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China: China, Philippines - Tropical Cyclone MERANTI UPDATE (GDACS, CMA, JTWC, PAGASA, CWB, NDRRMC, Local Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 14 September 2016)

14 September 2016 - 9:06am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: China, Philippines

Tropical Cyclone MERANTI continued moving north-west over the Philippine Sea and made landfall over Itbayat island (Batanes group of islands) on 13 September afternoon (UTC) as a very intense Typhoon. It then continued moving north-northwest maintaining its intensity. On 14 September at 0.00 UTC, its centre was located approx. 35 km south of the south coast of Pingtung county (Taiwan) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 287 km/h (Typhoon).

Over the next 24 h, it is forecast to continue moving north-west slightly weakening but remaining a Typhoon. Its centre may move over the coast of Fujian province (China) on 14 September late evening (UTC), possibly as a Typhoon. Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge may affect the areas along its path.

As of 14 September early morning (UTC), the China Meteorological Administration has issued a Red Warning for Typhoon for Taiwan and Fujian province and the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan (CWB) has issued a Sea and Land Typhoon Warning for the southern and south-eastern counties of Taiwan. Local media also reported that 1 500 people have been evacuated and at least 120 000 households have been left without power in the south and southeastern counties of Taiwan.

As of the same date, a Tropical Cyclone Signal #2 has also been issued for the Batanes islands by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). National authorities reported that at least 14 families were evacuated and electricity was shut-down throughout Batanes islands.

Philippines: South-East Asia - Tropical Cyclones - ECHO Daily Map | 13/09/2016

14 September 2016 - 4:44am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: China, China - Taiwan Province, Guam, Philippines, Viet Nam


TC MERANTI: On 13 September at 06.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 317 km east of Batan island (Batanes islands, Philippines) and 500 km south-east of the eastern coast of Taiwan and had max. sustained wind speed of 296 km/h (Typhoon).

• Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving north-west maintaining its intensity.
Heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge may affect areas along its path. It may move near or over the Batanes islands on 13 September afternoon (UTC), possibly as a very intense Typhoon.

• As of 13 September early afternoon (UTC), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has issued a Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal #4 for Batanes islands and #3 for Babuyan islands • South-eastern China and Taiwan were previously affected by TC NERPATAK which caused widespread damage and casualties.

TC RAI: On 12 September late afternoon (UTC) it made landfall close to Quang Ngai city (Quang Ngai province, central Vietnam) as a Tropical Depression. It then continued moving over land weakening. Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving west-northwest weakening further and dissipating. Heavy rain may continue to affect areas along its path. Due to its passage several buildings were damaged in several central provinces of the country.

TC MALAKAS: On 13 September at 6.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 860 km north-west of Hagatna island (Guam islands, USA) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 83 km/h (Tropical Storm). Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving north-west strengthening.

Australia: Pathways to Protection: A human rights-based response to the flight of asylum seekers by sea

14 September 2016 - 1:03am
Source: Government of Australia Country: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam

Executive summary

Background to the project The aim of this paper is to start a conversation about how we can answer the question: What is a rights-based alternative to the current model of third country processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea?

The Commission has endeavoured to identify options for responding to flight by sea which are consistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations.

In publishing this paper, the Commission is seeking to make a positive contribution to this difficult policy area. We have sought to provide the framework for an alternative policy response, rather than an exhaustive overview of all relevant measures or a detailed plan for implementation. The policy options set out in this paper are offered so that they can be debated, refined and, if they are deemed fit for purpose, implemented.

The Commission also acknowledges that the options put forward in this report could benefit from further policy development and economic analysis prior to implementation. Careful analysis will need to be undertaken of the likely flow-on effects of expanding the opportunities for safe entry in Australia and altering some of the Government’s foreign policy strategies in the ways that are set out in this paper. Further research, consultation and planning would also be required to tailor these measures to conditions in different countries, and to the needs of particular groups.

This paper sets out some alternative policy approaches that aim to protect human rights while also achieving the overall policy objective of preventing dangerous journeys by sea. The Commission is confident that the options proposed in this paper are compliant with Australia’s international human rights law obligations.

This paper does not specifically address the human rights issues arising from other policy measures aimed at deterring flight by sea, such as boat turnbacks and Temporary Protection Visas. However, the Commission considers that the rights-based options proposed in this paper could also be considered as alternatives to these policies.

This paper also does not address the situation of the approximately 30,000 people seeking asylum who are currently in Australia awaiting processing of their claims. The human rights implications of policies affecting these asylum seekers have been considered in other Commission publications.4 Methodology In March 2016, the Commission conducted a series of consultations to discuss alternative policy responses to flight by sea.

