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World: Zika virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome Situation Report, 10 November 2016

10 November 2016 - 11:14am
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana (France), French Polynesia (France), Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique (France), Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Caledonia (France), Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World

KEY UPDATES

 Countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections for the first time in the past week:

o Montserrat, Palau

 Countries and territories reporting microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:

o None

 Countries and territories reporting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:

o None

 The fifth meeting of the Emergency Committee on Zika virus, microcephaly other neurological disorders will be convened on 18 November 2016.

Philippines: Philippines: PRC extends assistance to Typhoon Lawin affected areas in Tuguegarao City

10 November 2016 - 1:59am
Source: Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

In the aftermath of Typhoon Lawin, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) rushed to Tuguegarao City, and other affected areas, in a convoy consisting of payloader, dump truck, 6x6 multipurpose truck, rescue truck, Humvee, Hot Meals on Wheels van, among others to carry out rescue, clearing and relief operations from October 25-30, 2016.

Tuguegarao City was one of the areas hardly hit by the typhoon which destroyed several houses and school buildings, rendered roads impassable, and broke down power and communication networks.

“I commend our staff and volunteers who cleared away debris brought by Typhoon Lawin in Tuguegarao, which is one of the areas badly hit by the typhoon. Our clearing operations paved the way for relief materials to easily reach the affected families and individuals, and helped prepare the schools for the resumption of classes in the schools that were affected,” said PRC chairman Richard Gordon.

PRC’s payloader and dump truck supported clearing operations in Tuguegarao’s Maharlika Highway, while the 6x6 multi-purpose truck, rescue truck and Humvee were used to clear areas at the Tuguegarao West Central School on October 25.

On October 26, the Red Cross team cleared debris and garbage at the St. Louis University in Likano St., Brgy. Ugac Sur and at the Tuguegarao West Central School. On the same day, the team distributed relief goods to 296 families at Brgy. Centro 11 and to 171 families at Brgy. Patagueleg, Peñablanca.

The following day, October 27, Red Cross cleared the areas of Centro 5, Brgy. Arellano and at the Tuguegarao West Central School. The team also assisted PRC Cagayan Chapter in the distribution of relief goods to 95 families at Brgy. Parabba, Penablanca and to 95 families at Brgy. Centro 9.

While on October 28, PRC payloader and dump truck were also used to clear the debris at Brgy. Likaro Centro 5 and at the campus of Cagayan National High School. On October 29, clearing operation was done in the areas of Ugac North, Brgy. Catagaman Nuevo and at the Tuguegarao North East Central School.

“We, from Tuguegarao North East Central School, admire the courage and strength that the Red Cross rescue team showed to us at our lowest point. They were the only humanitarian organization that gave their time to help us clear debris in our school, particularly the fallen acacia and narra trees on our school grounds. Without their help and effort to lift, cut and clear the debris and fallen branches, our school’s situation will be really hopeless. We are deeply grateful to receive such kind of selfless help from a humanitarian organization like the Red Cross,” said Gail Policarpio, the school’s principal.

The Red Cross continued their clearing operation at Tuguegarao North East Central School on October 30, as well as in the areas of Brgy. Caritan (Bagay Road), Fermine St, Caritan Sur, Pelesidad South Diversion Road, Tuluyan Sur Norte and San Gabriel Village. Also on that day, relief distribution and hot meals feeding were done at Roma Norte, Enrile.

Aside from clearing, hot meals and relief distribution, PRC also provided welfare services and first aid management for affected families and individuals in Tuguegarao, Peñablanca, and other affected areas in Cagayan.

With the clearing and emergency operations done in Tuguegarao City and the rest of Cagayan, the Red Cross is now ready to assist them towards recovery as people begin to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.

Philippines: How women's silence secures the peace: analysing sexual and gender-based violence in a low-intensity conflict

10 November 2016 - 12:31am
Source: Oxfam Country: Philippines

Most studies of the gendered impact of conflict focus on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) atrocities committed in high-intensity conflict environments. In contrast, this article focuses on the patterns of SGBV in Mindanao, Philippines – an environment of protracted low-intensity conflict within a fragile state. We examine the current Mindanao peace process to highlight the disempowerment of survivors of SGBV, due in large part to the reporting constraints that affect those most likely to be targeted for sexual violence by rival groups, some of whom are closely associated with the peace process. By making visible the significant social, political-economic, and institutional barriers affecting the recognition and reporting of SGBV, we discuss how and why conflict-related SGBV continues in fragile and low-intensity conflict environments.

