Philippines - ReliefWeb News
Manila, Philippines | | Sunday 3/22/2015 - 08:02 GMT
Some of the 120,000 people displaced by the Philippine army's offensive against Muslim insurgents will soon be allowed to return home now that violence has eased, a spokeswoman said Sunday.
"We will determine which areas will be safe for evacuees to go back, areas already cleared of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)," said the regional military spokeswoman Captain Joan Petinglay.
The military in the troubled southern province of Maguindanao on Mindanao island in February launched an all-out operation against the BIFF, a small insurgent group fighting to set up an Islamic state in the south of the largely Christian Philippines.
It rejects a peace pact signed by the much larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) from which the BIFF split.
The UN refugee agency has warned that more than 120,000 people have fled their homes in the south due to the fighting.
The government has housed many of them in schools, hampering educational activities.
Since the operation began, the BIFF -- which originally numbered about 300 -- has lost an estimated 140 of its fighters although the military has only recovered five of their bodies, Petinglay said.
Six soldiers have also been killed, she added.
There has been no new fighting since Monday, possibly indicating the BIFF has been weakened by its losses, Petinglay said.
Petinglay said the government and private relief organisations had enough supplies for displaced people, but some of them would soon be allowed to return home now that the situation was stabilising.
Islamic separatist insurgencies in the south have claimed tens of thousands of lives since the 1970s.
Although the MILF has signed an initial peace deal, a bungled police raid has left the peace process in jeopardy
A total of 44 police commandos hunting some of the country's most wanted extremists were killed on January 25 when they entered a Maguindanao stronghold of the BIFF and other Muslim armed groups.
The incident has become an embarrassment to President Benigno Aquino, who has been blamed for poor leadership and coordination of the operation.
While recovery efforts are expanding, acute humanitarian needs remain in affected areas
In the Philippines, isolated and disadvantaged communites who survived Typhoon Haiyan are still in need of relief aid. Larger response gaps persist in Western Leyte, which requires more attention than Tacloban and surrounding municipalities. Food distributions are ongoing and remain a priority need. Food prices remain inflated and thousands of people still don’t have the financial means to buy food or have sufficient access to markets. As the emergency phase transitions into early recovery, increasing emphasis is being placed on cash for work and cash transfer programmes. The Philippines Red Cross and the IFRC operation to distribute non-food relief continues to be scaled up as thousands of survivors have lost their household possessions. Hygiene kits, mosquito nets, jerry cans and shelter kits are still distributed on a regular basis (Download Operation Update infographic 13 February 2015).
Aside, disease prevention and ensuring access to clean water, adequate sanitation and medical services are a top priority for the Red Cross. The Philippines Red Cross continues to run first aid posts and Emergency Response Unit from Canada, Norway and Japan offer basic health care in the affected areas focussing on maternity care, the treatment of typhoon-related injuries and chronic conditions e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes etc. According to the Health Cluster, diarrhoea cases have been rising in several areas of Ormoc and Leyte since 30 November. Several samples have tested positive for rotavirus. Humanitarian organisations are concerned that response capacity would be insufficient in case of outbreaks.
Support for self-recovery is fast becoming the priority
Repairing or re-building housing and helping to restore people’s lost livelihoods is a significant part of the Red Cross recovery programme. While emergency shelter materials such as tarpaulins are still needed, support for self-recovery is fast becoming the priority. The vast majority of families have already started rebuilding and repairing their homes, however most of them require help. We provide shelter and tool kits to support that process. The focus is not only on providing materials but also on technical help to ensure homes are built back safer and stronger. The Government has begun constructing bunkhouses for people living in evacuation centres or informal settlements.
The typhoon hit people’s livelihoods hard and agricultural communities were among the worst affected. Farmers, especially those who rely on coconut plantations and rice for their income, saw their crops and trees wiped out. Cash transfer programmes are vital to kick-start these economies again and enable them to buy materials to rebuild their homes and buy seeds for the next planting season, such as rice crop, which is currently happening. Unconditional cash grants supported by IFRC began on 12 December 2015 on Panay Island and Leyte province. The distribution of 50,000 cash grants is planned before the end of the year.
Funding Gap. The IFRC needs more funds to cover both emergency and long term recovery needs.
We urge governments and members of the public to continue supporting the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan appeal directly or through their National Societies. We are grateful to partners and donors for their overwhelming response so far. On 12 November 2013, the IFRC launched a preliminary emergency appeal for 72 million Swiss Francs (USD 78.5 million, 58.4 million Euros) to provide 100,000 families with food, clean water, shelter and other essential relief over a period of 18 months. As of 16 December, the appeal was 78.7% covered, amounting to 54.1 million Swiss Francs. 52.2 million Swiss Francs (75.9%) has been committed in hard pledges while soft pledges amount to 1.9 million Swiss Francs, 2.8%. A revised emergency appeal is being launched this week reflecting the increasing needs of the survivors moving towards recovery funding requirements will increase significantly. More information and contacts
Follow @philredcross for updates on Philippine Red Cross preparedness and response actions. Hashtags for Typhoon Haiyan are #Haiyan and #YolandaPH
COMPOSTELA, The Philippines – The mismatched collection of canvas tents and makeshift houses tucked away in a remote village are still home to a hundred typhoon Bopha survivors, who continue to endure difficult living conditions in what is called the ‘tent city’. It is a place Plutarco Sahulan refuses to call home.
It has now been two years since typhoon Bopha (locally known as Pablo) struck this town, but all Plutarco has been able to build since his family moved is a makeshift house made from scraps and tattered plastic sheets.
