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Philippines: Sec. Soliman meets with WFP exec to boost partnership

16 March 2015 - 11:37pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman met with World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin over the weekend to explore ways to further enhance the partnership of the Philippines and the WFP in disaster preparedness and support for communities in Central Mindanao. WFP Philippines Country Director Praveen Agrawal was also in the meeting.

The meeting was held in connection with the ongoing 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) at the Sendai Conference Center, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Sec. Soliman is the head of the Philippine Delegation to the conference and she also co-chairs the Working Session on Preparedness for Effective Response with Executive Director Cousin.

During the meeting, Sec. Soliman acknowledged the support of WFP to DSWD programs in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao and its immediate and ready assistance during Typhoons ‘Yolanda’ and ‘Hagupit.’

In the aftermath of these major Philippine disasters, WFP provided food and logistics support to some 2.9 million individuals. In the early phase of emergency, WFP distributed High Energy Biscuits (HEB) that helped sustain the nutritional needs of 95,000 children in typhoon-hit areas. On top of the HEBs, WFP also distributed some 20,000 metric tons of other food items.

WFP also provided emergency cash assistance of Php 1,300 or US$30 per family per month to some 101,038 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Regions VI and VIII. From November 2013 to October 2014, WFP has provided Php 262,438,800 or approximately US$6 million worth of cash assistance to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

For WFP’s support to conflict-affected areas in Central Mindanao, Sec. Soliman cited school feedings where WFP provided hot, nutritious meals to some 100,000 children in 350 public schools; nutrition support through the provision of micronutrient-fortified, ready-to-use food to bridge essential nutrient gaps among the most vulnerable children and women; livelihood support through Food and Cash-for-Assets Programme and Food/Cash-for Work where the most vulnerable populations are given food or cash in exchange for work on vital new infrastructure, or for time spent on learning new skills that will increase the food security of households or communities; and capacity building to enhance the capabilities of communities and government agencies on disaster preparedness and response.

Sec. Soliman said that WFP’s continuing support will boost national and local efforts to effectively and efficiently respond to the impact of disasters especially since the Philippines is affected by 20 typhoons a year and is exposed to earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and drought, among others.

The Secretary thanked WFP for recognizing the strong leadership of the Philippine government in disaster risk reduction and preparedness.

World: The impact of natural hazards and disasters on agriculture and food and nutrition security: a call for action to build resilient livelihoods

16 March 2015 - 10:55pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Kenya, Philippines, World

Agriculture bears major brunt of disaster impacts, new report says

FAO launches facility aimed at channeling technical expertise, financial resources towards resilience building

17 March 2015, Sendai, Japan - Nearly a quarter of damages wrought by natural disasters on the developing world are borne by the agricultural sector according to initial results from a new FAO study released here today at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Organization also announced the launch of a special facility aimed at helping countries better equip their food production sectors to reduce risk exposure, limit impacts, and be better prepared to cope with disasters.

Twenty-two percent of all damages inflicted by natural hazards such as drought, floods storms or tsunamis are registered within the agriculture sector, FAO's analysis of 78 post-disaster needs assessments in 48 developing countries spanning the 2003-2013 period shows.

These damages and losses are often incurred by poor rural and semi-rural communities without insurance and lacking the financial resources needed to regain lost livelihoods. Yet only 4.5 percent of post-disaster humanitarian aid in the 2003-2013 period targeted agriculture.

FAO's 22 percent figure represents only damages reported via post-disaster risk assessments, so while indicative of scale, the actual impact is likely even higher. To arrive at a closer estimate of the true financial cost of disasters to developing world agriculture FAO compared decreases in yields during and after disasters with yield trends in 67 countries affected by (at least one) medium- to larger-scale events between 2003 and 2013.

The final tally: $70 billion in damages to crops and livestock over that 10 year period.

Asia was the most affected region, with estimated losses adding up to $28 billion, followed by Africa at $26 billion.

"Agriculture and all that it encompasses is not only critical for our food supply, it also remains a main source of livelihoods across the planet. While it is a sector at risk, agriculture also can be the foundation upon which we build societies that are more resilient and better equipped to deal with disasters," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

"This is why building resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises is one of FAO's top priorities," he added.

New facility for disaster risk reduction in agriculture

To help countries better prepare for and respond to disasters affecting agriculture, FAO today launched a new facility aimed at channeling technical support to where it is most needed. The facility will work to mainstream disaster risk reduction in agriculture at all levels through diverse activities.

"With this new effort, we are aiming to limit peoples' exposure to risks, avoid or reduce impacts where possible, and enhance preparedness to respond quickly when disasters occur," said Graziano da Silva.

Studies have shown that for every one dollar spent on disaster risk reduction, as much as four dollars are returned in terms of avoided or diminished impacts, he noted.

The work of the new facility will be guided by FAO's Framework Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction for Food and Nutrition Security.

Agriculture remains a key sector

Worldwide, the livelihoods of 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture. These small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities generate more than half of global agricultural production and are particularly at risk from disasters that destroy or damage harvests, equipment, supplies, livestock, seeds, crops and stored food.

Beyond the obvious consequences on peoples' food security, the economies and development trajectories of entire regions and nations can be altered when disasters hit agriculture. The sector accounts for as much as 30 percent of national GDP in countries like Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, the Niger, among others.

There are also spill-over losses in agriculture-dependent subsectors, and significant consequences for trade flows. Countries surveyed experienced an increase in agriculture imports to the tune of $18.9 billion and a decrease in agriculture exports of $14.9 billion following natural disasters, between 2003 and 2013.