Consultation participants were selected on the basis of their expertise in the areas of refugee policy, human rights, international law and protection issues in the Asia–Pacific region. The feedback gathered through the consultations was supplemented through desktop research undertaken between February and June 2016.

In conducting this research and analysis, the Commission adopted a human rights-based approach to policy development.

A human rights-based approach sees strengthening the enjoyment of human rights as both a means and an end. Policies and programs which are based on this approach should further the realisation of human rights, and their planning and implementation should be guided by international human rights standards.5 Summary of findings The key driver of flight by sea towards Australia is the lack of effective protection for refugees and people seeking asylum in the Asia–Pacific region. As such, improving access to effective protection represents the most effective and sustainable means of preventing flight by sea. This is something that can only be achieved through cooperation and partnership with our regional neighbours.

Two core principles emerged from the research and consultation process which have guided the Commission in identifying alternative options:

  • The top priority of an alternative response should be enhancing protection for people fleeing persecution, in accordance with our international human rights obligations.

  • The focus of Australia’s policy response should shift from deterrence to prevention. Rather than seeking simply to discourage asylum seekers from embarking on dangerous journeys, an alternative response should aim to address the human rights violations which compel people to undertake these journeys in the first place.

While Australia is well-placed to support efforts to improve access to protection, there are two key obstacles which currently hamper these efforts:

  • There are few effective mechanisms for cooperation on refugee protection issues amongst states in the Asia– Pacific region, which hampers the region’s capacity to respond effectively to the needs of forcibly displaced people (including by ensuring appropriate settlement options across the region)

  • There are limited opportunities for safe entry for people wishing to seek protection in Australia.
    Based on the information and evidence gathered through the research and consultation process, the Commission has identified two thematic areas (each encompassing a number of specific options) which are designed to overcome these obstacles and which together comprise an alternative, human rights-based policy response to flight by sea:

  • Expand opportunities for safe entry to Australia • Enhance foreign policy strategies on migration in the Asia–Pacific region.

The options put forward in this paper aim directly to address the key driver of flight by sea through creating and enhancing pathways to protection. They seek to achieve this by facilitating access to safe migration options, improving protection for refugees and people seeking asylum who are living in the region, and building towards more effective regional responses to refugee protection issues.
They respond to the human rights violations experienced by refugees and people seeking asylum during flight and in the context of displacement. They are also consistent with the Refugee Convention in that they avoid imposing penalties on the basis of a person’s mode of arrival or lack of documentation.

An overview of the various options identified by the Commission is contained in the table commencing on the next page.

World: Forced to Flee - Inside the 21st Largest Country

14 September 2016 - 12:50am
Source: Save the Children Country: Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, Germany, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, World

Fairfield, Conn. (September 14, 2016) — The world’s 65.3 million forcibly displaced people—who would make up the world’s 21st largest country based on population—are falling far behind others in terms of education, health, child marriage, and other key factors, a new report by Save the Children illustrates.

"Forced to Flee: Inside the 21st Largest Country" examined indicators most relevant to the well-being of children and found results that demonstrate both the enormous challenges faced by refugees and Internally Displaced People as well as the notable contributions they could make to their host countries and communities if they were allowed to do so.

"Imagining all displaced people as citizens of one country recognizes their value as equal members of a global society and draws attention to the massive scale of the issues they face," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. "The number of families forced to flee their homes in search of safety continues to reach record highs—it’s time to move out of emergency mode and engage in serious discussions about how to help displaced families integrate and begin to rebuild their futures."

The analysis found that the world’s 21st largest country: - Has the fastest-growing population, - Has one of the world’s youngest populations, with half the population under 18 - Ranks 4th to last on primary school attendance and almost last at the secondary school level - Is among the most dangerous places for harmful practices like child marriage - Is in the top half of the most urbanized countries - Loses too many children to preventable heath conditions such as malaria and pneumonia - Could have the 54th largest economy in the world if people were given adequate access to employment

As world leaders prepare to gather in New York for the UN General Assembly, Miles added: "Forcibly-displaced people face huge challenges, but if governments work together, along with non-governmental organizations and the private sector, we can improve their circumstances."

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 01. re Preparadeness Measures for Typhoon "FERDIE" (I. N. MERANTI)

13 September 2016 - 2:55pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines


  • On 11 September 2016, Severe Tropical Storm (STS) "MERANTI" entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and was named "FERDIE". it has a maximum sustained winds of 105 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 135 kph, moving West Northwest at 20 kph. The estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 300 km diameter of the Severe Tropical Storm. STS "FERD1E" has intensified into a Typhoon with a maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph

  • On 12 September 2016, Typhoon "FERDIE" has intensified further as it continues to move in a West Northwest directions. Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy rains within its 300 km diameter of the Typhoon. Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 2 was hoisted over Batanes and Babuyan Group of Islands, while TCWS No. 1 hoisted over the rest of Cagayan, Northern Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra, !locos Norte

  • On 13 September 2016, Typhoon "FERDIE" has maintained its strength and is about to make landfall over Batanes Group of Islands. Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within its 600 km diameter of the Typhoon.