The 50-year-old cycle rickshaw driver, Plutarco does not want to spend another summer in the tent city. He worries about the condition of those families still forced to live in tents, designated as emergency shelters which have now turned brittle, sprung leaks and covered in soot.
“It’s like an oven inside the tent. The heat is unbearable and it’s only a matter of time until everyone here catches that poisonous (sic) heat and dies,” said Plutarco.
Not far from the tents and makeshift houses are government-established bunkhouses or transitional shelters that currently house 85 families. Some call them the luckier ones, selected through the odds of lottery.
In a family of five, Plutarco felt disheartened with the selection of beneficiaries of the bunkhouses. He said that they were not properly consulted and that it was not done objectively where the vulnerable displaced families just like him should have been prioritized.
In contrast to the tent’s lack of privacy and security, the bunkhouse occupants enjoy the benefits of having hard wood for their doors and walls. The individual units are connected to electricity which offers much needed light during the dark hours. These transitional shelters are close to what families normally would have in a proper house, but not quite enough. The lack of ventilation indoors has caused heat-related illnesses, with elderly villagers experiencing heat stroke and exhaustion.
In a recent interview with the provincial social welfare officer in charge of rehabilitation, the national government announced that permanent housing units built through the National Housing Authority were now in their completion stage and that the relocation exercises would begin in early March this year.
Days before the authorities announced the construction of permanent houses, families from the tent city and bunkhouses went on a go-and-see visit to the site. Upon arriving at the site however, families were appalled to see that the structures seemed unstable, “we have escaped the typhoon but we may not be able to survive a house that may crumble while we’re asleep,” said Plutarco. As of this reporting, additional structural changes to the permanent houses are being implemented.
However, news that the local authorities of Compostela requiring families of civil documents to officially transfer land titles have dampen the spirits of the IDPs waiting for a house.
Plutarco and his wife had no civil documents even before the typhoon. “It has been two years now and we may never really get the house we were promised with or it may take another year or two. We really don’t know,” said Plutarco.
The need for resilient and decent shelters means more work is needed to attain the desired durable solutions for the estimated 140,000 persons who remain displaced in the provinces of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and some parts of Caraga region. In addition to the construction of permanent shelters, the issues of legal documentation, sustainable livelihood and basic needs need to be addressed before Plutarco can live in safety and dignity.
“A decent home with light, a proper roof and walls would give us peace of mind,” said Plutarco. END
By Keneath John Bolisay in Compostela, Philippines
ZAMBOANGA CITY-- ACF International Executive Director Olivier Longue visited the Philippines on 11-15 March 2015 to raise awareness about the situation of internally displaced persons affected by conflict in Zamboanga, and to help in ACF's continued response to the needs of the highly vulnerable sector who are still living in evacuation centers and transitory sites.
Eighteen months on into recovery and reconstruction efforts after the fighting between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), ACF International, through the generous support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), continuously provides assistance to complement government efforts for the remaining 30,000 people staying in evacuation centers, transitory sites, and those who are being hosted by relatives.
The 20-day siege forcibly displaced an estimated 118,800 people, left at least 140 people dead, destroyed over 10,000 houses, infrastructures, and thousands lost their livelihoods.
Working closely with partners, ACF is maintaining its efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene conditions, access to safe water, livelihoods, nutrition and health care.
Longue met families inside the Joaquin Enriquez Stadium where 6,600 families are still sheltering in tents and makeshift huts made of wood and tarpaulin structures 14 months after the conflict.
ACF has since highlighted the distressing conditions of the displaced families in the evacuation center, emphasizing the need to focus on the wellbeing of the most vulnerable sectors whose needs can be overlooked. "The quality of life is impossible in the evacuation center. What should have been temporary has become critical for families who have been staying at the stadium for 18 months. They cannot stay there because the conditions are not apt for them," Longue said.
Among the highly vulnerable are children under five, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities, the elderly, single female-headed households, persons with chronic illnesses, and those without permanent source of food and income. "These people are mostly fishermen and their families are willing to work, so the next step for them is to move these families to the new facilities constructed by the government of Philippines and the partners like ACF International,” Longue said.
The SMART survey conducted by ACF International in Zamboanga in August 2014 indicated high malnutrition rates among children under five. "Our goal is to combat hunger and undernutrition at all stages, from its most extreme manifestation of severe acute malnutrition to its causes,” Longue said. #
ACF international| Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. ACF responds to help vulnerable populations around the world through programs that empower communities to overcome the barriers standing their way.
In the Philippines, ACF tackles the root causes of hunger, prevents outbreaks of life-threatening acute malnutrition, and helps the most vulnerable communities regain self- sufficiency through integrated programs in Nutrition & Health, Food Security & Livelihoods; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; Disaster Risk Management, Good Governance & Advocacy incorporating crosscutting issues, such as gender, environment, climate change adaptation, environment and cultural sensitivity.
Our programs save lives and provide communities with long-term solutions to hunger and its underlying causes. We work in more than 45 countries and reach approximately 7 million people annually.
To arrange for interview, please contact:
Rosa May de Guzman Maitem
ACF International - Philippine Mission
Tel/Fax: +63-(64) 421-6526
Cellular: + 63-999-673-9099
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released, as of March 19, a total of P24,577,690 worth of food packs, and other food and non-food items to assist families affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Surigao Del Sur.
Maguindanao was provided with P20,103,800 worth of assistance while North Cotabato received P4,421,600. Surigao del Sur was given P52,290 worth of food packs and other food and non-food items.
