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Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 08 re Preparedness Measures for Mt. Bulusan

21 June 2015 - 1:23pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Alert Level Status

a) Alert Level 1 (Abnormal) remains in effect over Bulusan Volcano. This indicates that hydrothermal processes may be underway beneath the volcano that may lead to more steam-driven eruptions.

Philippines: Philippines takes precautions as volcano turns lively

21 June 2015 - 4:12am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | AFP | Tuesday 6/16/2015 - 06:36 GMT

The Philippines has stockpiled food supplies in case of evacuations after a volcano emitted ash and smoke six times in recent weeks, officials said Sunday.

In addition to the emergency food packs, authorities are closely watching communities near Bulusan volcano 390 kilometres (243 miles) southeast of Manila, said presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma.

The latest emissions came on Friday, with two other eruptions earlier last week.

"The government continues to monitor the behaviour of Mount Bulusan... so we can safeguard the welfare of about 34,000 affected residents in 22 villages and five towns," said Coloma.

The government volcano monitoring institute said that so far, the emissions have been caused by groundwater mixing with hot rocks inside the 1,565-metre (5,134-foot) volcano.

These "phreatic eruptions" have sent ash and smoke into the air, covering the volcano's slopes and nearby towns, said Winchelle Ian Sevilla, the officer heading a team monitoring Bulusan.

He said that as long as people stay out of the four-kilometre "danger zone" around Bulusan, they would not be hurt by any falling rocks.

Aircraft have also been warned to avoid Bulusan in case of a sudden ejection of ash.

Despite the activity Sevilla said there was no sign magma was rising inside the volcano, indicating there was no impending eruption of lava.

Bulusan's last destructive eruptions were from November 2010 to February 2011, eventually forcing hundreds of villagers to evacuate. There were no reports of casualties or damage.

The Philippines is located in the seismically-active Pacific "Ring of Fire" and has over 20 active volcanoes.

str-mm/sm

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: Disaster council wants integration of DRR-CCA in school curriculum

21 June 2015 - 2:24am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Oliver T. Baccay

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, June 18 (PIA) - - Members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) here are pushing for the integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (DRR-CCA) lessons into the basic curriculum of public and private schools regionwide.

Enrico Tambis, disaster action officer of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said they pushed for the integration of the DRR-CCA lessons in the curriculum of local schools to further expand public awareness on the matter.

He said the students must be well-acquainted with the causes and effects of climate change as well as in disaster management.

“Given that schools are prone and expose to various types of natural disasters, thus, the need to integrate disaster management courses and other disaster-related programs in school curriculum in order to strengthen the student’s capacity for disaster risk reduction and management,” Tambis said.

Norma Talosig, civil defense regional director, said that Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 requires the academe to support the thrust of disaster risk reduction and management.

However, she said that there is a need to develop a clear policy on the integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in schools' basic curriculum.

Talosig added that the policy should include regular conduct of earthquake, fire, tsunami and other disaster-related drills, course contents on climate change mitigation, preparedness, response and rehabilitation, hydro and meteorological hazards and other vulnerabilities. (ALM/OTB/PIA-2 Cagayan)

Philippines: 3ID wants to sustain peace gains

19 June 2015 - 11:10pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Alex A. Lumaque

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, June 20 (PIA6) – A two-day mission planning workshop last June 14 and 15 was conducted by the 3rd Infantry Division to plan out strategies to sustain the current peace accomplishments of 3ID soldiers in the area of operation.

Early this month, the 3ID has attained its target to make all the cities and provinces on its area of operation Peaceful and Ready for Further Development (PRFD).

“Our job does not stop with the declaration of Peaceful and Ready for Further Development communities, instead, the larger challenge that lies is the sustainment of our efforts so we will not get lost in the right tract to attain development and just and lasting peace,” said 3ID assistant division commander B/Gen. Reynaldo Mutiangpili.

The activity was conducted a couple of days after Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Voltaire Gazmin visited the 3ID at Camp Macario Peralta, Jr. in Jamindan town and lauded the excellent performance of the spearhead troopers on the PRFD achievement.

However, the DND official has reminded the troops to remain alert and cautious in the journey of bringing peace despite the PRFD declaration.

The peace and order development was achieved after the province of Negros Occidental was declared peaceful and the Negrenses are ready for further development thru a resolution that was unanimously approved by the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Negros Occidental last June 10.

The eight other provinces of Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Negros Oriental, Guimaras, Cebu and Siquijor have earlier manifested their desire for sustainable peace and development. (JSC/AAL-PIA6 Capiz)

Philippines: MILF decommissioning proves peace process is working, says third party monitor

19 June 2015 - 10:51pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MAGUINDANAO, June 20 -- Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) Chair Alistair McDonald declared the first phase of the decommissioning process of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and weapons as a concrete act which proves that the Bangsamoro peace process is working.

