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Philippines: Philippines: Zamboanga Crisis Timeline (as of 3 Oct 2014)

20 October 2014 - 1:30am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines preview

World: Humanitarian Assistance in Review - East Asia and the Pacific | Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 – 2014

17 October 2014 - 7:17pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World preview

Recurrent floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and seasonal typhoons present significant challenges to vulnerable populations in the East Asia and the Pacific (EAP) region. Some countries also face civil unrest and associated humanitarian impacts, as well as limited government capacity to respond to disasters. Between FY 2005 and FY 2014, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) provided humanitarian assistance in response to a diverse range of natural and complex emergencies in the region, including cyclones or typhoons in Burma and the Philippines; earthquakes in China, Indonesia, and New Zealand; floods in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam; a tsunami in Japan; a drought in the Marshall Islands; volcanic eruptions in Indonesia and the Philippines; and conflict in Burma and Timor Leste.

Between FY 2005 and FY 2014, USAID provided nearly $319 million in disaster response assistance in the EAP region. USAID/OFDA assistance included nearly $190 million for programs in agriculture and food security, economic recovery and market systems (ERMS), health, humanitarian coordination and information management, logistics support and relief commodities, nutrition, protection, risk management policy and practice, shelter and settlements, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). As of September 22, USAID/FFP assistance during this time period included more than $129 million for food assistance in the form of U.S. purchased food, locally and/or regionally purchased food, cash transfers for food, food vouchers, and related activities.

Philippines: A Local Hero Emerges After Typhoon Haiyan

17 October 2014 - 4:57pm
Source: Catholic Relief Services Country: Philippines

By: Jen Hardy, Catholic Relief Services

People like Ric De Veyra emerge during crisis to show that it is possible to pick up the pieces in the wake of disaster.

Even the richest country in the world has trouble recovering from a major natural disaster, as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy demonstrated. So it’s no surprise that the same story is playing out in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan, which hit on November 8, 2013. It was the strongest recorded storm to ever make landfall on this nation of islands.

Ric De Veyra, and other volunteers like him, are helping families pick up the pieces in the wake of the storm and amid what sometimes seems like hopeless bureaucratic gridlock. He has volunteered many unpaid hours and sacrificed time with his family to help his neighbors get housing and other essentials lost in the storm.

“CRS has been working hard to help rebuild communities after Haiyan, but it’s only with leaders like Ric that residents can find hope, purpose and resolve to rebuild their lives better than before,” says Catholic Relief Services program manager Anna Hrybyk.

“When the wind quieted, I looked outside,” Ric says of the night of Haiyan, which he spent in an elementary school evacuation center, away from his family. “I saw no more houses, no more grass. I didn’t know what to do, where to start, not only for my own family, but for all of my neighbors too

CRS Provides a Lifeline

Ric, 30, had just been elected chairman of his “barangay,” or community, when Haiyan hit. That’s why he stayed in the elementary school the night of Haiyan: He didn’t want to leave his constituents, even though his family was in a different evacuation center.

“Everyone in the shelter was so afraid, I couldn’t leave them,” he says.

The sitting barangay chairperson had gone to Manila. So although Ric had not formally taken office, he found himself in charge of a community that seemed rudderless while facing the most difficult challenge in its history.

“My first thought was to find food. I walked to Palo looking for help, then all the way to Tacloban,” which is more than 3 hours one way, he says. “I found food that would have been enough for my own family, but I had nearly 100 families to feed. I knew that to feed everyone, we had to clear the road. And so we did. Three days after the storm, everyone took the tools they had found and began clearing debris and downed trees by hand. The next day, relief food finally reached us.ˮ

Next, Ric sought emergency shelter from CRS. The tin and palm fronds families had salvaged and cobbled together for roofs were no match for heavy tropical rains. CRS provided tarps and long-term help in building new homes.

Eighty-seven families needed such shelters. Even though he could have easily taken the first home for himself and his family, who were living in a makeshift lean-to, Ric told CRS that his home would be built after his neighbors’.

“I wanted to make sure my neighbors got the best houses in the fastest possible time,” he says. “It didn’t matter if people voted for me or not. We all needed safe and dry places to sleep.ˮ

Local Leadership Key to Recovery

Ric and his wife Evelyn moved into their new home in July. It was, indeed, the last to be completed in Cabarasan Guti. Ric plans to add an indoor kitchen as soon as he can save enough from his bicycle rickshaw business to buy materials.

“After Haiyan, there were times I couldn’t see my own family,” he says. “It took all of my time to get goods and food for the whole community. I would walk to Palo every day looking for help. I give all credit to my wife for the success of our barangay. She is the one who helped my sons forget their fear of the storm by playing with them, telling them stories, coloring and talking with them. I knew I could focus on getting help for everyone, because she took care of getting help for our boys. I’m so thankful to CRS and my neighbors, but I am most thankful for her.ˮ

“And CRS is most thankful for Ric’s leadership, which was a big reason why we chose to build our first shelters after the storm in Cabarasan Guti,” says Hrybyk.

Jennifer Hardy is the CRS regional information officer for Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Philippines: After Haiyan: Communities Building Back Safer

17 October 2014 - 3:12pm
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Philippines

[ACTED News] - Nearly a year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, thousands of families continue to struggle to repair or rebuild their homes. The construction of of 300 houses with ACTED’s support in Northern Leyte, one of the areas hit hardest by the typhoon, began today in the community of San Diego. ACTED with the support of ShelterBox is providing housing material, training local carpenters and mobilising community to build houses using ‘build back safer’ techniques.Teresita, aged 63 and her three grandchildren live in San Diego. Since the typhoon the family have lived with Teresita’s employer. Teresita shares that “with this support rebuilding a home for my family is finally possible”. Teresita and her three grandchildren are just one of 300 families building a new home with ACTED support.

