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Philippines: Clean water for villages hit by conflict [Video]

16 October 2014 - 2:51pm
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

The remote villages of Marcelo and Buhisan are located in different areas of the Philippines. Marcelo is in Negros Occidental province, central Philippines, while Buhisan lies in the province of Surigao del Sur, in the south of the country. But the villages have two problems in common -– the absence of a reliable water supply system and protracted armed violence.

For years, people had to queue up or make long journeys, just to collect unhealthy water from sources like streams, rivers and open wells or a leaky pipeline. Diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases were common.

The ICRC responded by building water supply systems in the two villages. The communities joined in, carrying materials, digging trenches, and installing pipes. Newly-formed water associations will maintain the systems and ensure that clean water keeps flowing for many years to come.

In September 2014, the ICRC handed the completed projects over to the communities of Marcelo and Buhisan, where almost 3,000 people now have clean drinking water.

Clean water for Buhisan

Clean water for Marcelo

World: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector Update - October 2014

16 October 2014 - 11:54am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Iraq, Philippines, Sudan, United States of America, World preview

SECTOR OVERVIEW

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs represent vital components of USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) responses to rapid-onset disasters and complex emergencies, as disaster-affected populations are more susceptible to illness and death from waterborne and communicable diseases. WASH interventions in emergencies often include promotion of good hygienic practices, construction or repair of latrines, removal of solid waste, and provision of safe, treated water. Activities such as building latrines and establishing waste removal systems can prove even more challenging in areas with high water tables, hard rock sites, and dense populations.

In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA provided more than $137 million for WASH programs in 27 countries. USAID/OFDA also links emergency WASH activities with transition and development programs funded by other USAID offices and incorporates institutional partners—such as local governments—in program planning and implementation to promote the sustainability of water and hygiene-focused projects.

World: USAID/OFDA Protection Sector Update October 2014

16 October 2014 - 10:07am
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Central African Republic, Pakistan, Philippines, United States of America, World preview

SECTOR OVERVIEW

Natural disasters and conflict often exacerbate the vulnerability of individuals, requiring people to cope with additional threats that include sexual violence, theft, exploitative labor, and exclusion from life-saving humanitarian assistance. In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is at the forefront of the humanitarian community’s efforts to protect conflict- and disaster-affected communities by funding activities that mitigate these dangers. While working to minimize and respond to specific risks, USAID/OFDA requires partners to “mainstream” protection—an approach to ensure the safety of those receiving emergency relief aid—in all humanitarian assistance programs. In FY 2014, USAID/OFDA provided more than $53.7 million to support stand-alone protection programs, including nearly $9.3 million to 13 U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for global protection initiatives and approximately $44.4 million to 20 U.N. agencies and NGOs for local protection activities in 16 countries. Worldwide, these programs have supported millions of people, providing services for child protection, psychosocial support, prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV), and coordination of and advocacy for protection activities.

Philippines: DA reports advances in agri-fishery rehab in Yolanda-stricken areas

16 October 2014 - 2:11am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

As the country joins the world in commemorating this year’s World Food Day, the Department of Agriculture announced that the rehabilitation efforts in farming and fishing communities affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) continue, with focus increasingly shifting from clearing operations and immediate food production to the re-establishment of vital infrastructure and market linkages.

“Progress is made there everyday, with the long-term recovery of our countrymen in these communities in our minds,” DA said in a statement. “For that, we can’t thank our local and foreign partners and the private sector enough as they have helped us provide and ensure that the production inputs and other forms of livelihood assistance reach the intended beneficiaries in a most timely manner possible.”

In fact, DA said the judicious distribution of certified seeds and other production support allowed thousands of palay farmers in Eastern Visayas and other areas in central Philippines to plant, and now harvest, their second crop since the typhoon struck in November last year.