McDonald, who heads the independent body tasked to monitor, review and assess the implementation of all signed agreements between the government and the MILF, said that he is hopeful that this initial phase of decommissioning will accelerate the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which serves as the foundation for the realization of all other milestones in the roadmap towards the creation of the Bangsamoro, including the succeeding phases in decommissioning and other components of the normalization process.

“[This event is] gigantically important for Mindanao. Also an opportunity because this will mean that for the first time we have a concrete act which proves that [the] peace process is working. [This is] very helpful in moving the process forward, in helping [push] the momentum of the process,” McDonald said.

“I very much hope this will also serve as a symbol of encouragement for the national legislators to carry forward their work on the (Bangsamoro) Basic Law," McDonald added.

McDonald, a former ambassador of the European Union to the Philippines, also expressed enthusiasm that the decades-long armed conflict will finally see its end and that combatants will get to enjoy their to return to normal, civilian lives.

“I can’t exaggerate just how important this day was not only for the government but also for the former MILF combatants who from today will be able to return to normal life,” he stressed.

The decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons is part of the security component of the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The Annex on Normalization, which is part of the peace pact, aims to return conflict-affected communities to peaceful lives and has two other components -- socio-economic development and transitional justice and reconciliation. (PPMB)

Philippines: Little things that can make a big difference

19 June 2015 - 1:07am
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Chile, Haiti, Philippines

Malcolm Gladwell in his book refers to the ‘Tipping Point’ where little things can make a big difference: "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point" at which "ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do."

Was the release by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) of the Valley Fault System Atlas such a moment? Its timing, soon after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, was circumstantial. However with images of the human tragedy still fresh on people’s minds, it catalyzed a flurry of interest in the Atlas. The Phivolcs website crashed as people tried to access the Atlas on line, broadsheets were full of opinion pieces, and social media was abuzz with reactions.

With approximately 25 million people estimated to be in greater Manila and vulnerable to the impact of a rupture of the Valley fault, the level of interest is easily understood. The consequences of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake (the highest probable in the estimation of Phivolcs) can potentially be extremely dire: over 40 percent of buildings could be destroyed or damaged; key services left inoperable; considerable economic and social costs incurred; and with casualties in the tens of thousands. That is, if adequate preparedness measures are not in place.

Policy makers, legislators, and government agencies have responded positively. The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board gave assurances that it would use the Atlas as a reference when assessing land use plans. The Department of Education has instructed its engineers to check the structurral integrity of vulnerable schools. The Metro Manila Development Authority launched a website to help residents prepare for a strong earthquake. Legislators have spoken about the importance of using the Atlas to ensure that buildings are not on active faults and to retro-fit vulnerable structures to withstand strong quakes. Disaster drills in schools and public buildings have been called for.

Some property developers and home owners have however reacted negatively, concerned that property values and condominium sales in the vicinity of the fault lines will be affected. It is perhaps an ‘open secret’ that in the past, there has been considerable pressure placed upon agencies like Phivolcs to not release this type of information. Political will and leadership is critical to counter narrow financial interest. With information readily available to the public, democratic pressure on government should increase. Ultimately the ballot box should judge those who have responded appropriately or not.

While there is an ongoing academic debate about the methodology for calculating the actual savings to the public purse on disaster response from investments in preperation, few contest that preparedness is essential. When an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, nearly a quarter of a million people died. Port-au-Prince was reduced to rubble. Six weeks later an earthquake 500 times more powerful struck Chile, but less than one percent of the lives were lost compared to Haiti. Why? Unlike Chile, despite an awareness that Haiti was susceptible to earthquakes, the government had not prepared. It had no urban development plans based on vulnerability assessments. It had no building codes to account for earthquake damage. Construction was poor with lack of licensing of contractors and enforcement of building quality. Squatter camps proliferated. There was little to no training and equipping of first responders and no contingency planning. In effect, there was a structural environment ripe for disaster.

The stark contrast between Haiti and Chile is borne out in studies examining the correlation between earthquake probability and mortality prevention. Where this correlation is high, three critical charecteristics are evident. These countries have high national incomes and can take mitigating measures; are strong democracies and hold governments accountable; and they adopt evidence based policies and programs.

The Atlas has tipped us in a direction we should very much welcome. It has provided us the basis on which we can make informed decisions. We may well be due for a major event. We have the means now to adopt ‘no regrets’ measures. Earthquakes in themselves do not kill people. Poor planning, inadequate preparedness and the lack of application of building standards do.

Philippines: Pagasa: Expects prolonged dry spell

18 June 2015 - 8:10am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, June 16 (PIA) - - The country is likely to experience a prolonged occurrence of the El Nino weather disturbance until the latter part of this year.