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This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. To download the article for free from Taylor & Francis Online please use the link below. If you encounter any problems please email us at policyandpractice@oxfam.org.uk

For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.

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World: Internal Displacement Update, 20 October - 2 November 2016

9 November 2016 - 11:48pm
Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Country: Afghanistan, China, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Italy, Mozambique, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

This update presents key internal displacement developments and policy updates from 20 October to 2 November 2016.

Philippines: DSWD releases Status Report on ‘Yolanda’ Funds and Shelters for survivors

9 November 2016 - 8:46pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the tragedies caused by Supertyphoon Yolanda and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is releasing this 3rd report on its investigations on its own ‘Yolanda’ efforts.

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo, speaking today to ‘Yolanda’ survivors in Tacloban and addressing other survivors in other regions severely hit by ‘Yolanda’, said that they are releasing their initial findings in response to the clamor of Filipinos for an explanation as to where all the donations and government disaster funds went.

“We want to inform the Filipino people, the international community and most particularly the ‘Yolanda’ survivors regarding the ‘Yolanda’ funds and how they have been utilized. Most of the funds were allotted for Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), but even now thousands of ‘Yolanda’ survivors and their families have yet to receive a single peso. In the meantime, a shocking 62% of all DSWD core shelters have yet to be built,” she said.

“I have already made all these findings known to President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as informed him of the demands of ‘Yolanda’ survivors for justice and accountability. He has declared his preparedness to address these issues, and said that he is not indifferent to the plight of the poor in Tacloban and the other provinces devastated by ‘Yolanda’,” the Secretary continued.

Philippines: DSWD expresses solidarity with ‘Yolanda’ survivors

9 November 2016 - 8:41pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo and other DSWD officials joined President Rodrigo Duterte in this afternoon’s ceremony on the commemoration of the third year anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda at the Holy Cross Memorial Park Mass Grave, Barangay Basper, Tacloban City.

‘Yolanda’ battered the Visayas Region on November 8, 2013.

In his message, Pres. Duterte announced that ‘Yolanda’ survivors who were qualified to receive Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) but were unable to receive such from the previous administration will be given P10,000 each. DSWD and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will shell out P5,000 each to complete the full amount.

Sec. Taguiwalo explained that the amount is not an emergency shelter assistance but rather as a valid response to the clamor of families who were denied of their right to the assistance.

Solidarity

Since yesterday, Sec. Taguiwalo has been going around ‘Yolanda’- hit areas in Leyte province to express her solidarity with the survivors.

She addressed the survivors in Tacloban, “Una, ayaw na natin maulit ang ganoon na pinsala tulad ng ‘Yolanda’ na libu-libong nagbuwis ng buhay na marami sa kanila ang hindi na nakita ang bangkay. Pangalawa, meron pa ring hindi natutulungan ng pamahalaan kahit tatlong taon na ang nakakaraan (First, we don’t want a repeat of what happened during ‘Yolanda’ wherein thousands died. Second, there are still many survivors who have yet to receive assistance three years after the disaster).”

The Secretary added, “Nakiki-isa ako sa sa mga hinaing ng mamamayan (I am one with our countrymen’s woes),” as she discussed the issue on the implementation of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program.

She explained that President Rodrigo Duterte committed to find ways for government to assists those who have been deprived of help.

Sec. Taguiwalo also said that in terms of the on-going shelter assistance, DSWD will ensure that the construction of core shelters will be finished. The Department will also assist in the provision of livelihood opportunities to the victims.

Moreover, the Secretary stressed that she is not looking for someone to blame as she shared the updates on the ESA implementation. She said that the information DSWD is sharing is merely in response to the many queries of victims regarding ESA.

Sec. Taguiwalo added that the data on ESA and core shelter program recently released are the results of the assessment made by the DSWD internal audit team on the ‘Yolanda’ disaster operations. The Secretary made special mention of farmers and fishermen who were affected by the super typhoon and recognized their role in society, as they are the main food suppliers in the community. She reminded them and the other victims to organize themselves so that together they can help one another seek assistance and achieve development.

Sec. Taguiwalo concluded her visit to the province by proceeding to the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth (RRCY), a DSWD facility which was also hard-hit by ‘Yolanda’.

She also expressed her condolence to the center staff and clients who lost a social worker at the height of the super typhoon while going to work.

Addressing the center-residents, she said, “Ito ay panahon ng pagbabago. Mahaba pa ang kinabukasan ninyo. Paunlarin ang kakayahan ninyo para magkaroon ng katuparan ang inyong pangarap (This is the time for change. You have the future ahead of you. Develop and home your skills so that you can fulfill your dreams).”