Key facts

From FAO's analysis of damages reported via needs assessments

  • Based only on reported damages in 78 post-disaster risk assessments in 48 countries, total damages of $140 billion reported (2003-2013) for all economic sectors - $30 billion were to agriculture (crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries).
  • When droughts occur, agriculture absorbs up to 84 percent of all economic impacts.
  • Within the agricultural sector, 42 percent of assessed losses were to crops ($13 billion) - with floods the main culprit responsible for 60 percent of crop damages followed by storms (23 percent of crop damages).
  • Livestock is the second most affected subsector after crops, accounting for 36 percent of all damage and losses, for a total of $11 billion during the 2003-2013 period.
  • Out of the 78 disasters assessed, 45 involved impacts to the fisheries subsector ($1.7 billion, or 6 percent all damages born by the agricultural sector). The lion's share - 70 percent - was caused by tsunamis, typically infrequent events. Storms such as hurricanes and typhoons account for roughly 16 percent of the economic impact on fisheries, followed by floods (10 percent).
  • The forestry sector incurred $737 million in damages and losses, representing 2.4 percent of the total for the agricultural sector.

From FAO's expanded analysis

  • FAO also compared decreases in yields during and after disasters with yield trends in 67 different countries affected by at least one medium- to larger-scale event between 2003 and 2013, in an expanded analysis.
  • Based on this expanded analysis, losses and damages to crops and livestock over that period are estimated to total $70 billion. Data gaps mean the total is likely higher still.
  • 82% of production losses were caused by drought (44 percent) and floods (39 percent).
  • Asia was the most affected region, with estimated losses adding up to $28 billion, followed by Africa at $26 billion.
  • In Africa, between 2003 and 2013 there were 61 drought years in Sub-Saharan Africa affecting 27 countries and 150 million people. FAO estimates that 77 percent of all agricultural production losses suffered worldwide due to drought occurred in those 27 Sub-Saharan countries, with losses adding up to $23.5 billion.


George Kourous
FAO Media Relations
(Currently in Sendai, Japan)
(+39) 06 570 53168
(+39) 348 141 6802

Liaison Office in Japan
(+81) 45-2221101

Vanuatu: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (10 - 16 Mar 2015)

16 March 2015 - 5:56am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Australia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Northern Mariana Islands (The United States of America), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Vanuatu


On 13 Mar, Tropical Cyclone Pam made landfall as an extremely powerful category 5 cyclone.
Preliminary reports indicate that 90 percent of the structures on Efate, the most populous island, are damaged or destroyed. All commercial flights in and out of Port Villa, the capital, are currently grounded, with only military flights landing.
The IFRC Emergency Plan of Action states that emerging information points to massive humanitarian needs covering all sectors including shelter, emergency health, WASH and livelihoods. The Government issued a formal appeal for international assistance.1

250 kmphsustained wind speed

90% estimated structural damage on Efate island


Tropical Cyclones Nathan and Pam have brought heavy rain and strong winds to coastal and highland provinces across the country. The Government estimates nearly 100,000 people are affected by flooding and strong winds. The Government has released over US$3 million for immediate relief assistance to those communities where food gardens, cash crops, and infrastructure were damaged.2

100,000 people affected


As of 13 Mar, nearly 65,000 people remain displaced because of continued insecurity, primarily in Maguindanao Province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Of these, over 56,000 people are staying in 44 evacuation centers. This marks a 20 percent decrease in displacement from the figure of 82,000 reported in 5 Mar. To date, the Government has provided over US$500,000 worth of relief assistance. 3

65,000 people displaced

44 evacuation centers


The Ag Da Kung, a public ferry travelling from Kyaukpyu to Sittwe, sank on the night of 13 Mar near Myebon, Rakhine State. Media reports indicate that167 passengers were rescued, while 32 people have been confirmed dead with dozens more still listed as missing.
The Myanmar Navy is conducting rescue operations, with the Myanmar Red Cross and other organizations assisting local authorities in the response.4

32 people killed


On 12 Mar, a cement factory that was under construction collapsed, killing eight people and injuring 41. The factory was located in Mongla Port, a city in Bagerhat district. Both the District Administration and the responsible construction company have provided compensation to the victims.5


Tropical Storm Bavi has just passed over the island of Guam. There were no reports of damages. The storm is expected to further weaken to a tropical depression as it makes its way towards the northern Philippines.6


Tropical Storm Nathan is a Category 1 cyclone located off the northeast coast of Australia. It is projected to weaken to a tropical depression and turn back towards the city of Cairns. There are fears that this storm will bring further heavy rain to areas recently battered by Tropical Cyclone Pam.7

Other ongoing emergencies:

Philippines: Zamboanga crisis

Myanmar: Rakhine crisis

Myanmar: Kachin crisis

Philippines: Japan emergency rehab assistance help townsfolk

16 March 2015 - 2:07am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Japan, Philippines

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, 13 March (PIA6) – At least four kinds of Japan – based emergency and rehabilitation assistance were received by the municipal government of Panay in the aftermath of supertyphoon Yolanda in the province.

This was revealed by Panay town mayor Dante Bermejo in an interaction with local mediamen during the ceremonial turnover of 5,800 sacks of rice from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries to the Philippine government thru the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) at Panay town civic center.

The allocation for Panay town is part of the 580 metric tons of Japan rice that will also be apportioned to supertyphoon victims in the towns of Balete, Aklan and Carles in Iloilo.

“First foreign responders in the municipality after Yolanda are volunteers of Japanese Heart who went down the community level to attend to the immediate medical needs of the residents especially on the town’s coastal and island barangays,” Bermejo noted.

The municipal chief executive added that a Japanese corporation Toshiba Information Philippines also conducted relief operation and rehabilitation activities like boat building and construction of communal septic tanks.