Engr. Fredolina Baldonado, bureau chief-Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Northern Luzon, said there is an approximately 90 percent chance that El Nino will continue in the northern hemisphere and an 80 percent chance it will last up to December 2015.

She said this prediction is also affirmed by advisories published by the different international prediction centers worldwide to include the International Research Institute in Columbia, Tokyo Climate Center in Japan, Bureau of Meteorology in Australia and the Climate Center in Busan, South Korea.

“All of these prediction centers said that a prolonged drought will likely to experience in most parts of the Philippines as well as in other Asian countries,” Baldonado added.

This prediction, she said will be helpful to the public especially for agriculture sector to make necessary preparations and adjustments to withstand the effects of El Nino.

Baldonado, however, assured farmers that there are still light to moderate rains that will be experienced in the different parts of the country in the remaining months and there are 11 up to 16 tropical cyclones that will likely to enter Philippine Area of Responsibility amid the prolonged dry spell. (ALM/OTB/PIA-Cagayan)

Philippines: Philippines tests health app for remote islands

18 June 2015 - 5:25am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | AFP | Thursday 6/18/2015 - 09:07 GMT

The Philippines is testing an app that will speed up delivery of health services to hundreds of remote island communities, the science department said Thursday.

Using the app, designed for tablets using Google's Android operating system, the health officer of a remote town can upload medical records and clinical information on a patient, which can then be viewed anywhere by doctors and nurses.

So far, about a hundred tablets preloaded with the locally-developed application have been distributed by the ministry to towns in four islands to test its viability.

If successful, about 450 remote towns in the archipelago will get their own tablets, with mayors and health officers -- local officials responsible for community medical care -- then better able to track the area's health needs using the data they obtain.

"This is for communities that are isolated, remote and hard to reach. Its chief advantage is its portability," said Vincent Tablos, the project coordinator for the government's Department of Science and Technology.

"If it is adopted widely by our local health (workers), then we can consolidate it as part of our national health system," he told AFP.

Under the pilot-scheme a mayor and health officer each get one tablet loaded up with government health forms, including for health insurance, via the app.

After an individual's health data is uploaded, all of the information on the required forms can be easily called up during consultations.

"Once they go to the health centre, they will have all their records available. Instead of waiting two hours just filling out forms, they go straight to the doctor," he said.

If a person moves to another town, his existing health records can be viewed immediately through the app, Tablos added.

The communities targeted are all located far from major cities, where health centres are not readily accessible to local populations, making it difficult to send or receive patients' information, Tablos said.

The device also includes a communication system that allows for easier data sharing between the local health officer and mayor.

"This will help in decision-making. The mayor can chart any outbreak or see any rise in dengue or malaria. He can see what kind of medicines have to be bought, what they must prioritise for next year," he said.

mm/cgm/jom/iw

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Fiji: Project HOPE Medical Volunteers Join U.S. Navy for Three-Month Humanitarian Mission to Southeast Asia and the Pacific

17 June 2015 - 9:55pm
Source: Project HOPE Country: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Viet Nam

Volunteer health professionals from Project HOPE, the international health education and humanitarian aid organization, have joined Pacific Partnership 2015, a humanitarian mission and training exercise led by the United States Navy to help underserved communities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Traveling aboard the USNS Mercy, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, the volunteers will contribute to the mission from early June through late September.

In partnership with U.S. Navy health professionals and other partners participating in Pacific Partnership 2015, the Project HOPE medical volunteers will train and mentor local health care professionals, provide medical subject matter expertise and contribute to public health events at sites in the four countries.

“More than ten years after our first joint humanitarian mission with the U.S. Navy following the Indian Ocean tsunami, our partnership remains strong,” said Andrea Dunne-Sosa, Project HOPE’s Director of Volunteer Programs. “The USNS Mercy and the resources of the U.S. Navy offer a fantastic platform for our medical volunteers to provide health education, training and care to communities in need, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this eleventh Pacific Partnership mission.”

The Project HOPE volunteers will provide a mix of educational exchanges and experiential side-by-side mentoring to local health care professionals in their individual areas of expertise at five locations: Labasa and Suba, Fiji; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Roxas City, the Philippines; and Da Nang, Vietnam. The participating volunteers include an anesthesiologist, pediatric and community health nurses, a pediatrician and a pharmacist.

“My time volunteering with Project HOPE on Pacific Partnership missions has been amazing and life-changing,” said Rose Wilson, a pediatric nurse from Melbourne, Australia who is volunteering with Project HOPE for the third consecutive year on a Pacific Partnership mission. “I am thrilled to have another opportunity to help.”