The DSWD released the relief supplies either through the DSWD-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or through concerned local government units (LGUs) as well as through the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH)-Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
The Department also continues to closely monitor the situation of families in the 13 towns of Maguindanao, the town of Pikit in North Cotabato where there is an on-going clash between the government and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and in Bitaugan, Surigao Del Sur where a clash between the Philippine Army and the New People’s Army (NPA) occurred. A total of 26,959 families or 131,775 persons have been affected by the continuing armed conflict in these towns.
Some 19, 918 families or 99, 590 persons are staying in the 75 evacuation centers set-up in Mamasapano, Pagalungan, Datu Salibo, Shariff Saydona, Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Raja Buayan, Datu Hoffer, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Guindulungan, Talayan, Talitay, Datu Anggal Maguindanao, and Pikit, North Cotabato.
However, there is no evacuation center set-up in Bitaugan, Surigao Del Sur.
The breakdown of affected families per municipality is:
Mamasapano with 5,723 families composed of 28, 615 persons;
Pagalungan with 1,820 families composed of 9, 100 persons;
Datu Salibo with 3, 365 families composed of 16, 825 persons;
Shariff Saydona with 2, 670 families composed of 13, 350 persons;
Datu Unsay with 966 families or 4,830 persons;
Shariff Aguak with 3, 213 families or 16,065 persons;
Raja Buayan with 555 families or 2,775 persons;
Datu Hoffer with 128 families or 640 persons;
Datu Saudi Ampatuan 2, 284 families or 11, 420 persons;
Guindulungan with 999 families or 4,995 persons;
Talayan with 956 families or 4, 780 persons;
Talitay with 712 families or 3,560 persons;
Datu Anggal Maguindanao with 243 families or 1,215 persons;
Pikit with 3,200 families or 16,000 persons; and
Bitaugan with 125 families or 625 persons.
The DSWD- Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) has recorded 45 totally damaged houses in Pagalungan and Pikit due to the armed conflict.
To ensure accurate, reliable and timely disaster response and reporting on the ongoing armed conflict in Mindanao, DSWD will provide staff augmentation to Field Offices in Region XII and CARAGA and will activate the regional twinning for operations and reporting functions. ###
MANILA, Philippines, March 20 (UNHCR) – Fighting between government forces and armed groups in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao has forced more than 120,000 people to flee their homes since late January, when the conflict flared.
The UN refugee agency said it was worried about the safety of displaced civilians as the conflict spreads into local villages. It expected the number of displaced to increase as the fighting reaches local communities hosting the displaced.
UNHCR and its partners estimate that 13 municipalities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato have been affected in eight weeks of clashes between the state security forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. The internally displaced are sheltering in schools and public buildings. There are also unknown numbers staying with friends or relatives.
Due to the volatile security situation UNHCR cannot access many of the affected areas and relies on information provided by local authorities, civil society organizations and partners.
UNHCR and other UN agencies in Mindanao are working closely with the local authorities to monitor the conditions of displaced people inside and outside evacuation centres. "We have provided some blankets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and plastic sheets, but more aid is needed urgently," said spokesman Babar Baloch in Geneva.
The refugee agency is particularly concerned about the safety of civilians, including women and children who are caught up in the conflict areas and could be exposed to exploitation and abuse, given their lack of income and community protection. The limited provision of food, medicine, water and temporary shelter could exacerbate the dangers.
UNHCR called on all parties to ensure the safety of civilians while the law and order operation is under way.
This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva. Further information can be found on the UNHCR websites, www.unhcr.org and www.unhcr.fr, which should also be checked for regular media updates on non-briefing days.
In central Mindanao, more than 120,000 people have been displaced since fighting broke out between government troops and armed groups in late January. UNHCR is concerned about the safety of civilians as the conflict spreads into local villages.
UNHCR and its partners estimate that 13 municipalities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato have been affected in eight weeks of clashes between the military and police on one side, and the non-state armed group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, on the other. The displaced people are currently sheltering in schools, public buildings and madrasas.
The 120,000 estimate does not include people hosted by relatives and friends, and the numbers are expected to grow as the fighting extends to the local communities that are already hosting many of the displaced.
Due to the volatile security situation, UNHCR cannot access many of the affected areas and relies on information provided by local authorities, civil society organizations and partners.
UNHCR and other UN agencies in Mindanao are working closely with the local authorities to monitor the conditions of displaced people inside and outside the shelters. We have provided some blankets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and plastic sheets, but more aid is needed urgently.
UNHCR is particularly concerned about the safety of civilians, including women and children who are caught up in the conflict areas. It is unclear how long or widely the ongoing law and order operation will extend and this is hindering the safe and dignified return of the displaced people.
Women and children could potentially be exposed to exploitation and abuse, given their lack of income and community protection. The limited provision of food, medicine, water and temporary shelter could exacerbate these vulnerabilities.
UNHCR appeals to all parties of the conflict to ensure the safety of civilians while the law and order operation is underway.
For more information, please contact:
In Mindanao: Kent Bolisay, +63 915 592 1568 In Manila: Regina Maramag, +63 917 597 9667 In Bangkok (regional office): Vivian Tan, +66 818 270 280 In Geneva: Babar Baloch, +41 79 557 9106
MANILA, March 19 -- The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released an initial P400 million to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for their Mangrove and Beach Forest Development Project (MBFDP) under the National Greening Program.
The amount, representing 40 percent of the total P1.0-billion funding requirement of the project as recommended by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRMMC), will be charged against the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (RRP) under the FY 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Under this project, the National Government—with the participation of concerned stakeholders from both local government units (LGUs) and the private sector/non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—will develop mangroves and beach forests in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda and other disasters that hit several regions in the country.
Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “All of our rehabilitation efforts will need to be grounded on ensuring the safety of communities against natural disasters in the future. That’s why comprehensive preparation and prevention are key elements in our policy of Build Back Better, which includes the replanting of mangrove and beach forests on our coastlines.”
Among the priority sites of the project are: areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda; areas affected by siege and unrest (Zamboanga); areas damaged by earthquakes (Cebu and Bohol); and other areas damaged by Typhoon Pablo (Region 11 and 13). The estimated land area of 27,400 hectares covered by the project can be broken down to 22,000 hectares of mangrove forests and 5,400 hectares of beach forests.
The project will include the following activities: site preparation, nursery development, mangrove and beach forest planting, and maintenance and protection. The P400-million fund will cover the initial requirements to undertake critical activities:
PROGRAM/PROJECT/ACTIVITY INITIAL RELEASE
Site validation and assessment P12,330,000
Baseline/benchmark data collection on validated sites (research component) P20,550,000
Site preparation (removal of debris, garbage, etc.) P54,800,000
Nursery establishment and operation by concerned barangay/community to produce the required number of planting materials P8,550,000
Wildings and propagules collection/ production P240,070,400
Plantation establishment P27,400,000
Community capacity building P174,000
Project monitoring and supervision P36,125,600
For subsequent releases of the fund, the DENR has to submit requirements—including identified sites for target planting activities and actual seedling/planting activities (with geo-tagged photos)—to the DBM.
Abad said, “Our country’s natural resources not only shower us with abundant riches but also provide us with a natural defense against typhoons and storms. That’s why proper management of resources is part of the Administration’s strategy in climate change mitigation to safeguard our countrymen against future calamities.”
Under the FY 2015 GAA, the National Government allotted a budget of P21.7 billion to implement their Build Back Better strategy that integrates a preventive approach with efforts that focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM) and Disaster Risk Reduction Management actions and interventions.(dbm.gov.ph)
MANILA, March 19 -- The Philippine Delegation to the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) welcomes the pledge of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of US$4 billion to support implementation of the “Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction” over the next four years in enhancing disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts of countries.
Philippine Social and Welfare Development Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 3WCDRR, thanked Prime Minister Abe for the fund commitment, which will provide opportunities to further enhance Philippine-Japan cooperation on disaster risk reduction, mitigation and management.
The Japanese Prime Minister announced the $4 billion pledge in his speech at the opening of the 3WCDRR held at the Sendai Conference Center, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. His Majesty Emperor Akihito and H.M. Empress Michiko graced the opening ceremony to highlight the importance given by Japan to the UN conference and the global effort at DRR.
In announcing the Sendai fund commitment, Prime Minister Abe said, “Disaster risk reduction is the most important challenge for both developed and developing countries. For developing countries in particular, where 90% of disaster victims are concentrated.”
The Sendai fund will focus on the development of disaster-proof infrastructure, the promotion of global and regional cooperation and the training of 40,000 government officials and local leaders to take the lead in national efforts for disaster risk reduction. Japan will make its expertise and knowledge available, the Prime Minister said.
Japan hosted the 3WCDRR in Sendai to share its best practices in DRR following the magnitude 9 Great East Japan or the Tohoku earthquake on 03 March 2011 that triggered a devastating tidal wave and resulted in the loss of some 16,000 people and billions of dollars in damage to public, private and residential infrastructure. The Tohoku earthquake and the shutdown of the Fukushima nuclear power station posed a serious DRR challenge to the Japanese government.
Today, Sendai has achieved great progress in its DRR and management efforts, ensuring the protection of the residents and continuity of economic and social activities in the region, an experience Japan wishes to share at the 3WCDRR.
High-level representatives of 186 governments including the Philippines are attending this conference that aims to adopt a new post-2015 framework for DRR on March 18 in place of the current Hyogo Framework for Action adopted 10 years ago at the last World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Kobe, Japan.
Secretary Soliman congratulated Japan for hosting the conference in Sendai and Prime Minister Abe for the primary focus given by his government to the 3WCDRR. The Prime Minister delivered two key note addresses at the conference on March 14, first at the High Level Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Dialogue Mobilizing Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction and second at the opening ceremony of the 3WCDRR.
Secretary Soliman and Senator Loren Legarda, Alternate Head of the Philippine Delegation, led the delegation of legislators, secretaries, undersecretaries and other high-level Philippine officials during the opening ceremony and at the Dialogue on Women Leadership in DRR.
Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, who is a member of the Philippine Delegation, welcomed the DRR fund commitment of Prime Minister Abe which, he added, will be an opportunity to further improve the disaster preparedness and risk reduction management programs of the Philippines. Congressman Rodriguez recommended to Secretary Soliman that the Philippines start the efforts to access part of the Japan fund for DRR.
In a meeting with the members of the Philippine Delegation following the opening ceremony, Secretary Soliman responded to the recommendation of Congressman Rodriguez and began the task of accessing part of the US$4 billion Japan fund for the DRR programs of the Philippines. She suggested to the representatives of the concerned government agencies such as the DOST, DepED, DSWD and NDRRMC to start preparing their concept project proposals and engaging their counterparts in the Japan International Cooperation Agency for assistance in DRR training, technology development, infrastructure especially in the construction of disaster-resilient school buildings, empowerment of women in DRR and capacity-building for all personnel engaged in disaster relief, mitigation and management.