About 70 qualified households in Panay are also among the recipients in the province of the Japanese and national government funded UN Habitat core shelter units.

Aside from the Japan – based assistance, the town is also a beneficiary of assistance from Philippine Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Operation, Capiz Archdiocesan Social Action Center, International Organization for Migration, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) Foundation, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Program, other international humanitarian groups as well as foundations and concerned government agencies.

The mayor has attributed the inclusion of the town in the various assistance to the municipal government’s persistence and networking in sourcing out external help for the immediate and rehabilitation needs of the residents. (JSC/AAL-PIA6 Capiz)

Philippines: NDRRMC SitRep No.3 Internally Displaced Persons due to Series of Armed Conflicts in Mindanao

15 March 2015 - 9:55am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines


At 5:25 PM, 09 February 2015, a Rido incident between Nayang Timan and Giman Saligan broke out at Sito Tatak, Kalbugan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao. On February 19, 2015, the incident has escalated and affected Barangays Darampua and Masulot, Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao

On February 27, 2015, at 8:00 AM, a joint operation was conducted by PNP, Philippine Army and Philippine Marines against BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) in the Municipality of Datu Unsay

Philippines: Philippines: Disaster Risk Reduction Saves Lives In Laguna

14 March 2015 - 7:29am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

By Anthony Chase Lim

The province of Laguna, located a mere 30 kilometres outside the Philippines’ capital of Manila, is exposed to a multitude of hazards, the primary of which is flooding. The overflow from Laguna de Bay − the province’s largest lake – and inland rivers turn the farmlands into vast bodies of water due to heavy downpours, worsened by improper waste management. Over the years, flooding has damaged property, livelihoods, and the lives of the residences of the province.

In 2011, the World Food Programme (WFP) began its Disaster Preparedness and Response/Climate Change Adaptation Programme (DPR/CCA) Programme in disaster-prone provinces such as Laguna to help reduce the risks of such hazards.

Establishing Emergency Response Teams

The Province of Laguna was one of the first local government units (LGUs) at the provincial level to partner with WFP for their disaster risk reduction management programme. Valentin Guidote Jr., Head of the Laguna Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), and his team looked to address the various challenges that the LGU had encountered time and time again during previous disasters.

“One problem we had prior to the programme was a streamlined response,” Valentin stated. “Although we had all the necessary equipment and had undergone a few trainings, we still had shortcomings in terms of response, especially at the municipal and barangay level.”

The communities of Laguna were used to being dependent on the PDRRMO to respond to disasters because of the lack of capacity at the municipal and barangay levels. The PDRRMO recognized this hurdle and looked to address it through the DPR/CCA Programme.

“We conducted various training of trainers (TOT) on vital capacity-building topics such as Camp Management, Contingency Planning, Geographic Information Systems, Damage and Needs Assessments, and Simulation Exercises. As members of the PDRRMO, we learned how to best utilize this knowledge for various emergency and disaster scenarios,” explained Valentin.

Recognizing that the first responders will always be the local government units, from the municipalities to the barangays, the PDRRMO proposed the TOT to improve knowledge across all levels so that they are equipped with the capacity and know-how to respond to any situation.

“The goal of the PDRRMO for the TOTs was to build an emergency response team for each locality. We wanted to establish a 911 system for the province and a hierarchy of response with the barangay being the first on location. If this proves to be a difficult task, the municipal LGU will then step in. We wanted to equip them with the capacity, so that we will only be involved in larger-scale emergencies.”

At present, this system has worked very well for the province. Coupled with information and education campaigns (IEC), the death tolls of recent emergencies has been drastically reduced.

“In some of the recent emergencies, we have been successful in achieving our goal of no casualties. In contrast to previous disasters, the norm was about 12-25 deaths,” said Valentin. “Thanks to this initiative as well as to various other projects and activities conducted through the DPR/CCA Programme, we have increased Laguna’s capacity to better prepare for and respond to disasters.”

Utilizing Solid Waste Management And Recycling To Reduce Risks

Alongside the Province of Laguna, two municipalities were selected to partake in the first year of the DPR/CCA Programme: Mabitac and Pila.

The municipality of Mabitac is a flood-prone community due to its catch basin role for its neighbouring municipalities.

“We experience about six to eight flooding occurrences each year, and because Mabitac is a fifth class municipality, it was very challenging for the municipal LGU to address the needs of the people during these situations due to lack of resources,” said Norbert “Norby” Tubana, Mabitac’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer. “Despite our best efforts, we could not provide them with the help they needed, the help they deserved.”

Before the LGU identified the projects to be implemented through the programme, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) conducted assessments to determine Mabitac’s hazards and risks. It was through these assessments that improper solid waste management was identified as a large contributor to the flooding within the municipality. In response, the MDRRMC proposed to improve the municipality’s existing Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), not only to promote waste segregation and proper disposal, but to recycle materials into items which can be used by the community members. Through the programme, WFP provided various equipment such as an organic waste shredder and a bricket making machine to further enhance the MRF’s capability.

“We knew that improving the MRF would be the solution to our waste disposal troubles, but we understood that without the community’s participation, it would just be another structure,” stated Norbert. “We then rolled out IECs. The IEC would be the perfect means of conveying this new project to the people of Mabitac that has guidelines on solid waste management such as proper waste segregation and where and when to dispose of the garbage.”

Designated areas and pick-up times were introduced to the residents of Mabitac as well as a small incentive to jumpstart the project.

“Getting the project rolling wasn't easy because people weren't about to suddenly start doing something they haven’t done before, so we gave them a temporary incentive: for every 60 kg of used plastic we collected, we gave them 1 kg of rice,” Norbert shared.