Pacific Partnership 2015 will be Project HOPE’s 37th humanitarian mission in partnership with the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and eleventh consecutive year supporting a DOD mission in this region since 2005. Since 2005 Project HOPE volunteers have treated more than 820,000 patients and provided training to more than 240,000 health professionals while contributing to DOD missions.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our website, www.projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg.

Media Contact

Geraldine Carroll Tel: (540) 257-3746 gcarroll@projecthope.org

Ethiopia: Courage and commitment: SOS Children’s Villages co-workers who went above and beyond for children

17 June 2015 - 2:07am
Source: SOS Children's Villages International Country: Ethiopia, Philippines, South Sudan

Every day, SOS mothers, aunts, youth leaders and social workers make an impact in the lives of the children and families around them.

The three co-workers whose stories are told here are the winners of the 2015 Helmut Kutin Award, a biannual award named for a former President of SOS Children’s Villages International, which celebrates the achievements of some of our extraordinary caregivers. Finalists are selected by the Hermann Gmeiner Academy Board and then voted for by SOS Children’s Villages employees around the world.

Protecting her children from a typhoon

Maria Merlina Sabela, also known as Nanay Merlina, an SOS mother from the Philippines, was recognised for her courage during Typhoon Yolanda. When the typhoon struck, Merlina made an escape hole in the ceiling.

She and her nine children huddled on their roof while flood waters swirled below. She comforted her children and kept them calm while the typhoon raged around them, damaging their home and everything around it.

Once the danger passed, Merlina was the first to leave the safety of the roof, to check it was safe for her children to come down.

After the typhoon, she strove to repair her house as soon as possible, so her children could come back home. Hers was the first house in the village to be ready for children to move back.

When asked about the impact her mother has had on her life, Merlina’s daughter Bianca* turns to the words of Celine Dion: “The song ‘Because you Love Me’ best describes Nanay Merlina because you, Nanay, were my strength when I was weak... you gave me faith because you believed. I’m everything I am because you love me.”

A mother figure to young women

SOS aunt Abebech Kibret from Ethiopia was recognised for her unfailing support for the children and young people in her village. Abebech spent 16 years as a cook in the village, developing strong bonds with the children and young people there. Now an SOS aunt, she is a mother figure for many of the adults who grew up in the village, receiving regular phone calls and visits.

Lidiya* and Helina* were two young women who had grown up in the village. When they gave birth for the first time, Abebech took on the traditional grandmotherly role, showing them how to look after their new babies.

Another young woman in the village, Hanna*, fell in love and dropped out of school to get married. Abebech convinced her to continue her education and insisted Hanna be given a second chance so she could go back to school. Hanna is now a qualified kindergarten teacher.

Bisrat* is another young woman from the SOS Children’s Village who was inspired by Abebech to become a kindergarten teacher. She says, “When I think about the good deeds of aunt Abebech, my eyes fill with tears of joy. I don’t know where to start, but I can only say that I wouldn’t be here if she were not by my side next to my SOS mother.”

A dangerous journey to keep children safe

Isaac Adowk, a youth leader from South Sudan, received a special distinction from the Hermann Gmeiner Academy Board for his outstanding courage in a dangerous situation. The European Commission featured Isaac and the children’s story on World Humanitarian Day 2014, in the series ‘Humanitarians at Risk’. When rebels entered the SOS Children’s Village, he took the children to safety, facing armed soldiers, a crocodile infested river, and grenade fire during the 200 km journey. Find out more about Isaac’s amazing story.

The trait that unites these three winners is courage: the courage to fight for the children in their care, keeping them safe and encouraging them to reach their full potential.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Philippines: 2nd Phase of DILG Yolanda rehab pushed in Capiz

16 June 2015 - 10:06pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Following significant gains in reconstruction from Super Typhoon Yolanda, the second phase of the DILG's Recovery Assistance on Yolanda (RAY II) project is now in full swing in Capiz.

Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas said that under RAY II, Capiz received a total of P120.3M, which will subsidize the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 638 barangay facilities like multipurpose halls, public markets, barangay halls, day care centers, and evacuation centers in 395 different barangays in the province.

"We talk about independence from hunger, poverty, economic insecurity. We talk about independence from hopelessness," Roxas said in Roxas City, Capiz, where he convened leaders of various local government units (LGUs) for the distribution of RAY II funds last Saturday (June 13).

This is part of the P1.5B 2015 budget of the national government for the repair of damaged LGU facilities necessary to deliver goods and services to the victims of the typhoon.

Roxas also highlighted the undying spirit and strength of his fellow Capisnons shown in their struggle against hardships bought about by natural calamities. He also assured them that the administration is united with them in this struggle.

Capiz Governor Victor Tanco lauded Roxas for his invaluable service to the Filipinos, regardless of any political intention.

