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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.”

Philippines: WHO regional meeting opens in Manila to tackle health issues

13 October 2014 - 4:27pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: Philippines

MANILA, 13 OCTOBER 2014 - The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, opened its sixty-fifth session today in Manila to review WHO's work over the past year and to discuss major health issues. The Regional Committee will also decide on measures the Organization will take to address the health and well-being of the Region's 1.8 billion people.

The items to be discussed include the following:

  • the importance of mental health and the heavy burden of mental disorders;
  • tobacco control, specifically ways to increase institutional capacity, effective policies and governance, and multisectoral actions and partnerships;
  • antimicrobial resistance and the need for a strong action plan to combat this emerging threat in the Region;
  • strengthening immunization programmes to build on achievements and improve access to vaccinations;
  • preventing and mitigating risks associated with disasters through the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery; and
  • progress reports on International Health Regulations (2005), food safety, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, noncommunicable diseases, environmental health, violence and injury prevention, nutrition, universal health coverage and the Millennium Development Goals.

In his opening address to the Regional Committee, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo expressed gratitude to the Philippines, which has served as the home of the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific since 1951. "We doubly appreciate your hospitality in hosting this year's session of the Regional Committee," said Dr Shin.

Dr Shin underscored the importance of adapting to better serve Member States. "At the start of my second term, I looked at ways to work harder and smarter. We must be willing to constantly reinvent ourselves to fulfil our mission of service to Member States as their health needs change." Dr Shin added, "…We must find new and innovative ways to improve on our performance. We must focus not only on what Member States need now — but also anticipate their future public health needs."

Dr Shin reminded Member States that the Western Pacific Region has long been a hotspot for many emerging diseases, and how managing SARS, the first major disease outbreak of the 21st century, has made them stronger so that they are better prepared than ever for Ebola virus disease. Results from a recent survey of the Region’s members showed good preparedness to detect and respond to Ebola, and a regional emergency operations centre is on high alert.

“The risk for transmission here is low, but the consequences are high so we must be prepared,” he concluded. “The Ebola crisis drives home a simple truth — investing in health security during so-called normal times is absolutely vital.”

In his speech, President Benigno S. Aquino III of the Republic of the Philippines recalled that the last time the Philippines hosted the Regional Committee was 25 years ago, when his mother, President Corazon Aquino, welcomed delegates.

President Aquino told members, “Outbreaks of illnesses and diseases like the MERS-Corona Virus and Ebola are among the greatest challenges the world faces today.” He talked about the value that the WHO Regional Committee brings to working on these issues together. “Today we affirm: no man is an island. Similarly: no country can operate or achieve its full development in isolation from others.”

The Regional Committee meets each year to set policies and approve programmes of work and budgets. It is comprised of representatives from the Region's 37 countries and areas.

Dr Ian Smith, Executive Director of WHO's Office of the Director-General, spoke on behalf of WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. His remarks focused on the current Ebola outbreak, highlighting that WHO's key arguments are "now falling on receptive ears." He also underscored some lessons already apparent from the global response.

  • The outbreak shows the world's growing social and economic inequalities.
  • Rumours and panic spread faster than the virus.
  • The world is put at risk when a deadly virus hits the destitute.
  • Decades of neglected basic health systems and services can bring a fragile country to its knees.
  • There is a lack of research and development incentive as evidenced by the absence of an Ebola vaccine.
  • The world is ill-prepared to respond to a severe, sustained and threatening public health emergency.

Dr Smith also noted that these arguments "underscore how right WHO and its Regional Offices have been in arguing for the strengthening of basic public health infrastructures, aiming for universal health coverage, and recognizing the urgent need to strengthen IHR core capacities (that help countries prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders)."

The Regional Committee meets each year to set policies and approve programmes of work and budgets. It is comprised of representatives from the Region's 37 countries and areas.