In the months that followed, the project became a success with members of the community segregating their solid waste. The MDRRMC then began to slowly phase out the rice incentive. “We wanted the people to realize that they are getting far more than rice when they participate, they are reducing their risks and saving their lives and livelihoods in the process. Now that there are no more incentives for the project, people still actively participate. It has become innate; proper waste segregation and disposal are now a habit,” said Norbert.

The MRF has also benefitted the community thanks to the products it produces. Paper charcoal bricks and plastic-induced hollow blocks for building were made available for the public to purchase, and these products are priced cheaper than their commercial counterparts. The price, however, does not speak for the quality of the items. In fact, the hollow blocks produced at the MRF are not only cheaper, but are larger and stronger as well. The LGU also practices what it preaches by using the MRF products for community projects such as fencing as well as in "clean and green" campaigns.

More than commercial benefits, however, the MRF has been an effective means of reducing the risk of flooding in Mabitac. “Simply put, the MRF and our other disaster risk reduction management efforts under the DPR/CCA Programme have been a success. If it used to take months for flood water to subside; now it only takes a few hours, if it even floods at all! We are grateful to WFP for their assistance. All these projects would not be possible for our municipality if it weren’t for the DPR/CCA Programme,” Norbert narrated.

Changing Mind Sets

The municipality of Pila has also been plagued by flooding. But in contrast to Mabitac, Pila’s troubles are largely caused by its various rivers which flow through the municipality, the largest of which is the Bulusukan river.

Under the watch of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer Jerome Carillo, Pila has implemented various high-impact, small-scale community projects throughout their partnership with WFP, including a few addressing the vulnerabilities of the Bulusukan River, such as rapid siltation resulting to the river’s lower water holding capacity.

With disaster preparedness in mind, the MDRRMC proposed to de-silt the river in order to increase its water holding capacity. Initially, this was to be done through the use of heavy equipment and machinery. However, to maximize the funding of USAID/OFDA channelled through WFP, as well as the LGU’s contributed funds, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Cash-for-Work Programme was sought. By utilizing the Cash-for-Work programme, locals of Pila were given temporary work while helping to improve their municipality. This also meant that the savings could be used for other disaster risk reduction projects.

One such activity was the planting of vetiver grass along the Bulusukan River. With roots that grow up to 3 metres in length, vetiver grass aided in stabilizing the soil surrounding the river and slowed down the siltation and erosion process.

To assist the LGU in improving its resource management during times of emergencies, WFP and Pila’s MDRRMC tapped the Ateneo Innovations Center to set up a Solar Rainwater Harvesting System.

“The harvesting system has greatly benefitted our community. During times of disasters, the water collected by it serves as a key source of potable water for evacuees,” Jerome explained. “The percentage of the LGU’s DRR funds that we are able to save is reallocated for other expenses for the evacuees such as food and other important commodities.”

Jerome, who has worked with the community for five years, has seen first-hand how the community’s mentality on DRR has greatly improved.

“It used to be very difficult for us to get the residents to evacuate. Even though a lot of them have experienced numerous disasters in the past, they simply refuse to leave their property due to the fear of having their belongings stolen,” recalled Jerome.

But thanks to IECs, the people of Pila now have a better understanding of the importance of the LGU’s DRR activities, including the implementation of pre-emptive evacuation.

“They now know that saving their lives is much more important than material objects. They have seen the difference that pre-emptive evacuation makes, and because we have equipped them with the know-how on what to do before disasters, they ensure that their belongings are also taken cared of when reports of an impending storm are announced.”

The LGU has also taken steps to ensuring the sustainability of their DRR efforts.

“Recently, the Sanguniang Bayan has approved Pila’s request to create and institutionalize my position as Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer, so Pila now joins the only two cities within Laguna to have this position, and becomes the first fourth class municipality in the fourth district of Laguna to have such a post,” Jerome said proudly. “It is a huge step because this ensures the longevity and sustainability of Pila’s DRR efforts and strengthens us further to reach our zero casualty goal!”

Harnessing Scientific Technology For Better DRR

In 2012, the second year of the DPR/CCA Programme, WFP began to broaden the scope of the programme by tapping other local key stakeholders such as academic institutions. In Laguna, WFP asked the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) campus to take the DRR-related scientific technology it developed to the local communities.

University Researcher Associate Thaddeus Lawas of the School of Environmental Science and Management at UPLB has been the co-head of the team which has implemented the DPR/CCA Programme in the province for three years.

Thaddeus’s interest in DRR was sparked when his family’s house was flooded during the downpour of Typhoon Xangsane, locally known as Milenyo, in 2006.

“I was really inspired to do more, so when we were approached by WFP, I saw it as an opportunity to do better, both on a personal level as well as from an academic standpoint,” shared Thaddeus. And it was this motivation that led Thaddeus and his team to utilize UPLB’s DRR-applicable scientific technology across the province.

One piece of technology which has been of great use to the communities has been the Automatic Weather Stations. Traditionally, LGUs relied on national or regional sources for weather updates, but this information is not often an accurate representation of the specific conditions of municipalities, making it harder for communities to coordinate their preparedness and response efforts. The solar-powered Automatic Weather Station has addressed this by providing LGUs with the capability to monitor a multitude of information such as wind speed, temperature, humidity, and rainfall, among others.

“The installation of the automatic weather systems in the municipalities is a very important step in DRR. UPLB has provided the LGUs with their own "weather bureau". The LGUs and their respective communities now have real-time information. Through the data that the LGUs collects, they can create their own observations and weather patterns which they can use as references for the future,” said Thaddeus.