It can be recalled that Capiz was one of the hardest hit areas in the Visayas by Yolanda in 2013.

Most of the residents then believed that it was a long climb to achieving full normalcy in government services, but Roxas and the Aquino administration has delivered on that goal via the 'whole of government approach.’

Philippines: DPWH, DepEd to build 138 school buildings in E. Samar

16 June 2015 - 10:01pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar, June 17 (PIA) - The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Eastern Samar District, Borongan City will be constructing 138 calamity resilient school buildings in Eastern Samar.

In an interview, Engr. Michael C. Ador, construction section chief, said that some P3.5-B will be used to construct 138 school buildings under the Fiscal Year-2014, DepEd School Building Program from First Batch to Fourth Batch.

Engr. Ador said that of the 138 school buildings 25, are already completed; 85 are ongoing; and 28 which have yet to start construction.

Of the 138 school buildings that are being constructed, 126 are elementary school buildings and 12 are High School buildings.

The allocation for each project varies according to the scope of work stated in the Program of Work prepared by Eastern Samar District Engineering Office (ESDEO) and duly concurred by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The elementary school buildings that are to be constructed in the municipalities are: Balangiga-1; Mercedes-1; Borongan-10; Can-avid-4; Quinapondan-6; Gen. Mac-Arthur-12; and Llorente-1.

Other construction are ten in Guiuan; one in Lawaan; one in Sulat;, three in Maslog; two in Hernani; seven in Taft; two in San-Julian; 19 in Oras; six in Giporlos; six in Maydolong; four in San-Policarpo; five in Salcedo; 15 in Dolores; four in Balangkayan; and five in Jipapad.

For the high school building constructions are three in Maydolong; three in Arteche; two in Dolores; one in Giporlos; one in Can-avid; one in San-Policarpo; and one in Llorente.

Presently, a joint inspection by the DepEd and DPWH is on-going for some 25 High School buildings to be constructed by the ESDEO under the DepEd Fiscal Year 2015 Basic Educational Facilities Fund (BEFF) - First Batch amounting to P202.7-M.

The inspection report is needed to give the contractors the opportunity to rectify identified minor defects or deficiencies. (ajc/sdc/PIA-E. Samar)

Philippines: Canadian wood construction manufacturers and UNDP rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan

16 June 2015 - 3:23pm
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Philippines

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms recorded in history, the Quebec Wood Export Bureau (QWEB) and UNDP have partnered to provide municipal building solutions to the people of Guiuan in the Philippines.

Four buildings were provided to support local recovery efforts after consulting with Guiuan authorities and the community. The buildings will serve as the town council session hall, the office of the mayor, and will house various key departments like accounting, treasury, and disaster risk reduction and management. One of the units will be used as training center for an agricultural demonstration farm and as an evacuation center in the event of a future disaster.

Restoring basic social services

Every year, millions of people around the world are displaced by conflicts or natural disasters. Less affected communities can find themselves with a population that has doubled or sometimes tripled overnight. Such demographic shifts put added pressure on what are often already strained basic services, and challenge traditional humanitarian, camp-based delivery systems.

In such a context, municipal services need to be bolstered to extend access to water, education, health and housing as well as ensure adequate waste management to the newly arrived populations. The private sector can play a pivotal role in upscaling the ability to offer these basic services.

Typhoon Haiyan caused unprecedented devastation and killed more than 6,000 people. Suddenly the community of Guiuan in Eastern Samar found itself struggling to provide basic social services. In response to this need for humanitarian assistance, QWEB, in partnership with the Société d’habitation du Québec, Natural Resources Canada, and four wood construction manufacturing companies, provided four prefabricated wood buildings to help restore social services in Guiuan. While the prefabricated buildings were manufactured in Quebec, they were designed for quick assembly on-site and engineered to resist typhoon winds up to 251 kilometers per hour.

“We decided to partner with UNDP as the organization—on top of its extensive experience with recovering from disasters—on the ground as it has solid relationships with local authorities. These relationships could facilitate all negotiations with the municipal authorities as well as help us obtain authorizations, hire workers, support the shipping, and customs clearance and provide training on the maintenance of the buildings” noted Alain Boulet, QWEB manager for the wood construction sector.

Three Quebec workers travelled to Guiuan to assemble the buildings and train local labor to help erect the structures. Local workers were shown how to create good foundations, assemble the house kits and customise the buildings. In addition, the maps and blueprints were handed to the General Services unit of the Guiuan municipality so the buildings could continue to be maintained. After two weeks, the local government was using their four new offices.

Exploring a niche market and matching municipal needs

Although partnerships between the UN and private sector can sometimes be challenging due to differing implementation timeframes and corporate cultures, this project was different.