  • The Typhoon is expected to make landfall over Batanes between 11:00 PM tonight to 1:00 AM tomorrow. It is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) between 10:00AM — 12:00PM tomorrow.

  • At 10:00 PM today, the eye of "FERDIE" was located based on all available data at 60km East of Basco, Batanes (20.5'N, 122.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of up to 220 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 255 kph. Forecast to move West Northwest at 24 kph.

  • Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 4 was hoisted over Batanes Group of Islands, TCWS No. 3 hoisted over the Babuyan Group of Islands, TCWS No. 2 hoisted over llocos Norte, Apayao and Northern Cagayan, and TCWS No. 1 hoisted over rest of Cagayan, Northern Isabela, Kalinga, Abra, and !locos Norte

Philippines: DPWH project to help ease flood problem in Dagupan City

13 September 2016 - 7:12am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

DAGUPAN CITY, September 13 (PIA) – The Department of Public Works and Highways assured that the drainage system and slope protection projects of the government, once completed, would help ease the perennial flood problem in Dagupan City.

Bernard Caronongan, information officer of DPWH in the Second Engineering District of Pangasinan which covers Dagupan City, said three drainage and slope/bank protection projects are underway in four flood-prone barangays of the city.

“The flood control projects are located in Barangays Bacayao Norte, Pogo-Lasip (Pogo Grande and Lasip Grande) and Malued which are now 30 percent complete,” Caronongan said during the KBP Forum recently.

He added, “The projects are set to be completed in December 2016.”

Dagupan City, which is below the sea level, has been experiencing flood even without a tropical storm. Monsoon rains triggered by high tide has caused knee-deep flooding in low-lying barangays for the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, Edith Manuel of the Fourth Engineering District of DPWH said the department has been through decades of implementing flood control projects but reiterated that flooding is a result of global warming and climate change.

“Water seeks its own level,” Manuel said answering queries that villages which do not experience flooding before are now always under water.

Manuel said it is now the protocol of the department that whenever a road is elevated, the drainage system is also mandated to be raised. (JNPD/VHS/PIA-1,Pangasinan)

Philippines: World – Tropical Cyclones – ECHO Daily Map | 12/09/2016

13 September 2016 - 6:04am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: China, Guam, Philippines, United States of America, Viet Nam


• Tropical Cyclone EIGHTEEN formed over the north-western Pacific Ocean approx. 50 km south of Guam (USA), on 11 September. On 12 September at 6.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 315 km west of Guam and it had max. sustained wind speed of 74 km/h (Tropical Depression).

• Over the next 24 h it is forecast to move north-west over open waters, strengthening.

Sources: GDACS, JTWC, Guam NOAA, Local Media.


• TC ORLENE formed over the Eastern North Pacific Ocean on 8 Septembe. At 9.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 1 560 km west of the western coast of Mexico and it had max. sustained wind speed of 130 km/h (Category 1 Hurricane).

• Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving west over open water strengthening.

Sources: GDACS, JTWC, NOAA, Local media


• Tropical Cyclone NINETEEN formed over the South China Sea on 12 September. At 6.00 UTC of the same date its centre was located approx. 224 km south-east of Quang Ngai province and it had max. sustained wind speed of 56 km/h (Tropical Depression).

• Over the next 24 h it is forecast to move north-west strengthening. It may make landfall over the province of Quang Ngai on 12 September evening, possibly as a Tropical Storm.
Heavy rain and strong winds may affect the central and southern provinces of the country.

• Local media, as of 12 September (UTC), reported that several flights have been delayed or cancelled from Tan Son Nhat international airport due to heavy rain and strong winds.

Sources: GDACS, JTWC,NCHMF, Local media.


• TC MERANTI on 12 September at 6.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 775 km south-east of Batan island (Philippines) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 241 km/h (Typhoon).

• Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving north-west strengthening. It may approach the northern Batanes islands and southern Taiwan over 13-14 September, possibly as a very intense Typhoon. As of 12 September (UTC), PAGASA has issued a Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal for the Cagayan, Apayao, Batanes and Babuyan group of islands. CWB Taiwan has issued an Extreme Heavy Rain and Heavy Rain Advisory for the counties of Yilan, Taitung, Pingtung and for Kaohsiung city, as of the same date.
Sources: GDACS, JTWC, CWB, PAGASA, Local media.