Furthermore, these Automatic Weather Systems have been linked to the LGU’s Early Warning System. Alongside flood level sensors and sirens, the Automatic Weather Systems' information feeds into the Early Warning System which is then broadcasted to the community. Each alarm signifies a response to do early preparations or conduct evacuations.

UPLB has also developed IEC materials for a wide variety of audiences in Laguna, and for Cagayan, another DPR/CCA Programme area, including various videos, radio plug-ins, and even an interactive CD covering topics on preparedness and response. But the University is looking to push the boundaries and make this information readily available on smart phones.

“We’re at the age of the smart phones, and we know it’s a platform which we can tap in order to spread the message and importance of DRR,” stated Thaddeus. “We are currently looking into developing an application version of the interactive CD which can be downloaded on iOS and Android operating systems. To have such important information before, during, and after emergencies is an important tool which can save lives.”

UPLB has also conducted a documentation of the best practices from the first year of implementation of the DPR/CCA Programme in Laguna and Cagayan province, and this study will serve as a valuable source of information for future DRR efforts.

“We really want to empower communities. Our goal is to build communities and push boundaries. We want to minimize casualties and save livelihoods and especially lives.”

Since 2011, WFP has been helping build resilience in the Philippines with innovative, high-impact projects across 10 provinces, 40 municipalities, seven cities, and partnering with nine academic institutions and eight non-government organizations. The DPR/CCA Programme is supported by the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, private partner Yum! and in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Office of Civil Defense.

Bangladesh: Countries in Asia and the Pacific move forward with ecologically sustainable intensification of aquaculture to help feed a rapidly growing, fish-consuming world

14 March 2015 - 5:29am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam

Six countries in Asia are taking the lead in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to deliver “blue growth” – a regional initiative which aims to promote the intensification of aquaculture production in an ecological and sustainable way, FAO officials announced today.

The six countries, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam are taking the lead to pilot plans to upgrade aquaculture in order to help meet the food security needs of a growing global population – expected to top nine billion people by 2050.

“The work of these six countries in this regional initiative, and their outcomes, will be pivotal in finding ways to increase food production sustainably – something we must do in the course of the next generation – if we are to meet the needs and expectations of a seafood-hungry planet,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative.

“FAO predicts that by 2050 the world will need to increase food production by an average of 60 percent globally and 77 percent in developing countries,” Konuma said. “Changing diets are also increasing demand for more fish. But further intensification of aquaculture must be ecologically sustainable – we must achieve ‘Blue Growth’.”

Asia-Pacific is the world’s most important source of aquaculture production. Countries in the region contribute about 90 percent of the world’s aquaculture production. It is also critical to the diets of people and food production in the region, accounting for about 60 percent of fish for human consumption and 20 percent of animal food.

Due to the foreseeable population and economic growth across the Asia-Pacific region, demand for fish will continue to increase in the coming decades. It is estimated an additional 30 million tonnes of fish will be needed in order to meet the increasing demand for fish in the region as well as the global market.

With the stagnant production from capture fisheries, further growth of aquaculture in Asia-Pacific is considered as the most feasible way to meet such increasing demand. But past intensification of aquaculture has resulted in damage to the environment – mistakes that must not be repeated in a new round of intensification

“Considering the increasing scarcity of aquaculture resources, and rapidly increasing demands particularly for water and land and competition in their uses in the future, it would be impossible to achieve significant growth of aquaculture production in most Asian countries without intensification of aquaculture in environmentally sound and sustainable ways.” said Konuma.

World: USAID/OFDA Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programs in East Asia and The Pacific (30 September 2014)

14 March 2015 - 4:27am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, World

East Asia and The Pacific – Disaster Risk Reduction Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2014

World: East Asia and The Pacific – Disaster Risk Reduction Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2014

14 March 2015 - 4:21am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Mongolia, Myanmar, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United States of America, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, World


 The 32 countries that comprise the EAP region have varying climates, levels of development and capacity, and vulnerabilities to hazards. Many countries in the region undergo seasonal periods of increased hydrometeorological activity, experiencing cyclones and monsoon rains, which can increase the risk of floods and landslides and result in significant damage. Several EAP countries situated along the Pacific Ring of Fire experience volcanic activity, as well as earthquakes and associated tsunamis. In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA continued to respond to disasters and support DRR programs that strengthen the ability of communities, governments, businesses, and other actors to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

 USAID/OFDA has focused DRR activities in the region on strategic, context-specific programs designed to meet particular risk reduction needs in each country, with capacity building as a consistent theme throughout all programs. In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA continued scaling up implementation of this strategic approach through a number of new initiatives while maintaining several regional programs that complement country-specific activities and align with the overall goal to build region-wide capacity. USAID/OFDA provided approximately $38.4 million in FY 2014 for DRR projects throughout EAP, including programs that integrate DRR with disaster response.

World: Liaison Magazine Vol. VII Spring 2015: Connecting the dots - Partnership for a stronger community

14 March 2015 - 4:08am
Source: Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Country: Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, World