“Our timing is not always aligned, as UNDP consults a lot to make sure projects will respond to local needs and to make sure the beneficiary community will own the project. Businesses most often cannot afford such lengthy processes”, noted Glaucia Boyer from the UNDP Geneva Office. “QWEB, as the one-stop contact and interface for the industry with us, played an essential role reconciling these different agendas. I doubt a company would have been able to invest time and resources in such process”, she added.

This project was possible due to market development work supported by Société d’habitation du Québec and Natural Resources Canada to develop new building solutions and explore new markets. This experience was part of a long-term strategy for Canada’s wood manufacturing sector to play an active role in global post-disaster reconstruction efforts. QWEB and its members were able to forge links with international organizations and showcase a product that can provide vital shelter when a crisis strikes.

“We want to leverage our expertise to develop better housing solutions for people displaced by conflicts and disasters. In addition to the four municipal buildings erected in Guiuan, a QWEB member manufacturer provided 6,775 timber-frame houses to an NGO for the communities affected by the 2010 earthquake in Haïti. This was a tremendous learning experience that helped us understand the reality on the ground, improve our product so it fits the needs and reduces the unit cost by 38 percent”, added Alain Boulet from QWEB.

For the local government, this was also a positive experience. The quick assembly time allowed public servants to resume providing much-needed services to the community.

“This is a very reliable space to hold our temporary office. Some of my colleagues are indeed so impressed by the strength of the buildings that they are keen to build more to host their administration. We could resume quickly the legislative sessions of the Town Council and manage the crisis left by Typhoon Yolanda. We are in a more productive mode in our daily tasks serving the people of Guiuan,” Mayor Christopher Sheen said.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 10–16 June 2015

16 June 2015 - 10:41am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu, World, Yemen

Snapshot 10–16 June 2015

Ebola in Sierra Leone and Guinea: Weekly Ebola case incidence has risen for two consecutive weeks. Guinea recorded 16 new cases in the week to 7 June, five from unknown chains of transmission. Sierra Leone recorded 15 cases, the highest weekly total since late March. It has extended the state of emergency for 90 days.

Syria: May was the deadliest month of 2015, with 6,657 people killed, including 1,285 civilians. Fighting has intensified in Aleppo in June, and in Ar-Raqqa. 20,000 people who fled fighting in Ar-Raqqa were blocked at the border with Turkey for several days.

Ukraine: Humanitarian needs are increasing, as conflict intensifies again. Nearly 4.5 million people need health support, and 1.4 million people need shelter support, compared to 1.5 million and 600,000 end March.

Updated: 16/06/2015. Next update 23/06/2015.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: Philippines: DSWD, Australia to undertake P100 million disaster project

16 June 2015 - 4:57am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Australia, Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received a fund grant amounting to P104.2 million from the Australian Government-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the implementation of a three-year Support Program for Disaster Response.

The project aims to enhance the Department’s capacity in providing leadership in disaster response and humanitarian assistance in times of calamities.

The DSWD presented last week the inception report for the fund grant which shall have four major components for implementation such as prepositioning and purchase of non-food relief supplies; warehouse construction; capacity development; and, enhancement of project management to include monitoring and evaluation.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma B. Cabrera said, “We are grateful for the support program which will help the Department further enhance its disaster response operations. The implementation of the program is timely especially that the typhoon season is approaching.”

She added that the program components are based on the lessons learned by the Department in recent major disaster operations.

In behalf of the Australian Government, DFAT Counsellor Geoff King expressed approval of the inception report, and hoped that the annual plan for implementation be drafted immediately to formally start the program.

He added that their office will work closely with DSWD especially in ensuring purchase of international quality materials and the on-time completion of the components.

The Support Program for Disaster Response is one of the many partnerships of DSWD with the Australian Government. ###

Philippines: Philippine Muslim rebels hand over weapons in push for peace

16 June 2015 - 2:53am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Sultan Kudarat, Philippines | AFP | Tuesday 6/16/2015 - 06:38 GMT | 446 words

The Philippines' largest rebel group retired nearly 150 guerrillas and handed over 75 firearms for decommissioning Tuesday to encourage parliament to pass a proposed law giving minority Muslims self-rule.

President Benigno Aquino visited the headquarters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to witness the weapons handover, the first concrete action by the organisation to abandon a decades-old rebellion that has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

Aquino and senior MILF leaders both said the largely symbolic activity was intended to spur parliament to pass a delayed proposed law giving Muslims self-rule in the Catholic nation's south under the terms of a 2014 peace treaty.

"This is one of the most difficult decisions we have made so far in more than 40 years of struggle," chief MILF peace negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal said in a speech.