Secretary Soliman also encouraged the representatives of civil societies present at the delegation meeting to start preparing concept papers or project proposal for capacity building and programs for the empowerment of women and leadership role of women in DRR efforts. (DFA)
Philippines: Inside Story: Building resilience to climate change locally – The case of Valenzuela City, Metro Manila
Valenzuela City is one of the 16 cities that make up ‘Metro Manila’, or the National Capital Region. Of the 144 cities in the Philippines, Valenzuela City is the 13th most populous, with approximately 570,000 inhabitants. Located 14 km north of Manila, it is a highly urbanised and affluent industrial and residential suburb situated in a low-lying area and bordered by three interconnecting rivers: the Tullahan, the Polo and the Meycauayan. The confluence of these rivers makes Valenzuela vulnerable to flooding during high tides and also to flash floods, which occur regularly during the rainy season.
During periods of heavy rainfall and high tides, stagnant water from floods can sometimes stay in the area for up to 4 weeks due to insufficient drainage, improper solid waste disposal and simply too much water. People are often stranded inside their homes with limited food and water supply, and are exposed to water-borne diseases such as dengue and leptospirosis, as well as coughs and colds. Businesses and entrepeneurs, such as street vendors, furniture makers, small-scale autorepair shops and fish-food processors must watch as the means of their livelihoods are submerged under water. Office workers can also suffer from a lack of income if they are unable to go to work due to flooding.
Because of the impacts of frequent flooding, Valenzuela City was chosen in 2011 as one of five project areas under the Philippines component of the Partners for Resilience (PfR) programme. PfR is a collaboration of five Netherlands-based organisations, along with 30 civil society partners in the global South. By integrating climate change adaptation and ecosystem management and restoration into disaster risk reduction, the programme aims to build resilient communities.
- Partnerships and networking play key roles in building resilience by helping to sustain programmes and facilitate learning exchanges among stakeholders, thus providing room for improvement and innovation.
- Climate- and ecosystem-smart disaster risk reduction approaches are feasible at the city level, but integrating them into development plans requires time and resources, as well as solid commitment from local chief executives and community members.
- Existing institutional mechanisms such as national laws and local ordinances can help push the resilience agenda forward.
- Integrating climate science and information along different timescales in different disaster risk reduction approaches is an effective entry point to urban resilience.
- However, local governments should not look at the concepts of climate change adaptation, ecosystem management and restoration, and disaster risk reduction in isolation but consider them systematically and plan holistic interventions.
In the Northern Marianas, tropical Storm Bavi, which passed near by the Commonwealth this week, has wreaked havoc on the island's crops.
Read more on Radio New Zealand International.
MANILA, March 18 -- The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P8 billion to the National Housing Authority (NHA), as part of the National Government’s continuing rehabilitation and recovery of areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda last November 2013.
The amount is part of the P19 billion approved by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) as funding requirement for resettlement projects in Yolanda-affected areas. The P8-billion fund will be charged against the 2014 Supplemental Appropriations for the construction of permanent housing for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
“The 2014 Supplemental Budget fortunately enabled us to fast-track the implementation of the Yolanda rehabilitation plan instead of having to wait for the next fiscal year. What’s more, with the help of Congress, we had the budgetary space to address high-priority needs that couldn’t wait for the turnover to the next national budget, ”Secretary of Budget Florencio “Butch” Abad said,
The NHA’s Yolanda Permanent Housing Program was created to address the housing needs of 205,128 families in Regions IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII, and Caraga as approved by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR). Prior to this release, the DBM had released P11 billion last October 2014 charged against the NDRRM Fund under the FY 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The following is the breakdown of the provinces to be provided with housing assistance:
PARTICULARS AMOUNT Region VI P4,063,988,000 Aklan P89,335,000 Antique P629,735,000 Capiz P768,570,000 Iloilo P1,224,614,000 Negros Occidental P1,351,734,000 Region VIII P3,935,990,000 Biliran P477,720,000 Eastern Samar P359,974,000 Samar P971,256,000 Leyte P1,342,654,000 Ormoc City P122,725,000 Tacloban City P661,661,000 TOTAL P7,999,978,000
Abad said, “Creating the budgetary support for the NHA’s permanent housing program for Typhoon Yolanda victims is just part of the National Government’s thrust to ‘Build Back Better’. By incorporating prevention and preparedness in our rehabilitation efforts, we’ll be able to safeguard settlements throughout the country against future tragedies.”
Though the DBM has released the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO), the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) will only be released upon the submission of the NHA’s report of its utilization of available cash as per National Budget Circular No. 556.(dbm.gov.ph)
Snapshot 11–17 March 2015
Vanuatu: 24 people are confirmed dead so far after Tropical Cyclone Pam hit on 13 March. Shefa, Tafea, Malampa, and Penama are among the worst affected provinces. Access challenges are significant.
Cameroon: The number of people internally displaced in the north has almost doubled since 10 February, to 117,000. This brings the number of displaced in Cameroon to an estimated 412,700, including 66,000 fleeing Boko Haram violence in Nigeria and the rest from the Central African Republic.
Updated: 17/03/2015. Next update: 24/03/2015
Philippines: IOM Joins Philippine Government and ECHO on Rapid Needs Assessment on the Displaced Persons in Mindanao
Philippines - On-going operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the tensions between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the BIFF that started in February, have resulted in widespread civilian displacement IOM’s team in Mindanao reports today.
Latest reporting from government sources as of today (17 March 2015) indicate that 123,537 individuals or 24,714 families are displaced.
On March 7, the joint forces of the Philippine Army, Marines and the Philippine National Police began an operation against the BIFF in village of Datu Unsay Maguindanao. The encounter has affected nearly 100,000 people from 13 municipalities and as a result Governor Ismael Mangudadatu has declared a state of calamity in the province of Maguindanao.