Fishermen who received either new or refurbished fishing boats from the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources have likewise started to make decent catch again, DA said. And to help these fishermen preserve their catch for the markets, DA-BFAR is calling for the private sector to help provide them with freezers and other storage facilities that could be readily used.

In areas cleared of debris, residents began constructing fences and cages for their newly-received livestock and poultry animals using lumber produced from felled coconut trees around them – as assisted by local government units, DA and other government agencies.

“The essence of the World Food Day is multi-sectoral partnerships and global unity to end world hunger, and it also means sustained concerted efforts to ensuring that no one gets behind among Yolanda survivors in the march towards restoration,“ DA said.

“We therefore laud our partners for their commitment to continue collaborating with the national government as we ensure that affected populations build resilience to future calamities, in keeping with President Aquino’s instructions to build back better and safer,” it added.

In particular, DA noted that concerned LGUs and the farmers and fishers themselves played – and will continue to play – a critical part in these rebuilding efforts, not merely as beneficiaries but as collaborators.

Based on the latest available report from DA’s Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda (DA-RAY), a special task force created to oversee the rehabilitation works on the farm sector, a total of 139,154 bags of hybrid and certified palay seeds and 22,614 bags of high-quality corn seeds have been distributed thus far.

Specific to palay, more than one-third or 52,838 bags came directly from DA while the rest were provided by the Swiss government and organizations such as UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Oxfam, HelpAge, Red Cross, Bioseed, German Development Cooperation and International Fund for Agriculture.

To ensure immediate food security and alternative source of incomes, DA’s regional offices delivered nearly 3,000 kilos of assorted vegetables seeds and 18,114 sets of various farm tools through local governments, according to the DA-RAY report.

Additionally, at least 2,200 heads of livestock and poultry such as water buffaloes, goats, hogs, chicken and ducks were provided, along with corresponding drugs and biologics.

DA-BFAR, on its part, has distributed nearly 30,000 units of repaired and newly-built fishing boats, as well as 9,633 units of gill nets and other fishing paraphernalia, to small-scale fishers. Fishers who lost or ended up with damaged marine engines received replacements units as part of DA-BFAR’s “Palit-engine” scheme.

Aquaculture farmers, mostly from Western Visayas, also received around 13.2 million fingerlings so they could restock their ponds.

In parallel with Philippine Coconut Authority’s coconut rehabilitation and replanting program, DA’s regional offices intensified its activities to intercrop coconut trees with “pinakbet” vegetables, mungbean, corn and other suitable crops. This is being done in partnership with DA-Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform and LGUs.

To date, around 694 hectares of farmlands have been cleared of felled trees and other debris, and 664,299 linear meters of irrigation canals desilted.

Typhoon Yolanda, considered to be the world’s strongest typhoon to ever make a landfall last year, destroyed some 600,000 hectares of agriculture lands and 1.1 million metric tons of crops lost, more than three-fourths of which in Eastern Visayas, according to UN FAO.

DA said it is planning to connect ground efforts with its mainstream programs such as the soon-to-commence Philippine Rural Development Project to help hasten the rebuilding of roads and other critical farm and fishery infrastructure as well as the re-development of agri-based enterprises. (DA-AFID)

Philippines: MILF, MNLF activate coordination mechanism on Bangsamoro

16 October 2014 - 2:08am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Oct 16 -- The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) formally activated and operationalized the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF). This was announced by Ambassador Sayyid Kassim El-Masri, Organization on Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Special Envoy during a meeting today with government representatives headed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles.

The meeting was attended by Egyptian Ambassador Mahmoud Mostafa who currently chairs the OIC-Peace Committee on Southern Philippines (PCSP), Hassan Alabdein, Charge d' Affaires of Saudi Arabia and vice chair of the OIC-PCSP, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Undersecretary Jose Lorena, National Security Council Deputy Director General Zenonida Brosas and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Julius Torres.

El-Masry officially furnished Deles in the meeting with copies of the meeting report and terms of reference of the BCF which were signed by him as OIC envoy, Mohagher Iqbal as representative of the MILF and Randolph Parcasio as representative of the MNLF.