Philippines: Philippines: Super Typhoon Meranti (Ferdie) as of 13 September 2016

13 September 2016 - 5:25am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

Super Typhoon Meranti (Ferdie) has maintained its intensity and is expected to pass through the Batanes Goup of Islands on the morning of 14 September 2016. Currently it has a maximum sustained winds of up to 215kph near the center and gustiness of up to 250kph moving at 23 kph. Tropical cyclone warning signal (TWCS) 4 has been issued for Batanes and TWCS 3 for Babuyan group of islands (Calayan).

Philippines: DSWD to distribute emergency shelter assistance in Catarman

12 September 2016 - 9:02pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

September 12, 2016
Teresita B. Cardenas

CATARMAN, Northern Samar, September, 13 (PIA) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Municipal Social Welfare an Development Office will soon distribute the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) to the 15,119 family-victims of Typhoon Ruby in the 55 barangays of Catarman.

Mrs. Ermina O. Delorino, municipal social welfare and development officer said ESA is a limited cash or material assistance for disaster-affected families with either partially or totally damaged houses located in safe areas to make it habitable.

She said ESA is designed to assist in restoring the normal social functioning of the typhoon “Ruby” affected areas. She is appealing to the beneficiaries to patiently await as this assistance will be distributed in a month or two as payroll preparations is tedious.

Delorino explained that due to funding limitation, Sangguniang Bayan of Catarman passed Resolution No. 2016-59-06 adopting the pro-rated emergency shelter assistance with the new guidelines: owners of totally damaged houses, will receive P17,500 per household while those with partially damaged houses will will get P8,750.00 in cash.

This is a revision of the previous P30,000 for totally damaged and P10,000 for partially damaged houses.

DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 01 series of 2016 states that in case of budgetary limitation vis a vis total funding requirement, the LGU thru its Sangguniang Bayan shall issue and submit to the DSWD Field Office for approval, adopting a pro-rated assistance to accommodate the number of affected families with totally and partially damaged houses.

Delorino revealed that a cash for work shall also be provided as a support component for the families’ engagement in the house repairs as a form of temporary employment and source of income.

For totally damaged houses a ten (10) days cash for work assistance at P195.00/day will be given, while a five day assistance will be granted for owners of partially damaged houses on top of the amount earlier mentioned, she added.

The listing of ESA beneficiaries was based on the terminal report submitted to the DSWD regional office by the former officer-in-charge of the MSWDO Catarman, she stressed. (tbc-pianorthernsamar) -

Philippines: ARMM provides relief, medical aid to displaced families in Sulu

12 September 2016 - 12:13pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, Sept. 11 (PIA) – About 4,000 families affected by intensified military operations against members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu received relief goods and medical assistance from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on September 5.

ARMM regional vice-governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr. led the delivery of the humanitarian assistance with Sulu Governor Abdusakur Totoh Tan II and Director Ramil Masukat of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and ARMM – Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (ARMM-HEART).

As of September 5, close to 4,000 families have been displaced by the military’s offensive against the Abu Sayyaf with most of the evacuees coming from five municipalities namely Patikul (1,122 families); Maimbung (1,321); Indanan (400); Parang (1,113); and Panamao (29).

Myrna Jo Henry, ARMM-HEART information officer, said their team validated the number of affected families that received the region’s relief and medical assistance. A

RMM-HEART is a convergence of agencies that oversees disaster preparedness and response in the region.

The team includes the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Office of Civil Defense, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Regional Planning and Development Office, among others.

Philippines: Philippines, China - Tropical Cyclone MERANTI UPDATE (GDACS, JTWC, PAGASA, Local Media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 12 September 2016)

12 September 2016 - 6:54am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: China, Philippines
  • TC MERANTI continued, moving north-west over the Philippine Sea, strengthening. On 12 September at 0.00 UTC its centre was located approx. 916 km south-east of Batan island (Batanes islands, Philippines) and it had max. sustained wind speed of 213 km/h (Typhoon).

  • Over the next 24 h it is forecast to continue moving north-west strengthening further. It may approach the northern Batanes islands and southern Taiwan over 13-14 September, possibly as a very intense Typhoon. As of 12 September early morning (UTC), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has issued a Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal #1 for the Cagayan, Apayao, Batanes and Babuyan group of islands.

Philippines: DSWD closely coordinating, monitoring situation of displaced families in conflict-affected areas in Basilan

11 September 2016 - 12:05am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Sept. 11 - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is continuously monitoring and assisting local government units (LGUs) of Basilan that have been affected by the on-going clashes between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf (ASG).

To date, a total of 3,423 families or 18,783 persons from Albarka, Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan have been affected. The clash between military troops and the ASG in these towns first occurred on July 2 and 6 and escalated in August. The government has sent more troops to the area.