Philippines: Japan Provides Emergency Vehicles for the Typhoon-Affected Areas in the Philippines

17 October 2014 - 9:07am
Source: Government of Japan Country: Japan, Philippines

Chargés d'affaires to the Philippines Tetsuro Amano and CSUPT. Carlito Romero signed the grant contract for "The Project for Providing Emergency Vehicles for the Typhoon-Affected Areas in the Philippines" on October 16, 2014 at the National Headquarters of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Quezon City. The total amount is US$ 202,760 (approximately 8.5 million pesos) and is funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

The project was initially announced when a delegation led by Honorable Kenji Kosaka, President of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians' Friendship League (JPPFL) met with Honorable Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, President of Philippines-Japan Parliamentary Association (PJPA), in Manila on May 5, 2014. It is part of Japan's additional donation to the Philippines of previously-used 20 emergency vehicles (17 units of fire trucks and 3 units of ambulances) intended primarily for the municipalities seriously damaged by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in Central Visayas. The vehicles are expected to be arriving at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in early November.

The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. As of present, 499 grassroots projects have been funded by GGP. Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also contribute to further fostering a strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines toward the future.

Philippines: DSWD press statement on damaged goods for Mayon evacuees

16 October 2014 - 10:31pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed regret over the inclusion of 33 food packs containing spoiled canned goods and expired noodles in the 22,350 food packs distributed to Mayon evacuees over the weekend, adding that they will immediately be replaced so as not to compromise the food needs of the people.

The Department however clarified that it is not 21 sacks as previously reported.

Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that DSWD will investigate why the incident happened when the goods were only newly procured.

She has also ordered the review the agency’s procurement process and its established warehouse, handling, and logistic practices to institute the necessary corrective actions.

Based on the result of the initial investigation conducted by the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), the canned goods got damaged in transit due to the weight and bulk of the relief supplies piled in the trucks.

The Department on the other hand has set to find out with the supplier why there are expired noodles included from the newly purchased goods.

APSEMO still however recognized that there is no perfect delivery, especially of relief goods during disasters.

Sec. Soliman emphasized that DSWD, in coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), remains committed to provide safe food to evacuees for the duration of their stay in evacuation centers.

She likewise indicated that this incident will not happen again in the next relief delivery caravans for Mayon, whose second batch of five trucks carrying 4,050 food packs left DSWD-National Resource Operations Center (NROC) for Legazpi City at 4 am this morning.###

World: Economic Recovery and Market Systems Sector Update - Highlights of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Activities | October 2014

16 October 2014 - 5:55pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Mali, Philippines, World preview

SECTOR OVERVIEW

Natural disasters and conflicts adversely affect local economies by destroying homes and businesses, damaging productive assets, and disrupting transportation and markets. To help communities resume economic activity and rebuild livelihoods, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) supports economic recovery and market systems (ERMS) activities in disaster-affected communities.

The third pillar of USAID/OFDA’s mandate is to reduce the economic impact of disasters. ERMS interventions strengthen key market systems and help populations restore livelihoods and purchasing power at the household, local, and regional levels.

USAID/OFDA-supported economic recovery programs complement individual and community efforts to recover from a disaster and prevent reliance on continued humanitarian aid.

In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $46 million to support economic recovery activities in 26 countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as worldwide and regional interventions.

World: 2014: A Year of Food Assistance

16 October 2014 - 5:23pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Central African Republic, Philippines, Syrian Arab Republic, World, South Sudan

From the dusty plains of South Sudan to the tropics in the Philippines, the world saw a whirlwind of crises destroy lives, livelihoods and human dignity over the past year. Severe drought, ravaging conflict and powerful natural disasters devastated communities and pushed already vulnerable families into crisis, oftentimes lacking enough food. USAID, through its Office of Food For Peace, was there to provide emergency food assistance in those times of need. The face of hunger is changing and we have changed with it—by thinking outside the box and providing more innovative responses to reach families faster, cheaper and more effectively. Among the largest responses this year were Syria, South Sudan, the Philippines and Central African Republic. Keep reading to learn about a few of the innovations USAID used to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Syria

Violence in Syria escalated over the past year due to heavy fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and opposition forces, increasing the number of displaced persons to more than 6.4 million. Over the past year, USAID and its partners supported food vouchers for refugee families enabling them to buy food in local markets. Bakeries inside Syria turned regionally purchased wheat into bread for hungry families, ensuring families had that most basic of staples in their daily diets. With this and other forms of assistance—including family-size food packs—USAID assisted partners in reaching nearly 5 million conflict-affected Syrians.

South Sudan

In South Sudan, clashes sparked by a political crisis in December 2013 spurred conflict through much of the country that eventually displaced more than 1.8 million people. Ongoing displacement prevented farmers from planting or harvesting their crops and led to emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity for 1.5 million people. Even before the crisis began, 40 percent of South Sudanese needed humanitarian assistance. In preparation for increasing 2014 needs, USAID shipped U.S. food to South Sudan that arrived in February.

