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World: Asia-Pacific: Population Density (Jul 2015)

20 July 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: American Samoa, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia (France), New Zealand, Niue (New Zealand), Norfolk Island (Australia), Northern Mariana Islands (The United States of America), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Island, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna (France), World

Population Density

Using an innovative approach with GIS and remote sensing, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory LandScanTM is the community standard for global population distribution. At approximately 1 km resolution LandScan is the finest resolution global population distribution data available and represents an ambient population (average over 24 hours).

The LandScan algorithm uses spatial data,imagery analysis technologies and a multi-variable modeling approach to disaggregate census counts within an administrative boundary. Since no single population distribution model can account for the differences in spatial data availability, quality, scale, and accuracy as well as the differences in cultural settlement practices, LandScan population distribution models are tailored to match the data conditions and geographical nature of each individual country and region.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory: http://web.ornl.gov/sci/landscan/

World: Asia-Pacific: Annual Precipitation (Jul 2015)

20 July 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: American Samoa, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia (France), New Zealand, Niue (New Zealand), Norfolk Island (Australia), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Island, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna (France), World

Annual Precipitation

This map shows the average amount of precipitation falling in a year, based on approximately 50 years of data. The figures shown do not therefore represent the amount of precipitation that may occur in any given year.

The WORLDCLIM dataset consists of interpolated climate surface data on monthly precipitation and mean, minimum, and maximum temperature at a spatial resolution of 30 arc seconds (approximately 1km spatial resolution). Input data were gathered from a variety of sources and, where possible, restricted to records between 1950 and 2000.

The data are described in: Hijmans, R.J., S.E. Cameron, J.L. Parra, P.G. Jones and A. Jarvis, 2005. Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. International Journal of Climatology 25: 1965-1978 which can be downloaded at http://www.worldclim.org/

World: Asia-Pacific: Köppen–Geiger Climate Classification (Jul 2015)

20 July 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: American Samoa, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia (France), New Zealand, Niue (New Zealand), Norfolk Island (Australia), Northern Mariana Islands (The United States of America), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Island, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna (France), World

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification

The highly referenced climate classification map of Wladimir Köppen was published for the first time in 1900 and updated in its latest version by Rudolf Geiger in 1961.

Climate classification is applied to a broad range of topics in climate and climate change research as well as in physical geography, hydrology, agriculture, biology and educational aspects.

Based on recent data from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia and the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) at the German Weather Service, this map presents a new digital Köppen-Geiger world map on climate classification for the second half of the 20th century.

World: Asia-Pacific: Human Footprint (Jul 2015)

20 July 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: American Samoa, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, French Polynesia (France), Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia (France), New Zealand, Niue (New Zealand), Norfolk Island (Australia), Northern Mariana Islands (The United States of America), Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Island, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Wallis and Futuna (France), World

The Human Footprint

Human influence on the earth’s land surface is a global driver of ecological processes on the planet, en par with climatic trends, geological forces and astronomical variations. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University joined together to systematically map and measure the human influence on the earth’s land surface today.

The analysis indicates that 83 per cent of the earth's land surface is influenced directly by human beings, whether through human land uses, human access from roads, railways or major rivers, electrical infrastructure (indicated by lights detected at night), or direct occupancy by human beings at densities above 1 person per KM². The authours refer to the human influence on the land’s surface measure as the "Human Footprint.

World: Global Estimates 2015 - People displaced by disasters

20 July 2015 - 8:14am
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sudan, Tonga, World

19.3 million displaced by disasters but "mother nature not to blame"

In the last seven years, an estimated one person every second has been displaced by a disaster, with 19.3 million people forced to flee their homes in 2014 alone. Disaster displacement is on the rise, and as policy leaders worldwide advance towards the adoption of a post-2015 global agenda, the time has never been better to address it.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) released today its global report, The Global Estimates: People displaced by disasters. The report reveals how, in 2014, 17.5 million people were forced to flee their homes by disasters brought on by weather-related hazards such as floods and storms, and 1.7 million by geophysical hazards such as earthquakes.

“The millions of lives devastated by disasters is more often a consequence of bad man-made structures and policies, than the forces of mother nature,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of NRC. “A flood is not in itself a disaster, the catastrophic consequences happen when people are neither prepared nor protected when it hits”.

The report points to the man-made factors that drive an overall increasing trend in disaster displacement, like rapid economic development, urbanisation and population growth in hazard prone areas. “These factors are a toxic mix, because when such hazards strike there are more homes and people in their path, and therefore flight becomes necessary for survival” said director of IDMC, Alfredo Zamudio. Climate change is also expected to exacerbate the situation in the future, as severe weather hazards become more frequent and intense.