Meanwhile, a total of 1,729 families or 6,218 persons from the four municipalities in Basilan, namely; Sumisip, Tuburan, Moh Ajul and Akbar were advised by the Provincial Government to take pre-emptive evacuation even if there was no encounter between the ASG and the military.

However, no evacuation centers were opened, since the displaced families opted to stay with relatives and friends. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program personnel in the province continue to assist the provincial government in checking on the condition of the displaced families.

To date, disaster teams from DSWD-Field Office IX are continuously coordinating with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) which is directly in contact with the affected families, for updates on the status of their needed augmentation support.

As of this reporting, the PSWDO is providing assistance to the families.

“Nais naming masiguro ang kaligtasan at maibigay ng maagap ang mga pangangailangan ng mga pamilyang nakatira sa mga lugar na may bakbakan. Kadalasan na ang mga inosenteng sibilyan ang nagdurusa kapag may mga ganitong military operations (We want to ensure the safety and to immediately provide for the needs of the civilians living in the conflict affected areas. Most often, innocent civilians are the ones who suffer because of military operations),” Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo emphasized. (DSWD)

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: Progress Report re IED Explosion in Davao City (Region XI), 08 Sep 2016

10 September 2016 - 11:31pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

A. Situation Overview:

• On or about 10:30 PM, 02 September 2016, a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion incident transpired at the Night Market, Roxas Avenue, Davao City.

• President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited the crime scene and hospitals where the injured victims were brought, thereafter, the President called an emergency meeting with the police and military authorities for the immediate resolution of the case.

B. Effects:

  1. Casualties

• According to the initial investigation conducted by the Explosive Ordnance Device Team (EODT) 11, there were a total of 84 casualties (14 dead and 70 injured). The casualties were brought to different hospitals namely: Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), San Pedro Hospital, Davao Doctors Hospital, Davao Medical School Foundation Hospital, Limso Hospital and Brokenshire Hospital.

a. Injured - 70

Philippines: Looking beyond the disaster

9 September 2016 - 4:26am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Sam Smith, IFRC

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. Situated on the Pacific ‘ring of fire’, the Filipino archipelago is hit by floods, landslides, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes on a regular basis.

In this piece we revisit three communities that were caught in the path of three huge typhoons – Bopha, Haiyan and Ketsana – to see the long-term impact of Red Cross work.

My New Home

“That’s where they found a lot of bodies.”

Ian Adlawan slowed the car as we passed an innocuous river inlet along the roadside.

“People were washed away by the floodwaters and their bodies were just dropped there,” said the Philippine Red Cross driver.

Everyone has a story to tell about Typhoon Bopha, one of the strongest storms to hit the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. When it made landfall on 4 December 2012, Bopha brought gusts of 130mph and torrential rain that triggered floods and deadly landslides.

Nearly a quarter of a million homes were damaged or destroyed, and around 1,100 people lost their lives. The Philippines is struck by an average of 20 typhoons every year, but they usually hit further north.

“It was the first time we had encountered a typhoon of this magnitude,” said Randy Loy, who heads up the Philippine Red Cross chapter in Compostela Valley, one of the worst affected areas.

“We have strong winds, landslides and floods, but we had never had a typhoon like this one.

“When you saw the aftermath – the flattened trees, the debris, the damaged houses, the mud, the floods – you really had to wonder what on earth had happened that day.”

There were warnings on TV and radio about the approaching typhoon, but people did not know how to prepare for the storm or where to go.

Many fled to evacuation shelters that were in the path of the storm or at risk from landslides.

“I was terrified. The roof of our house was ripped off and water started pouring in,” said Ulpiana Holotba.

“I ran with my husband as fast as we could. The flash floods came with no warning.”

Ulpiana, 62, sought refuge in a community shelter, along with her husband. They spent the following year living in a temporary shelter and surviving off relief items – they were unable to find work.

“My husband works on banana plantations, but they were completely destroyed. And I used to sell food to the workers on the plantations,” said Ulpiana.

“We are both used to working. So it wasn’t easy just sitting there and waiting.”

As part of the recovery effort, the Philippine Red Cross, with support from the IFRC, built 550 houses for people who had lost their homes. A further 3,050 households were given support to carry out repairs.

The newly-built homes are typhoon resilient, meaning they can withstand strong winds and rain.

“When I found out we were going to be given a new home I was so happy,” said Ulpiana, tears rolling down her cheek as she recalled the moment.

“We had given up. Living in the tent I thought there was no hope. We had no food, no work and then suddenly we were told we were getting a new house.”

They moved into their new home one year after Typhoon Bopha. It is located in a purpose-built village for families who lost their homes to the typhoon.