By May, when United Nations officials alerted the world to the possibility of famine, USAID had already authorized the U.N. World Food Program’s (WFP’s) South Sudan program to fully utilize those resources for the emergency response. When on-the-ground distribution became unfeasible due to conflict and the rainy season that collectively made roads impassable, WFP started the very expensive alternative of delivering food aid by aircraft. As part of its response, USAID distributed regionally purchased ready-to-use specialized food products to prevent and treat acute malnutrition in children under the age of 5.

The situation in South Sudan was already dire, but has since spiraled downward to become the worst food security crisis in the world. As a result, USAID has tapped into a seldom-used special authority in the Farm Bill—the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust—to respond to extraordinary, unforeseen and expanding need with additional food aid. Shipments of more than 64,000 metric tons of U.S. food commodities purchased under this special authority are now on their way to Africa to help the South Sudanese people.

Philippines

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan swept into the Philippines and proved to be one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. The storm displaced over 14.1 million people and caused billions of dollars in damages to infrastructure and livelihoods. Within three weeks of its landfall, USAID provided WFP and the the Philippine Government with the tools needed to provide life saving food assistance to nearly 3 million people.

Central African Republic

Ongoing armed conflict and political instability in Central African Republic (CAR) since December 2012 has displaced over 490,000 people, created close to 418,000 refugees, and greatly exacerbated food insecurity. Due to heightened insecurities this year along the roads entering the country, USAID and WFP worked to expand the number of entry points into CAR and figure out creative ways to distribute food assistance to those in need, such as using airlifts and river barges.

Using a combination of U.S. and regionally available food, USAID reached over 1 million vulnerable, food insecure people—including both internally displaced persons and refugees. Returnees in Chad, who fled CAR at the outbreak of violence, are using food vouchers to buy food available on local markets. As the conflict has raged on, decreased access to vulnerable populations has meant USAID and its partners have had to continually search for new and innovative ways to deliver life saving assistance.

Through an innovative approach, USAID combined U.S. food—including pre-positioned meal-replacement bars from Miami and pre-positioned rice from Colombo, Sri Lanka—with cash-based assistance to meet urgent food needs. With the cash assistance, WFP purchased rice directly from the Government of the Philippines and airlifted high-energy biscuits from Dubai, including these items in family food packs distributed just five days after the typhoon. WFP also provided cash transfers to purchase basic food items in places where markets were functioning. Additional U.S. rice arrived in February to support food-for-assets activities, which focused on agricultural livelihoods restoration, and direct distribution to the most vulnerable households.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nina Rosenberg is an Information Officer in USAID’s Office of Food for Peace.

Philippines: Clean water for villages hit by conflict [Video]

16 October 2014 - 2:51pm
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

The remote villages of Marcelo and Buhisan are located in different areas of the Philippines. Marcelo is in Negros Occidental province, central Philippines, while Buhisan lies in the province of Surigao del Sur, in the south of the country. But the villages have two problems in common -– the absence of a reliable water supply system and protracted armed violence.

For years, people had to queue up or make long journeys, just to collect unhealthy water from sources like streams, rivers and open wells or a leaky pipeline. Diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases were common.

The ICRC responded by building water supply systems in the two villages. The communities joined in, carrying materials, digging trenches, and installing pipes. Newly-formed water associations will maintain the systems and ensure that clean water keeps flowing for many years to come.

In September 2014, the ICRC handed the completed projects over to the communities of Marcelo and Buhisan, where almost 3,000 people now have clean drinking water.

Clean water for Buhisan

Clean water for Marcelo

World: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector Update - October 2014

16 October 2014 - 11:54am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Iraq, Philippines, Sudan, United States of America, World preview

SECTOR OVERVIEW

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs represent vital components of USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) responses to rapid-onset disasters and complex emergencies, as disaster-affected populations are more susceptible to illness and death from waterborne and communicable diseases. WASH interventions in emergencies often include promotion of good hygienic practices, construction or repair of latrines, removal of solid waste, and provision of safe, treated water. Activities such as building latrines and establishing waste removal systems can prove even more challenging in areas with high water tables, hard rock sites, and dense populations.

In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA provided more than $137 million for WASH programs in 27 countries. USAID/OFDA also links emergency WASH activities with transition and development programs funded by other USAID offices and incorporates institutional partners—such as local governments—in program planning and implementation to promote the sustainability of water and hygiene-focused projects.

World: USAID/OFDA Protection Sector Update October 2014

16 October 2014 - 10:07am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Central African Republic, Pakistan, Philippines, United States of America, World preview

SECTOR OVERVIEW

Natural disasters and conflict often exacerbate the vulnerability of individuals, requiring people to cope with additional threats that include sexual violence, theft, exploitative labor, and exclusion from life-saving humanitarian assistance. In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is at the forefront of the humanitarian community’s efforts to protect conflict- and disaster-affected communities by funding activities that mitigate these dangers. While working to minimize and respond to specific risks, USAID/OFDA requires partners to “mainstream” protection—an approach to ensure the safety of those receiving emergency relief aid—in all humanitarian assistance programs. In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA provided more than $53.7 million to support stand-alone protection programs, including nearly $9.3 million to 13 U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for global protection initiatives and approximately $44.4 million to 20 U.N. agencies and NGOs for local protection activities in 16 countries. Worldwide, these programs have supported millions of people, providing services for child protection, psychosocial support, prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV), and coordination of and advocacy for protection activities.