For more information, please contact

Mr Ruel E. Serrano
Public Information Office
WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific
United Nations Avenue corner Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 528 9993
Email: serranor@wpro.who.int

Philippines: European Union And WFP Help 62,000 Families In Central Mindanao

13 October 2014 - 9:25am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

NORTH COTABATO – Families displaced by conflict in Central Mindanao have made significant gains in rebuilding their livelihoods through a two-year peace-building project implemented by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The €5.9 million (PHP 312 million) EU grant under the Aid to Uprooted People Programme supported more than 62,000 families from Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in asset creation and livelihood training.

The projects helped uprooted families normalise their lives by providing livelihood opportunities that aim to not only increase household incomes but also contribute to overall food security. Projects include the construction of inland fishponds, tree-planting and building dikes for flood control.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux commended the communities and local government partners for their achievements. “The European Union has provided opportunities for livelihood and we are pleased that the project has shown concrete manifestations of peace-building and community development at work as people have managed to maximise their resources and skills,” he said.

“To witness families living in peace and working together to improve their lives is a tribute both to the European Union and to the people here in Central Mindanao,” said WFP Representative Praveen Agrawal. “It is important that we continue to strengthen and consolidate the work done here. We see the EU as a strategic partner in these efforts as we move forward.”

In addition to the €5.9 million grant to the Aid to Uprooted People Programme, the EU has also previously supported people displaced from their homes by conflict in Mindanao with a €6.4 million (PHP 364 million) grant for the Food Facility programme to similarly support food-for-assets activities.

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About EU
The European Union numbers 28 different member states determined to shape their future closely together. Over a period of enlargement of more than 50 years, they have together built a zone of peace, stability, progress and solidarity. The EU is a model for overcoming conflict and promoting reconciliation through close co-operation to achieve common goals, while respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

With total assistance since 2007 of more than PHP 680 million, the EU’s programmes have contributed to maintaining peace on the ground and to enhancing the humanitarian and socio-economic situation of conflict-affected populations, thereby helping establish an environment conducive to the successful negotiation of a Peace Agreement.

Website: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/philippines
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EUDelegationToThePhilippines
Twitter: http://twitter.com/EUinthePH

About WFP
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

Website: http://www.wfp.org/countries/philippines/home Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WFP.Philippines Twitter: https://twitter.com/wfp_philippines

For more information, please contact:
EU Delegation to the Philippines (Email: Thelma.GECOLEA@eeas.europa.eu):
Thelma Gecolea, Public Affairs Officer, Tel. +63 (02) 859-5100 local 5124, Mobile +63 920-966-1371 World Food Programme - Philippines (Email: FaizzaFarinna.Tanggol@wfp.org):
Faizza Tanggol, Public Information Assistant, Tel. +63 (02) 750-2561 local 2420, Mobile +63 917-880-9368

Philippines: UNHCR delivers fresh batch of non-food items in Eastern Visayas

13 October 2014 - 9:08am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Philippines

TACLOBAN, the Philippines, October 13 (UNHCR) – The UN refugee agency started distributing Monday thousands of core relief items to priority areas in Tacloban City as part of its on-going recovery assistance.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began its distribution of four thousand (4,000) hygiene kits comprised of toiletries, wrap-around clothing and undergarments in four transitional shelters in the north of the city where 372 displaced families from the hardest-hit communities of the San Jose district are temporarily relocated.

The hygiene kits will be apportioned across the agency’s sub-offices in Ormoc and Guiuan for subsequent distribution in the coming days.

The delivery of these core relief items is primarily linked to their global protection mandate in situations of displacement resulting from conflict and natural disasters.

“These hygiene kits help improve the water and sanitation conditions for displaced families in their new and temporary relocation sites by mitigating risks of certain diseases,” said Eilish Hurley, UNHCR Associate Protection Officer in Tacloban.