The report argues that these drivers are increasing the number of people becoming displaced, and the risk that their displacement becomes a long-term problem. Today, the likelihood of being displaced by a disaster is 60% higher than it was four decades ago, and an analysis of 34 cases reveals that disaster displacement can last for up to 26 years.

People in both rich and poor countries can be caught in protracted, or long-term, displacement. In the US, over 56,000 people are still in need of housing assistance following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and 230,000 people have been unable to establish new homes in Japan following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

“Governments should prioritise measures to strengthen the resilience of people whose displacement risks becoming protracted, or has already become so,” said William Lacy Swing, director general of International Organization for Migration, which assisted in the data collection for the report. “If communities are strengthened and ready beforehand, with solid infrastructure, early warning systems, and other such measures, displacement can be used as a short term coping strategy, or at best be avoided altogether”.

The report comes at a crucial time this year as various past and future policy processes come together. These include the Sustainable Development Goals which are to be adopted in September, as well as ongoing preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. What this report shows is how disaster displacement bridges all these policy processes.

“We can talk about sustainability, climate change and a reformed humanitarian architecture” said Zamudio, “but to ensure that all these policy processes turn into concrete action, we need to pay closer attention to those living on the front lines; in this case the millions of men, women and children currently on the run from disasters worldwide”.

Notes to editors: - In 2014, more than 19.3 million people became displaced by disasters in 100 countries worldwide.

  • Since 2008, an average of 26.4 million people have been displaced by disasters each year - equivalent to one person displaced every second.

  • 17.5 million people were displaced by disasters brought on by weather-related hazards in 2014. 1.7 million were displaced by geophysical hazards.

  • Since 2008, an average of 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate- or weather-related disasters each year - equivalent to 62,000 people every day.

  • Asia, home to 60% of the world’s population, and with 16.7 million people displaced, accounted for 87 per cent of the global total in 2014.

  • China, India and the Philippines experienced the highest levels of displacement in absolute terms, both in 2014 and for the 2008 to 2014 period.

  • In 2014, Europe experienced double its average level of displacement for the past seven years. 190,000 people were displaced in 2014, mostly by flood disasters in the Balkans.

  • Displacement in Africa was three times lower in 2014 than the average over the last seven years.

  • Relative to their population size, however, many African countries such as Sudan, experienced high levels of disaster displacement.

  • Contrary to common assumptions, displacement following disasters can become protracted and returning home is not always an option. A sample of 34 cases accounts for over 715,000 people in such situations. Monitoring of protracted displacement situations is scarce, resulting in an important blind spot in our current understanding of disaster displacement.

Download the full dataset

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 13 re Effects of enhanced Southwest Monsoon

20 July 2015 - 3:57am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I.SITUATION OVERVIEW

Southwest Monsoon was enhanced by Severe Tropical Storm (STS) "Egay" which was developed inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on 02 July 2015 and exited the PAR on 07 July 2015. Subsequently, Typhoon "Falcon" entered the PAR on 07 July 2015 and exited on 10 July 2015.

The southwest monsoon brought moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Luzon and Visayas especially over the western sections and triggered the occurrence of flooding in several areas in Regions I, Ill, and NCR. Subsequently, landslide incidents was reported in Regions Ill, NCR, and CAR as the Southwest Monsoon continues to be experienced in llocos, Cordillera, Benguet, Zambales, Bataan, Pangasinan, Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon to date.

Philippines: Government continues to augment resources to areas affected by Habagat

20 July 2015 - 2:59am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Department of Social Welfare and Development

The DSWD aid families affected by prevailing Southwest Monsoon or ‘Habagat.’ Quick Response Teams also remain on alert, coordinating with LGUs to provide aid and assistance.

A total of P18.5 million worth of relief augmentation has been provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to local government units (LGUs) for distribution to families affected by the prevailing Southwest Monsoon or ‘Habagat.’

As of press time, there are still 702 families or 3,194 persons in 25 evacuation centers managed by LGUs in Regions I, III, IV-A, and in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), as rains continue in these areas causing widespread flooding.

Based on the latest weather bulletin, monsoon rains which may trigger flashfloods and landslides may still be experienced by some provinces in Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, and Cordillera.

DSWD Quick Responses Teams (QRT) in affected regions remain on alert and are continuously coordinating with the LGUs for the provision of resource augmentation and technical assistance.