In a related development in Region VI, DSWD Assistant Secretary Hope Hervilla also visited ‘Yolanda’-hit areas and conducted a dialogue with the survivors in partnership with civil society organizations like Rise-Up Aklan, Kusog Sang Pumuluyo, and Bayan Panay.

Asec. Hervilla emphasized the DSWD’s message to the more than 300 ‘Yolanda’ survivors who participated in the dialogue, “Nasa lakas ng tao ang pagbabago (the power to achieve change is within the people’s collective efforts).”

Asec. Hervilla, echoing the call of Sec. Taguiwalo, also urged the survivors to organize themselves and with one voice, express their needs for development.

“We want real change, and this means everyone has to work,” Asec. Hope added.

Responding to the inquiries of the victims on the ESA provision, Asec. Hervilla explained, “While the Department cannot assure payment to the remaining 83,000 families who did not receive their cash assistance, DSWD can provide them with other available services like livelihood assistance and other basic services.”

Philippines: Philippines: Populations at Risk Serious Concern (19 October 2016)

9 November 2016 - 2:47pm
Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Country: Philippines

Philippines

President Duterte's "war on drugs" leaves civilians at risk of extrajudicial killing and potential mass atrocity crimes.

BACKGROUND: 

Identifying the trafficking of illegal drugs as one of the Philippines' top social problems, President Rodrigo Duterte's 2016 election campaign promised to crush criminality, drugs and corruption within six months. During his campaign, President Duterte publicly advocated for the extrajudicial killing of suspected drug dealers and users. 

Since President Duterte took office on 30 June, an estimated 3,800 civilians have been killed. Approximately 2,200 of those have died in extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings, while more than 1,500 have been killed in police operations. President Duterte has admitted that innocent civilians may have been killed in the crackdown, referring to them as "collateral damage." Fearing execution, almost 700,000 alleged drug dealers have surrendered to police. An additional 15,000 people have been arrested. 

Unlawful violence against civilians shows no sign of abating. During October, the Philippines Senate Committee announced that investigations into extrajudicial killings would be abandoned. This came shortly after the former Chair of the Committee, Senator Leila De Lima, was removed from her post after publicly criticizing the President's campaign of state-led violence. In addition to police violence, unidentified gunmen continue to carry out targeted killings of alleged drug users and traffickers, as President Duterte has publicly encouraged vigilante groups to join his campaign. 

ANALYSIS:

Under the current government, Filipinos are at growing risk of grave violations that may amount to crimes against humanity. The Senate and the House of Representatives are now dominated by President Duterte's allies, allowing extrajudicial killings to continue without the prospect of due process or accountability under the formal justice system. While the government of the Philippines has sovereign authority to maintain law and order within their borders, including punishing those who traffic illegal drugs, they must do so with respect to international humanitarian and human rights law. 

The government of the Philippines must uphold its Responsibility to Protect populations and uphold the rule of law. 

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE:

The international community has expressed strong concern about the increase of state violence in the Philippines. President Duterte has responded to international criticism of his policies with derision.

On 15 September the European Parliament condemned the spate of extrajudicial killings and urged the government to immediately stop the violence. Members of the European Parliament called upon the European Union to carefully monitor the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines.

On 30 September, after President Duterte compared the war on drugs with the Holocaust, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, called upon the President to "exercise restraint in the use of language that could exacerbate discrimination, hostility and violence and encourage the commission of crimes which, if widespread of systematic, may amount to crimes against humanity." He urged President Duterte to support credible investigations of extrajudicial killings.

On 13 October the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, declared that her office will be closely monitoring the situation, considering a possible preliminary examination into the ongoing violence. 

NECESSARY ACTION:

National authorities in the Philippines must take all necessary measures to restore respect for rule of law and immediately halt widespread extrajudicial killings.

The United Nations and the International Criminal Court should continue to closely monitor the situation in the Philippines. States with strong economic and political ties to the Philippines, like the United States, must increase public and private diplomacy aimed at ending systematic extrajudicial executions.

Last Updated: 19 October 2016

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan: Three years later

9 November 2016 - 7:48am
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Philippines

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm ever to make landfall, swept through 9 regions of the Philippines, including the city of Tacloban, which is home to 242,000 inhabitants, and Leyte. Up to 11.3 million people were affected by the typhoon, damaging nearly 1.1 million homes and structures across the country.

