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World: A regional approach towards refugees and asylum seekers in the Asia Pacific

21 September 2015 - 11:12pm
Source: Amnesty International Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, World


In May 2015, the world witnessed harrowing scenes as fishing boats crammed with refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh were pushed back to sea by Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Desperate children, men and women were left without food, water and medical care for a week, before the Philippines and later Indonesia and Malaysia offered to take them in. This crisis exposed the willingness of some governments in the region to ignore humanitarian imperatives as well as a range of core obligations under international law. Sadly, it is emblematic of the wider issues refugees face in the Asia Pacific region.

Amnesty International, Auckland Refugee Council and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) strongly support a regional approach towards improving the protection of refugees and asylum seekers in the Asia Pacific. According to UNHCR, the region hosts more than 3.9 million refugees and 4.8 million people who are internally displaced, stateless or seeking asylum. We believe that this displacement crisis will not be solved unless states recognise it as a regional problem and deal with it as such. A constructive regional approach, firmly grounded in the principles of international human rights and refugee law, would positively impact not only on the well-being of refugees and asylum seekers but also on the stability of the region as a whole.

New Zealand has a key role to play in advancing this form of regional cooperation. Given the country’s historically strong record on refugee protection, it is well-placed to foster dialogue with its neighbours and promote efforts to tackle some of the most pressing issues refugees and asylum seekers face in the region. As such, this paper contains a number of recommendations for the New Zealand government to apply bilaterally, domestically as well as through its diplomatic efforts in international fora. It is not intended to be an exhaustive summary but serves as a brief snapshot of key issues and a platform for further discussion.

Philippines: CRDRRMC works on relocation of 170 families in Abra village

21 September 2015 - 10:50pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines


BAGUIO CITY, Sept. 21 (PIA) - - The relocation of around 170 families and rehabilitation of barangayTamac, Villaviciosa in Abra which were badly affected by typhoon Ineng are the focus of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, in partnership with the provincial government of Abra and the concerned local government units and disaster risk reduction management councils.

At the height Typhoon Ineng last month, there was a big landslide at Tamac which isolated the area and force the evacuation of several families. Post-Ineng site inspection of the CRDRRMC officials and geologists of the Mines and Geo Science Bureau of the DENR discovered the strong probability that with another heavy rainfall or an occurrence of strong earthquake, the mountain there will continue to move and will endanger more than 100 families below.

With the MGB report, CRDRRMC chaired by Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Andrew Alex Uy, and other council members, Philippine Red Cross and Abra local chief executives met with the affected community in sitio Tamac last September 11 to discuss this pressing concern.

“We need to start at the right track and continuously work together to move forward for the welfare of the people here”, he said.

For the relocation program, the Abra Provincial LGU and the municipal government of Villaviciosa will take the lead and the concerned CRDRRMC government agency members will also bring their program such as the Core Shelter Program and Food for Work of DSWD and DILG’s SalinTubig (Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig para sa lahat) Program, among others.

In terms of recovery and rehabilitation effort, Uy said they have already requested non-food and food items for the affected families their central office.

The DSWD aside from family food packs, also provides Food for Work program and cash assistance to those with damaged houses. For DPWH, road clearing projects are continuously being implemented.

Another partner for rehabilitation in the area is Philippine Red Cross – Abra chapter, which is helping the DSWD in providing tents, food packs and collapse water containers to the affected families, as well as in bringing in nurses that provide health services. (JDP/CCD with reports from Ivy Carasi– OCD CAR)

Philippines: DSWD assures enough support for Surigao del Sur

21 September 2015 - 10:46pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman has instructed the DSWD-Field Office in CARAGA to continue to augment the resources of the provincial government of Surigao del Sur in order to meet the needs of families affected by the on-going civil unrest in the towns of Lianga, San Agustin, Marihatag, Tago, and San Miguel.

This after Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny T. Pimentel issued an urgent appeal to the national government for food supply as influx of evacuees continues.

To date, 587 families or 2,817 persons are now staying at the Surigao del Sur Sports Center while 28 families remain at the Janipaan Gym in San Agustin. Both evacuation centers are managed by local government units (LGUs).

“While we have not stopped providing resource augmentation to the LGUs, I have instructed our Field Office in the region to intensify further its relief support to the affected areas especially that the province in now under state of calamity. Rest assured that there are enough goods to augment resources of the LGUs,” Sec. Soliman said.

As of September 18, DSWD has provided 2,224 food packs worth P930,343.68 as resource augmentation. On the other hand, P136,416.68 worth of non-food items such as blankets, plastic mats, and clothing have also been extended. Likewise, 2,496 pieces of nutri-cereals for the children-evacuees were also delivered.

Aside from providing relief support, DSWD also conducted psycho-social interventions especially to children-evacuees. DSWD social workers conducted Expressed Arts Therapy through collage making inside the child-friendly space at the Sports Complex. During the processing, most children expressed their desire to go home because they are no longer comfortable at the evacuation centers.

DSWD staff also engaged the adult- evacuees in sports activities.