According to the meeting report, the BCF shall serve as the mechanism for the MNLF and MILF to "coordinate their movements toward achieving the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people towards just and lasting peace, and peaceful resolution of their problems."

In said report, the Parties reiterated their "firm belief that unity is indispensable to the success of the Bangsamoro struggle and that there are no basic differences between their fronts as both are seeking to achieve peace, justice and fair solution to the problem facing the Bangsamoro people."

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles expressed her thanks to the OIC and welcomed the activation of the coordination mechanism between the two Moro fronts. "This is a positive and very welcome development especially at this juncture of the peace process when the Bangsamoro Basic Law is being deliberated in Congress. We are talking of the same territory and the same people, as such it is good to know that the MILF and MNLF have agreed to consolidate their efforts for peace and development so that all of these can be integrated in the BBL." "We look forward to the participation of both the MILF and MNLF in the establishment of the Bangsamoro," Deles said. "We are appreciative of the efforts of the OIC in making this possible."

Functions of the BCF

As per the terms of reference signed by the Parties, the BCF shall perform the following functions:1) Provide the venue to discuss issues and concerns confronting the Bangsamoro people, including finding common grounds between the 1976 Tripoli Agreement - 1996 Final Peace Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in order to harmonize the two peace tracks and preserve the gains contained in these agreements which the MNLF and MILF mutually recognize and respect; 2) Coordinate the efforts of the MILF and MNLF in order to consolidate their efforts towards achieving the Bangsamoro people’s aspiration for just political solution and lasting peace and inclusive development; and 3) Conduct consultations with other sectors of the Bangsamoro society including the Ulama.

It shall be composed of 20 members, with equal representation of ten members each coming from the MILF and MNLF. They are expected to meet every three months, with the first meeting scheduled onOctober 26-27, to be presided by the OIC Secretary General or his representative or the chair of the OIC-PCSP.

A joint secretariat for the BCF will also be created for administrative and coordinative tasks, composed of three members each from the MILF and MNLF. Technical and legal working groups may also be organized as necessary.

The meeting on the activation of the BCF was convened Monday, October 13 by El-Masri upon the instruction of OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani. Aside from Iqbal, the MILF delegation included Abhoud Syed Lingga, Abdullah Camlian and Jun Mantawil. Meanwhile, aside from Parcasio, the MNLF delegation included Muslimin Sema, Mujahab Hashim, Alvarez Isnaji and Utto Salem Cutan. Mostafa and Alabdein also joined the meeting. The Parties signed the meeting report and terms of reference the following day, October 14.

The creation of the BCF has initially been agreed upon in a meeting between MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and MNLF Founding Chair Nur Misuari in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 18, 2010 through the invitation of the OIC Secretary General. Succeeding meetings of the Parties on the establishment of the BCF were held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6-7, 2011 andJune 12this year. (OPAPP)

China: The risk of disaster-induced displacement in south-east Asia and China

15 October 2014 - 1:33pm
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam preview

Executive Summary

This technical paper provides evidence-based estimates of the likelihood of disaster-induced displacement in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It attempts to better quantify human displacement risk. It brings together data from several sources – notably the Global Assessment Reports (GARs) and the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), national disaster loss inventory databases (DesInventar) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) Global Estimates – in order to better quantify human displacement risk. Applying a probabilistic risk model, it is one of the first attempts to assess how many people are at risk of being displaced by natural hazard-related disasters. It is the first attempt to do so for South-East Asia.

A new way of thinking

The study reflects an awareness of the need to see disasters as primarily social, rather than natural, phenomena. This view acknowledges the fact that humans can act and take decisions to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring or, at the very least, to reduce their impacts and the levels of loss and damage associated with them. Disasters are thus no longer being perceived as ‘natural’ or ‘acts of God’ but instead as something over which humans exert influence and can therefore prevent.