Philippines: DA reports advances in agri-fishery rehab in Yolanda-stricken areas

16 October 2014 - 2:11am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

As the country joins the world in commemorating this year’s World Food Day, the Department of Agriculture announced that the rehabilitation efforts in farming and fishing communities affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) continue, with focus increasingly shifting from clearing operations and immediate food production to the re-establishment of vital infrastructure and market linkages.

“Progress is made there everyday, with the long-term recovery of our countrymen in these communities in our minds,” DA said in a statement. “For that, we can’t thank our local and foreign partners and the private sector enough as they have helped us provide and ensure that the production inputs and other forms of livelihood assistance reach the intended beneficiaries in a most timely manner possible.”

In fact, DA said the judicious distribution of certified seeds and other production support allowed thousands of palay farmers in Eastern Visayas and other areas in central Philippines to plant, and now harvest, their second crop since the typhoon struck in November last year.

Fishermen who received either new or refurbished fishing boats from the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have likewise started to make decent catch again, DA said. And to help these fishermen preserve their catch for the markets, DA-BFAR is calling for the private sector to help provide them with freezers and other storage facilities that could be readily used.

In areas cleared of debris, residents began constructing fences and cages for their newly-received livestock and poultry animals using lumber produced from felled coconut trees around them – as assisted by local government units, DA and other government agencies.

“The essence of the World Food Day is multi-sectoral partnerships and global unity to end world hunger, and it also means sustained concerted efforts to ensuring that no one gets behind among Yolanda survivors in the march towards restoration,“ DA said.

“We therefore laud our partners for their commitment to continue collaborating with the national government as we ensure that affected populations build resilience to future calamities, in keeping with President Aquino’s instructions to build back better and safer,” it added.

In particular, DA noted that concerned LGUs and the farmers and fishers themselves played – and will continue to play – a critical part in these rebuilding efforts, not merely as beneficiaries but as collaborators.

Based on the latest available report from DA’s Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (DA-RAY), a special task force created to oversee the rehabilitation works on the farm sector, a total of 139,154 bags of hybrid and certified palay seeds and 22,614 bags of high-quality corn seeds have been distributed thus far.

Specific to palay, more than one-third or 52,838 bags came directly from DA while the rest were provided by the Swiss government and organizations such as UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Oxfam, HelpAge, Red Cross, Bioseed, German Development Cooperation and International Fund for Agriculture.

To ensure immediate food security and alternative source of incomes, DA’s regional offices delivered nearly 3,000 kilos of assorted vegetables seeds and 18,114 sets of various farm tools through local governments, according to the DA-RAY report.

Additionally, at least 2,200 heads of livestock and poultry such as water buffaloes, goats, hogs, chicken and ducks were provided, along with corresponding drugs and biologics.

DA-BFAR, on its part, has distributed nearly 30,000 units of repaired and newly-built fishing boats, as well as 9,633 units of gill nets and other fishing paraphernalia, to small-scale fishers. Fishers who lost or ended up with damaged marine engines received replacements units as part of DA-BFAR’s “Palit-engine” scheme.

Aquaculture farmers, mostly from Western Visayas, also received around 13.2 million fingerlings so they could restock their ponds.

In parallel with Philippine Coconut Authority’s coconut rehabilitation and replanting program, DA’s regional offices intensified its activities to intercrop coconut trees with “pinakbet” vegetables, mungbean, corn and other suitable crops. This is being done in partnership with DA-Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform and LGUs.

To date, around 694 hectares of farmlands have been cleared of felled trees and other debris, and 664,299 linear meters of irrigation canals desilted.

Typhoon Yolanda, considered to be the world’s strongest typhoon to ever make a landfall last year, destroyed some 600,000 hectares of agriculture lands and 1.1 million metric tons of crops lost, more than three-fourths of which in Eastern Visayas, according to UN FAO.

DA said it is planning to connect ground efforts with its mainstream programs such as the soon-to-commence Philippine Rural Development Project to help hasten the rebuilding of roads and other critical farm and fishery infrastructure as well as the re-development of agri-based enterprises. (DA-AFID)

Philippines: MILF, MNLF activate coordination mechanism on Bangsamoro

16 October 2014 - 2:08am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Oct 16 -- The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) formally activated and operationalized the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF). This was announced by Ambassador Sayyid Kassim El-Masri, Organization on Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Special Envoy during a meeting today with government representatives headed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles.

The meeting was attended by Egyptian Ambassador Mahmoud Mostafa who currently chairs the OIC-Peace Committee on Southern Philippines (PCSP), Hassan Alabdein, Charge d' Affaires of Saudi Arabia and vice chair of the OIC-PCSP, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Undersecretary Jose Lorena, National Security Council Deputy Director General Zenonida Brosas and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Julius Torres.

El-Masry officially furnished Deles in the meeting with copies of the meeting report and terms of reference of the BCF which were signed by him as OIC envoy, Mohagher Iqbal as representative of the MILF and Randolph Parcasio as representative of the MNLF.

According to the meeting report, the BCF shall serve as the mechanism for the MNLF and MILF to "coordinate their movements toward achieving the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people towards just and lasting peace, and peaceful resolution of their problems."

In said report, the Parties reiterated their "firm belief that unity is indispensable to the success of the Bangsamoro struggle and that there are no basic differences between their fronts as both are seeking to achieve peace, justice and fair solution to the problem facing the Bangsamoro people."