ACTED’s response was rapid. ACTED was reactive on the ground, only 2 days post-typhoon, with 3 bases in northern Leyte and Eastern Samar. ACTED was one of the first NGOs in Guiuan, where the typhoon first made landfall, meeting the immediate basic needs of those affected by the disaster.

ACTED teams were fully mobilised from the outset to support those households most affected by the disaster. At this stage, three years on, ACTED has moved from the emergency stage to a longer-term development strategy, to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, with a focus on community led recovery and development.

ACTED’s response overview

November 8th 2013: Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines.

November 9th 2013: Evaluation of the needs and emergency response begins.

Activities of 2013/2014 to support communities in need:

• Distribution of emergency food rations to 323,366 people;

• Distribution of 43,880 hygiene kits and 82,530 water kits;

• Distribution of non-food items, such as blankets, to over 25,500 households;

• Distribution of 17,167 shelter repair kits and 9,901 tarpaulins;

• 7,000 Metric Tonnes of debris and medical waste cleared from 12 hospitals;

• Construction of 300 temporary shelters in North Leyte;

• Cash for assets activities benefiting 9,553 households.

In 2015: ACTED transitioned from early recovery activities to longer-term development programs, through the implementation of a comprehensive program to improve the WASH status in 64 barangays (over 50,000 people), a program to reinforce sustainable livelihoods of 6,000 farming households affected by the typhoon and create linkages with local markets, and another program to support 126 families living in unsafe areas with a new house in a safe location.

In 2016: ACTED continues to focus its activities on longer-term development by supporting and strengthening local communities, in order to promote sustainability and resilience against future natural disasters.

Sustainable solutions for the future

Three years after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, significant achievements have been made in eastern Visayas. Eastern Visayas is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines and also is the most disaster-prone area of the country. Families that live in the hardest hit areas are particularly vulnerable and in need of sustainable solutions, which adequately reflect their protection, livelihoods, shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene needs while building their resilience.

ACTED’s work adopts a resilience approach using the disaster risk management cycle to guide its programming and provide the crucial link between emergency response, early recovery, and longer term development. ACTED aims to build the resilience of communities to support a sustainable reduction in vulnerability to disaster impact. Moving forward, ACTED is focusing on supporting shelter reconstruction that incorporates ‘build back safer’ techniques to increase communities’ resilience to future disasters; improve community water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) access working closely with both the local government and the community; and support the restoration of livelihoods by training farmers and facilitating linkages to markets to boost farmer households incomes.

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan memory spurs ARISE commitment

9 November 2016 - 7:07am
Source: UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Country: Philippines

By Andy McElroy

MANILA, 9 November 2016 – Exactly three years after the country was lashed by the deadly Typhoon Haiyan, UNISDR’s Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) network in the Philippines yesterday committed to strengthen partnerships with national and local authorities, academia and civil society as part of its ambition to reduce disaster risk in the hazard-prone country.

The six-point commitment statement included pledges to: prioritise risk-sensitive investment and action through the adoption of new standards for infrastructure, buildings and industrial and business practices; mobilize more trans-disciplinary research and collaboration on disaster risk reduction to harness the power of applied science; and mainstream science into local risk governance.

Three years on from Typhoon Haiyan, a disaster known locally as Yolanda that claimed more than 6,000 lives, more than 400 government officials, business executives, and various representatives convened for ARISE’s 5th Top Leaders Forum. The theme was ‘Investing in Resilience: Leveraging Science for Sustainable Development’.

Mr. Hans Sy, the Executive Committee Chairman of Asian mall giant SM Prime, who is also an international ARISE board member, opened the forum by saying an evolution in national and international level cooperation had resulted in many changes “and the creation of ARISE Philippines is one of them”.

“Through this initiative, we have fostered deeper connections with other private sector companies and assisted in strengthening the relationship between the public and private sector for DRR,” Mr. Sy told participants at the SMX Convention Centre, in Manila.

“SM Prime’s own commitment is to build disaster-resilient malls, taking the community into consideration, and ensuring sustainability for its partners and stakeholders. Simply, we recognise the responsibility that is put upon us as an integrated property developer, a nation builder and an influencer within the private sector.”

Ms. Sandra Wu, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Japan-based Kokusai Kogyo, who is likewise an international ARISE board member as well as the network’s focal point for Japan and Asia, said: “ARISE is unique because we are a group of companies that approach disasters from a developmental, not just humanitarian, angle. We identify where we can invest towards a safer society, and at the same time grow our business, instead of focusing on assisting in the aftermath of disaster events.”

Philippines Senator Loren Legarda, who is also a long-term UNISDR Champion for disaster risk reduction, said science that translated into useful and usable knowledge presented a huge opportunity for the private sector.