We meet Ulpiana nearly four years after the disaster. The rain is lashing down and the softly-spoken mother-of-two is stood under a canopy in front of her home, flipping pancakes.

She sells them for three pesos each and makes about 50 pesos profit a day (1USD). It’s not much, but it supplements her husband’s income on the banana plantations.

“I feel so much safer here. My last house was made from thatch. This is concrete and much stronger,” said Ulpiana.

“My grandchildren often come to stay with me. It’s safe for them here.”

The community is what’s known as a ‘Red Cross 143 village’. Red Cross 143 is an initiative that aims to create teams of volunteers in every village across the country.

Each teams consists of one leader and 43 members who are trained in how to prepare for and respond to disasters.

For example, they know how to give first aid, how to use rescue equipment and how to identify warning signals.

“They are our eyes and ears on the ground,” said Randy. “We give them information about approaching storms and they also feed us situation reports.

“It means everyone stays informed and communities are prepared and ready to stand on their own feet when disaster strikes.

“Typhoon Bopha was a wake-up call. Since then we’ve worked with the local government to institutionalise disaster risk reduction training at a grassroots level.”

To view the full story, click the following link.

World: Zika virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome Situation Report, 8 September 2016

8 September 2016 - 5:41pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Easter Island (Chile), Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana (France), French Polynesia (France), Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique (France), Mexico, Netherlands, New Caledonia (France), Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World

Key Updates

Countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections for the first time in the past week:

o None

 Malaysia, which previously reported Zika infections in 2014, has reported new mosquito-borne Zika virus infections in the past week

 Countries and territories reporting microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:

o None

 Countries and territories reporting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:

o None

 The Netherlands reported evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus (probably via a sexual route) for the first time in the past week.

 Operational updates from the WHO Regional Office for the Americas:

o WHO convened a workshop in Barbados on clinical management of neurological complications.

o A technical mission to Brazil by WHO/PAHO for laboratory assessment and strengthening of Zika diagnostic capacity of State laboratories was completed in August.

o WHO facilitated two meetings in Panama for updating the strategic plan for vector surveillance and control.

o WHO/PAHO carried out missions to Colombia and El Salvador to organize and help launch “Mosquito Awareness Week”.

o In Haiti, WHO and the Ministry of Public Health and Population’s Division of Epidemiology, Laboratory and Research (DELR) held three train-the-trainer workshops on epidemiological surveillance of Zika and its complications in August.

 The results from the sequencing analysis of Zika virus cases in Singapore indicate that the virus belongs to the Asian lineage and likely evolved from the strain that was previously circulating in Southeast Asia. The recent cases in Singapore do not appear to be the result of imported virus from South America.

Philippines: Innovative electronic cash transfer programme for emergencies: an Oxfam–Visa case study in the Philippines

8 September 2016 - 11:20am
Source: Oxfam Country: Philippines

Delivering aid to a large, displaced population provides challenges for governments, the private sector and aid organizations in the aftermath of any humanitarian crisis. The increasing scale and impact of disaster events call for innovative solutions for a more efficient and effective delivery of cash to affected populations.

This case study describes how Oxfam and Visa teamed up to develop a safe, simple and efficient solution that allows individuals from the most vulnerable communities to benefit from the power of electronic payment. The goal is to increase efficiency in financial aid disbursement, speed up processing and distribution, and reduce security risks.

World: IASC | Alert, Early Warning and Readiness Report | Outlook Period June - November 2016

8 September 2016 - 3:15am
Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee Country: Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World, Zimbabwe


The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Early Warning, Early Action and Readiness (EWEAR) Report is produced bi-annually by the inter-agency Reference Group on Risk, Early Warning and Preparedness to highlight risks with a high probability and impact on humanitarian needs during the next six months (June to November 2016). The Report aims to provide a forward-looking analysis of the most serious risks in support of IASC Reference Group activity and to equip relevant decision makers with key information for preparedness, response, advocacy and resource mobilisation efforts to mitigate and manage these risks.

As a product of a humanitarian inter-agency entity, adherence to the humanitarian principles is a key factor in its production, in particular independence – meaning the autonomy of humanitarian objectives from those of a political, economic, military or other nature. The Report acts as an inter-agency source of information for officials accountable at the global level for preparedness and is in addition to reporting up the normal chain of accountability from Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators. The Report does not aim to provide an analysis of the relative severity of humanitarian need.

Each country or region includes a risk analysis followed by an analysis of IASC response capacity and preparedness. In an effort to support concerted early action to the situations of most concern, the initial list of risks provided by the different agencies has been prioritised to highlight only those risks assessed as having the most acute gap between the potential humanitarian impact and existing capacity and preparedness levels. Countries have been divided into three ‘tiers’ based on the assessed gap between the seriousness of the risk and the level of preparedness and response capacity: very high, high or moderate.