The Department has 402,310 available family food packs at the National Resource and Operations Center (NROC) and in all regional offices ready for augmentation to the LGUs. DSWD also has P51.7 million standby funds ready for the purchase of emergency relief supplies when necessary.

dswd.gov.ph

Philippines: Philippines: Helping seaweed-farming community stay afloat in Zamboanga

20 July 2015 - 12:15am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

In the small coastal community of Layag-Layag in Zamboanga City, families rely on the sea for their income, growing and harvesting seaweeds. For the generations of Tausugs living there, this is the only form of livelihood that they know.

In this village, houses are built on stilts. There is no road network or dry land connecting the houses, so each family has its own boat – used both for mobility and as a means for earning a living. Mangroves separate them from the mainland, which is only 15 minutes away by motorboat.

Layag-Layag was one of the coastal villages heavily affected by the fighting that broke out in Zamboanga City in September 2013. Families fled and sought refuge in public school classrooms – later turned into evacuation centres.

When the fighting was over, half of the villagers went home to find their boats gone. Some boats were burned while others were damaged, washed out or the motors were looted. Many families were also displaced from their homes, some for more than a year.

"It was difficult because we lost our boat and didn't have a source of income at the evacuation center, so we relied on relief goods," recalls Rajam, a 42-year-old mother of six whose family depends on seaweed farming for their livelihood.

Rajam and her husband, Hussein, used a cash grant from the ICRC to buy seedlings and rebuild their seaweed farm. To date, the ICRC has provided cash incentives to more than 35,000 families to be able to rebuild their lives after the fighting in Zamboanga.

Like most of the families who lost their boats, Hussein borrowed a boat from a neighbor while saving up to buy a new one. It took him another year to finally have a boat of his own again.

Improving community livelihoods

Each house in Layag-Layag has a small area that is used for drying seaweeds, as dried products can be sold for far more than fresh seaweed. However, with a lack of drying space available, seaweed farmers are forced to sell their harvest to a local wholesaler at a lesser value.

A joint project of the United Youth of the Philippines Women and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to build concrete solar stilt driers was supported by the ICRC through a cash-for-work construction activity, providing an alternative source of income to 120 seaweed farmers.

Two seaweed driers were completed in February this year – one in Layag-Layag and another in the neighboring village of Leha-Leha – each with the capacity to hold and dry 4,000 kilograms of seaweeds. Cooperatives were also organized to further improve the income in these communities.

"Having a drier is a big help for seaweed farmers like me. Now we can sell our produce at a much higher price," says Hussein.

Almost two years since the fighting ended, Hussein has recovered his livelihood and spends most of his days at sea tending to his plot of seaweeds.

Philippines: Philippines: Central Visayas Earthquake - Emergency Appeal n° MDRPH013 revised final report

19 July 2015 - 11:44pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Summary

Central Visayas region of the Philippines was rocked by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, whose epicentre was in Bohol Province, on the morning of 15 October 2013. The quake, which was described as the strongest to hit the region in more than 20 years, left more than 220 people dead and displaced some 75,000 families (370,000 people) in Bohol alone. Significant destruction to infrastructure, including roads, bridges, flood control facilities, school buildings, hospitals and other public buildings was reported to reach Philippine peso (PHP) 2.2 billion.

On 24 October 2013, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), at the request of the PRC, launched an emergency appeal on a preliminary basis for CHF 5.4 million to support 10,000 families (50,000 persons) affected by the earthquake. The appeal was revised on 26 December 2013, with the budget increased to CHF 7.7 million, target adjusted to 20,000 households (100,000 people) and timeframe extended from 8 to 16 months. A final revision was made on 31 October 2014, the budget adjusted to CHF 3.58 million and timeframe extended until 31 March 2015.

Philippines: Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, 15 July 2015

19 July 2015 - 11:05pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Viet Nam

The Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund is a partnership among the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation to help build resilience against the impacts of extreme weather events and weather-related changes that affect the urban poor in medium-sized Asian cities. The fund provides supplemental grants for investment projects, technical assistance and other support. Its total $150 million in grants is leveraging more than $1 billion in investments from public, private and municipal sources.

INCORPORATING ADAPATION MEASURES IN URBAN PLANNING

As cities in Asia grow, they become more vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change from population density, poor infrastructure and proximity to hazard-prone coastal and river areas. Targeting 25 cities in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam, the fund promotes inclusion of climate change as a key element in city planning and infrastructure development. This means considering objectives such as lowering greenhouse gas emissions and incorporating adaptation measures into city-wide and sectoral planning.