“This forum should focus less on understanding the role of science and technology in building more resilient communities and businesses. We all know that by now. The bigger question should be: ‘What is stopping us from using science and technology in our bid to build more resilient communities and businesses?” she said.

“With high reliability of disaster data, the private sector will also be better equipped to carry out its role in disaster risk planning, preparedness and response, and will be more confident to enter into risk financing schemes without fear of massive losses.”

“Governments and businesses cannot just be enablers of research. They cannot just be facilitators for knowledge creation. They need to be users of the knowledge that science and technology creates.”

In a video address to the forum, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Robert Glasser, praised the Philippines’ ARISE network as a global example of business collaborating to provide a significant contribution to strengthening disaster resilience.

“The ARISE network in the Philippines deserves huge commendation for its remarkable role in raising awareness of the importance of the role of the private sector in disaster resilience and reducing disaster risk,” Mr. Glasser said.

UNISDR’s ARISE was established a year ago to energise the private sector in collaboration with the public sector and other stakeholders to achieve the aims of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year agreement adopted by the international community in 2015. It is world’s most ambitious plan yet to reduce disaster risk and losses.

ARISE has seven themes, namely: disaster risk management strategies; insurance; investment metrics; benchmarking and standards; education and training; legal and regulatory; and urban risk and resilience.

There are currently two national networks in Asia: Philippines and Japan. There are moves to establish similar groups in Mongolia and India.

Philippines: Philippines: Facts and Figures January to May 2016

9 November 2016 - 3:31am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

In central Mindanao and in the Sulu archipelago, fighting between government security forces and armed opposition groups led to temporary displacement of thousands of civilians. Meanwhile, sporadic hostilities continued between government security forces and the New People’s Army in eastern Mindanao, leading to the protracted displacement of civilians; while pockets of clashes also occurred in parts of southern Luzon and Visayas regions.

“Families who flee from their homes again and again will not have stability in their lives. This remains a constant concern for us, as are the substantial number of people who are wounded by the fighting or by explosions in civilian areas,” said Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation to the Philippines.

Another humanitarian concern for the ICRC is the alarmingly high national jail congestion rate that is adversely affecting the life and dignity of thousands of people awaiting or undergoing their trials. “Despite the multisectoral efforts we’ve seen to decongest the jails, the impact to the overall jail situation remains limited,” Porchet stressed.

Philippines: DSWD extends aid to families displaced by flooding in Sultan Kudarat town

8 November 2016 - 11:17pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office XII, continues to provide resource augmentation to the local government of Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat to meet the needs of families affected by flooding due to heavy rains in the town that started on November 6.

The DSWD has already provided P1,260,600 worth of relief assistance, while the Kalamansig Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) extended a total of P421,600 worth of aid. However, additional relief supplies are still needed since 37 houses have been partially and totally damaged by the floods.

As of 6pm yesterday, report from the DSWD- Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC), the number of affected families in need of assistance reached to 4,214 or 21,070 persons in seven barangays in Kalamansig.

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo already directed the FO-XII to maintain its coordination with the local government of Kalamansig for additional assistance.

“Our communication with the LGU of Kalamansig remains tight for request for technical assistance and resource augmentation. We will also assure that social workers and disasters teams will continue to assess the damages brought by the heavy rains for distribution of appropriate aid to displaced families,” she said.

World: The Global Climate in 2011–2015

8 November 2016 - 6:15pm
Source: World Meteorological Organization Country: India, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, World

Extreme weather increasingly linked to global warming

The World Meteorological Organization has published a detailed analysis of the global climate 2011-2015 – the hottest five-year period on record  - and the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts.

The record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover.

All these climate change indicators confirmed the long-term warming trend caused by greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide reached the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time in 2015, according to the WMO report which was submitted to U.N. climate change conference.

The Global Climate 2011-2015 also examines whether human-induced climate change was directly linked to individual extreme events. Of 79 studies published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society between 2011 and 2014, more than half found that human-induced climate change contributed to the extreme event in question. Some studies found that the probability of extreme heat increased by 10 times or more.

“The Paris Agreement aims at limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2 ° Celsius and pursuing efforts towards 1.5 ° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This report confirms that the average temperature in 2015 had already reached the 1°C mark. We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“The effects of climate change have been consistently visible on the global scale since the 1980s: rising global temperature, both over land and in the ocean; sea-level rise; and the widespread melting of ice. It has increased the risks of extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, record rainfall and damaging floods,” said Mr Taalas.