It was agreed that risks relating to existing Level 3 emergencies (L3s) should only be included in the Report by exception, as L3s are already regularly reviewed by the IASC, with every effort made to scale up and enhance the response. A summary of the methodology used to develop risk selection is at the end of this Report.

All information provided is based on extensive research by the various contributing agencies, with the risk analyses drawing from a range of open and public sources, and presents the IASC early warning analysts group’s collective assessment. The IASC Index for Risk Management (INFORM) values, which are based on historic data, have been added to provide a wider risk context.

The IASC early warning analysts group will continue to closely monitor these risks and the wide range of ‘on watch’ risks that were not included in this Report, as part of regular monthly discussions. This Report was collaboratively developed as an inter-agency product by early warning and preparedness analysts from the following IASC partners: ACAPS, FAO, OCHA, OHCHR, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, WFP and WHO. WFP provided staff to facilitate the process and compile the text.

Published in June 2016

Philippines: Being displaced in Zamboanga, three years on

7 September 2016 - 11:30am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Three years after the armed hostilities between government forces and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City, around 13,800 people still live in temporary shelters in 11 transitory sites. Meanwhile, around 2,100 families have moved to permanent houses, according to the latest data from the City Social Welfare Office.

Ben Bandahal and his family live in one of the stilt houses in the Kasanyangan transitory site, which is 3 km from the city center. He shares how displaced families continue to cope with the challenges they face in the Kasanyangan site.

"While the temporary shelter here in Kasanyangan is better than living in a tent, access to piped water and to electricity is not available. We have to buy water, while the damaged electric lines have not been repaired since June. I hope the authorities will take action," said the father of five children.

Ben used to earn decently from a sari-sari ("variety") store and a small eatery he owned in Barangay Rio Hondo, where they also lived in a stilt house. When the armed clashes struck in September 2013 and affected Rio Hondo, Ben's family sought shelter at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial sports complex, then the biggest evacuation center for displaced people.

Finding the situation very difficult for him and his young children, Ben decided that his family should leave the stadium and used his savings to rent a house in Barangay Calarian, 7 km from the city center. His family was still displaced—only now they were "home-based" as opposed to those who remained in the evacuation centers.

"I was very grateful for the cash assistance I received from the Red Cross back then. It enabled me to cover our needs. The Social Welfare Department also gave financial aid to pay for our house rent for six months. After that, I shouldered the cost of the rent," he said, adding that his youngest child, whose nutrition suffered as a consequence of their displacement, benefited from a Red Cross feeding program in 2014.

Then in June 2016, Ben asked local officials if his family could move to the Kasanyangan transition site, as it was closer to the city center, where he sells accessories like sunglasses and bracelets. Earning less than PhP 5,000 a month, he needed to lessen the transportation costs of his school children. Still, his income is hardly enough to sustain the needs of the family. Many other displaced families face the same situation after their lives were thrown into disarray in 2013.

xTo help the displaced families in Kasanyangan, the ICRC, with the support of the Philippine Red Cross, implemented a 10-day cash-for-work program in July 2016 to provide temporary income and at the same time address the needs of the community.

The displaced community identified two projects: planting mangroves and constructing an earthen dike footpath for the transitory site residents.

"The mangroves will not only help increase the population of marine life, they will also protect the community from possible storm surges. We also created a 300-meter earthen dike as an alternative pathway, since it was difficult for us to reach the main road, especially when the tides are high," said Ben, who took part in the mangrove-planting project.

The mangrove planting was participated in by 60 displaced people and residents, mostly women, who planted nearly 30,000 seedlings. A similar project was done last year at an adjacent site. Local leaders reported that nearly all the seedlings that were planted last year were thriving.

On the other hand, the creation of the earthen dike benefited 36 people. Freddie Padios, a seasoned earthen-dike maker, supervised the activity.

"Directing and supervising dike-making is not easy. You must know the right mixture of mud and clay, the length and width of the dike itself, and the correct method of piling. If done properly, this dike we built will serve the community for 5 to 10 years," he said.

The income received by the beneficiaries from the projects was used mostly as seed money to start micro-businesses, while the remaining amount was spent on household needs.

From the emergency phase until 2016, the ICRC implemented cash-for-work activities in the various transition sites in Zamboanga to help provide income for displaced families and improve the communities they live in.

"We continued our aid for people who were displaced by the clashes in 2013, as there are still needs. We provided vocational training and helped improve their living conditions through community projects," said Yann Fridez, head of the ICRC subdelegation in Mindanao.

"We hope that at the soonest possible time, the authorities will be able to resolve the various challenges these displaced families have been facing for three years now," he said.