This reconceptualisation of disasters signifies a shift from a retrospective, post-disaster approach to an anticipatory way of thinking about and confronting disasters. This conceptual development was reflected in a public policy objective: disaster risk reduction (DRR). Strengthening DRR became a global priority in the 1990s, the United Nations’ International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, UN Member States adopted the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), a ten-year plan endorsed by the UN General Assembly which aims to reduce the risk of disasters globally. The objectives codified in the HFA are currently being updated in advance of a global conference scheduled for March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, at which Member States will renew their commitment to DRR. One important outcome of the HFA process is awareness that without ability to measure it is not possible to know if disaster risk has been reduced.

In the context of disasters, displacement includes all forced population movements resulting from the immediate threat of, or actual, disaster situation regardless of length of time displaced, distance moved from place of origin and subsequent patterns of movement, including back to place of origin or re-settlement elsewhere. Based upon existing information, and notwithstanding some notable exceptions, the vast majority of people displaced by disasters are assumed to remain within their country of residence, rather than to cross internationally recognised borders to find refuge.

Displacement is a disaster impact that is largely determined by the underlying vulnerability of people to shocks or stresses that compel them to leave their homes and livelihoods just to survive. The number of people displaced is, of course, related to the magnitude and frequency of extreme hazard events. The most significant factors are those that leave exposed and vulnerable communities without the means to be resilient in the face of such hazards.

Informed by this anticipatory way of thinking about disasters, the approach used in this study departs from most existing analyses in two ways.

First, while the efforts of many governments and other actors continue to emphasise post-disaster and post-displacement response and recovery this analysis is based on probabilistic risk modelling. This uses historical information available about past disasters to provide estimates that may inform policy and action to ideally prevent, or at least to prepare for, displacement before a disaster occurs.

Second, while displacement and disasters have traditionally been associated with humanitarian relief and human rights-based protection this study analyses disaster-induced displacement in the language of the disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management communities. In sum, this study attempts to provide entry points for humanitarian and protection actors while presenting information aimed at those responsible for disaster risk reduction and risk management and development.

Regional context

The 11 countries included in this study—ASEAN Member States plus China—account for approximately 28 per cent of the entire global population. Over the last six decades, the population of these 11 countries has grown and become increasingly urban. At least half the population of Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are now estimated to reside in urban areas.
While the region’s population growth rate is slowing, urbanisation will continue apace: by 2050 the majority of the population of every country but Cambodia is expected to reside in urban centres.

South-East Asia’s population growth is mirrored by economic growth which has concentrated people and economic activities in urban areas, often located in hazard-prone areas. Consequently, people and settlements in the region are exposed to multiple hazards, such as cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes and rain- and earthquake-triggered landslides.
Analysing these 11 countries reveals striking contrasts.

Brunei and Singapore are both high-income countries with small territories and populations concentrated in urban areas. Brunei and Singapore have very little displacement risk and a high capacity to manage it.

By contrast, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and the Philippines are lower-income countries with large rural populations. They have much more risk and low capacity to manage it. China itself is a study in contrasts with several large urban areas as well as more than half a billion mostly poor people residing in rural areas.

Key Findings:

In the last six years along, nearly 30 million people have been displaced in the countries included in this study—18 per cent of the global total. Two countries in particular, China and the Philippines, account for a disproportionate share of the world’s disaster-related displacement: more than eight million Chinese and half a million Filipinos are at risk of being displaced every year.

In South-East Asia, the risk of being displaced in relation to disasters is increasing, and it has been growing even faster than the population growth rate. Compared to the past, there are more people living in hazard prone areas than before, often in cities. Meanwhile, governments have not been able to reduce the vulnerability of these people enough to offset this increasing exposure.
Relative to the size of each country’s population, displacement risk is unevenly distributed within the region.