As part of the convergence of public and private sectors, the Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) extended free haircut to the evacuees; the Department of Health (DOH) conducted medical consultations; the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) distributed kitchen utensils; and, the San Pedro College/Hospital and Dominican Church conducted feeding program.

The Regional Child Welfare Group composed of various government agencies has ascertained the safety and security of the children evacuees with the presence of staff roving around the evacuation centers.

Philippines: NEDA marks encouraging progress in Yolanda recovery

21 September 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Sep. 22 -- The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) recently noted “encouraging progress” in the rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts in the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda almost two years ago.

“As the visiting UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margaret Wahlstrom, observed, there is encouraging progress in rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts on the ground. I saw this for myself when I visited Yolanda-affected areas in July. Construction work on several resettlement sites in Tacloban City is in full swing. People are starting to occupy some resettlement sites. And a number of livelihood centers and facilities are helping the Yolanda survivors get back on their feet through organic and sustainable farming as well as aquaculture,” Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

Wahlstrom was earlier quoted in the media as saying, “If you go there now, you will already see important change. If you go there in another two years and it (the recovery) continues at the same pace as of now, it will be very visibly a new place." Wahlstrom told the Agence France Presse that recovery from major disasters usually takes 10 years.

NEDA reports showed that based on agency submissions as of August 15, a number of Yolanda rehabilitation programs, projects and activities (PPAs) have started to post noteworthy results. For example, a total of 717,404 families have received Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to repair damaged houses. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has rehabilitated 358 or nearly all, save for three, damaged public university buildings.

Meanwhile, the livelihood assistance programs are reaching many Yolanda survivors, NEDA reports show that 82,772 people benefited from emergency employment and integrated livelihood programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); 78,840 people benefited from cash for work activities of the Department of Agriculture (DA); 46,719 fishers have received fishing boats from the DA/Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and 31,130 people received livelihood and vocational trainings given by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Based on recent monitoring field visits conducted on July 20-30 on Typhoon Regions VI, VII and VIII (Western, Central and Eastern Visayas), NEDA also noted some small but high-impact succeses in several Yolanda-hit communities, as a result of strong cooperation between national and local government agencies working together with private, non-government and multilateral organizations :

• The association of micro-entrepreneurs of Guiuan has been reactivated, providing livelihood opportunities and generating jobs locally, helping the municipality’s local economy to recover;

• The reconstructed San Jose Central School in Tacloban City pleased students who only have memories of their old school, which was 90 percent damaged by Typhoon Yolanda.

• Fishing communities in three barangays in Carles town in Iloilo regained their main livelihood: fishers received and were able to immediately use 10 motorized fishing boats; while the women’s association, which was provided P100,000 seed capital to jumpstart dried fish processing, has since recovered capital and sustained income.

Balisacan acknowledged that much work remains to be done, especially in the resettlement of people who have been displaced by the typhoon. To date, only 11,247 houses have been constructed and 73,442 are under construction. He added that NEDA is working hard to identify implementation and policy issues that continue to slow down the pace of rehabilitation, and determine appropriate actions at the local and national levels to address these issues.

“The rehabilitation of Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas remains a core priority of the government. NEDA, with all the implementing agencies and our partners from the private sector, civil society, and the international development community will continue to improve the execution of Typhoon Yolanda programs and to work together to ensure that these are responsive to the needs of the affected localities,” Balisacan said.

In April this year, President Benigno S. Aquino III, through Memorandum Order No. 79, transferred the coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of all disaster-related PPAs from the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery to NEDA. (NEDA)

World: EU, IFAD and ASEAN launch 16 million euro programme to support smallholder farmers

21 September 2015 - 11:07am
Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development Country: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Philippines, Viet Nam, World

Makati City, Philippines 21 September 2015 – A new development programme designed to improve the income and food security of 10 million small-scale farmers and rural producers was launched earlier this month at the 37th meeting of the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in Makati City.

Supported by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 16 million euro ASEAN Farmers' Organizations Support Programme (AFOSP) will assist farmers’ organizations to more effectively influence agriculture and food security policy on a national, regional and global level.

“Approximately 80 per cent of agriculture investments are made by smallholders who provide 80 per cent of the world’s food supply. These farmers deserve support from governments and international finance institutions,” said Hoonae Kim, Director, Asia and the Pacific, IFAD.

Some 40 national organizations and 300 local associations will benefit from AFOSP investments in agriculture services, training centres and marketing facilitation.

IFAD currently invests in rural development in eight ASEAN member countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Viet Nam.

As of the end of 2014, IFAD was providing more than US$1.8 billion in financing for 56 ongoing programmes and projects in 20 of the region’s 34 countries. With cofinancing by development partners and funds from governments and other domestic sources, these operations represent a total investment of more than $4.2 billion.

Press release No.: IFAD/64/2015

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$16.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 445 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.


Susan Beccio
Communications Division
Tel: +39 06 5459 2479
Mobile: +39 334 953 3030

Philippines: Typhoon-affected islands off the coast of Samar receive much-needed livestock support

21 September 2015 - 6:08am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines

The island of Tubabao, off the coast of Guiuan in Eastern Samar was one of the first areas in the Philippines to be hit by super Typhoon Haiyan. While the tiny island is only a 20-minute boat ride from Guiuan, many farming families living here have received minimal assistance owing to the difficulty in transporting materials to these locations.