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles expressed her thanks to the OIC and welcomed the activation of the coordination mechanism between the two Moro fronts. "This is a positive and very welcome development especially at this juncture of the peace process when the Bangsamoro Basic Law is being deliberated in Congress. We are talking of the same territory and the same people, as such it is good to know that the MILF and MNLF have agreed to consolidate their efforts for peace and development so that all of these can be integrated in the BBL." "We look forward to the participation of both the MILF and MNLF in the establishment of the Bangsamoro," Deles said. "We are appreciative of the efforts of the OIC in making this possible."

Functions of the BCF

As per the terms of reference signed by the Parties, the BCF shall perform the following functions:1) Provide the venue to discuss issues and concerns confronting the Bangsamoro people, including finding common grounds between the 1976 Tripoli Agreement - 1996 Final Peace Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in order to harmonize the two peace tracks and preserve the gains contained in these agreements which the MNLF and MILF mutually recognize and respect; 2) Coordinate the efforts of the MILF and MNLF in order to consolidate their efforts towards achieving the Bangsamoro people’s aspiration for just political solution and lasting peace and inclusive development; and 3) Conduct consultations with other sectors of the Bangsamoro society including the Ulama.

It shall be composed of 20 members, with equal representation of ten members each coming from the MILF and MNLF. They are expected to meet every three months, with the first meeting scheduled onOctober 26-27, to be presided by the OIC Secretary General or his representative or the chair of the OIC-PCSP.

A joint secretariat for the BCF will also be created for administrative and coordinative tasks, composed of three members each from the MILF and MNLF. Technical and legal working groups may also be organized as necessary.

The meeting on the activation of the BCF was convened Monday, October 13 by El-Masri upon the instruction of OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani. Aside from Iqbal, the MILF delegation included Abhoud Syed Lingga, Abdullah Camlian and Jun Mantawil. Meanwhile, aside from Parcasio, the MNLF delegation included Muslimin Sema, Mujahab Hashim, Alvarez Isnaji and Utto Salem Cutan. Mostafa and Alabdein also joined the meeting. The Parties signed the meeting report and terms of reference the following day, October 14.

The creation of the BCF has initially been agreed upon in a meeting between MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and MNLF Founding Chair Nur Misuari in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 18, 2010 through the invitation of the OIC Secretary General. Succeeding meetings of the Parties on the establishment of the BCF were held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6-7, 2011 andJune 12this year. (OPAPP)

China: The risk of disaster-induced displacement in south-east Asia and China

15 October 2014 - 1:33pm
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam preview

Executive Summary

This technical paper provides evidence-based estimates of the likelihood of disaster-induced displacement in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It attempts to better quantify human displacement risk. It brings together data from several sources – notably the Global Assessment Reports (GARs) and the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), national disaster loss inventory databases (DesInventar) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) Global Estimates – in order to better quantify human displacement risk. Applying a probabilistic risk model, it is one of the first attempts to assess how many people are at risk of being displaced by natural hazard-related disasters. It is the first attempt to do so for South-East Asia.

A new way of thinking

The study reflects an awareness of the need to see disasters as primarily social, rather than natural, phenomena. This view acknowledges the fact that humans can act and take decisions to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring or, at the very least, to reduce their impacts and the levels of loss and damage associated with them. Disasters are thus no longer being perceived as ‘natural’ or ‘acts of God’ but instead as something over which humans exert influence and can therefore prevent.

This reconceptualisation of disasters signifies a shift from a retrospective, post-disaster approach to an anticipatory way of thinking about and confronting disasters. This conceptual development was reflected in a public policy objective: disaster risk reduction (DRR). Strengthening DRR became a global priority in the 1990s, the United Nations’ International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, UN Member States adopted the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), a ten-year plan endorsed by the UN General Assembly which aims to reduce the risk of disasters globally. The objectives codified in the HFA are currently being updated in advance of a global conference scheduled for March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, at which Member States will renew their commitment to DRR. One important outcome of the HFA process is awareness that without ability to measure it is not possible to know if disaster risk has been reduced.

In the context of disasters, displacement includes all forced population movements resulting from the immediate threat of, or actual, disaster situation regardless of length of time displaced, distance moved from place of origin and subsequent patterns of movement, including back to place of origin or re-settlement elsewhere. Based upon existing information, and notwithstanding some notable exceptions, the vast majority of people displaced by disasters are assumed to remain within their country of residence, rather than to cross internationally recognised borders to find refuge.

Displacement is a disaster impact that is largely determined by the underlying vulnerability of people to shocks or stresses that compel them to leave their homes and livelihoods just to survive. The number of people displaced is, of course, related to the magnitude and frequency of extreme hazard events. The most significant factors are those that leave exposed and vulnerable communities without the means to be resilient in the face of such hazards.

Informed by this anticipatory way of thinking about disasters, the approach used in this study departs from most existing analyses in two ways.

First, while the efforts of many governments and other actors continue to emphasise post-disaster and post-displacement response and recovery this analysis is based on probabilistic risk modelling. This uses historical information available about past disasters to provide estimates that may inform policy and action to ideally prevent, or at least to prepare for, displacement before a disaster occurs.

Second, while displacement and disasters have traditionally been associated with humanitarian relief and human rights-based protection this study analyses disaster-induced displacement in the language of the disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management communities. In sum, this study attempts to provide entry points for humanitarian and protection actors while presenting information aimed at those responsible for disaster risk reduction and risk management and development.

Regional context

The 11 countries included in this study—ASEAN Member States plus China—account for approximately 28 per cent of the entire global population. Over the last six decades, the population of these 11 countries has grown and become increasingly urban. At least half the population of Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are now estimated to reside in urban areas.
While the region’s population growth rate is slowing, urbanisation will continue apace: by 2050 the majority of the population of every country but Cambodia is expected to reside in urban centres.