In Singapore, a high income country, the risk of being displaced in a disaster is one in a million. By contrast for every million Laotians and Filipinos that risk is more than 7,000 and 6,000 times higher, respectively. Laotians and Filipinos are also more than ten times more likely to be displaced than Indonesians, who are also exposed to multiple geophysical and weather-related hazards.
Wealth alone does not explain vulnerability. Per capita income in China is two to three times higher than in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s exposed population is ten times more vulnerable to hazards than that of China. Regardless of a country’s wealth, governments can begin reducing vulnerability through smarter urban development and by enforcing building codes.

The majority of disaster spending is still being used to respond to – rather than to prevent – disasters. Spending on disaster response is less cost-effective than investments to reduce disaster risks and disaster relief does not always reach people who are displaced with family or friends rather than in official shelters or evacuation centres.

IDMC has not found evidence of significant cross-border displacement in relation to disasters within this region. The presence of transboundary hazards, such as riverine floods, means there is a risk of cross-border displacement for populations living and working along these borders.
The

China: The risk of disaster-induced displacement in south-east Asia and China

15 October 2014 - 1:33pm
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam preview

Executive Summary

This technical paper provides evidence-based estimates of the likelihood of disaster-induced displacement in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It attempts to better quantify human displacement risk. It brings together data from several sources – notably the Global Assessment Reports (GARs) and the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), national disaster loss inventory databases (DesInventar) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) Global Estimates – in order to better quantify human displacement risk. Applying a probabilistic risk model, it is one of the first attempts to assess how many people are at risk of being displaced by natural hazard-related disasters. It is the first attempt to do so for South-East Asia.

A new way of thinking

The study reflects an awareness of the need to see disasters as primarily social, rather than natural, phenomena. This view acknowledges the fact that humans can act and take decisions to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring or, at the very least, to reduce their impacts and the levels of loss and damage associated with them. Disasters are thus no longer being perceived as ‘natural’ or ‘acts of God’ but instead as something over which humans exert influence and can therefore prevent.

This reconceptualisation of disasters signifies a shift from a retrospective, post-disaster approach to an anticipatory way of thinking about and confronting disasters. This conceptual development was reflected in a public policy objective: disaster risk reduction (DRR). Strengthening DRR became a global priority in the 1990s, the United Nations’ International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, UN Member States adopted the 2005 Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA), a ten-year plan endorsed by the UN General Assembly which aims to reduce the risk of disasters globally. The objectives codified in the HFA are currently being updated in advance of a global conference scheduled for March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, at which Member States will renew their commitment to DRR. One important outcome of the HFA process is awareness that without ability to measure it is not possible to know if disaster risk has been reduced.

In the context of disasters, displacement includes all forced population movements resulting from the immediate threat of, or actual, disaster situation regardless of length of time displaced, distance moved from place of origin and subsequent patterns of movement, including back to place of origin or re-settlement elsewhere. Based upon existing information, and notwithstanding some notable exceptions, the vast majority of people displaced by disasters are assumed to remain within their country of residence, rather than to cross internationally recognised borders to find refuge.

Displacement is a disaster impact that is largely determined by the underlying vulnerability of people to shocks or stresses that compel them to leave their homes and livelihoods just to survive. The number of people displaced is, of course, related to the magnitude and frequency of extreme hazard events. The most significant factors are those that leave exposed and vulnerable communities without the means to be resilient in the face of such hazards.

Informed by this anticipatory way of thinking about disasters, the approach used in this study departs from most existing analyses in two ways.

First, while the efforts of many governments and other actors continue to emphasise post-disaster and post-displacement response and recovery this analysis is based on probabilistic risk modelling. This uses historical information available about past disasters to provide estimates that may inform policy and action to ideally prevent, or at least to prepare for, displacement before a disaster occurs.

Second, while displacement and disasters have traditionally been associated with humanitarian relief and human rights-based protection this study analyses disaster-induced displacement in the language of the disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management communities. In sum, this study attempts to provide entry points for humanitarian and protection actors while presenting information aimed at those responsible for disaster risk reduction and risk management and development.