As of March 12, the Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has reported that 94,950 individuals or 19,229 families are displaced. Families are now living in evacuation centres, schools, madrasahs (Islamic educational centers), covered courts, tents and with host relatives and friends. Some 2,288 pregnant women in evacuation centres need medical support, while classes in 42 public elementary and high schools with 18,819 students and 283 teachers are affected.
Displaced families are constantly exposed to various hazards and risks. A number of them have installed tents under trees, along the roads and nearby military sites with artillery installations.
Besim Ajeti, IOM Head of the IOM Cotabato Office noted that most evacuations sites are not well organized.
“There is a need to disaggregate age, sex, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups, to address immediate needs and gaps per sector or group. Referral pathways are yet to be established throughout evacuation sites to prevent and address protection issues, such as gender-based violence (GBV), trafficking in persons and child protection,” Ajeti said.
In addition, he explained, there is a difficulty in tracking Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to complex and often quick and multiple movements of families, who transfer from one evacuation site to another.
The ARMM government ARMM-HEART and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-ARMM have started to distribute food packs and a few plastic sheets (tarpaulins) to IDPs. However, considering the limited funds available to ARMM-HEART and DSWD-ARMM, food supplies from government agencies may run out in less than 20 days, Ajeti warned.
Currently, ARMM is spending approximately PHP 13 million (USD 290,000) per week to support IDPs, mainly on food assistance.
The Rapid Assessment Report of ARMM as well as the latest assessments conducted by IOM together with the ECHO Delegation identified the following key needs: Food, non-food items (NFIs), emergency shelter support, WASH, latrines, tarpaulins, hygiene kits, kitchen utensils, mosquito nets, jerry cans, clothing and safe water (drinking, cooking and general use). In addition, evacuation centre support, displacement tracking, medical personnel and supplies, psychosocial support as well as mechanisms for addressing protection and GBV concerns were recognized as key priorities to continue assisting the affected populations in Maguindanao.
Marco Boasso, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission affirms IOM’s humanitarian commitment to the Philippines. “We look forward to working with the Philippine government in reaching these affected families. Our paramount concern now is providing their essential needs such as NFIs, ensuring their welfare and protection and supporting the government in terms of evacuation site management.”
IOM shall continue monitoring the developments, together with other partners and DSWD-ARMM while continuing seeking support from potential donors in order to address the needs of IDPs.
For further information please contact Marco Boasso, IOM Philippines, Tel: +632 230 1777, Email: email@example.com. Or Besim Ajeti, IOM Cotabato, Tel: +63 917 636 1359, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jonathan Fowler
SENDAI, 17 March 2015 – Climate change is a clear and present danger, forcing countries to evolve their policies constantly to keep up, participants at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction said today.
“It’s clear that climate change is going to have dramatic consequences for disaster risk reduction, particularly for poorer countries,” said Mr. Phil Evans, Government Services Director at the United Kingdom’s Met Office.
The scale of the challenge makes it all the more important to seize the unique opportunity of 2015, given that this year sees three interlocking events: the World Conference, then a summit of global leaders on the Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September and finally, in Paris in December, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
All three events are part of international efforts to chart out future policy to cope with the changing climate and rein in impacts such as increasingly frequent and extreme super-storms or droughts.
“In the context of disaster risk reduction and climate change, 2015 is a remarkable opportunity to address these issues,” said Evans.
Bangladesh, one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, has won wide praise for its disaster risk reduction policies. The cyclones and floods of the past claimed tens of thousands of lives in the low-lying South Asian nation, but community-based early warning and evacuation plans have helped pull the toll down into the hundreds.
The Bangladeshi government is doing even more to meet the challenge head on, said Mr. Shahid Ulla Mia, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
“Momentum on management of disaster and climate risk across all levels is on the rise in Bangladesh,” he said.
“These have translated into high political commitment, growing public investments, advancement of risk-informed development, formulation of policy, institutional and legislative for disaster risk management, innovation, use of technological solutions, and finally, promotion of the ‘whole of government’ and ‘whole of society’ approach for managing risk.
“Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation have moved from the periphery to the centre of development planning. The agenda of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation is the top of the political agenda in Bangladesh.”
The picture is similar in the Philippines, which is regularly battered by typhoons.
“Investing in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction is critical to maintain development gains,” said the Philippines’ Climate Change Commissioner Lucille Sering, underscoring that the need to tackle the issue had spurred a common approach by all branches of the country’s government.
Migration has been and always will be a fact of life; we have to ensure that it is also a safe process that does not negatively impact the health of migrants and host communities. Population mobility influences, guides and supports economic and social development, social stability, and the greater integration of global processes in countries of origin, transit, destination and return. The healthier migrants are, the more efficient and balanced the future of our integrated and globalized world will be.
Whereas migrant health is getting increasing global attention, the key challenge in the past year has been to raise this topic in relevant platforms to find it a place in the post-2015 development framework.
We believe that this is needed for three key reasons – firstly, migrants have a right to health; secondly, including migrants in the health system can improve public health outcomes; and thirdly, healthy migrants can contribute to positive development outcomes. IOM will continue to work closely with its Member States, migrant beneficiaries, the United Nations, civil society and other stakeholders to ensure multisectoral collaboration for promoting the health of migrants.