South-East Asia’s population growth is mirrored by economic growth which has concentrated people and economic activities in urban areas, often located in hazard-prone areas. Consequently, people and settlements in the region are exposed to multiple hazards, such as cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes and rain- and earthquake-triggered landslides.
Analysing these 11 countries reveals striking contrasts.

Brunei and Singapore are both high-income countries with small territories and populations concentrated in urban areas. Brunei and Singapore have very little displacement risk and a high capacity to manage it.

By contrast, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and the Philippines are lower-income countries with large rural populations. They have much more risk and low capacity to manage it. China itself is a study in contrasts with several large urban areas as well as more than half a billion mostly poor people residing in rural areas.

Key Findings:

In the last six years along, nearly 30 million people have been displaced in the countries included in this study—18 per cent of the global total. Two countries in particular, China and the Philippines, account for a disproportionate share of the world’s disaster-related displacement: more than eight million Chinese and half a million Filipinos are at risk of being displaced every year.

In South-East Asia, the risk of being displaced in relation to disasters is increasing, and it has been growing even faster than the population growth rate. Compared to the past, there are more people living in hazard prone areas than before, often in cities. Meanwhile, governments have not been able to reduce the vulnerability of these people enough to offset this increasing exposure.
Relative to the size of each country’s population, displacement risk is unevenly distributed within the region.

In Singapore, a high income country, the risk of being displaced in a disaster is one in a million. By contrast for every million Laotians and Filipinos that risk is more than 7,000 and 6,000 times higher, respectively. Laotians and Filipinos are also more than ten times more likely to be displaced than Indonesians, who are also exposed to multiple geophysical and weather-related hazards.
Wealth alone does not explain vulnerability. Per capita income in China is two to three times higher than in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s exposed population is ten times more vulnerable to hazards than that of China. Regardless of a country’s wealth, governments can begin reducing vulnerability through smarter urban development and by enforcing building codes.

The majority of disaster spending is still being used to respond to – rather than to prevent – disasters. Spending on disaster response is less cost-effective than investments to reduce disaster risks and disaster relief does not always reach people who are displaced with family or friends rather than in official shelters or evacuation centres.

IDMC has not found evidence of significant cross-border displacement in relation to disasters within this region. The presence of transboundary hazards, such as riverine floods, means there is a risk of cross-border displacement for populations living and working along these borders.
The

China: The risk of disaster-induced displacement in south-east Asia and China

15 October 2014 - 1:33pm
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam preview

Executive Summary

This technical paper provides evidence-based estimates of the likelihood of disaster-induced displacement in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It attempts to better quantify human displacement risk. It brings together data from several sources – notably the Global Assessment Reports (GARs) and the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), national disaster loss inventory databases (DesInventar) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) Global Estimates – in order to better quantify human displacement risk. Applying a probabilistic risk model, it is one of the first attempts to assess how many people are at risk of being displaced by natural hazard-related disasters. It is the first attempt to do so for South-East Asia.

A new way of thinking

The study reflects an awareness of the need to see disasters as primarily social, rather than natural, phenomena. This view acknowledges the fact that humans can act and take decisions to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring or, at the very least, to reduce their impacts and the levels of loss and damage associated with them. Disasters are thus no longer being perceived as ‘natural’ or ‘acts of God’ but instead as something over which humans exert influence and can therefore prevent.

This reconceptualisation of disasters signifies a shift from a retrospective, post-disaster approach to an anticipatory way of thinking about and confronting disasters. This conceptual development was reflected in a public policy objective: disaster risk reduction (DRR). Strengthening DRR became a global priority in the 1990s, the United Nations’ International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, UN Member States adopted the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), a ten-year plan endorsed by the UN General Assembly which aims to reduce the risk of disasters globally. The objectives codified in the HFA are currently being updated in advance of a global conference scheduled for March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, at which Member States will renew their commitment to DRR. One important outcome of the HFA process is awareness that without ability to measure it is not possible to know if disaster risk has been reduced.

In the context of disasters, displacement includes all forced population movements resulting from the immediate threat of, or actual, disaster situation regardless of length of time displaced, distance moved from place of origin and subsequent patterns of movement, including back to place of origin or re-settlement elsewhere. Based upon existing information, and notwithstanding some notable exceptions, the vast majority of people displaced by disasters are assumed to remain within their country of residence, rather than to cross internationally recognised borders to find refuge.

Displacement is a disaster impact that is largely determined by the underlying vulnerability of people to shocks or stresses that compel them to leave their homes and livelihoods just to survive. The number of people displaced is, of course, related to the magnitude and frequency of extreme hazard events. The most significant factors are those that leave exposed and vulnerable communities without the means to be resilient in the face of such hazards.

Informed by this anticipatory way of thinking about disasters, the approach used in this study departs from most existing analyses in two ways.

First, while the efforts of many governments and other actors continue to emphasise post-disaster and post-displacement response and recovery this analysis is based on probabilistic risk modelling. This uses historical information available about past disasters to provide estimates that may inform policy and action to ideally prevent, or at least to prepare for, displacement before a disaster occurs.

Second, while displacement and disasters have traditionally been associated with humanitarian relief and human rights-based protection this study analyses disaster-induced displacement in the language of the disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management communities. In sum, this study attempts to provide entry points for humanitarian and protection actors while presenting information aimed at those responsible for disaster risk reduction and risk management and development.