"We want to show the world that the MILF will always comply with its obligations set forth in the signed agreement," Iqbal added.

Aquino, who ends his six-year term in a year's time, wants the Muslim self-rule bill to be passed soon, fearing that his successor may not pursue the peace initiative.

"Let us show them that we are worthy of their trust," Aquino said in his speech.

Parliament failed to pass the bill before it went into recess last week amid a public outcry over the killing of 44 police commandos by MILF rebels and other armed groups on the southern island of Mindanao in January.

The police officers were ambushed after they passed through MILF-influenced areas following a raid that killed Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian militant and one of the most-wanted "terrorists" sought by the United States.

Work on the Muslim self-rule bill is expected to continue when parliament resumes on July 27, but congressional leaders have said it is unlikely to be passed before October.

The 75 MILF firearms, including 24 weapons such as mortars and machine guns, were handed over to an independent decommissioning body headed by Turkey and also comprising members from Norway and Brunei.

The haul is believed by Filipino police to comprise just a tiny fraction of the arsenal of the 10,000-member MILF.

Under the peace deal, 30 percent of MILF combatants and weapons will be decommissioned once parliament passes the Muslim self-rule law.

The weapons will be stored in a secure area controlled by the decommissioning body.

Another 35 percent will follow after the law is ratified in a regional plebiscite, while the remainder will be handed over once the regional government is established and its leaders elected in May next year.

The 145 guerrillas retired on Tuesday will return to civilian life and receive assistance from the government, peace negotiators said.

cgm/mm/jah

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World: Vulnerable Communities Stocked with Emergency Medicine as Hurricane Season Begins

15 June 2015 - 10:27pm
Source: Direct Relief Country: Fiji, Philippines, World

Massive medical pre-positioning effort spans nine U.S. states, nine countries; expands to Fiji

With the 2015 hurricane season officially underway, Direct Relief has pre-positioned more than $2.6 million in medical aid in 50 communities in nine U.S. states as well as 20 international modules in nine countries that are particularly vulnerable to storm-related health risks.

The emergency supplies are stocked at 68 health facilities near the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the Caribbean, Central America, Fiji, and the Philippines.

Each U.S. Hurricane Preparedness Pack holds enough medical supplies to treat 100 patients for a variety of conditions, from basic trauma injuries to chronic illnesses, for a 72-hour period, during which follow-on support can be mobilized. The International Modules contain supplies to care for up to 5,000 people for one month.

Following an emergency, people often turn to community health centers and clinics for care. It’s critical that medical facilities in areas most often hit by extreme weather are able to respond immediately to medical needs when time is of the essence.

The packs eliminate shipping delays and ensure resources are available to individuals who are low-income, have chronic medical conditions or have limited access to transportation to evacuate. They contain supplies such as antibiotics, insulin, pain relievers, inhalers, prescriptions for behavioral health conditions, first-aid supplies, and many other items identified as most-needed following an emergency.

Direct Relief first developed the pre-positioned modules for nonprofit clinics and health centers in the U.S. following its extensive responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and its subsequent work with the Texas Blue Ribbon Commission on Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Direct Relief is able to supply the Hurricane Preparedness Packs with donations from individuals, pharmaceutical and medical corporations, and through a long-standing relationship with FedEx.

The Hurricane Preparedness Packs are provided free of charge to healthcare safety-net facilities. If not used for an emergency, the materials are absorbed into clinics’ general inventory to provide care for low-income patients at the end of hurricane season on November 30.

View the map below to see where the Hurricane Preparedness Packs are sent.

Philippines: Resolving post-disaster displacement: Insights from the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

15 June 2015 - 11:18am
Source: International Organization for Migration, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement Country: Philippines

By: Angela Sherwood, Megan Bradley, Lorenza Rossi, Rufa Guiam and Bradley Mellicker

In November 2013, the strongest storm ever recorded at landfall devastated the central Philippines. Super Typhoon Haiyan – known in the Philippines as Yolanda – killed 7,000 people and forced more than four million from their homes. One and a half years later, the reconstruction process is well underway. This report examines progress towards the resolution of the displacement crisis caused by Typhoon Haiyan. It also draws out insights from experiences in the Philippines that may help inform the resolution of other post-disaster displacement crises – a challenge that is expected to grow in future owing to the effects of climate change.

The study’s main point of reference is the 2010 IASC Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons. The findings are based on a survey of over 4,500 Haiyan-affected households, as well as in-depth interviews with policymakers and practitioners, and focus groups in communities struggling to recover from the disaster.

One and a half years after the disaster, only 17.6 percent of the population feels that life has returned to “normal,” with only 32 percent of households able to cover their basic needs, compared to 83 percent before the typhoon. More than 60 percent of families face difficulties accessing services, with displaced households facing particularly pronounced challenges in some areas. This infographic highlights some of the key findings from the study.