Earlier this year, the UNHCR completed its distribution of emergency core relief items such as tents, plastic sheets, blankets, jerry cans, kitchen sets, solar lanterns and other essential non-food items across three regions in the central Philippines.

“To date, and since November last year, we have delivered core relief items to more than 700,000 of the most vulnerable of the affected populations including those in far-flung areas,” Hurley added.

Meanwhile, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) coordinated with UNHCR’s protection team to bring their energy-efficient charcoal-fueled stoves to these priority areas.

The UNHCR is also set to distribute another batch of solar-powered lanterns later this year. Solar lanterns are regarded as one of the most innovative relief items in the agency’s operations, lighting up communities to help the safety and security of families.

UNHCR’s emergency and recovery efforts are part of an inter-agency humanitarian response to typhoon Haiyan in coordination with government authorities and local communities.

END

Contact Person:
Kent Bolisay +639155921568 | bolisay@unhcr.org (Tacloban)

Philippines: GIEWS Country Brief : The Philippines 10-October-2014

13 October 2014 - 9:04am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines preview

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • The 2014 main season harvest forecast slightly below last year’s record level
  • Cereal imports in the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) forecast to decrease from last year’s record level
  • Prices of rice stable in September but at record levels
  • Food insecurity concerns remain due to high prices and for the population affected by several typhoons/cyclones

The 2014 main season harvest forecast slightly below last year’s record level

Harvesting of the 2014, mostly irrigated, main season paddy crop, accounting for about 55 percent of the annual production, is currently underway and will continue until mid-December. Latest official forecasts put this season’s rice output at 10.7 million tonnes, slightly below the corresponding season of last year. The small decrease in production is attributed to a 2 percent contraction in planted area, mainly as a result of lower-than-normal precipitations between April and mid-May, which hindered somewhat sowing activities. Assuming an average secondary season harvest, to be planted from mid-October onwards, FAO tentatively forecasts the 2014 aggregate rice production at 18.6 million tonnes, marginally below last year’s record level.

Harvesting of the 2014 main season maize was completed by mid-September. FAO forecasts the 2014 maize production, including the 2014 main and the forthcoming secondary seasons, at 7.6 million tonnes, up 4 percent from last year’s bumper level.

India: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (8 - 13 October 2014)

13 October 2014 - 5:50am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka preview

INDIA

On 12 Oct, Cyclone Hud Hud made landfall in the vicinity of Visakhapatnam City in the state of Andhra Pradesh with wind speeds of between 180-195 kph and 2-3 metre waves pounding the coast. At least six people have been killed and 150,000 people have been evacuated and sheltered in relief centres and schools. The National Crisis Management Committee will launch a detailed assessment shortly, though preliminary information indicates widespread damage in the four affected districts.

6 people dead

150,000 people evacuated

PHILIPPINES

From 7-8 Oct, flash floods have affected more than 9,000 families in Sultan Kudarat municipality in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Local Government rescue teams were dispatched to assess the damage and have prepared and distributed up to 3,000 food packs to the affected areas.

9,000 families affected

CHINA

One person was killed and 324 injured after a 6.6M earthquake rattled Jinggu County in Yunnan Province on 7 Oct. Nearly 93,000 were affected of whom 57,000 have been relocated.

1 person dead

324 people injured

SRI LANKA

Over 3,400 people are affected in the southern parts of Sri Lanka due to high winds, heavy rain and landslides. Currently, 85 people are in three welfare centres in Rathnapura district due to floods and landslides. In total, 15 houses are reported as partially damaged.

MYANMAR

On 11 October, four civilians were killed and several wounded when a mortar bomb hit a crowded road near the towns of Kawkareik and Myawaddy, Kayin State. There have been clashes in Karen State for more than a fortnight between the Myanmar military and rebels from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Association (DKBA), a splinter group of the larger Karen National Union.

4 civilians killed

Between 27 Sep and 8 Oct, 234 people have tested positive for cholera out of 380 presented patients in Yangon’s South Okkalapa township. Township and health authorities have been conducting hygiene checks and urging people with symptoms to seek medical assistance.