The Director’s Letter

Col. Joseph Martin, USAF

Welcome to the most recent edition of Liaison magazine. It is a great honor to lead the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DMHA), and I am proud to present this edition of our magazine to the disaster management community. As a Department of Defense organization,
CFE-DMHA is uniquely postured to provide the conduit between the disaster management communities within the military, U.S. and international government agencies, and the range of nongovernmental organizations.
We take that responsibility seriously, and this magazine is one of those vessels.
Since arriving CFE-DMHA in May of 2014, I have gained a much broader appreciation for the interaction of the world community in both disaster preparedness and response.
This magazine provides a forum by which the world’s practitioners can share their experiences and research to provide to the greater good. It is often heard that we have a lot of lessons observed, but not a lot of lessons learned. Perhaps something in this issue will resolve an issue for you.
Or better yet, perhaps your experience can help others not to repeat the same experience you had. Share… learn…improve.
Under the contextual heading of “Connecting the Dots…Partnerships for a stronger community,” this issue pulls in the experiences of on-theground practitioners in the Indian Ocean Tsunami, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and Super Typhoon Haiyan. It blends key articles on creating organizations, partnership improvement, and even the use of technologies, with the single goal of saving lives and alleviating suffering.
You, the practitioner, have the opportunity to incorporate these lessons now, before the next disaster occurs.
The next issue of the Liaison is already under development and will focus on challenges in civil-military coordination. Through your experience, research and lessons learned, that edition promises to bring to the disaster management community an in-depth look at how these two communities have evolved and continue to improve in our coordinated activities, in support of our common goals.
It is not too late to contribute to that issue, or to provide suggestions for future versions.
Please visit our website at to learn more about our mission and partnership oppurtunities.

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 460, 10 March 2015

13 March 2015 - 7:39am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Australia, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia (France), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam

Northern Hemisphere

China (No Update)

The cumulative number of reported dengue cases in 2014 was 47,331. This is about ten times and eighty times higher compared with the number in 2013 and 2012 respectively due to the dengue outbreak in Guangdong in end of 2014. In January 2015, 19 dengue cases were reported. This number is one-tenth of the previous month (December 2015), and almost the same as the same period in 2013 and 2012


As of 28 February 2015, the total number of dengue cases reported in 2015 was 23,966. This is 46% higher compared with the same reporting period of 2014 (n=16,383) (Figure 2).

Philippines (No Update)

As of 24 January 2015, the total number of cases reported in the Philippines is decreasing in this 3 weeks, and the cumulative number of reported cases in 2015 is 40% lower than for the same period in 2014 (Figure 3).

Philippines: ARMM to spend P12M per week on food assistance for IDPs

13 March 2015 - 2:05am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, March 13 (PIA) --- The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) would be spending at least P12 million a week on food packs to support families displaced in the ongoing military offensive in Maguindanao, which have been growing since fighting started in February 25.

ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART) reported a total of 14, 517 displaced families or 72, 585 persons in the eleven affected towns in the province as of 10 March.

Affected towns include Mamasapano, Datu Salibo, Shariff Saidona Mustapaha, Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Talayan, Datu Anggal, Midtimbang, Guindulungan, Datu Unsay, Talitay and Rajah Buayan.

The ARMM has already carried out two humanitarian missions to bring food and medical assistance to the thousands of evacuees, who rely mainly on relief assistance for food.

Amir Mawallil, executive director of ARMM’s Bureau of Public Information, said each food pack, which contains rations of rice, sardines and noodles, costs P450 and sustains a family for three days.

A family of evacuees, he said, needs at least two food packs a week to get by.

Mawallil said this means that the ARMM government would need to spend at least P12 million on food assistance alone to support 14, 517 displaced families.

The figure does not take include the cost of other forms of assistance and the logistics.

The region’s first relief operation on 03 March catered a total of 9, 434 displaced families. On Wednesday, all 14, 517 displaced families were targeted for relief.(Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)

World: Asia Pacific Food Price and Policy Monitor, February 2015 - Issue 18

13 March 2015 - 12:26am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, World


  • Regional inflation edged downward in January to 3.3 percent from 3.4 percent in December, while food inflation picked up to 4.7 percent compared to 4.3 during the same period.

  • Vegetable prices spiked in India because of extreme cold weather and unexpected rains in December. Wheat prices rose 11.8 percent, supported by increased minimum support prices.

  • Soybean prices fell 11.2 percent in Myanmar on increased imports and new harvest arrival.

  • Vegetable prices began to ease in Pakistan partially because of lower fuel prices and transportation costs.

  • Thailand has opened a tender to sell 1 million tonnes of rice from its stocks.

  • Viet Nam has further cut its rice minimum export price because ample supplies and increased international competition have driven prices down in global markets.

  • Russia has imposed an export tax on wheat from 1 February to 30 June to stabilize domestic prices.

Philippines: NDRRMC SitRep No.2 Internally Displaced Persons due to Series of Armed Conflicts in Mindanao

12 March 2015 - 8:45pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines


At 5:45 PM, 09 February 2015, a Rido incident between Nayang Timan and Giman Saligan broke out at Sito Tatak, Kalbugan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao. On February 19, 2015, the incident has escalated and affected Barangays Darampua and Masulot, Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao

On February 27, 2015, at 8:00 AM, a joint operation was conducted by PNP, Philippine Army and Philippine Marines against BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) in the Municipality of Datu Unsay

Philippines: DSWD extends P22.6-M worth of aid for evacuees of armed conflict

12 March 2015 - 8:18am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Department of Social Welfare and Development

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released, as of March 10, a total of P22,661,450 worth of food packs and non-food items to assist families affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

This includes family food packs; non-food items such as mats made of water lily, water jugs, laminated sacks, and malong.

DSWD-Field Office XII released these relief supplies either through the DSWD-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or through concerned local government units (LGUs) as well as through the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) – Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

DSWD also continues to closely monitor the situation of families in the nine towns of Maguindanao and the town of Pikit in North Cotabato.

A total of 16,420 families or 82,100 persons were affected by the continuing armed conflict in the towns of Datu Salibo, Pagalungan, Shariff Saydona, Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Raja Buayan, Datu Hoffer, and Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

Of the total, 11,269 families or 56,345 persons are staying in 44 evacuation centers set-up by the LGUs. The number of evacuation centers is down from 49 since the armed conflicts started. Affected families staying outside evacuation centers are also being assisted.