SUPPORTING PROJECTS THAT BUILD RESILIENCE

According to the Asian Development Bank, roughly 55 percent of Asia’s 3.7 billion people are expected to be living in urban centers by 2030. Secondary cities, which are seeing some of the fastest population growth, are among the least prepared to tackle new climate change challenges. Projects will focus on investments in solid waste management; drainage and flood management; ecosystems strengthening and services; water management; protecting livelihoods; educating and raising awareness; enhanced surveillance, early warning systems and emergency management; health systems and services; housing and transportation systems; and low carbon, resilient development.

PROVIDING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR INVESTMENT PROJECTS

The Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund helps to prepare projects and receives input from the private sector so that project proposals are investment-ready. It also helps governments and civil society better use scientific and economic data at the sub-national level to assist in decision-making and support project development.

STRENGTHENING ADAPTATION KNOWLEDGE AND NETWORKS

The fund raises awareness on adaptation and resilience and promotes learning through peer networks in the selected cities. Activities encourage sharing lessons learned and instituting monitoring and evaluation systems for adaptation projects. With this network, participating cities are able to identify urban adaptation strategies, build related institutional capacity and enable multi-stakeholder engagement to implement initiatives and assess the local impacts of climate change.

PARTNERS

The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Philippines: Four dead, thousands flee as floods hit northern Philippines

19 July 2015 - 6:09am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | AFP | Sunday 7/19/2015 - 07:25 GMT

Four people were killed and thousands forced to flee their homes as floods inundated large parts of the northern Philippines, the government said Sunday.

Heavy monsoon rains lashed the largely agricultural provinces for days, bringing floods that left roads impassable and led about 3,000 people to be evacuated, government civil defence officers said.

At least four people died as a result of the rains, including a six-month old boy who was buried by a landslide in the northern province of Pangasinan, the officers said.

Social welfare and relief agencies are delivering aid to affected areas while the public works department is preparing to repair damaged infrastructure, said President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Herminio Coloma.

Although no storm is forecast to hit, the government weather station warned that "monsoon rains which may trigger flash floods and landslides will be experienced," over large areas of the northern Philippines on Sunday.

The disaster-plagued Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms each year, many of them deadly.

Earlier this month, Tropical Storm Linfa inundated whole towns in the north, although no fatalities were reported.

str-mm/erf

Philippines: Dagupan’s island village gets funds to build evacuation center

18 July 2015 - 12:15am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

April M. Montes

DAGUPAN CITY, July 18 (PIA) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) turned-over on Monday the first tranche of more than P8 million as its share of a three-storey evacuation center project in the island barangay of Salapingao here.

Mayor Belen Fernandez received the check from DILG-Region 1 Director Julie Daquioag along with Engr. Sharwyn Sangel of the agency's Project Management and Development Unit (PDMU); Victoria Jean Dawis, cluster leader; and DILG City Director Rhoderick Dawis, during the flag raising ceremony at the People’s Astrodome.

The amount, which comprises 8o percent of the total fund allocation, came from the DILG's Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) fund to be boosted by a counterpart of P4.3 million from the Dagupan City government.

Dawis said that the remaining 20 percent from DILG will be released to the city as soon as the project is 90 percent complete and upon the completion of all the requirements.

“The project will soon start construction following revision of the minor details in the design of the building for it to conform to the requirements of our office for an evacuation center,” said Dawis.

Fernandez thanked the national government for the support as she reiterated the importance of the project in saving the lives and limbs of the people whenever storm surge or a tsunami hits the island barangay.

“We are happy because we can finally start the construction of our evacuation center in Salapingao which is a three-storey building with roof deck," Fernandez said.

She added that the city government's counterpart amounting to P4.3 million was made possible because of the sound financial status of the city at present.

“I am thankful to our employees because maganda ang collection natin sa ating mga markets. And this is because bawal ang magnanakaw dito sa ating lungsod. Kapag walang magnanakaw, lahat ng pondo ay mapupunta sa taumbayan at siyempre dapat ding maayos ang paggamit natin nito. These two will have to complement each other for a sound financial management,” said Fernandez. (MCA/AMM/PIA-1, Pangasinan with reports from CIO)

Philippines: Treason, inciting to sedition cases lack factual, legal basis – Deles, peace panel, Saguisag

18 July 2015 - 12:06am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, July 18 -- The treason and inciting to sedition cases filed against officials of the government’s peace process office, including members of the peace panel that negotiated the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), should be dismissed because it is “appallingly bereft of factual and legal basis.”