234 patients with cholera

JAPAN

Tropical Cyclone Vongfong is expected to make landfall on 13 Oct. The storm previously reached Category 5 status, the highest possible, but has weakened significantly and is currently a tropical storm.
Preliminary reports from Japan indicate 45 people injured and one missing. The local authorities in five prefectures have issued evacuation advisories for more than 44,000 people.

45 people injured

44,000 people evacuated

INDONESIA

Mt. Sinabung continued erupting though no casualties or displacement have been reported.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update Effects of Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in Visayas and Mindanao [as of 13 October 2014, 8:00AM]

13 October 2014 - 2:44am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

A. SITUATION OVERVIEW:

Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affected Visayas and Mindanao. Intermittent rains was reported in Region VI and VII, while moderate to heavy rains were experienced in Zamboanga City and in the Provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur which started on 07 October 2014.

B. EFFECTS

  1. Affected Population (Tab A)

• A total of 15,357 families / 77,058 persons in 104 baranqays were affected. Of which, 317 families / 1,852 persons are inside 14 evacuation centers in Regions VI and IX

Philippines: Isabela PPOC reports gains on public safety, peace and order, counter insurgency

13 October 2014 - 2:04am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

CITY OF ILAGAN – Member-agencies of the Isabela Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) huddled today at the Balay, Provincial Capitol here for their third regular meeting to report their significant accomplishments on ensuring public safety, promoting peace and order, and countering the threats of insurgency in the province.

Police Superintendent Manuel B. Bringas, Chief, Plans and Operations of the Isabela Police Provincial Office (IPPO), reported that the stringent implementation of Executive Order No. 18 issued by Isabela Provincial Governor Faustino G. Dy III has resulted in the confiscation of more unregistered motorcycles and apprehension of several minors and unlicensed drivers plying the national highways.

He said, on the first week of implementation of the executive order alone, a total of 1,954 motorcycles were apprehended through the establishment of choke and check points along the major thoroughfares in the province.

Enforced jointly by the Land Transportation Office-Isabela, IPPO and the Liga ng mga Barangay, E.O. 18 was issued on May 3, 2014 amidst reports by the local police and rescue groups which revealed that many of the drivers of motorcycles involved in road mishaps are under-aged or not in possession of valid driver’s license.

On the campaign against criminality, Isabela Police Provincial Director Sotero DG Ramos, Jr. shared that unrelenting local police operations and integrated patrol systems have caused the arrest of and filing of appropriate cases against 659 wanted persons in the province and region, and confiscation of 37 assorted firearms.

He said that in the desire of the police organization to make constituents safe in times of disasters, a memorandum has been issued by the IPPO directing all local police stations in the province to coordinate with the local disaster risk reduction and management councils the installation of signages and the deployment of law enforcers to give warnings to the public not to cross over-flow bridges during heavy or widespread flooding.

On the other hand, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” and the national government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) have persuaded some members of the communist group to surrender and abandon the underground movement.

Colonel Reynaldo H. Labanen, Deputy Brigade Commander of the 502nd Brigade, Philippine Army in Gamu, Isabela, said the “bayanihan” employs the ‘whole of nation approach’ and ‘people-centered approach’ in addressing the insurgency problems.

“Instead of taking military actions, the best solution to winning the peace is by increasing the involvement of all stakeholders, to include the civil society organizations and communities,” he explained.

He added that the AFP has also came up with its Oplan “Lifeguard” that is aimed at conduction disaster relief and rescue operations to save lives, protect properties and minimize damages in disaster-affected areas in the province.

DILG Provincial Director Elpidio A. Durwin temporarily presided over the meeting, which mustered the attendance of local chief executives, heads and representatives of national government agencies and local media.