The report highlighted some of the high-impact events. These included the East African drought in 2010-2012 which caused an estimated 258,000 excess deaths and the 2013-2015 southern African drought; flooding in South-East Asia in 2011 which killed 800 people and caused more than US$40 billion in economic losses, 2015 heatwaves in India and Pakistan in 2015, which claimed more than 4,100 lives; Hurricane Sandy in 2012 which caused US$67 billion in economic losses in the United States of America, and Typhoon Haiyan which killed 7,800 people in the Philippines in 2013.

The report was submitted to the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The five-year timescale allows a better understanding of multi-year warming trends and extreme events such as prolonged droughts and recurrent heatwaves than an annual report.

WMO will release its provisional assessment of the state of the climate in 2016  on 14 November to inform the climate change negotiations in Marrakech, Morrocco.

Highlights

2011-2015 was the warmest five-year period on record globally and for all continents apart from Africa (second warmest). Temperatures for the period were 0.57 °C (1.03 °F) above the average for the standard 1961–1990 reference period. The warmest year on record to date was 2015, during which temperatures were 0.76 °C (1.37 °F) above the 1961–1990 average, followed by 2014. The year 2015 was also the first year in which global temperatures were more than 1 °C above the pre-industrial era.

Global ocean temperatures were also at unprecedented levels. Globally averaged sea-surface temperatures for 2015 were the highest on record, with 2014 in second place. Sea-surface temperatures for the period were above average in most of the world, although they were below average in parts of the Southern Ocean and the eastern South Pacific.

A strong La Niña event (2011) and powerful El Niño (2015/2016) influenced the temperatures of individual years without changing the underlying warming trend.

Ice and snow

Arctic sea ice continued its decline. Averaged over 2011-2015, the mean Arctic sea-ice extent in September was 4.70 million km2, 28% below the 1981–2010 average. The minimum summer sea-ice extent of 3.39 million km2 in 2012 was the lowest on record.

By contrast, for much of the period 2011– 2015, the Antarctic sea-ice extent was above the 1981–2010 mean value, particularly for the winter maximum.

Summer surface melting of the Greenland ice sheet continued at above-average levels, with the summer melt extent exceeding the 1981–2010 average in all five years from 2011 to 2015. Mountain glaciers also continued their decline.

Northern hemisphere snow cover extent was well below average in all five years and in all months from May to August, continuing a strong downward trend.

Sea level rise

As the oceans warm, they expand, resulting in both global and regional sea-level rise. Increased ocean heat content accounts for about 40% of the observed global sea-level increase over the past 60 years. A number of studies have concluded that the contribution of continental ice sheets, particularly Greenland and west Antarctica, to sea-level rise is accelerating.

During the satellite record from 1993 to present, sea levels have risen approximately 3 mm per year, compared to the average 1900–2010 trend (based on tide gauges) of 1.7 mm per year.

Climate change and extreme weather

Many individual extreme weather and climate events recorded during 2011–2015 were made more likely as a result of human-induced (anthropogenic) climate change.  In the case of some extreme high temperatures, the probability increased by a factor of ten or more.

Examples include the record high seasonal and annual temperatures in the United States in 2012 and in Australia in 2013, hot summers in eastern Asia and western Europe in 2013, heatwaves in spring and autumn 2014 in Australia, record annual warmth in Europe in 2014, and a heatwave in Argentina in December 2013.

The direct signals were not as strong for precipitation extremes (both high and low). In numerous cases, including the 2011 flooding in South-East Asia, the 2013–2015 drought in southern Brazil, and the very wet winter of 2013-2014 in the United Kingdom, no clear evidence was found of an influence from anthropogenic climate change. However, in the case of the extreme rainfall in the United Kingdom in December 2015, it was found that climate change had made such an event about 40% more likely.

Some impacts were linked to increased vulnerability. A study of the 2014 drought in south-east Brazil found that similar rainfall deficits had occurred on three other occasions since 1940, but that the impacts were exacerbated by a substantial increase in the demand for water, due to population growth.

Some longer-term events, which have not yet been the subject of formal attribution studies, are consistent with projections of near- and long-term climate change.  These include increased incidence of multi-year drought in the subtropics, as manifested in the 2011-2015 period in the southern United States, parts of southern Australia and, towards the end of the period, southern Africa.

There have also been events, such as the unusually prolonged, intense and hot dry seasons in the Amazon basin of Brazil in both 2014 and 2015, which are of concern as potential “tipping points” in the climate system.