With this report, the Migration Health Division (MHD) is pleased to present a review of selected IOM health projects and activities in 2013. This was a busy year again for the MHD, as evidenced by this report. Total expenditure of the MHD in 2013 amounted to USD 96.4 million, with projects across our three main areas, namely, migration health assessments, health promotion and health assistance in crises. Sincere gratitude and admiration go to all staff, colleagues, partners and Member States who promote migration health – a rapidly growing area of IOM work.
This annual report includes an editorial on why and how the health of migrants should be included in the post-2015 tuberculosis (TB) strategy. It is encouraging to note that the World Health Assembly Resolution on the new TB strategy emphasizes the importance of working on cross-border issues and promotes collaboration between high- and low-TB incidence countries. In the coming years, IOM and its partners will have to work together to ensure operationalization of proposed TB strategies for migrant communities.
Director, Migration Health Division
Department of Migration Management
Source: Reuters - Mon, 16 Mar 2015 04:00 GMT
By Manuel Mogato
MANILA, March 16 (Reuters) - Philippine security forces have arrested the leader of a small but violent Muslim rebel faction, an army spokesman said on Monday.
Read the full article on Reuters - AlertNet.
Some 3,086 families in Compostela Valley left homeless by Typhoon Pablo recently received their permanent shelters from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the provincial government through the Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP).
Under the MSAP, the construction of the shelter units was funded by DSWD, while the provincial government took charge of the site development, land preparation, and engineering requirements.
DSWD Undersecretary Angelita Y. Gregorio-Medel, representing Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, led the turnover ceremony with Compostela Valley Governor Arturo T. Uy, Vice Governor Manuel Zamora, and First District Representative Ma. Carmen Zamora.
The turnover ceremony was one of the highlights of the 17th Founding Anniversary of the provincial government and the 8th Bulawan Festival.
Happy with their new homes
A farmer and father of 11, Nicanor Y. Magnaong Jr of Purok 1, Barangay Pasian, Monkayo is overjoyed with his new home.
“Nalipay mi nga nakadawat og balay. Hayahay na among pamati. Salamat sa Ginoo ug sa nagdumala. Dili na mi matuloan. Sa una naghigda lang mi sa trapal. Ang among gipuy-an tent (We are happy to receive the shelter. We feel better. Thank God and thanks to the implementers. We won’t be soaked anymore when it rains. We used to sleep on tarpaulins as our previous shelter was a tent),” Nicanor said.
Walter G. Beniga, 49, also of Barangay Pasian shared, “Pasalamat mi kay dili na barong-barong among balay. Lipay pud ang mga bata ug mga silingan kay duna nay kapuy-an (We are thankful because our house is not a makeshift anymore. My children are also delighted as well as my neighbors).”
Governor Uy assured the beneficiaries that the permanent shelters are of good quality. He assured that all ‘Pablo’ survivors who lost their homes will be provided with permanent homes.
Usec. Medel cited the unity and cooperation of the people in bringing Compostela Valley back to the road of progress and development.
“ComVal is shining now because you have collaborated and cooperated in its development,” Usec. Medel said.
She added that the real treasure of the province is the people’s pakikipagkapwa (relating with people), paglilingkod (service), at pagmamahal sa isa’t isa (and love for one another).
“Saludo ako sa nagawa at naabot ninyo (I salute every one of you for what you have achieved).”
The MSAP in ComVal is part of the P2.6 billion shelter assistance program for the hardest-hit towns of Boston, Baganga, Cateel, Caraga, Tarragona and Manay in Davao Oriental; Montevista, Compostela, Monkayo, New Bataan, Laak, Nabunturan, Pantukan, Mabini, Maco, Mawab, and Maragusan in Compostela Valley; and New Corella and Tagum City in Davao Del Norte.
To date, 4,714 permanent shelters had been completed in ComVal, 14,619 in Davao Oriental, and 33 in Davao Del Norte.
Apart from DSWD, the National Housing Authority (NHA) and private companies are also building permanent homes for ‘Pablo’ survivors in the worst-hit areas.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman met with World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin over the weekend to explore ways to further enhance the partnership of the Philippines and the WFP in disaster preparedness and support for communities in Central Mindanao. WFP Philippines Country Director Praveen Agrawal was also in the meeting.
The meeting was held in connection with the ongoing 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) at the Sendai Conference Center, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Sec. Soliman is the head of the Philippine Delegation to the conference and she also co-chairs the Working Session on Preparedness for Effective Response with Executive Director Cousin.
During the meeting, Sec. Soliman acknowledged the support of WFP to DSWD programs in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao and its immediate and ready assistance during Typhoons ‘Yolanda’ and ‘Hagupit.’
In the aftermath of these major Philippine disasters, WFP provided food and logistics support to some 2.9 million individuals. In the early phase of emergency, WFP distributed High Energy Biscuits (HEB) that helped sustain the nutritional needs of 95,000 children in typhoon-hit areas. On top of the HEBs, WFP also distributed some 20,000 metric tons of other food items.
WFP also provided emergency cash assistance of Php 1,300 or US$30 per family per month to some 101,038 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Regions VI and VIII. From November 2013 to October 2014, WFP has provided Php 262,438,800 or approximately US$6 million worth of cash assistance to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.
For WFP’s support to conflict-affected areas in Central Mindanao, Sec. Soliman cited school feedings where WFP provided hot, nutritious meals to some 100,000 children in 350 public schools; nutrition support through the provision of micronutrient-fortified, ready-to-use food to bridge essential nutrient gaps among the most vulnerable children and women; livelihood support through Food and Cash-for-Assets Programme and Food/Cash-for Work where the most vulnerable populations are given food or cash in exchange for work on vital new infrastructure, or for time spent on learning new skills that will increase the food security of households or communities; and capacity building to enhance the capabilities of communities and government agencies on disaster preparedness and response.