In the aftermath of Haiyan, Region VIII lost about 33 million coconut stands, affecting the livelihood of more than one million small-scale coconut farmers. Because newly planted coconut trees take six to eight years to reach productivity, there was a serious need to provide alternative forms of livelihood and address food security issues. Replanting coconut trees was therefore not sufficient; and interventions called for providing other sources of food and income and strengthening resiliencies against the onset of future disasters.

As part of its Haiyan Recovery and Rehabilitation Programme to support coconut farmers, FAO delivered more than 9 000 livestock to typhoon-affected farmers including carabaos, cows, goats and pigs. Livestock rearing is an integrated activity of the economic structure at farm and barangay level and it largely contributes to food security, rural income and to the efficient use of the local natural resources. The distribution of livestock to islands off the coast of Eastern Samar were funded by the Government of Japan.

Fiji: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (15-21 September 2015)

21 September 2015 - 5:19am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, Philippines, Vanuatu


In Fiji, 50,000 people are now estimated to be affected by reduced rainfall connected with El Niño. The impacts of El Niño in Fiji are now well established with water shortages forcing the government to continue water deliveries in some farming communities and on the outer islands. The dry weather has cut the sugar cane harvest, reduced fruit and vegetable production and increased food prices. Farmers are reporting stock losses because of water shortages and the reduced rainfall is impacting on hydro-electric power generation capacity.

50000 people affected


Humanitarian partners in Vanuatu are reporting El Niño-related food and water shortages on several islands which were badly hit by Tropical Cyclone Pam earlier this year. There is insufficient water in spring and rain fed streams to meet minimum population needs. There are now numerous reports of hungry people in Erromango and North Tanna, as well as increased cases of diarrhea. Humanitarian partners have reported that people are resorting to chewing roots and eating leaves with no nutritional value. Food distributions are planned for Tanna next week


On 20 September, the President of Nepal released the country's new constitution triggering renewed violent protests across the Terai region. Clashes between security forces and protesters over the past several weeks have caused more than 40 casualties according to media reports. The military have been deployed in four ‘riot hit’ districts and a curfew has been imposed.

40 people dead


Five communes were flooded in Teuk Chhou District, Kampot Province when the main gate of the hydro-electrical damn was opened. Around 4,400 households (22,000 people) have been affected in Mak Prang, Kampong Kreng, Stoeung Keo, Trapang Thum and Prey Khmum communes.

This has been exacerbated by heavy rainfall in the area. Around 2,300 hectares of agricultural land has been flooded. The Cambodian Government and Cambodian Red Cross are providing assistance, including food to 349 households.


The living conditions of people displaced by the 2013 conflict in Zamboanga remain of concern. About 300 displaced families in Lupa-Lupa and Mariki Elementary School remain without adequate access to basic services. Some internally displaced people continue to stay in congested makeshift dwellings and tents occupied by four to five families, while others resorted to taking refuge in partially-damaged houses. Families in Mariki Elementary School occupy classrooms without proper water and sanitation facilities. The main water bladder with a capacity of 5,000 litres is located away from the school and most IDPs purchase water from host communities. Concerns remain over the protection risks and increased vulnerabilities of the IDPs following two years of displacement.

300 displaced families

Philippines: Philippines: Support for internally displaced persons in Surigao del Sur

21 September 2015 - 5:19am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Philippines


  • Using IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), a tool to track displacement, the IOM Office in Cotabato conducted an assessment mission on 17 September to identify the most pressing needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). The assessment was shared and discussed with local government partners. The most urgent needs identified are: upgrades of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, the provision of non-food items, emergency shelter assistance, protection and health support.

  • Working since the onset of the military and paramilitary attacks, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the local government unit (LGUs) of Tandag, have provided household kits such as jerry cans, blankets and sleeping mats.
    These household kits are supporting the IDPs to improve their current living conditions while residing inside evacuation sites.

  • Supporting the efforts of the Government of the Philippines and the Mindanao Humanitarian Team, IOM can provide additional non-food items as well as conduct upgrades in the evacuation sites, including the construction of cooking and kitchen counters and latrines. As co-chair of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster, IOM can also build the capacities of IDP leaders and LGU partners on humanitarian response during natural and human-made emergencies.

World: Results Report 2015

21 September 2015 - 3:47am
Source: The Global Fund Country: Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Philippines, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World

Executive Summary

The Global Fund partnership brings together a myriad of strengths: finances; technical expertise; the experience and knowledge of communities affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria; innovation; and a capacity for constant evolution. The partners who comprise the Global Fund come with diverse abilities and points of view, yet they share a determination to serve people, to strive for social justice, and to achieve impact against HIV, TB and malaria and ultimately end the epidemics.