Regional context

The 11 countries included in this study—ASEAN Member States plus China—account for approximately 28 per cent of the entire global population. Over the last six decades, the population of these 11 countries has grown and become increasingly urban. At least half the population of Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are now estimated to reside in urban areas.
While the region’s population growth rate is slowing, urbanisation will continue apace: by 2050 the majority of the population of every country but Cambodia is expected to reside in urban centres.

South-East Asia’s population growth is mirrored by economic growth which has concentrated people and economic activities in urban areas, often located in hazard-prone areas. Consequently, people and settlements in the region are exposed to multiple hazards, such as cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes and rain- and earthquake-triggered landslides.
Analysing these 11 countries reveals striking contrasts.

Brunei and Singapore are both high-income countries with small territories and populations concentrated in urban areas. Brunei and Singapore have very little displacement risk and a high capacity to manage it.

By contrast, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and the Philippines are lower-income countries with large rural populations. They have much more risk and low capacity to manage it. China itself is a study in contrasts with several large urban areas as well as more than half a billion mostly poor people residing in rural areas.

Key Findings:

In the last six years along, nearly 30 million people have been displaced in the countries included in this study—18 per cent of the global total. Two countries in particular, China and the Philippines, account for a disproportionate share of the world’s disaster-related displacement: more than eight million Chinese and half a million Filipinos are at risk of being displaced every year.

In South-East Asia, the risk of being displaced in relation to disasters is increasing, and it has been growing even faster than the population growth rate. Compared to the past, there are more people living in hazard prone areas than before, often in cities. Meanwhile, governments have not been able to reduce the vulnerability of these people enough to offset this increasing exposure.
Relative to the size of each country’s population, displacement risk is unevenly distributed within the region.

In Singapore, a high income country, the risk of being displaced in a disaster is one in a million. By contrast for every million Laotians and Filipinos that risk is more than 7,000 and 6,000 times higher, respectively. Laotians and Filipinos are also more than ten times more likely to be displaced than Indonesians, who are also exposed to multiple geophysical and weather-related hazards.
Wealth alone does not explain vulnerability. Per capita income in China is two to three times higher than in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s exposed population is ten times more vulnerable to hazards than that of China. Regardless of a country’s wealth, governments can begin reducing vulnerability through smarter urban development and by enforcing building codes.

The majority of disaster spending is still being used to respond to – rather than to prevent – disasters. Spending on disaster response is less cost-effective than investments to reduce disaster risks and disaster relief does not always reach people who are displaced with family or friends rather than in official shelters or evacuation centres.

IDMC has not found evidence of significant cross-border displacement in relation to disasters within this region. The presence of transboundary hazards, such as riverine floods, means there is a risk of cross-border displacement for populations living and working along these borders.
The

Philippines: Bohol Earthquake: One year on

15 October 2014 - 12:55am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Philippines

On this day last year, 15 October 2013, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale shook the Philippines. The epicenter was located in the island province of Bohol in Central Visayas but was felt as far as Southern Mindanao. Less than a month later, Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) swept through central Visayas. Although it did not cause significant damage on the island of Bohol, it had a strong impact on the emergency response. Many government and international humanitarian resources were moved from Bohol to address the health needs caused by Haiyan which in turn delayed the speed of the recovery in Bohol.

The earthquake affected over 1.2 million people, 222 people died (195 in Bohol), 976 were injured and eight people missing. Over 79,000 structures including homes, roads, churches, schools and public buildings were damaged, of which 14,500 were totally destroyed, resulting in over 340,000 displaced people.

The health sector suffered a major blow. The earthquake left at least 25 totally and 111 partially destroyed health facilities. This resulted in major disruptions in the delivery of health services, provision of essential medicines and the destruction of the cold chain system which is essential in the transport and storage of vaccines.

The immediate health priority was to restore services for the affected communities. As co-leads for the health cluster, the Philippine Department of Health and WHO Philippines coordinated the response of international and national organizations who came to the aid of those in need.

Using money provided by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), WHO deployed staff and resources to assess the damage on the health system, and to determine the nature and level of assistance needed. WHO provided equipment, manpower, training, supplies, and medicines, as well as much needed all weather tents to serve as temporary patient consultation areas and birthing centers. Setting up birthing centers was an urgent need as close to 8,000 births were expected throughout the province in the several weeks following the earthquake.

Infrastructure that was not completely destroyed could be repaired by WHO and other partners through minor repairs such as replacing missing doors and windows, or repairing damaged roofs. The temporary health facilities set up by WHO included 25 tents for use as community (“barangay”) health stations, and 14 tents for use as rural health units. These tents had sealed-in walls and flooring, thereby making them weather-proof, especially when protected with a secondary roof covering.

Today, some health facilities continue to be housed in the WHO tents and where health facilities have been repaired or rebuilt, some of the WHO tents continue to be utilized for auxiliary purposes such as for birthing or as meeting rooms.

The work in Bohol continues. A year has passed but the earthquake-stricken province is still recovering. WHO remains in the region working alongside DOH to try and restore health services to those communities most affected, and training local staff to ensure the best possible preparedness in case of future emergencies.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 08–14 October

14 October 2014 - 8:19am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tonga, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen, South Sudan preview

Central African Republic: 5,600 people have fled Bangui after a new wave of violence killed at least eight and injured 56. WASH and health are priority needs among the IDPs. A UN peacekeeper was ambushed and killed on the outskirts of the capital. In Kemo, IDPs have been slow to return as tensions have increased: ex-Seleka attacked Dekoa market on 11 October.