Breakdown of affected families per municipality are:

Datu Salibo with 2,268 families composed of 11,340 persons;

Pagalungan with 1,820 families or 9,100 persons
Shariff Saydona with 1,864 families or 9,320 persons;
Mamasapano with 4,297 families composed of 21,485 persons;
Datu Unsay with 224 families or 1,120 persons;
Shariff Aguak with 1,381 families or 6,905 persons;
Raja Buayan with 255 families or 1,275 persons;
Datu Hoffer with 49 families or 245 persons;
Datu Saudi Ampatuan with 1,062 families with 5,310 persons; and
Pikit with 3,200 families or 16,000 persons.

Likewise, DSWD Field Office XII has released 1,100 additional family food packs for distribution to the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) through CCCH- OPAPP.

“Our DSWD Field Office XII is working closely with the concerned LGUs and DSWD-ARMM for the speedy and safe delivery of the goods as well as for additional augmentation assistance, as necessary,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

Philippines: Speaking up: indigenous voices in the Philippines’ peace process

12 March 2015 - 1:46am
Source: Peace Direct Country: Philippines

March 8 2015: Nerea Bilbatua tells the story of Froilyn Mendoza, and her struggles and successes as a peacebuilder. Froilyn was chosen to represent the Teduray, an indigenous tribal group, at the Philippines peace talks. Froilyn's voice is special not only because it is the voice of a woman, but it is the voice of a young, minority indigenous woman in the Philippines peace talks in a largely patriarchal society.

When Froilyn Mendoza was growing up in a small village in Mindanao, in the southern Philippines, she never imagined she would end up representing her people in a national peace process.

Froilyn is a Teduray woman. The Teduray are one of the 18 major indigenous tribal groups in Mindanao. Froilyn’s father was the first Teduray municipal secretary, and her mother was a schoolteacher.

Although traditionally girls’ education was not a priority among the Teduray – as girls usually drop out of school early to help their families – Froilyn’s parents encouraged her to study.

“I was very fortunate, the other women of my tribe were often not even able to read and write. They had to take care of the family, children or work in the fields.”

After Froilyn finished college, she became involved in the community women’s organisation her mother had set up. By working tirelessly, she became a well-respected member of her community.

Along with many others, Froilyn and the Teduray have been severely affected by the long conflict in Mindanao between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF). As Froilyn says:

“We’ve had 40 years of war, we’ve not developed because we’ve always been confronted with the conflict. I now want my children to live without fear.”

Throughout the last four decades, the Teduray have been marred by marginalisation, deprivation and violence. Indigenous people represent only around 10% of the population in the predominantly Muslim region of Bangsamoro. Being agriculturalists, the Teduray feel a strong attachment to their land. However, their ancestral lands are part of the territory claimed by the MILF.

In 2012, after more than a decade of peace talks, the possibility of a peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF got closer. The Philippines Government invited the Teduray to nominate one representative to participate in the talks. They chose Froilyn. She became a part of the new Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

Froilyn was daunted by the huge responsibility she faced. “I never thought I would be selected. I didn’t ask for this, and I didn’t know if I could do it. I was so worried. How would I explain the indigenous peoples’ claims, to the MILF and to the Philippines Government? It’s not easy.”

At the same time, she was clear that this was how she could serve her community: “When I hear my children praying that my meetings will end soon, I explain to them that I am serving our people – we are the only ones who understand our own pledge and we have to stand by ourselves”.

Being a young, minority indigenous woman in the peace talks, in a largely patriarchal society, was not easy:

“I encountered resistance to the positions I was defending on behalf of my people. I had to make an effort to explain why these issues were important, and often felt unrecognised. For me, this was an opportunity to make sure that the rights of the Teduray and other indigenous groups would be included in the peace agreement, because the results of the negotiations will shape the life of the Teduray.”

Froilyn heads the Teduray-Lambangian Women’s Organisation, one of the eight partners of an EU-funded project run by UK-based NGO Conciliation Resources. The project supports civil society in Mindanao to actively participate in the transition of the Bangsamoro to a new self-governing entity, following the signing of a peace agreement in March 2014.

“This project has given me invaluable skills and confidence. It has provided me, and other indigenous women, with a platform to actively participate in the peace process. It is the first time for us indigenous women to travel to Manila, ride in a plane and talk with high-ranking officials in the Senate and Congress. We are now confident to be interviewed by the media, and present our views to the public.”

Froilyn has ensured that the perspectives, experiences and aspirations of her people, and other indigenous groups, are included in the peace agreement and the governance structures for the new autonomous region. As she puts it: “this work has enabled the voices of indigenous groups to be heard”. Through her parents’ example and support, through the respect of the community towards her and through the support of Conciliation Resources, Froilyn has played a key role in one of the most innovative peace processes of the last decades.

Building peace in Mindanao through public participation in governance

The EU is funding this three-year project (2013-2016) run by Conciliation Resources, which is aimed at:

  1. Contributing to the drafting of a Basic Law for the Bangsamoro to ensure it responds to the needs and aspirations of all sectors of society.
  2. Promoting community security through dialogue in conflict-affected areas.
  3. Developing initiatives for dealing with the past, to heal the wounds of war and promote reconciliation for a better future for all.

The project brings together eight organisations representing diverse sectors of society, including women, youth, business, indigenous people, academe and the MILF. By working together the project partners have demonstrated the possibility and power of constructive collaboration and peaceful coexistence, in a country that has suffered long term violence since the times of Spanish and American colonisation.

Nerea Bilbatua is a Peace Historian at the Cambodian-based Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS).