This report delivers a summary of the impact and results the Global Fund partnership was able to achieve by 2015, showing cumulative progress since the Global Fund was created in 2002. It is a collective effort, combining the strong contributions made by governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by HIV, TB and malaria. Here are the cumulative highlights:

  • 17 million lives saved; on track to reach 22 million lives saved by the end of 2016

  • A decline of one-third in the number of people dying from HIV, TB and malaria since 2002, in countries where the Global Fund invests

  • 8.1 million people on antiretroviral treatment for HIV

  • 13.2 million people have received TB treatment

  • 548 million mosquito nets distributed through programs for malaria

Building resilient and sustainable systems for health is critically important to end HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics. The Global Fund partnership’s investments in HIV, TB and malaria create substantial positive effects on the systems for health in countries where these diseases are rife.
This mutually reinforcing relationship between funding for disease-control programs and funding for cross-cutting systems is a cornerstone of the Global Fund’s approach to investment. Overall, more than one-third of the Global Fund’s investments go to building resilient and sustainable systems for health.

Gender inequalities are major drivers of disease transmission and affect the ability of people to access health care and other services equitably. In many countries, HIV is the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age. In some, girls account for more than 80 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents. The Global Fund partnership is committed to striving for equal access to prevention, treatment, care and support for all those who need it, and reducing gender inequality. The Global Fund estimates that approximately 55 to 60 percent of its investments benefit women and girls, with a positive impact on reproductive health.

Human rights are built into the Global Fund’s strategy, by increasing investments in programs that address human rights barriers and cutting support for programs that infringe on human rights. The Global Fund works with partners to identify gaps and help shape investments more effectively.
Respecting and promoting human rights is essential for expanding access to health services. The Global Fund is embedding human rights work into the grant-making process.

The Global Fund has found an effective way to stimulate domestic investments in health. In 2014, the Global Fund partnership began full implementation of a funding model with a counterpart financing requirement in order to access full funding. A 52 percent increase in domestic investments in health is projected, an additional investment of US$4.5 billion committed from government resources for 2015-2017, compared with the amount invested in 2012-2014.

Global Fund investment in health programs has grown steadily. As of September 2015, the Global Fund disbursed US$27 billion to support programs for HIV, TB and malaria.

By 2015, the Global Fund achieved two-year savings worth more than US$500 million through more effective procurement. The medicines and health products purchased through a pooled procurement mechanism were delivered more swiftly than in the past, with on time delivery improving from 36 percent in 2013 to 81 percent in 2015.

Operating expenditure is decreasing, through disciplined cost control, efforts to save money and adherence to a prudent budgeting framework. In 2014, operating expenses totaled US$286 million, below a projected budget of US$300 million. That represents about 2.3 percent of grants under management, reflecting a high degree of efficiency compared with other international organizations.

To make a transformational difference in the lives of people affected by HIV, TB and malaria, the Global Fund partnership must strive to constantly improve. Better data and better tracking of results and impact are needed. So are bedrock principles of partnership and shared responsibility. In 2015, as world leaders coalesce to formulate sustainable development goals to improve the lives of billions of people, the achievements of global health can serve as a model for what can be achieved when communities come together and aim for common goals, like access to quality health care for all.

Philippines: Philippines: World Bank, WMSU Sign Partnership for Citizen Engagement in Mindanao

19 September 2015 - 12:12am
Source: World Bank Country: Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, September 18, 2015 – The Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) has joined the growing network of Knowledge for Development Community (KDCs) nationwide by signing a partnership agreement for citizen engagement with the World Bank.

KDCs are schools and policy and research institutions in the Philippines that promote knowledge sharing and active citizen involvement in governance issues. They are established in partnership with the World Bank and institutions in country since 2002.

Currently, there are 19 KDCs nationwide: 8 in Metro Manila, 4 in Luzon, 3 in Visayas and 4 in Mindanao. Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) is the 4th in Mindanao, after the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao, Notre Dame University in Cotabato and Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro.

WMSU President Dr. Milabel Ho says the university will play a very important role in the growing KDC network.

“The university is recognized in Mindanao for quality tertiary education,” said Dr. Ho. “We conduct research on governance and social development has a strong extension service aimed at improving the quality of life at the grassroots. In effect, our research and advocacy programs align well with the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy aimed at helping the country reduce extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity.”

Through the KDC partnership, the World Bank provides information materials, training support and subject-matter expertise, and links development partners and citizens. Among the recent activities conducted are the following:

  • Training on Research Tools and Impact Analysis was conducted by the World Bank for the House of Representatives to improve their capacity to review government budget policies and provide recommendations. The output of the training is a policy paper on social protection and poverty reduction programs, particularly on conditional cash transfers.

  • An online course on Localizing Poverty Reduction Targets was conducted to discuss initiatives that localize the poverty reduction targets articulated in the national agenda. Three KDCs (Central Philippine University, Silliman University, and University of Southeastern Philippines) organized the event.

“The World Bank believes that to make growth more inclusive, advocates of development and better governance should work closely with small communities and marginalized group through local institutions like WMSU that have established effective community-based programs. The KDCs are a good platform for sharing knowledge and solutions and for engaging and rallying citizens to the cause of ensuring good governance,” said World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Motoo Konishi.