PD Durwin took the opportunity of thanking the Provincial Government of Isabela through the leadership of Provincial Governor Faustino G. Dy III for their full support in the CLIP implementation.

He also reminded the LCEs to formulate and allocate budget for their local peace and order and public safety plan and provided them updates on the DILG’s Seal of Good Local Governance. (Vincent G. dela Rosa, DILG/MGE –PIA2/Isabela)

Philippines: Dragon fruit growers adapt to storm impacts

13 October 2014 - 1:46am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

By: Cherry Joy D. Garma

LAOAG CITY, Oct. 13 (PIA) - Dragon fruit farmers have switched to using concrete posts to grow the vine fruit after they incurred losses when a series of storms easily wiped out bamboo stands along with the creeping plant.

Edita Dacuycuy, owner of a dragon fruit plantation in Burgos town, said growers have been using bamboo or wood to serve as stand for the vine fruit because they were cheaper and readily available.

Farmers realized they needed a sturdier port to grow the fruit when 300 posts were destroyed during the onslaught of storm Mario losing some four tons of fruit production.

“We didn’t expect the huge losses. But when strong winds were relentless, we realized that our plants are vulnerable to typhoons,” Dacuycuy said.

She said growers hope to recoup their losses with the innovation they adopted.

Growing dragon fruits have become profitable to farmers as the red scale fruit is produced all year-round. (MCA/CDG, PIA-1, Ilocos Norte)

Philippines: Leading child rights organizations unite to push new bill that protects children in emergencies

12 October 2014 - 9:28pm
Source: Save the Children, Plan, World Vision Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines –Three of the country’s largest child rights organizations, Save the Children, Plan International, and World Vision, unite to push passage of House Bill 5062 or the “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act,” which calls for a comprehensive plan to be put in place to protect the rights of children in disasters and emergencies.​

The bill was introduced by Representative Susan Yap (Tarlac, 2nd District) based on findings of the three organizations working with children in the aftermath of ‘Yolanda’. Partnering with UNICEF, they found a great need for official and systematic effort that allows children to express their views and concerns post-typhoon.

The report they produced in the immediate aftermath, in consultation with child survivors, entitled “After Yolanda: What Children Think, Need and Recommend” was presented to Members of Congress, including Rep. Susan Yap, and members of the House Child Welfare Committee. Some of the issues raised by children in the report included lack of access to information, psycho-social distress, preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction and livelihoods recovery.

House Bill 5062, once enacted into law, would require a Comprehensive Emergency Program for children vulnerable to and affected by calamities. It calls for a structural approach to ensuring that children are well prepared, kept safe and their voices heard in disasters and emergencies.

“This law is essential to ensure that children are cared for during future emergencies in the Philippines,” stated Save the Children’s Country Director, Ned Olney. “Many interventions worked well for children after Yolanda, but there were gaps.” “This bill ensures that we learn from our experience to mitigate the impact of future emergencies on children,” Olney added.

“Children and young people are deeply affected when they live through an emergency, especially one of the scale of Yolanda. A major disaster like this is a life changing event and can impact on the future of an entire generation,” said Plan Country Director Carin van der Hor. “We want to make sure we are not just addressing concerns but also institutionalizing learnings and successes.” ​ “We hope all citizens that care about Filipino children and want to see them survive and thrive in the Philippines will come out and support the continued development and eventual passage of this bill,” said Josaias dela Cruz Executive Director of World Vision.

The three child-focused NGOs also urge other legislators from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and local government units to support HB 5062 for its passage into law within the 16th Congress.

ENDS

To know more about our work, visit www.savethechildren.org.ph
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Philippines: Fresh lava spews out of Philippines volcano, stoking eruption fears

12 October 2014 - 3:26am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

10/12/2014 - 05:24 GMT

Lava is again flowing out of Mayon, the Philippines' most active volcano, raising fears an eruption could be imminent, authorities said Sunday.