Philippines: 'Stronger' storms feared as dry spell forecast in Philippines

11 March 2015 - 7:17am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | | Wednesday 3/11/2015 - 10:05 GMT

The disaster-haunted Philippines is likely to be hit by stronger typhoons this year as warming ocean surfaces contribute to a dry spell, the state weather service warned Wednesday.

The Asian archipelago, whipped by about 20 typhoons and storms each year, is now in the grips of the "El Nino" phenomenon that can make storms "stronger" and more "erratic", weather service chief Vicente Malano said.

"El Nino may cause the behaviour of tropical cyclones to become erratic, affecting (their) tracks and intensity," he said in an advisory, adding that the same number of storms are expected.

"The tropical cyclone tracks are expected to shift northward and (their) intensity could become stronger," Malano said.

Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever to hit land, left more than 7,350 people dead or missing in central regions of the Philippines in November 2013 as it dumped tsunami-like waves on coastlines, wiping out entire towns.

Philippine officials have blamed climate change for increasing the ferocity of recent typhoons, causing them to strike even outside the traditional rainy season of June-September and to hit once largely-untouched areas.

"El Nino" refers to the abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical sections of the Pacific Ocean every three to five years.

The phenomenon, which the weather service said it began observing last December, leads to drier-than-average conditions on one side of the Pacific and wetter ones on the opposite coast.


© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: Strengthening Disaster Preparedness in the Philippines

11 March 2015 - 12:56am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

It must have seemed like history was repeating itself when just over a year after Typhoon Yolanda caused catastrophic damage in the Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) first alerted the population to another oncoming Typhoon. Predicted to take the same path as Yolanda, Typhoon Ruby was gaining strength as it slowly twisted its way west across the Pacific ocean towards the east coast of the Philippines.

Since Typhoon Yolanda, WFP has been working in close coordination with a number of actors in order to strengthen emergency response capabilities and improve preparedness for upcoming typhoons. As lead agency of the Logistics Cluster, WFP engages private sector partners such as those who form the Logistics Emergency Team (LET). The LET consists of representatives from private sector logistics companies such as UPS, Agility and Maersk with the purpose of providing logistical expertise and in-kind services and equipment during an emergency.

Since its initiation of the LET, the Logistics Cluster has been providing emergency response training to LET members to broaden the capacity of support that can be called upon during emergencies. In 2013, the LET deployed staff members to the Yolanda response, provided warehousing for storage of inter-agency relief items, supplied equipment to support airport and port operations and allocated a team of experts to assist in the government-led operations in Tacloban.

On 1 December 2014, a year after Typhoon Yolanda and hours prior to the announcement of oncoming Typhoon Ruby, 22 LET member national and regional logistics managers based in the Asia region were taking part in a training event in Manila. After Typhoon Ruby made landfall in Eastern Samar province on 6 December, eight LET staff members, four of which had only just completed the training, were quickly involved from their local branches within the Philippines to help pro-vide logistics information, support and transportation services.

In partnership with the Government of the Philippines, WFP has also been helping to address operational bottlenecks and capacity limitations identified during the Yolanda response and share lessons learned. Through generous support from a variety of donors, WFP has implemented a range of projects and initiatives and is currently working to establish a network of Government Disaster Response Centres located throughout the country, where prepositioned relief items and operational support equipment will be based. In addition, WFP is working in close cooperation with the government to develop a training package for government staff focusing on emergency response logistics and supply chains.

This inter-agency approach has proven again the effectiveness of a coordinated and cooperated response of various actors and support provided, including to the Government of the Philippines, who was commended for its response to Typhoon Ruby. Now that Ruby has passed and the recovery process to repair the damage has been long underway, preparedness for the next typhoon will continue.

Author: Lucy Styles

Lucy is an Information Management Officer, based at WFP's Headquarters in Rome where she works with the Logistics Cluster.

Philippines: DILG launches new disaster preparedness protocols for LGUs

11 March 2015 - 12:55am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, March 11 (PIA) - - The Depatment of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) here yesterday launched a new protocols or procedures for local government units in a bid to strengthen Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) program in the municipal and barangay levels.

Dubbed ‘Operation ‘Listo’, the program consists of disaster preparedness manuals that contains procedures on the courses of actions that need to be done by Local Chief Executives (LCEs) before, during and after the occurrence of disasters and calamities in their respective areas or communities.

“Our LCEs will be carrying out a set of critical preparedness actions towards risk reduction management in times of disasters and calamities,” said Atty. Rolynne Javier, DILG chief.

The Operation ‘Listo’ program offers a set of procedures for low risk, medium risk and high risk preparedness among LCEs and its allied community organizations and agencies.

It also involves the establishment of typhoon information boards in the LGUs which contains user-friendly information towards disaster preparedness.

During the launching of the program at the Ammungan Hall, provincial capitol in this town, more than 100 LGU officials and employees signed up to the pledge of commitment for the Operation ‘Listo’ program. (ALM/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)

Philippines: Stories of Impact: Building Disaster Resilience in the Philippines

10 March 2015 - 11:26pm
Source: World Bank, GFDRR Country: Philippines


• The World Bank and GFDRR are supporting the Government of the Philippines as it strengthens its financial resilience toward disasters and scales up its commitment to disaster risk management (DRM). As part of this effort, the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophic Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT-DDO) provides the Government with up to $500 million in rapid liquidity in the aftermath of natural disasters.

• Developed with World Bank and GFDRR support, the Manila Flood Risk Master Plan includes cost prioritization proposals and adaptive measures to make the city and its 21 million residents safe from flood risks. The Government has confirmed funding to implement this plan over the next 25 years, at an estimated cost of $6-8 billion, demonstrating its long-term commitment to DRM.