According to the lead counsel of the GPH peace panel, Atty. Rene Saguisag, in the joint counter-affidavit to the complaint, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles and Government of the Philippines (GPH) Chief Peace Negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and other members of the government peace panel said that “[a]t best, (the complaint) is the product of wilful ignorance of the basic tenets of criminal law, democracy, and the legislative process, and must be dismissed for utter lack of merit. At worst, it is the complainants’ malevolent attempt to use the Honorable Office for their political ends…”

"As government officials, my clients hold themselves to the highest standards‎ with regard to adhering to the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. Even if‎ this case is appallingly bereft of factual and legal basis, they personally submitted their counter-affidavits in deference to the established legal processes of this country," Saguisag added.

The treason and inciting to sedition case was filed last May 28 by Buhay Party-list Representative Lito Atienza, ABAKADA Party-list Representative Jonathan Dela Cruz, and University of Asia and the Pacific law professor Jeremy Gatdula.

Deles and the others, in their joint counter-affidavit, argued that “the BBL is clearly a document inciting peace, justice, order, unity, and goodwill among all peoples. Quite contrary to the baseless asseverations of the complainants, the text of the BBL itself reveals that it espouses an enduring peace.”

“To charge us with treason and inciting to sedition is to misunderstand not only basic concepts of criminal law and constitutional law, but the very idea of a nation, democracy, the Philippine people, and the history of the Republic of the Philippines,” continued the counter-affidavit of Deles and the peace panel members.

They said that the complaint failed to prove the existence of all the elements of treason such as a state of war.

Deles and the peace panel members also raised the possibility that the complainants are trying to subvert the power of the Supreme Court by filing the complaint with the prosecutor’s office. They argued that “[t]he Honorable Office is being invited by the complainants to exercise a power that lies solely with the Supreme Court. Even on this matter alone, the Honorable Office must dismiss the instant Complaint-Affidavit.”

Ferrer expressed that they responded to the complaint as required by judicial process. "The case filed against us has no substantial merit and that's why we believe the Manila prosecutor's office will dismiss it in due time. Out of respect for the administrative process and the offices which the complainants engaged prematurely and needlessly, we submitted and attested before the fiscal our counter-affidavits." (OPAPP)

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 12 re Effects of enhanced Southwest Monsoon

17 July 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Southwest Monsoon was enhanced by Severe Tropical Storm (STS) "Egay" which was developed inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on 02 July 2015 and exited the PAR on 07 July 2015. Subsequently, Typhoon "Falcon" entered the PAR on 07 July 2015 and exited on 10 July 2015.

The southwest monsoon brought moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Luzon and Visayas especially over the western sections and triggered the occurrence of flooding in several areas in Regions I, Ill, and NCR. Subsequently, landslide incidents was reported in Regions Ill, NCR, and CAR as the Southwest Monsoon continues to be experienced in llocos, Cordillera, Benguet, Zambales, Bataan, Pangasinan, Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon to date.

Philippines: Philippines: Displaced people of Mindanao hoping not to be forgotten

17 July 2015 - 11:56am
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department Country: Philippines

Despite ongoing efforts to bring an end to decades of conflict in Mindanao, sporadic outbursts of violence have caused displacements of communities in this part of the Philippines. Over 30 000 people remain displaced in the area, after fighting erupted in early 2015. The European Commission allocated €300 000 to fund emergency humanitarian assistance for people affected by the armed conflict in April 2015. Channeled through a consortium comprising the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the NGO Plan International, the funds enabled the provision of life-saving relief items to the most vulnerable people, and supported the management and provision of services at evacuation and displacement sites.

The conflict is no longer in the news, but the people of Maguindanao in the southern Philippines – who have witnessed the violence of the long-drawn conflict – still have plenty of stories to tell.

Living in displacement, they feel forgotten, and when there are outside visitors, their eagerness to tell their stories clearly shows.

Compared to when I first came here three months ago, immediately after the displacement of over 100 000 people due to renewed fighting between armed groups and government forces, the magnitude of the crisis has reduced, as over 70% of the people have been able to go home. This, however, means that over 30 000 people remain uprooted, living in evacuation sites, with no clear idea of when they will be able to return. Considering that both the military troops and the rebels groups are still very much present in the area, the feeling of insecurity remains high, as the situation still looks very much like war time.

“We cannot return to our houses yet," explains one of the local leaders. "Life is not easy here in the camp, but we also don’t want to return to our village, as we don’t feel secure. The government troops and the rebels are still out there, and we get caught in the crossfire. Nobody cares if we get hit by stray bullets.”

