and 4.9 percent in expectation of an above-average harvest.

  • Rice prices in India rose 18 percent year-on-year.

  • India’s cereal exports are forecast to decline by 30 percent this marketing year because of higher domestic requirements and anticipated lower output.

  • India and Pakistan increased minimum producer prices for wheat to boost production.

  • Viet Nam will establish 11 agricultural research parks to develop innovative technologies.