Libya: Violence continues, and over 331,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 100,000 have been displaced since September, bringing the total number of displaced to 290,000. IDPs are living with host families or in public buildings.

Yemen: 80,000 people have been displaced by violence so far in 2014. Two attacks were reported in Hadramaut in the last week. In Sanaa, an Al Qaeda attack on Al Tahrir square killed 47. The violence in the capital has raised critical concerns regarding violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.

Updated: 14/10/2014. Next update: 21/10/2014

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 27 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

14 October 2014 - 6:10am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO

A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 13 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network recorded two (2) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate to voluminous emission of white steam plumes drifting Northeast was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 420 tonnes/day on 12 October 2014. Ground deformation data showed continuous inflation at the base of the edifice from August 2014 to October 2014 precise leveling surveys. The edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements. Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.

Fiji: Asia-Pacific region: El Niño Snapshot - October 2014

14 October 2014 - 3:33am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Australia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), India, Indonesia, Japan, Micronesia (Federated States of), Niue (New Zealand), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Tonga, Vanuatu preview

What is El Niño?

Peruvian fishermen identified El Niño centuries ago when every three to seven years, during the months of December and January, fish in their coastal waters virtually vanished. During normal conditions, surface temperatures are warm in the western Pacific Ocean and trade winds blow towards the west. During El Niño, warm water appears in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean and trade winds weaken, or even reverse. Once sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean rise 0.5°C above their historical average for three months in a row, and when atmospheric conditions shift accordingly, scientists typically declare an El Niño event. During El Niño, the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), a band of low-level convergence, cloudiness and precipitation, moves further away from the Pacific Island countries located west of the dateline. Rainfall patterns tend to follow this warmer water eastwards, reducing the amount of rainfall in the western Pacific and across large parts of South and South East Asia. This also leads to tropical cyclones forming over a more expansive area of ocean which increases their intensity before they reach populated western Pacific Islands and countries in East Asia.

Current conditions and forecast

Despite the tropical Pacific Ocean being primed for an El Niño during much of the first half of 2014, the atmosphere above has largely failed to respond, and hence the ocean and atmosphere have not reinforced each other. As a result, some cooling has now taken place in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, with most of the key NINO regions returning to neutral values. Over July 2014, model forecasts have slightly delayed the El Niño onset. At this time, the consensus of forecasters expect El Niño to emerge during August-October 2014 and to peak at weak strength during the first half of 2015. A strong El Niño is not favored in any of the scenarios, and slightly more models call for a weak event rather than a moderate event. While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific and therefore the establishment of El Niño before the year’s end cannot be ruled out.

Philippines: One year on from the Bohol earthquake: a new home and a new beginning

13 October 2014 - 11:44pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Maryjane Patulilic, IFRC

One year ago, 58-year-old Harold Lumictin, his wife and their six children were made homeless when their house was destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Island of Bohol in the Philippines. In total, 222 people died and more than 670,000 families were affected across the Central Visayas region. The epicentre of the quake was in Bohol where thousands of families have been struggling to recover. For almost a year Harold and his family lived in a makeshift shelter, made from materials salvaged from their old home and a tarpaulin for a roof.

“It was really hard to lose our home not just because I invested all my strength and sweat in building it, but because of the discomfort it has caused for my family,” Lumictin said.

Thousands of families in Bohol faced a similar situation; camped out for months amid the debris of their former homes. Each month Lumictin’s children fell sick having to endure the extreme heat during the day and the cold nights. “Life has never been easy, and it got even harder since the earthquake,” he said. He is chainsaw operator whose family relies solely on the small income he receives from cutting timber.

Recently the family received a new home from the Red Cross who have been supporting the recovery of many families in Bohol. “Our new house offers new hope and a new beginning to my family. This house is far better than our previous one. My family and I will really take good care of this blessing we received through Red Cross. Daghan kaajung salamat! (Thank you very much!)” he said.

The Red Cross prioritizes support to the most vulnerable families. Assessments are carried out prior to the selection of beneficiaries so that help is given to those who are least capable of rebuilding on their own. Over 200 families whose houses were completely destroyed have received new homes, saying goodbye to the discomfort they have experienced after living in tents and makeshift shelters for almost a year.

Houses constructed by the Red Cross has solid base with a timber frame and roof beams and a pre-painted corrugated galvanized iron roof. 1,700 families whose homes were severely damaged were also given cash grants to buy construction materials that would go towards the repair needs of their homes.

Aside from shelter interventions, the Philippine Red Cross has supported the rebuilding of water and sanitation facilities in ten schools. “This support is beneficial to us teachers, and especially to students. We now have access to clean water and toilet facilities which is badly needed given the high number of students we have in our school,” said Esterlito Cantones, school principal of Sto Niño de la Paz Elementary School in Loon.

In Bohol itself, a Philippine Red Cross field hospital is still operating to augment the capacity of local medical facilities. Supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Philippine Red Cross is continuing its recovery operations. But extensive needs remain in shelter and rehabilitation of health and school facilities. Many families still need help considerable help.

“One year on, we should be reminded that a lot still needs to be done in Bohol,” said Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. “But it should also remind us of the spirit of the Philippine Red Cross, whose volunteers and staff – most of whom were affected by the quake – are responding as a single unit to rebuild better in Bohol. On behalf of the Red Cross and the Boholanos, I thank all those who supported us and gave the families here new hope.”