“My brother, who was mentally ill, went back to our village on his bike to gather some guavas," he continues. "He was mistaken as an enemy by one of the troops; they got him, apparently tortured him, and then killed him. Tell me, who would want to go back now?”

Living in displacement, however, is not a pleasant option. Food is so difficult to find that the evacuees sometime sneak back to their village during the day to gather bananas and root crops. But now that the farms have been abandoned for over five months, there is hardly anything left in the fields. Food rations from the local authorities are distributed twice; yet, 5 kilos of rice every one to one-and-a-half month is hardly enough. In the camps, old women are seen weaving mats out of palm leaves, hoping that they can sell them or exchange them for food.

Overall, outside help is very limited. Water tanks were put up and drinking water is being supplied by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), Plan International has distributed water containers for storage, while the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has set up temporary latrines and cooking counters. The European Commission's partners also distributed some tarpaulins as temporary shelters. But presently, the assistance covers only a fraction of the needs. The hot season that has just passed was excruciating for the people: with only some thin plastic sheets above their heads, the very hot and humid weather made them unwell, especially the elderly and small children. And now that the rainy season is coming, other problems are bound to appear, especially as most of the camps are located in flood prone zones.

But even in these dire conditions, I was amazed with how self-reliant the people of Mindanao are. They organize the camps themselves, keep track of their displacement information, keep the surroundings clean, give priority to elderly and children for the scarce potable water, and share with each other the little food that they have. The future, however, looks bleak, and people are at a loss on how to restart their lives after losing their entire livelihoods, including their farm animals, and sometimes their houses, which have been destroyed in the fighting.

People asked me, “Are we forgotten?” "Certainly, not" I said. The task ahead, however, remains huge.

World: The Effect of Gender Equality Programming on Humanitarian Outcomes

16 July 2015 - 4:26pm
Source: UN Women Country: Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia, World

New UN Women research details how gender equality programming impacts humanitarian outcomes

While many policies and practices have improved the integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment into humanitarian action, there has been little by way of concrete evidence of its impact. However, a new research study by UN Women has confirmed the positive affect that gender equality programming can have on humanitarian outcomes, and proposes ways to further enhance the impact.

The study collected and analysed evidence on the effects of gender equality programming by surveying more than 2,000 crisis-affected households and organizing focus groups in four case-study locations: Nepal, the Philippines and two sites in Kenya (the county of Turkana and the Dadaab refugee camps). Information was collected from women and men – as well as key informants, such as humanitarian workers and community leaders – in the target communities to determine if the gender-equality programming improved their humanitarian outcomes and, if so, how.

A unique new “Gender Intensity Measure” was used to analyse the evidence and assess the degree to which gender equality and women’s empowerment was perceived to have been integrated into humanitarian programmes – by hearing from women beneficiaries themselves. According to the report, improved gender equality programming in humanitarian settings led not only to improved quality of life for all community members, but also to greater access to services, better identification of the needs of beneficiaries, and heightened empowerment and aspirations among young women. Some examples of such programming making humanitarian services more effective included:

  • In Nepal, through programmes promoting income-earning opportunities for women, women were able to afford school fees and supplies for their children.

  • In the Philippines, the prevalence of hunger was 37 per cent lower in households where women were more satisfied with the availability of gender equality programming.

  • Interventions encouraging women to seek safer pregnancy delivery options in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp led to 70-90 per cent of deliveries being attended by skilled personnel.

  • In Turkana, it was demonstrated that by increasing the Gender Intensity Measure from low to high, the proportion of literate children per household rose by 4.8 per cent, which is the equivalent of 59 children per 1,000 households.

In addition to all the humanitarian outcomes of gender-targeted programming, an improvement in gender equality could also be measured. In the Philippines, Nepal and Turkana, women reported greater decision-making power and agency when humanitarian services were perceived as being gender-equal; while in Dadaab, placing women in leadership roles in the implementation of humanitarian services promoted greater empowerment of women and increased the aspirations of young girls.

The study also provides guidance on how to best blend gender equality programming and humanitarian interventions to increase effectiveness in the future. Promoting awareness of gender equality programming, embracing men and boys as participants and facilitating economic empowerment were all demonstrated to have the potential to make humanitarian action more effective for all those affected.

This report was prepared by UN Women on behalf of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Gender in Humanitarian Action and with co-funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada.