Results of studies on attribution of extreme events to anthropogenic climate change (Sources: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and various other publications)

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

For further information contact: WMO Media Officer Clare Nullis cnullis@wmo.int. Tel + 41 79 709 13 97.

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Three-year progress report

8 November 2016 - 11:45am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

Operational overview

The Philippine Red Cross together with the Movement partners, guided by a coordinated approach and the Movement-wide framework, has supported thousands of households across different provinces affected by the strongest typhoon to make landfall in country’s recorded history.

The emergency relief operation was launched immediately to provide assistance to the people affected across the Central Visayas region. Food, water, clothes and emergency shelter materials were dispatched and more than 8,000 volunteers were mobilized.

To support recovery efforts of the affected people, Movement partners contributed to the operational plan of the Philippine Red Cross. Coordination was maintained to ensure efficient and effective utilization of resources, and to reach the affected communities with quality service and appropriate assistance.

The recovery of households entailed support for shelter repair and reconstruction, recovery of livelihoods and income generation activities, construction of water and sanitation facilities, rehabilitation of health infrastructure and health promotion initiatives, and improved educational facilities. Awareness raising sessions were also carried out with the communities to improve their knowledge of disaster preparedness.

Shelters were built using the build back safer techniques. The government mandated no-build zone in areas that are susceptible to landslides, floods or storm surges was observed. Households were engaged to contribute in the construction of their homes, creating a sense of ownership. Some members of the communities were also employed in cash-for-work programmes to support the construction process.

Individuals and communities were provided livelihood assistance in the form of cash grants. Young people were provided with formal vocational trainings on welding, dressmaking, food and beverage handling, among others, to enhance their skills. Communities were also provided with the opportunity to manage livelihood projects that are economically and environmentally sustainable and beneficial to the members of the community.

Water and sanitation facilities were provided to households and schools to ensure access to safe water and improved sanitation to reduce risks of waterborne, water-related and other communicable diseases. These facilities were complemented with hygiene and sanitation transformation activities for community members and students to improve their knowledge on the importance of maintaining good personal hygiene and health.

Health facilities were constructed and re-equipped to provide quality service to the population. Through facilities and improved knowledge, communities have better access and opportunities to prevent and address health problems.

Classrooms and educational facilities were repaired to provide a safe learning space for school-going children. In the event of a disaster these facilities will be used as evacuation centres. Children also received psychosocial support to ease the trauma of their experience during the typhoon.

In a country that is highly susceptible to disasters, the communities’ ability to prepare for, cope with and respond to disasters is crucial in saving lives and property. Proper knowledge, training and sufficient support from Red Cross chapters empowers the community in identifying risks and implementing mitigation measures and response plans. Trained Philippine Red Cross volunteers are at the frontline to respond during emergencies and act as advocates of health and disaster risk reduction principles within the communities.

The Movement remains committed to being accountable to funding agencies, stakeholders and the communities. Monitoring and evaluation activities are being implemented to gauge the appropriateness and impact of the programmes.

Philippines: Factors Associated with the Time of Admission among Notified Dengue Fever Cases in Region VIII Philippines from 2008 to 2014

8 November 2016 - 9:44am
Source: Public Library of Science Country: Philippines

Jason Echavez Abello , Julita Gil Cuesta, Boyd Roderick Cerro, Debarati Guha-Sapir

Published: October 25, 2016

Abstract

In cases of Dengue fever, late hospital admission can lead to treatment delay and even death. In order to improve early disease notification and management, it is essential to investigate the factors affecting the time of admission of Dengue cases. This study determined the factors associated with the time of admission among notified Dengue cases. The study covered the period between 2008 and 2014 in Region VIII, Philippines. The factors assessed were age, sex, hospital sector, hospital level, disease severity based on the 1997 WHO Dengue classification, and period of admission (distinguishing between the 2010 Dengue epidemic and non-epidemic time). We analysed secondary data from the surveillance of notified Dengue cases. We calculated the association through chi-square test, ordinal logistic regression and linear regression at p value < 0.05. The study included 16,357 admitted Dengue cases. The reported cases included a majority of children (70.09%), mild cases of the disease (64.00%), patients from the public sector (69.82%), and non-tertiary hospitals (62.76%). Only 1.40% of cases had a laboratory confirmation. The epidemic period in 2010 comprised 48.68% of all the admitted cases during this period. Late admission was more likely among adults than children (p<0.05). The severe type of the disease was more likely to be admitted late than the mild type (p<0.05). Late admission was also more likely in public hospitals than in private hospitals (p<0.05); and within tertiary level hospitals than non-tertiary hospitals (p<0.05). Late admission was more likely during the non-epidemic period than the 2010 epidemic period (p<0.05). A case fatality rate of 1 or greater was significantly associated with children, severe diseases, tertiary hospitals and public hospitals when admitted late (p<0.05). Data suggests that early admission among child cases was common in Region VIII. This behavior is encouraging, and should be continued. However, further study is needed on the late admission among tertiary, public hospitals and non-epidemic period with reference to the quality of care, patient volume, out of pocket expense, and accessibility We recommend the consistent use of the 2009 WHO Dengue guidelines in order to standardize the admission criteria and time across hospitals.