Regional context

The 11 countries included in this study—ASEAN Member States plus China—account for approximately 28 per cent of the entire global population. Over the last six decades, the population of these 11 countries has grown and become increasingly urban. At least half the population of Brunei, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are now estimated to reside in urban areas.
While the region’s population growth rate is slowing, urbanisation will continue apace: by 2050 the majority of the population of every country but Cambodia is expected to reside in urban centres.

South-East Asia’s population growth is mirrored by economic growth which has concentrated people and economic activities in urban areas, often located in hazard-prone areas. Consequently, people and settlements in the region are exposed to multiple hazards, such as cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes and rain- and earthquake-triggered landslides.
Analysing these 11 countries reveals striking contrasts.

Brunei and Singapore are both high-income countries with small territories and populations concentrated in urban areas. Brunei and Singapore have very little displacement risk and a high capacity to manage it.

By contrast, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and the Philippines are lower-income countries with large rural populations. They have much more risk and low capacity to manage it. China itself is a study in contrasts with several large urban areas as well as more than half a billion mostly poor people residing in rural areas.

Key Findings:

In the last six years along, nearly 30 million people have been displaced in the countries included in this study—18 per cent of the global total. Two countries in particular, China and the Philippines, account for a disproportionate share of the world’s disaster-related displacement: more than eight million Chinese and half a million Filipinos are at risk of being displaced every year.

In South-East Asia, the risk of being displaced in relation to disasters is increasing, and it has been growing even faster than the population growth rate. Compared to the past, there are more people living in hazard prone areas than before, often in cities. Meanwhile, governments have not been able to reduce the vulnerability of these people enough to offset this increasing exposure.
Relative to the size of each country’s population, displacement risk is unevenly distributed within the region.

In Singapore, a high income country, the risk of being displaced in a disaster is one in a million. By contrast for every million Laotians and Filipinos that risk is more than 7,000 and 6,000 times higher, respectively. Laotians and Filipinos are also more than ten times more likely to be displaced than Indonesians, who are also exposed to multiple geophysical and weather-related hazards.
Wealth alone does not explain vulnerability. Per capita income in China is two to three times higher than in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s exposed population is ten times more vulnerable to hazards than that of China. Regardless of a country’s wealth, governments can begin reducing vulnerability through smarter urban development and by enforcing building codes.

The majority of disaster spending is still being used to respond to – rather than to prevent – disasters. Spending on disaster response is less cost-effective than investments to reduce disaster risks and disaster relief does not always reach people who are displaced with family or friends rather than in official shelters or evacuation centres.

IDMC has not found evidence of significant cross-border displacement in relation to disasters within this region. The presence of transboundary hazards, such as riverine floods, means there is a risk of cross-border displacement for populations living and working along these borders.
The

Philippines: Bohol Earthquake: One year on

15 October 2014 - 12:55am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Philippines

On this day last year, 15 October 2013, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter Scale shook the Philippines. The epicenter was located in the island province of Bohol in Central Visayas but was felt as far as Southern Mindanao. Less than a month later, Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) swept through central Visayas. Although it did not cause significant damage on the island of Bohol, it had a strong impact on the emergency response. Many government and international humanitarian resources were moved from Bohol to address the health needs caused by Haiyan which in turn delayed the speed of the recovery in Bohol.

The earthquake affected over 1.2 million people, 222 people died (195 in Bohol), 976 were injured and eight people missing. Over 79,000 structures including homes, roads, churches, schools and public buildings were damaged, of which 14,500 were totally destroyed, resulting in over 340,000 displaced people.

The health sector suffered a major blow. The earthquake left at least 25 totally and 111 partially destroyed health facilities. This resulted in major disruptions in the delivery of health services, provision of essential medicines and the destruction of the cold chain system which is essential in the transport and storage of vaccines.