The government has already evacuated around 63,000 people living inside a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) danger zone around the volcano, after it began to spew out white smoke and some lava last month.

Activity had appeared to quieten down but a fresh cascade -- confirmed by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Sunday -- this time stretching further down the slopes, has prompted concerns that an eruption may soon take place.

"The first activity started on September 15 and lasted for a few days. After that, there was a lull or no summit activity, but this morning, our volcanologists spotted a lava flow," said Renato Solidum, head of the government volcanology agency told ABS-CBN television.

"What is happening now is that there is very slow movement... of lava flow about 350 metres (1,148 feet) in length from the summit," he added.

Solidum warned lava flow from Mayon was usually followed by "an explosive phase of eruption" although he could not estimate when such blasts could occur.

He explained magma inside the volcano was now rising to the summit slowly but added that it could accelerate, prompting quakes and small explosions and potentially causing a much larger eruption.

The 2,460-metre (8,070-foot) Mayon, located about 330 kilometres (200 miles) southwest of Manila, has a long history of deadly eruptions.

Four foreign tourists and their local tour guide were killed when Mayon last erupted, in May 2013.

In 1814 more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa.

An explosion in August 2006 did not cause direct deaths, but four months later a typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from Mayon's slopes that killed 1,000 people.

The head of civil defence operations around Mayon, Bernardo Alejandro said the government had done an aerial survey of the volcano and cabinet ministers were in the area to assess the needs of people who had fled their homes.

He told AFP they would now be stricter in enforcing a ban on the entry of people into the danger zone.

Mayon is now rated on "level 3" meaning a possible eruption in weeks but Alejandro said they were now assessing whether to raise this to "level 4" meaning a possible eruption in days or even hours.

mm/lto

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 26 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

12 October 2014 - 1:13am
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, 12 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network recorded four (4) volcanic earthquakes and one (1) rockfall event during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate emission of white steam plumes drifting North-Northeast and Northwest was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 206 tonnes/day on 10 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.

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 25 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

10 October 2014 - 8:00pm
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, 11 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network recorded four (4) volcanic earthquakes and two (2) rockfall events during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate emission of white steam plumes drifting Northwest was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 206 tonnes/day on 10 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.

Philippines: UNICEF Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Humanitarian Situation Report #26, Issued on 10 October 2014

10 October 2014 - 4:52pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines preview

Highlights

  • UNICEF and partners continue to provide life-saving and recovery assistance for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

  • September was National Mass Immunization Month. UNICEF and WHO supported the Department of Health to vaccinate 13 million children under 5 years in the Philippines. UNICEF provided 3 million doses of measles-rubella vaccine, 1.2 million doses of polio vaccine and $7.8 million in cold chain equipment.

Situation overview & humanitarian needs

According to OCHA, 14.1 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 4.1 million people, including 1.7 million children, were displaced. The devastation occurred in some of the Philippines’ poorest regions and communities where prior to the Typhoon more than 40% of children lived in poverty.

Philippines: Ground-breaking projects for ShelterBox in the Philippines

10 October 2014 - 12:24pm
Source: ShelterBox Country: Philippines

ShelterBox continues to develop new shelter solutions to meet the needs of communities affected by disasters

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, was the most powerful storm ever to make landfall, claiming 6,200 lives and destroying a million homes. In the five months following the disaster, more than 100 ShelterBox Response Team members delivered 7,000 tents, 10,000 solar lights, 870 water filtration systems, 2,300 mosquito nets, 445 tool kits and 30 SchoolBoxes.

But our assistance has not stopped there. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have maintained our commitment to the Philippines and are extending the type of help we are able to offer. The ShelterBox is still at the heart of what we do, and our distinctive family relief tent remains a key part of most deployments. However, as we strive to develop into a global leader in shelter provision, we are embracing new ways of responding to the needs of communities affected by disasters.