In addition to WMSU, the KDC network includes the World Bank, University of the Philippines Diliman School of Economics, Philippine Institute for Development Studies, National Economic and Development Authority, Asian Institute of Management, House of Representatives-Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, De La Salle University-Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance, St. Paul University Philippines, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Ateneo de Naga University, Palawan State University, Central Philippine University, University of San Carlos, Siliman University, University of Southeastern Philippines, Notre Dame University, and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.


In Manila
David Llorito
Tel : +63-2-465-2512

In Zamboanga
Dr. Mario R. Obra Jr.
Tel : +63-917-716-7001

In Washington
Jane Zhang
Tel : +1 (202) 473-1376

World: South East Asia emergency response team takes on region's deluge of disasters

18 September 2015 - 8:50am
Source: AlertNet Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

By Alisa Tang

JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, international aid poured into Southeast Asia, but in both disasters the 10-nation regional body ASEAN was conspicuously absent, says disaster expert Arnel Capili.

"Those were very big events that really affected the national governments of member states. The question was, where is ASEAN?" Capili said of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Read the Full Story

Philippines: Philippines: Helping farmers in North Cotabato

16 September 2015 - 6:53am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Getting to Renibon in the municipality of Pigkawayan in North Cotabato entails at least an hour of driving through unpaved roads, and navigating streams and rivers.

Largely populated by the Aromanen Manobo ethnic group that relies on upland farming, the village is not only remote – requiring tremendous efforts and resources for the villagers to access the town proper and sell their crops – but it is also adjacent to areas affected by armed violence.

Adding to underlying poverty, farmers struggle to put enough food on the table, especially during the dry season.

From farm animals to solar dryers

The ICRC started supporting this vulnerable community in 2011, with 115 families each receiving a carabao (water buffalo) and farming tools to help them plough the fields, thus increasing the cultivated land area in the village.

"Before we received the carabao, our crops were only limited to corn and cassava. Now we can plough a larger area and plant more, including coconut, rubber and banana," explained Mercy Diansay, a farmer from Buluan district, in the village of Renibon.

With the cultivated land area doubling from half to one hectare, her family was not only able to diversify the crops but also increase their yield. After a year, Mercy will be able to give the carabao's offspring to her nephew. "He is also part of the list of beneficiaries so when our pregnant carabao gives birth, the young will be handed over to his family. When it matures, it will also be a big help for him on the farm."

Aside from developing idle land, having a carabao saves farmers from physically transporting produce down the hills to the village. Moreover, the money that they used to spend on additional labour to plough the fields can now be spent on covering their basic needs.

To further increase productivity and help reduce the cost of transporting corn for milling downtown, corn mills and solar dryers were built and completed in 2014 by the ICRC in the districts of Dacupila, Proper and Payong-Payong, in the village of Renibon.

Corn farmer Genny Manggamanan used to grind corn manually using a stone grinder, a process that takes long hours with very little output. "It's time-consuming but the alternative of having to have it milled was costly," explained Genny. "With a new mill nearby, it's faster and the time I used to spend on grinding corn is now spent on doing other tasks around the farm."

Drying crops is another important element for farming communities. Families used to lay out tarpaulins in front of their house to have a flat surface for sun drying their harvest, but the space is usually limited.

This changed with the construction of concrete solar dryers.

Among seven siblings, 20-year-old Eric Manalo's role is to dry the harvested produce. He explained that the use of the solar dryer is free and would only need to be scheduled ahead of time. "I camp out here until the crops are dried. Having this dryer has reduced the drying period from five to two days because of the huge space. After this, we can sell the copra and dried corn downtown," said Eric.

Empowering farmers

Aside from the tools and equipment given, members of the three farming associations, formed to facilitate the operation of the corn mills, were trained by the ICRC in financial management to properly keep track of the income generated as well as the expenses incurred.

Selected farmers were also trained as barangay animal health workers to monitor the condition of the carabaos. The volunteer health workers learned how to administer dewormers, vitamins and other veterinary drugs, and serve as extension workers of the provincial veterinarian in their respective communities.

During a community meeting, villagers expressed their gratitude for the assistance given to Renibon. It was a common observation that their yield significantly increased, costs were reduced and the overall quality of life in their remote farming community had indeed improved. As one officer pointed out, "You can tell by looking at the solar dryers – it's always filled with crops."

Philippines: Philippines: Water and sanitation crucial for displaced communities

16 September 2015 - 6:49am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Armed clashes that erupted between armed groups in February forced a large number of families to flee their homes in many municipalities of Maguindanao.

Displaced civilians had to build makeshift shelters inside evacuation centres, and since there was not adequate access to clean water, people were forced to collect water from open wells and unmaintained hand pumps – disregarding the health risks that they posed. Others had to buy water from private companies, which was an added financial burden on displaced families.

Sanitation was another concern inside the evacuation centres. The limited number of toilets and latrines could not cater to the influx of people, causing them to use rivers and swamps – regardless of the health issues that might occur.

In response to these dire situations, the ICRC and the Philippine Red Cross set up 49 water tanks in 27 evacuation centres, where more than 100,000 litres of potable water was delivered daily to 34,000 displaced people. The assistance helped to safeguard the health and sanitation needs of close to 6,300 families during the entire duration of their nearly three-month displacement.