The immediate health priority was to restore services for the affected communities. As co-leads for the health cluster, the Philippine Department of Health and WHO Philippines coordinated the response of international and national organizations who came to the aid of those in need.

Using money provided by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), WHO deployed staff and resources to assess the damage on the health system, and to determine the nature and level of assistance needed. WHO provided equipment, manpower, training, supplies, and medicines, as well as much needed all weather tents to serve as temporary patient consultation areas and birthing centers. Setting up birthing centers was an urgent need as close to 8,000 births were expected throughout the province in the several weeks following the earthquake.

Infrastructure that was not completely destroyed could be repaired by WHO and other partners through minor repairs such as replacing missing doors and windows, or repairing damaged roofs. The temporary health facilities set up by WHO included 25 tents for use as community (“barangay”) health stations, and 14 tents for use as rural health units. These tents had sealed-in walls and flooring, thereby making them weather-proof, especially when protected with a secondary roof covering.

Today, some health facilities continue to be housed in the WHO tents and where health facilities have been repaired or rebuilt, some of the WHO tents continue to be utilized for auxiliary purposes such as for birthing or as meeting rooms.

The work in Bohol continues. A year has passed but the earthquake-stricken province is still recovering. WHO remains in the region working alongside DOH to try and restore health services to those communities most affected, and training local staff to ensure the best possible preparedness in case of future emergencies.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 08–14 October

14 October 2014 - 8:19am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tonga, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen, South Sudan preview

Central African Republic: 5,600 people have fled Bangui after a new wave of violence killed at least eight and injured 56. WASH and health are priority needs among the IDPs. A UN peacekeeper was ambushed and killed on the outskirts of the capital. In Kemo, IDPs have been slow to return as tensions have increased: ex-Seleka attacked Dekoa market on 11 October.

Libya: Violence continues, and over 331,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 100,000 have been displaced since September, bringing the total number of displaced to 290,000. IDPs are living with host families or in public buildings.

Yemen: 80,000 people have been displaced by violence so far in 2014. Two attacks were reported in Hadramaut in the last week. In Sanaa, an Al Qaeda attack on Al Tahrir square killed 47. The violence in the capital has raised critical concerns regarding violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.

Updated: 14/10/2014. Next update: 21/10/2014

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 27 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

14 October 2014 - 6:10am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO

A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 13 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network recorded two (2) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate to voluminous emission of white steam plumes drifting Northeast was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 420 tonnes/day on 12 October 2014. Ground deformation data showed continuous inflation at the base of the edifice from August 2014 to October 2014 precise leveling surveys. The edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements. Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.

Fiji: Asia-Pacific region: El Niño Snapshot - October 2014

14 October 2014 - 3:33am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Australia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), India, Indonesia, Japan, Micronesia (Federated States of), Niue (New Zealand), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Tonga, Vanuatu preview

What is El Niño?

Peruvian fishermen identified El Niño centuries ago when every three to seven years, during the months of December and January, fish in their coastal waters virtually vanished. During normal conditions, surface temperatures are warm in the western Pacific Ocean and trade winds blow towards the west. During El Niño, warm water appears in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean and trade winds weaken, or even reverse. Once sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean rise 0.5°C above their historical average for three months in a row, and when atmospheric conditions shift accordingly, scientists typically declare an El Niño event. During El Niño, the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ), a band of low-level convergence, cloudiness and precipitation, moves further away from the Pacific Island countries located west of the dateline. Rainfall patterns tend to follow this warmer water eastwards, reducing the amount of rainfall in the western Pacific and across large parts of South and South East Asia. This also leads to tropical cyclones forming over a more expansive area of ocean which increases their intensity before they reach populated western Pacific Islands and countries in East Asia.