This is critical because all disasters are different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. As ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace explains: ‘We must constantly evolve as a charity and develop our aid, because different disasters need different responses.’

We have been growing our aid offering for some time now. In the response to Typhoon Haiyan, for example, alongside tents we also distributed Shelter Repair Kits containing tools, tarpaulins and fixings to help beneficiaries begin the process of rebuilding their homes.

We are now taking this process to the next level in the Philippines. After a careful assessment process, we have entered into four project partnerships with leading international agencies including ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development), Handicap International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) which will lead to the construction of nearly 1,700 ‘core transitional’ shelters.

Designed to house a single family, the shelters will be constructed using locally sourced materials, wherever possible, in areas that were in the path of Typhoon Haiyan: in Eastern Samar, where the typhoon first made landfall; in northern Leyte, close to the devastated city of Tacloban; and on the island of Bantayan, in northern Cebu. In each community, a rigorous beneficiary selection process ensures that we prioritise the most vulnerable.

This will not only provide more than 8,000 vulnerable people with a safe, durable home but will also help to train the wider community in how to ‘build back safer’ as the shelters are designed to withstand further storms. The goal is to develop resilience to future disasters.

As CEO Alison Wallace puts it: ‘How much better to rebuild in ways that will make communities more resilient to the next storms, and what better opportunity for ShelterBox to fulfill its commitment to be a real team player in meeting humanitarian shelter needs?’

ShelterBox recognises that shelter is a process, not a product. So we will continue to refine and develop the range of tools at our disposal to meet the specific shelter needs of communities affected by a disaster. And we will collaborate with an ever-increasing range of partners – from aid agencies to freight companies, and from government bodies to the UN Global Shelter cluster that coordinates the efforts of the leading humanitarian shelter specialists.

This is all part of ShelterBox’s evolution into a flexible supplier of emergency shelter tailored to the needs of those whom we seek to help.

Liberia: Philippines health workers sought for Ebola-hit West Africa

10 October 2014 - 7:58am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Guinea, Liberia, Philippines, Sierra Leone

10/10/2014 - 11:38 GMT

The Philippines is considering deploying substantial numbers of health workers to West Africa amid a global appeal to deal with the Ebola virus, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said Friday.

The United States and United Kingdom have both specifically asked Manila to provide "human resources", Ona said, adding that the nation's high number of qualified health professionals make it well-placed to provide help.

The United Nations has meanwhile called for a 20-fold increase in the world's response to the Ebola epidemic, which has killed nearly 3,900 people in West Africa since the beginning of the year.

"I think it is also something of a responsibility for our country... to respond to that global call for assistance," Ona said at a joint news conference with World Health Organization Western Pacific director Shin Young-soo.

"We (Philippine officials) are meeting on this issue and should be able to make a firm decision... maybe in a week or so."

The Philippines is expected to decide after President Benigno Aquino meets key officials to discuss the specific US and UK requests, Ona added.

Shin said the Philippines was in a unique position of having "so many qualified health workers" and wanting to express its gratitude for the global rescue and rehabilitation effort after it was struck by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.

Other Asia-Pacific countries have also offered support including medics from China, financial support commitments from Australia and South Korea, and laboratory experts from Japan, Shin added.

The health secretary said the Philippines would only be sending volunteers, and noted it had a potentially large pool.

The health department has fielded queries from Filipino health workers wanting to work in West Africa, he added.

"The human resources that may be needed (may) not necessarily be working only in the Ebola-affected facilities," Ona said when asked about the potential size and composition of the Philippine contribution.

"(There) may also be workers needed, for example, in public health, or taking care of hospitals where the usual non-Ebola patients go," he added.

The United Kingdom has specifically offered financial assistance that could potentially cover the salaries of Filipino volunteer health workers, Ona added.

Ona said about 3,000 Filipinos already work in worst-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

About 150 Filipino soldiers also serve as peacekeepers under United Nations command in Liberia.

cgm/jfg/lto