World: Drones and satellites for good - Chatting with Drone Adventures

16 July 2015 - 4:01pm
Source: RESET Country: Haiti, Japan, Philippines, World

From the bottom of the ocean to the outer reaches of the galaxy – the possibilities offered by drones and satellites are practically unlimited. Unmanned aerial vehicles are no longer only used in war zones. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, they are also valuable aids in the fight against pollution and social injustice. They can expose polluters and even locate people buried under rubble. In our RESET Special 'Drones and Satellites for Good', we will introduce projects that use satellites and drones towards sustainable development. Today: we chat with the team from Drone Adventures.

The relative low cost and speed with which drones can be put to use to gather data in particular regions has seen a number of activists and organisations of late make use of this technology to swiftly and safely obtain information. Founded in 2013 and based in Switzerland, Drone Adventures is an organisation that partners with activists, companies, individuals, insitutions and NGOs to bring to life projects that use drones to protect the planet; help people; and preserve culture.

Drone Adventures has realised projects that have helped map the Philippines after Taiphoon Haiyan; plot cleanup and reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima; and created imagery and 3D models of areas still recovering from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, all through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. We recently spoke with co-founder and vice president of Drone Adventures, Emanuele Lubrano, to find out how (and why) they are using drones toward the greater good.

Drones have a controversial reputation. What made you want to use them for good?

Myself and other people volunteering at Drone Adventures also work for the Swiss drone manufacturing company senseFly. We know drones very well and we know that civil drones are completely harmless. We are also aware of the reputation that they have worldwide.

We wanted to do something to change the bad status they have. In fact, the whole goal of Drone Adventures is to demonstrate that drones can be used to do good things… even if lately, we love doing the good thing itself more and more.

Which issues do you specifically want to address using drones?

For the moment, we use the senseFly eBee drones a lot. These drones are principally used for aerial photography and maps. Therefore, our missions involve the generation of maps and 3D models or taking aerial photos.

Once the data is acquired, the possibilities to use it are basically endless. So we participate in missions with a really broad spectrum:

  • Cartography to do a census of shantytowns
  • 3D modelling to simulate the water flow in a ravine to help build dams
  • Animal counting in the Savanna for nature protection
  • Cartography of landmine fields
  • General 2D maps or 3D models for surveys, delivered directly to local people, in order to self-administrate themselves
  • Archaeology (2D maps and 3D models)
  • Post-disaster assessment

People currently buy and use civil drones for several applications (mapping, agriculture, etc). From our side, we try to push the limit of this technology, selecting missions that can’t be defined as “standard”.

Could you please briefly explain your process (i.e. selecting projects to work on, developing a plan of action and how you carry out your work)?

Generally, we are contacted by an organisation of any kind that needs data (2D or 3D model of a certain location). We select the projects that have a real interest from a humanitarian, nature-conservation or cultural [viewpoint]. Also, the project has to lead to a concrete application (like building a bridge or shelter, helping people, saving animals, etc), so that we can show real results in the end. We also like to aim for missions that are not standard i.e. where there is a certain difficulty in flying drones.

Once the choice has been made, we move to the location for 1-2 weeks with our drones. [Once on site,] we try to understand what the best pictures would be that we could take in order to fit the final application in our contact. Then, we fly the drones and we obtain aerial images.

We come back to our base in Switzerland and we perform the data processing. This consists of stitching together all the photos taken by the drones in order to generate maps or 3D models.

The data is then delivered to our client who will then use it for its final application.

What are some of the highlights of the projects you've undertaken?

Even though Drone Adventures is a little more than two years old, we have already done a lot of interesting projects. Every project is a story on its own, an adventure to live with, [offering] places to discover and new people to meet. I would say that every time, [we have] a different life experience that enriches all of us.

For example...meeting the people in Haiti has been incredible for me. Or...going to Lima to help the local people has been a completely different experience than going there as a tourist. It has also been unbelievable to work in the Savanna in Namibia, having a semi-desert area as an office for a few days with the wildlife surrounding us.

What are some of the challenges you face when working in this field?

Even if drones generally have a bad reputation, we have never had challenges from this side. The senseFly drones we use look completely harmless so people [that are] curious come and see how we work, how the drone is deployed and how it lands. So, the challenges we have had until now were more on the technical side (flying in narrow valleys, flying at high altitudes, trying to land in tiny spots etc).

What are the future plans for Drone Adventures?

The future for us is continuing to do what we have done until now, trying to do it better and bigger. We want to consolidate partnerships with our technology partners and our clients. We would also love to start to have different “bases” around the world where we could deploy our team faster. Maybe having local teams that are trained to act fast in case of natural disasters or to provide constant aid to a certain cause.

Broadly speaking, what role do you think digital tools can play in humanitarian and environmental issues?