Following the emergency phase, the ICRC commenced the construction of hand pumps and latrines, improving the supply of clean drinking water and increase access to sanitation facilities in the villages of Butilen, Sambolawan and Ganoy, in the municipality of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

"Our aim is to build facilities that would support access to safe water and toilets for the residents of these host villages. If conflict and displacement occur, these facilities could also serve affected civilians who may evacuate to Datu Salibo. It is very important that the community takes ownership of this project to make it sustainable," explained Marco Albertini, ICRC's water and habitat coordinator.

In July, the ICRC started the construction of 10 latrines with individual cubicles, seven standard hand pumps and nine hand pumps with slow sand filters, which will be accessible inside evacuation centres and other possible displacement sites within Datu Salibo. These facilities will be completed within the year.

"The fighting has placed a strain on our limited water supplies and public toilets. But we cannot drive evacuees away; they have nowhere to go," explained Faidza Sandigan, barangay captain of Butilen. Four evacuation centres were set up in their village to accommodate residents fleeing armed violence.

"The latrines and wells being built by the Red Cross will improve our lives," Faidza added.

Philippines: DA to distribute certified seed to farmers in South Cotabato

16 September 2015 - 4:11am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Sept 16 (PIA) – Some 1,100 bags of certified seeds are set for distribution to farmers in South Cotabato, a local official announced.

Acting Provincial Agriculturist Justina Navarrete said these certified seeds will be dispersed free of charge to rice growers in the province under its quick turnaround program as a mitigation measure for the possible onslaught of dry spell that may affect the province.

According to projections of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration-Department of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST) South Cotabato, along with the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani in SOCCSKSARGEN Region, are expected to experience dry spell with the ongoing onslaught of El Niño, which could last until first half of 2016.

Dry spell, according to PAGASA, means three consecutive months of below normal (21-60% reduction from average) rainfall conditions or two consecutive months of way below normal (more than 60% reduction from average rainfall conditions.

South Cotabato farmers to avail free certified seeds from DA-12

Navarrete said, South Cotabato is likely to experience shortfall in production as a result of the weather condition.

Farmers who will receive free certified seeds, she added, are those who have recently harvested so that they will be able to immediately restart planting.

Of the 1,100 bags, 50 bags are intended for farmers in Tupi; 100 bags each for Polomolok, Tantangan, Banga and Sto. Nino; 150 bags for Tboli, 200 bags for Surallah; and 250 bags for Norala.

In a separate interview, Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes appealed to farmers to plant root crops and other drought resistant crops which could be consumed as staples.

She added that the provincial government may request the Department of Agriculture for cloud seeding to induce rain when needed. (DEDoguiles-PIA 12 with report from South Cotabato-PIO)

Philippines: RYAC seeks youth representation in local disaster management bodies

16 September 2015 - 3:51am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Maria Aprila Cruz

BAGUIO CITY, Sept. 16 (PIA) -- The Regional Youth Advisory Council (RYAC) Cordillera is seeking for youth representation in local disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) councils following the issuance of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, s. 2015 of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Youth Commission (NYC).

During the recent RYAC-CAR quarterly meeting, members approved Resolution No. 003, S. 2015 requesting the Regional Social Development Committee to endorse to the Regional Development Council the implementation of said joint directive.

The Joint Memorandum Circular states that in view of the strategic role of the youth in molding a resilient community and to fully realize the goals of the PDRRM Act of 2010, the DILG and NYC enjoin all local chief executives(LCEs) to engage the youth sector as member of the LDRRMC, as one group representing the Civil Society Organizations. LCEs are enjoined to institutionalize the participation of the youth in climate change adaptation(CCA) and other activities related to preparedness and disaster mitigation.

National and local consultations conducted by the NYC revealed that the youth have been participating in numerous DRRM related activities such as community hazard mapping, search and rescue efforts, relief operations, mental health and psycho-social services, and CCA activities.

In spite of their active involvement, efforts are fragmented. The lack of youth representatives at the local levels makes for an uncoordinated approach, especially within the said sector, in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters, it was noted.

The RYAC’s move is in line with its 2015 Regional Youth Agenda and Strategic Action geared towards the achievement of the NYC’s two priority concern areas namely youth in agriculture and DRRM. (JDP/MAWC – PIA CAR)

Philippines: Irrigation groups get training for El Niño

16 September 2015 - 12:27am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Sep. 16 -- In preparation for the onslaught of the El Niño phenomenon, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has conducted island-wide consultation and planning workshops with Small-Scale Irrigation Associations (SWISAs).

The workshops were held to identify possible and alternative measures to mitigate the impact of drought, to determine the capability needs of the SWISAs and to find ways on how the members can participate in the project implementation.

Resource persons from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) provided the SWISA participants with monthly and provincial drought outlooks for them to identify the likely scenarios in their respective areas.

It is estimated that 60 provinces in the country have been affected by drought and dry spell, according to PAGASA. Due to the El Niño phenomenon, the weather bureau projects that rainfall will be below normal and the prolonged dry season may last until next year.