After 10 days of work, the earthen dike footpath was completed and has since improved access for Kasanyangan residents to the main highway during high tide. The new facility will serve the displaced families in the transition site and the neighboring community for years to come.

Philippines: Philippines: National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Update - Incidents monitored covering the period of 051700H - 060800H September 2016

6 September 2016 - 11:59pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines
  1. Effects of Southwest Monsoon "HABAGAT"

A. Situation Overview:

  • The Southwest Monsoon "HABAGAT" brought moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Metro Manila, and the Provinces of Batanes, Benguet, Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Cavite, Batangas, and in the Islands of Babuyan from 29-30 August 2016.

  • The effect of Southwest Monsoon "HABAGAT" has weakened on 30 August 2016, however brought light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms.

  • A Low Pressure Area (LPA) located at the Northeast of Itbayat, Batanes developed into a tropical storm and was named "ENTENG". The Southwest Monsoon enhanced by TS "ENTENG" brought moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Pangasian, La Union and Benguet.

- The Southwest Monsoon continuously affects the Northern and Central Luzon from 02 September 2016 as another LPA developed at the Northeast of Itbayat, Batanes on 03 September 2016. The Southwest Monsoon continues to persist as of 5:00 AM, 06 September 2016.

World: Transforming broken relationship: Making peace with the past

6 September 2016 - 11:19am
Source: Conciliation Resources Country: Colombia, Georgia, Ireland, Philippines, World

Transforming horizontal and vertical relationships

Reconciliation is the process of building or rebuilding relationships damaged by violent conflict: horizontal relationships between people and groups in society; and vertical relationships between people and institutions, both within and outside the state. This understanding places reconciliation programmes and strategies at the heart of political processes and transitions in conflictaffected or fragile societies. Too often reconciliation is seen as supplementary or peripheral: an exotic distraction or utopian aspiration.

Such an approach also stresses the pragmatic value of reconciliation at the intersection of peacebuilding and statebuilding efforts, conceived not merely as technocratic exercises to build the capacity of ‘strong’ rather than ‘fragile’ states, but rather as essentially political endeavours to transform tainted relationships between state and society – or the cultivation of ‘civic trust’, as some have coined it. As noted by David Bloomfield (see page 16), this perspective salvages reconciliation from the realm of the ‘fluffy’ or ‘soft’ dimensions of peacebuilding, or as exclusively localised or intimate. On the contrary, reconciliation programming is pivotal to sustaining peace and preventing new or re-emerging violent conflict.

Strategic implications for building peace

Understanding reconciliation as transforming both horizontal and vertical relationships has three main strategic implications for practitioners and policymakers. Firstly, it is resistant to crude, binary strategies of either ‘bottom-up’ or ‘top-down’: bottom-up, which ties reconciliation to local politics and geography, based on simplistic assumptions that rebuilding relationships must be driven from the local or community level, up to the national or global level; and top-down, which exclusively values elitist or state-centric processes. National or regional dynamics can all too easily undermine even the bestlaid plans for local-level relationship building. And, equally, national peacebuilding or peacemaking can be unravelled by the ignition of local conflict.

‘Middle out’ approaches to building reconciliation are also important and may be effective: intermediaries that span different layers in society, such as civil society organisations capable of both ‘listening down’ and ‘speaking up’; distinct social constituencies who cut across diverse levels, like women, youths or victims; or even the potential of social and state institutions as platforms for building reconciliation, which similarly straddle and operate across levels. Clearly top-down, bottom-up and middle-out approaches should not be viewed as mutually exclusive.

The rich and complex country case studies examined in this volume contribute creative insights, strategic options and conceptual challenges based on these different levels of engagement and the diverse tactical points of entry that they offer for transforming damaged relationships. Each respects the fundamental importance of context-specificity (and conflictspecificity), but also provocatively challenges us to think across contexts and different timeframes, about how we connect and reinforce diverse strategies and levels of engagement, and appreciate their potential cumulative effect.

Through this lens, there is great value in applying systems thinking to the field of reconciliation. This demands that practitioners move beyond the notion of working discretely or sequentially at different levels, or even multi-track engagement – important as this may be. Rather, it requires attention to the ‘connective tissue’ or ‘social fabric’ that connects and integrates these diverse engagements, and the spectrum of tactical points of entry within a wider understanding of reconciliation strategies as systemic and multi-faceted, as well as non-linear in both cause and effect.

Secondly, a systems-based approach to vertical and horizontal reconciliation challenges assumptions about a segmented temporal frame, which consigns reconciliation exclusively to phases of ‘post-conflict social reconstruction’, and which divorces reconciliation from other peacebuilding strategies.