Technology will play THE important role in the coming years in all that is humanitarian, conservation and cultural preservation. I saw it with my eyes. Technology - especially when cheap and easy to use - literally empowers local people to help themselves. It is incredible how it is now possible to locate people that need help after a disaster [using] Twitter and smartphones. I heard of another interesting project that can transform any smartphone into a very good tool for ophthalmologists by adding a small lens onto the camera.

I have friends that develop equipment to perform radiography in the [developing] world or startups using cheap mass-production techniques to build a cheap and strong configurable prosthesis for people that have lost a leg after walking on a mine. There are plenty of examples like this in all possible domains. Drones are only a part of it and our application in particular allows people to have cheap, precise and updated maps of a place of interest, to perform a census, surveys, simulation, animal counting, agriculture surveys and more. The possibilities are endless!

Head to the Drone Adventures website for more on what they do.

World: Towards a World with Zero Hunger

16 July 2015 - 3:25pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Central African Republic, Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

WFP’s life-saving mission is to end global hunger. Universal access to food is the starting point for freedom, justice and peace for all.

WFP provides food assistance in emergencies and works together with governments, UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), companies and private individuals, to tackle the underlying factors causing hunger, to build self-reliance and improve food security.

In 2014, WFP provided food assistance to more than 80 million people in 82 countries.

Philippines: UN expert on internal displacement launches first official visit to the Philippines

16 July 2015 - 11:58am
Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Philippines

GENEVA (16 July 2015) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani will carry out an official visit to the Philippines from 21 to 31 July 2015 to assess the situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in different regions of the country caused by natural disasters, conflict and development projects.

“The Philippines has a range of internal displacement issues, which include those caused in 2013 by the devastation wreaked by Typhoon Haiyan where significant progress has been made, as well as other displacement situations where challenges remain to be addressed,” he noted.

“It is my intention to assist in finding solutions as well as to share experiences with the Government,” said Mr. Beyani, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government.

The independent expert is mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to consider the human rights of internally displaced persons in all regions. An essential element of his work is to visit countries to assess displacement situations, government responses and to promote implementation of international standards, including the Guiding Principles for Internal Displacement*.

“This visit presents a unique opportunity to consult with the national authorities and other stakeholders on progress in confronting recent and long-standing displacement challenges, remaining obstacles and efforts to ensure appropriate and durable solutions for all IDPs,” the Special Rapporteur stated.

During his ten-day mission, the human rights expert will visit Manila as well as locations where people have been internally displaced or are at risk of displacement such as Maguindanao, Zamboanga, Tacloban, and South Cotabato.

At the end of his visit, Mr Beyani will share his preliminary findings and recommendations with the media at a press conference which will be held on 31st July at 12:00 PM. at the New World Hotel, Esperaza Street corner Makati Avenue, Makati City.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report at the time of his annual report on his visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2016.

(*) Check the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/Standards.aspx

Mr. Chaloka Beyani, professor of international law at the London School of Economics, was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons by the Human Rights Council in September 2010. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/IDPersonsIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of the Special Procedures of Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization, and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – The Philippines: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/PHIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Graham Fox (+41 22 917 9640 / gfox@ohchr.org) or write to idp@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

Philippines: Final Evaluation Report: Typhoon Bopha/Pablo Operation

16 July 2015 - 2:35am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This evaluation of Philippine Red Cross (PRC)’s relief and recovery interventions that was part of the Typhoon Bopha Emergency Appeal operations and supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was undertaken between 11 March and 01 April 2015 or for a total of 22 days. The evaluation team’s activities consisted of review of related literature and documents; field visits to Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental where interviews with key informants and focus group discussions with community stakeholders were conducted; and, ocular observation of the process by which the intervention was undertaken; and, interviews of key informants; a workshop to present key evaluation findings; and, writing of the final report. The purpose was to review the impact and analyze key areas for improvement, specifically looking at the design, implementation and sustainability elements of the programme, with more focus on shelter, livelihoods and water and sanitation, to draw conclusions and identify wider lessons for IFRC-PRC. Further, the team evaluated and determined the degree by which humanitarian objectives of the programme have been achieved; how the methodologies utilized had facilitated and contributed to the results attained; and, the organizational processes, capacities and management structures. The programme was evaluated against criteria of timeliness, relevance and appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, coverage, coordination, connectedness of relief to recovery and the longer-term programme. The desired result of the evaluation is to provide best practices that may be replicated elsewhere and recommendations that may inform PRC, IFRC, and other Movement partners on establishing better guidelines, priorities, and plans for on-going or future operations.