DA Undersecretary Emerson Palad said involving SWISAs is vital to prepare the agriculture sector for the adverse impacts of El Niño.

“Irrigation is a key element to agricultural productivity. We need then to promptly identify measures on how we adapt our irrigation systems to the challenges of El Niño such that we could sustain our productivity,” Palad said.

Meanwhile, BSWM Executive Director Silvino Q. Tejada announced that P10 billion will be allotted to the bureau for small-scale irrigation projects to be implemented from the last quarter of 2015 to 2016.

“With this (funding), we can now further improve our agricultural irrigation systems, enabling us to produce commodities competitive with products in the international market,” Tejada said.

The series of consultations were held in Pampanga for the Luzon cluster, Iloilo City for the Visayas cluster, and Cagayan de Oro for the Mindanao Cluster.

With a membership of 1,488 associations and 70,000 individuals nationwide, a national convention of SWISA members will be held in Davao City this October to further discuss concerns they face as small irrigation groups. (DA-BSWM)

Philippines: DFA conducts training on International Humanitarian Law

15 September 2015 - 11:37pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

16 September 2015 - As part of the series of activities organized in observance of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Month with the theme: "Pagkilala at Pagpapahalaga sa IHL, Responsibilidad ng Lahat," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Office of the United Nations and International Organizations (UNIO) and in coordination with the IHL Ad Hoc Committee and the Ateneo Professional Schools, conducted a one-day Training on International Humanitarian Law on August 27 at the Ateneo Professional Schools, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City.

The training sought to provide participants with an overview of IHL's key principles; Philippine efforts to implement IHL in the country; a discussion on groups affected by the practice or non-practice of IHL and emerging concepts and developments in the international humanitarian security agenda.

The training commenced with Atty. Evecar Cruz-Ferrer discussing the basics of the IHL; followed by an overview of the Philippine RA 9851 or commonly known as the IHL Law. The morning session was capped by Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Atty. Herminia T. Angeles discussing the Philippine accession to the Rome Statute or the creation of the International Criminal Court.

In the afternoon, Dr. Maria Lourdes V. Rallonza of the Ateneo Political Science Department discussed how Vulnerable Groups such as women and children are given special protection under IHL while Atty. Cecilia Jimenez of the Commission on Human Rights discussed the nature and protection needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Atty. Lorna Kapunan discussed the Emblem Act or RA 10530, which enshrined the sanctity of the Red Cross, Red Crescent and Red Crystal symbols for humanitarian assistance. Assistant Secretary Jesus R.S. Domingo of the United Nations and Other International Organizations of the Department of Foreign Affairs presented developments under the World Humanitarian Summit, Human Security Agenda and Partnerships, such as the Montreux Document, Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) as well as the Geneva-Manila Network, which cements the humanitarian partnership between the two cities. Undersecretary Severo S. Catura of the Presidential Human Rights Committee lauded the training's goal of promoting peace and developing norms that would help countries or combatants act in a more humane manner in times of conflict.

The training was participated by approximately 120 representatives from various law schools in Manila, namely: San Beda College of Law, University of the Philippines' College of Law and Ateneo Law School and College of St. Benilde, as well as government agencies and civil society organizations.

The IHL Ad Hoc Committee is led alternately by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defense (DND) and includes the International Committee of the Red Cross-Philippines (ICRC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Presidential Human Rights Committee-Secretariat (PHRC), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Philippine National Police- Human Rights Affairs Office (PNPHRAO), Armed Forces of the Philippines-Human Rights Office (AFPHRO), The Philippine Air Force HRO, Philippine Navy HRO, Philippine Army HRO, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC). END

Philippines: The political economy of the news media in the Philippines and the framing of news stories on the GPH-CNN peace process

15 September 2015 - 2:31pm
Source: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre Country: Philippines

The peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the CNN (CPP-NPA-NDF) is “invisible”. There is currently very little media coverage of the peace process and no background coverage. The Benigno Aquino government seems focused on negotiations with its other insurgency problem, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with which an agreement was reached in 2014. Conflict has significant news value, so the Philippine mainstream media tend to highlight conflict instead of peace when they do report on the CNN. This report argues that:

  • The GPH-CNN peace process should be jumpstarted.

  • Public opinion should be stirred up to support the resumption of the peace process.

  • The quantity and quality of peace process coverage should be upgraded.

  • The media should be encouraged to develop full-time peace process reporters.

  • A Centre for Peace Studies and Peace Journalism should be created.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 9–15 September 2015

15 September 2015 - 9:07am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 9–15 September 2015

Afghanistan: The number of severely food insecure has risen to 1.5 million people, according to a new assessment. 7.3 million people are moderately food insecure. Food security among IDPs is worsening, with around 200,000 people reported to be in need of immediate assistance.

Iraq: 827,964 people were internally displaced in August, making up one-quarter of the total IDP population. The proportion of IDPs living in critical shelter arrangements increased by 2% in the second half of August. Reports of forcible evictions are increasing, and many governorates are enforcing restrictions on IDP movement. Half of all health personnel have left Anbar, Ninewa, Salah al Din and Diyala governorates.