Recommendations

The report backstops calls advanced in related research to improve institutional coordination, strengthen local-level capacity building, and increase the engagement of affected communities in relocation processes intended to ensure the safety of families living in areas highly prone to future disasters. It also makes several additional recommendations to the government of the Philippines, and its international supporters:

  1. Recognize curable solutions to displacement as a multi-sectoral concern, including both humanitarian and development inputs, and extending beyond the housing sector.
    2.Redouble investment in the strengthening of evacuation centers, safer construction techniques and other disaster risk reduction programs.
  2. Establish an interactive, rights-based monitoring system for relocation plans, policies and projects, linking local and national levels.
  3. Develop and implement enhanced, culturally sensitive livelihood strategies for the affected areas, based on internally displaced persons’ active participation.
  4. Address fairness concerns in the implementation of aid, and strengthen community-based approaches to humanitarian assistance and recovery.
  5. Ensure that support for durable solutions and disaster risk reduction and management efforts at all levels integrate gender analyses and response to the different needs and capacities of women and men, girls and boys.

Philippines: WFP Philippines | Brief Reporting period: 01 January – 31 March 2015

15 June 2015 - 9:30am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

COUNTRY STRATEGY

WFP activities in the Philippines focus on assisting vulnerable populations affected by armed conflict and natural disasters in Visayas and Mindanao through general food distributions, food assistance for assets and training, school meals, and supplementary feeding. The recently concluded Relief and Recovery Operation provided assistance to over 1.4 million people affected by protracted conflict in Central Mindanao as well as disaster-affected communities in Central Visayas and Eastern Mindanao. The new operation, which starts in April, will continue to provide food and in-kind assistance to the conflict-torn areas in Central Mindanao. As the Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, WFP is also helping the Government of Philippines strengthen its disaster preparedness and response capacities. WFP re-established its presence in the Philippines in 2006 to support the ongoing Mindanao peace process and to help build community resilience to armed conflict, which undermines food security.

Philippines: MILF starts decommissioning of weapons, combatants despite delay in BBL

15 June 2015 - 6:00am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Also, 145 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces combatants will be registered and processed to formally commence their return to full civilian lives.

On Tuesday, the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will kick off the first phase of the decommissioning program which aims to put the arms and forces of the rebel group beyond use, as agreed by the Parties under the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The “Ceremonial Turnover of Weapons and Decommissioning of the MILF Combatants” will be held at the old provincial capitol in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The MILF will undertake the registration and turning-in of 75 weapons to the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB).

‎MILF panel chair Mohagher Iqbal described the decommissioning process as “one of the most difficult decisions…[of the] MILF” but noted that “for the sake of peace, for the sake of having real peace in Mindanao and for the sake of the need for normalization [of] the lives of the people including the combatants, we have to undertake decommissioning and put them [arms and forces] beyond use.”

The public event will be attended by no less than President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Legislators from both chambers of Congress, the international community, among others were invited to witness the historical event, which will be held at the Old Maguindanao Provincial Capitol in Simuay Crossing, Sultan Kultarat. [1]

GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer noted that there will be several steps that will be followed during the decommissioning process on Tuesday.

“Prior to the actual decommissioning process, there will be an ‎initial registration of MILF combatants and weapons at Camp Darapanan. The combatants will be filling out forms with the supervision of the IDB local expert from MILF,” she said.

“On June 16, the weapons will be transported to the Old Provincial Capitol, the event site for the actual registration process and verification.”

“After processing, the decommissioned weapons will be transported to a mutually-agreed upon Weapons Storage area located inside Camp Iranun (Abubakar) in Sitio Bombaran, Brgy. Tugaig in Barira, Maguindanao. The secured area will be monitored by 30 members of the Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST) who will be supervised by the Joint Verification and Monitoring Team (JVMT) [2] of the IDB,” Coronel-Ferrer said.

opapp.gov.ph

[1] The turnover ceremonies will likewise be attended by MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, members of both peace panels and other stakeholders.

The IDB is headed by Turkey’s former ambassador to NATO, Haydar Berk. Its other members are Jan Erik Wilhemsen from Norway, Maj. Muhammad Aiman Syazwi Bin Haji Abdul Rahim from Brunei, and local experts, AFP ret. Lt. Gen. Rey Ardor, Dr. Mario Aguja, Von Al-Haq and Janati Mimbantas.

[2] The JVMT is headed by a foreign, independent expert with a member each from the government and MILF. Three JVMTs will take turns administering the site round the clock. Meanwhile, the JPST is made up of 15 members from the government army and police, and an equal number from the MILF. Teams of 10 JPST persons each will be on guard duty at all times.