Current conditions and forecast

Despite the tropical Pacific Ocean being primed for an El Niño during much of the first half of 2014, the atmosphere above has largely failed to respond, and hence the ocean and atmosphere have not reinforced each other. As a result, some cooling has now taken place in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, with most of the key NINO regions returning to neutral values. Over July 2014, model forecasts have slightly delayed the El Niño onset. At this time, the consensus of forecasters expect El Niño to emerge during August-October 2014 and to peak at weak strength during the first half of 2015. A strong El Niño is not favored in any of the scenarios, and slightly more models call for a weak event rather than a moderate event. While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific and therefore the establishment of El Niño before the year’s end cannot be ruled out.

Philippines: One year on from the Bohol earthquake: a new home and a new beginning

13 October 2014 - 11:44pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Maryjane Patulilic, IFRC

One year ago, 58-year-old Harold Lumictin, his wife and their six children were made homeless when their house was destroyed by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Island of Bohol in the Philippines. In total, 222 people died and more than 670,000 families were affected across the Central Visayas region. The epicentre of the quake was in Bohol where thousands of families have been struggling to recover. For almost a year Harold and his family lived in a makeshift shelter, made from materials salvaged from their old home and a tarpaulin for a roof.

“It was really hard to lose our home not just because I invested all my strength and sweat in building it, but because of the discomfort it has caused for my family,” Lumictin said.

Thousands of families in Bohol faced a similar situation; camped out for months amid the debris of their former homes. Each month Lumictin’s children fell sick having to endure the extreme heat during the day and the cold nights. “Life has never been easy, and it got even harder since the earthquake,” he said. He is chainsaw operator whose family relies solely on the small income he receives from cutting timber.

Recently the family received a new home from the Red Cross who have been supporting the recovery of many families in Bohol. “Our new house offers new hope and a new beginning to my family. This house is far better than our previous one. My family and I will really take good care of this blessing we received through Red Cross. Daghan kaajung salamat! (Thank you very much!)” he said.

The Red Cross prioritizes support to the most vulnerable families. Assessments are carried out prior to the selection of beneficiaries so that help is given to those who are least capable of rebuilding on their own. Over 200 families whose houses were completely destroyed have received new homes, saying goodbye to the discomfort they have experienced after living in tents and makeshift shelters for almost a year.

Houses constructed by the Red Cross has solid base with a timber frame and roof beams and a pre-painted corrugated galvanized iron roof. 1,700 families whose homes were severely damaged were also given cash grants to buy construction materials that would go towards the repair needs of their homes.

Aside from shelter interventions, the Philippine Red Cross has supported the rebuilding of water and sanitation facilities in ten schools. “This support is beneficial to us teachers, and especially to students. We now have access to clean water and toilet facilities which is badly needed given the high number of students we have in our school,” said Esterlito Cantones, school principal of Sto Niño de la Paz Elementary School in Loon.

In Bohol itself, a Philippine Red Cross field hospital is still operating to augment the capacity of local medical facilities. Supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Philippine Red Cross is continuing its recovery operations. But extensive needs remain in shelter and rehabilitation of health and school facilities. Many families still need help considerable help.

“One year on, we should be reminded that a lot still needs to be done in Bohol,” said Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. “But it should also remind us of the spirit of the Philippine Red Cross, whose volunteers and staff – most of whom were affected by the quake – are responding as a single unit to rebuild better in Bohol. On behalf of the Red Cross and the Boholanos, I thank all those who supported us and gave the families here new hope.”

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

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

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

The items to be discussed include the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

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

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

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

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

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

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

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

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

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

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

INDIA

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

6 people dead

150,000 people evacuated

PHILIPPINES

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

9,000 families affected

CHINA

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

1 person dead

324 people injured

SRI LANKA

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

MYANMAR

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

4 civilians killed

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

234 patients with cholera

JAPAN

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

45 people injured

44,000 people evacuated

INDONESIA

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

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

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

A. SITUATION OVERVIEW:

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

B. EFFECTS

  1. Affected Population (Tab A)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippines: Dragon fruit growers adapt to storm impacts

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

By: Cherry Joy D. Garma

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

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

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

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

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

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