Dominican Republic: At least 1.6 million people are now reported affected by the drought that has been impacting the country since 2014. The breakdown in the production of hydroelectrical power has caused energy blackouts nationwide, and water rationing is being implemented. Crop losses amount to tens of millions of dollars.

Updated: 15/09/2015. Next update 22/09/2015.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: Philippines: Pushing Community-Driven Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives In Sorsogon

15 September 2015 - 8:42am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

By Faizza Tanggol

Sorsogon is one of the most disaster-prone provinces in the Philippines. What is WFP doing to help address the effects of severe disasters and climate change in the province?

Natural disasters and the effects of extreme climate change increase the risk of hunger, especially to those who are already vulnerable. To address this, the World Food Programme (WFP) recommends strengthening disaster preparedness initiatives, supporting livelihood creation and diversification and implementing innovative social safety net mechanisms in the Philippines.

In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), WFP is helping build resilience in disaster-prone provinces in the Philippines through its Disaster Preparedness and Response/Climate Change Adaptation (DPR/CCA) project.

Through the partnership, local governments, academe and non-government organizations plan for the disaster risk reduction activities suitable for their communities. More importantly, they also provide counterpart funding to support their own preparedness initiatives.

Sorsogon, the southernmost province of Luzon, is one of the partner provinces of the DPR/CCA project. Situated within the eastern seaboard of the Philippines, it is one of the provinces through which typhoons regularly pass.

Since 2011, WFP has partnered with Sorsogon Province and the municipalities of Casiguran, Irosin, Juban, Prieto Diaz, and Santa Magdalena to help build resilience in their communities. Here’s a list of what WFP has been doing in Sorsogon.

Preparedness for Effective Response

To better respond to incoming disasters, select local government units (LGUs) in Sorsogon were provided with emergency response trainings which encompass knowledge on first aid and basic water search and rescue. In the left photo, the emergency response team of the Municipality of Prieto Diaz conduct their first aid drill. The right photo shows the search and water rescue of the emergency response team of the Municipality of Juban.

LGUs were also provided with equipment to be used during emergencies such as patrol or rescue boats, spine boards, ropes, life vests, safety helmets, chainsaws, and lifebuoys. The above photos show the patrol boats, life vests and other rescue equipment of the Municipality of Santa Magdalena.

Disaster operations centres were also established where decision-makers and responders can meet and organize themselves during emergency operations. Evacuation centres were also built which will serve as temporary shelters for community members during the activation of their pre-evacuation protocols. The left photo shows the disaster operations centre in the Municipality of Irosin, while the right photo is the multipurpose evacuation centre and storage facility in Santa Magdalena.

Information Systems

Access to communications is one of the most vital needs during emergencies. WFP has helped put communications protocols in place to assist in the dissemination of information during emergencies by providing the Province of Sorsogon with communications equipment. In the left photo, the Province of Sorsogon showcases the base radio they use during emergencies, while in the right photo, Juban disaster risk reduction officer uses their handheld radio to communicate with their rescue personnel.


Even before an emergency strikes, LGUs are equipped with assessment tools to help them identify and analyse the capacities and vulnerabilities within their community. Trainings and equipment necessary for Geographic Information Systems were established. With the hazard mapping in place, LGUs can effectively plan and prepare for vulnerabilities. In the above photos, Prieto Diaz mayor and disaster risk officer (left photo) and Casiguran disaster risk officer (right photo) demonstrate their ongoing hazard mapping initiatives.

Public Education

To increase the awareness of the hazards within the community, LGUs have prepared information, education and communication (IEC) materials for their constituents. IEC materials usually include information on the existing disaster risk in the community as well as how to properly prepare for it, such as those in the IEC materials of Santa Magdalena, illustrated above.

Aside from IEC materials, an innovative way to educate is through “education on wheels” such as those of Green Valley Development Program’s Van Aralan, pictured above. Through Van Aralan, students and out-of-school youth are educated about the different types of disasters, climate change, and how to cope with it. Almost 6,000 school children and out-of-school youth were reached by the Van Aralan project.

Addressing Risk Factors

To address a specific risks in the community, local governments are encouraged to come up with community-driven initiatives which reduces vulnerabilities in their area. In Casiguran, coastal communities have planted 9,000 mangrove propagules to protect their coastlines against extreme weather and erosion.

Adapting to Climate Change

To ensure food security in the region as well as to adapt to the changing climate, the local government of Irosin came up with the Climate Resilience Field School (CRFS), a non-formal education for farmers. Through the CRFS, more than a hundred farmers were trained on practical matters such as climate and weather forecasting to help them decide when to plant and fertilize their crops, which type of crop variety is best for their area, and analyse which insects are helpful or harmful for their crops.

Farmers in Casiguran also help reduce the impacts of climate change by producing and utilizing biochar. Biochar uses agricultural waste like rice husks (left photo), and converts it to charcoal (right photo) and smoked liquid. The finished product is used in a variety of ways in farming such as the improvement of soil fertility and crop yield, as well as other reported uses like reduction of animal dung stench and mosquito repellent.

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