Sec. Soliman said that WFP’s continuing support will boost national and local efforts to effectively and efficiently respond to the impact of disasters especially since the Philippines is affected by 20 typhoons a year and is exposed to earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and drought, among others.
The Secretary thanked WFP for recognizing the strong leadership of the Philippine government in disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
World: The impact of natural hazards and disasters on agriculture and food and nutrition security: a call for action to build resilient livelihoods
Agriculture bears major brunt of disaster impacts, new report says
FAO launches facility aimed at channeling technical expertise, financial resources towards resilience building
17 March 2015, Sendai, Japan - Nearly a quarter of damages wrought by natural disasters on the developing world are borne by the agricultural sector according to initial results from a new FAO study released here today at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Organization also announced the launch of a special facility aimed at helping countries better equip their food production sectors to reduce risk exposure, limit impacts, and be better prepared to cope with disasters.
Twenty-two percent of all damages inflicted by natural hazards such as drought, floods storms or tsunamis are registered within the agriculture sector, FAO's analysis of 78 post-disaster needs assessments in 48 developing countries spanning the 2003-2013 period shows.
These damages and losses are often incurred by poor rural and semi-rural communities without insurance and lacking the financial resources needed to regain lost livelihoods. Yet only 4.5 percent of post-disaster humanitarian aid in the 2003-2013 period targeted agriculture.
FAO's 22 percent figure represents only damages reported via post-disaster risk assessments, so while indicative of scale, the actual impact is likely even higher. To arrive at a closer estimate of the true financial cost of disasters to developing world agriculture FAO compared decreases in yields during and after disasters with yield trends in 67 countries affected by (at least one) medium- to larger-scale events between 2003 and 2013.
The final tally: $70 billion in damages to crops and livestock over that 10 year period.
Asia was the most affected region, with estimated losses adding up to $28 billion, followed by Africa at $26 billion.
"Agriculture and all that it encompasses is not only critical for our food supply, it also remains a main source of livelihoods across the planet. While it is a sector at risk, agriculture also can be the foundation upon which we build societies that are more resilient and better equipped to deal with disasters," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
"This is why building resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises is one of FAO's top priorities," he added.
New facility for disaster risk reduction in agriculture
To help countries better prepare for and respond to disasters affecting agriculture, FAO today launched a new facility aimed at channeling technical support to where it is most needed. The facility will work to mainstream disaster risk reduction in agriculture at all levels through diverse activities.
"With this new effort, we are aiming to limit peoples' exposure to risks, avoid or reduce impacts where possible, and enhance preparedness to respond quickly when disasters occur," said Graziano da Silva.
Studies have shown that for every one dollar spent on disaster risk reduction, as much as four dollars are returned in terms of avoided or diminished impacts, he noted.
The work of the new facility will be guided by FAO's Framework Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction for Food and Nutrition Security.
Agriculture remains a key sector
Worldwide, the livelihoods of 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture. These small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities generate more than half of global agricultural production and are particularly at risk from disasters that destroy or damage harvests, equipment, supplies, livestock, seeds, crops and stored food.
Beyond the obvious consequences on peoples' food security, the economies and development trajectories of entire regions and nations can be altered when disasters hit agriculture. The sector accounts for as much as 30 percent of national GDP in countries like Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, the Niger, among others.
There are also spill-over losses in agriculture-dependent subsectors, and significant consequences for trade flows. Countries surveyed experienced an increase in agriculture imports to the tune of $18.9 billion and a decrease in agriculture exports of $14.9 billion following natural disasters, between 2003 and 2013.
From FAO's analysis of damages reported via needs assessments
- Based only on reported damages in 78 post-disaster risk assessments in 48 countries, total damages of $140 billion reported (2003-2013) for all economic sectors - $30 billion were to agriculture (crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries).
- When droughts occur, agriculture absorbs up to 84 percent of all economic impacts.
- Within the agricultural sector, 42 percent of assessed losses were to crops ($13 billion) - with floods the main culprit responsible for 60 percent of crop damages followed by storms (23 percent of crop damages).
- Livestock is the second most affected subsector after crops, accounting for 36 percent of all damage and losses, for a total of $11 billion during the 2003-2013 period.
- Out of the 78 disasters assessed, 45 involved impacts to the fisheries subsector ($1.7 billion, or 6 percent all damages born by the agricultural sector). The lion's share - 70 percent - was caused by tsunamis, typically infrequent events. Storms such as hurricanes and typhoons account for roughly 16 percent of the economic impact on fisheries, followed by floods (10 percent).
- The forestry sector incurred $737 million in damages and losses, representing 2.4 percent of the total for the agricultural sector.
From FAO's expanded analysis
- FAO also compared decreases in yields during and after disasters with yield trends in 67 different countries affected by at least one medium- to larger-scale event between 2003 and 2013, in an expanded analysis.
- Based on this expanded analysis, losses and damages to crops and livestock over that period are estimated to total $70 billion. Data gaps mean the total is likely higher still.
- 82% of production losses were caused by drought (44 percent) and floods (39 percent).
- Asia was the most affected region, with estimated losses adding up to $28 billion, followed by Africa at $26 billion.
- In Africa, between 2003 and 2013 there were 61 drought years in Sub-Saharan Africa affecting 27 countries and 150 million people. FAO estimates that 77 percent of all agricultural production losses suffered worldwide due to drought occurred in those 27 Sub-Saharan countries, with losses adding up to $23.5 billion.
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