Author Summary

A variety of factors affect the time of admission of Dengue fever cases. These must be investigated, as delayed treatment of this disease can result in death. The authors of this study determined the factors associated with the time of admission among notified Dengue cases of Region VIII, Philippines, from 2008 to 2014. The factors assessed were age and sex of the patient, hospital sector, hospital level, disease severity and the presence of Dengue epidemic. A secondary surveillance data of Dengue was used. The associations were determined using chi-square test and regression. Late admission was more likely amongst adults, severe cases of the disease, public hospitals, tertiary level hospitals, and during the non-epidemic period. In comparison, early admission was more likely in cases concerning children, mild cases of the disease, private hospitals, non-tertiary hospitals and during an epidemic period. Case fatality was significantly associated to children, severe diseases, public hospitals and tertiary hospitals when admitted late. The routine early admission of children should be promoted, as severe cases of Dengue fever are more likely among children. Consistent admission criteria for Dengue should be implemented across all hospital sectors and levels.

Philippines: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Philippines Office Newsletter, 2016 - Volume 4

8 November 2016 - 3:48am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Philippines, Syrian Arab Republic

What's inside?

  • The Difference We Made This 2016
  • Unprecedented Support for Refugees

Philippines: DSWD in close watch over heavy rains, flooding in Sultan Kudarat town

7 November 2016 - 4:19pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Nov. 8 - Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo has instructed DSWD-Field Office XII to continue to monitor the flooding incident in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat and to immediately provide resource augmentation to the local government unit (LGU) to ensure that the needs of affected families are met.

In its feedback report to Sec. Taguiwalo, DSWD-Field Office XII reported that around 3:00 am of November 7, a heavy downpour occurred in the town affecting around 3,826 families from the villages of Cadiz, Obial, Limulan, Sta Maria and Kinalaan. Of this number, 78 families or 390 persons are now temporarily staying at Barangay Hinlaan Multi-Purpose Evacuation Center set-up by the municipal LGU.

The report further stated that 22 houses were totally damaged while 15 were partially destroyed. Members of the disaster team of Field Office XII have been dispatched to coordinate with the LGU in validating the affected families as well as in identifying other services that can be provided to them especially those staying at the evacuation center.

Sec. Taguiwalo said that should heavy rains continue and cause massive flooding displacing more families, the disaster team of the Field Office shall be mobilized to assist in managing evacuation centers and in relief distribution. (DSWD)

Philippines: Philippines: Results of an end-line evaluation of a large scale UNICEF water, sanitation and hygiene typhoon recovery programme

7 November 2016 - 2:15pm
Source: REACH Initiative Country: Philippines

On the 8th November 2013, **‘Super Typhoon’ Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda)** first made landfall, lashing coastal communities across the central island of the Philippines. With Tsunami-like storm surge and winds reaching up to 375 kilometres per hour, **it** **was one of the most powerful storms in recorded history**.

In the direct aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, access to safe water and sanitation was severely compromised across affected areas of the Philippines. One year after Typhoon Haiyan, REACH undertook a baseline assessment to inform the UNICEF funded Phased Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS) programme. The programme was aligned with the National Sustainable Sanitation Plan, and aimed to end the practice of open defecation in the targeted areas through facilitating changes in social norms and fuelling demand for sanitation and hygiene; sustaining demand through supply side interventions; and promoting good governance, resilience and disaster risk reduction. The programme was implemented through a coalition of 12 NGOs (Action Against Hunger; Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development; Arche Nova, A Single Drop for Safe Water; Catholic Relief Services; International Medical Corps; Islamic Relief Worldwide; Oxfam; Plan International; Relief International; Save the Children and Samaritan’s Purse), 40 municipal government authorities, the Department of Health and the Department of Education.

In February and March 2016, as the Haiyan PhATS programme was transitioning over to Government-led implementation, REACH conducted an end-line assessment to measure the changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices of the population in the targeted areas. Overall the assessment found a higher awareness of and importance given to improved practices relating to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the households and schools within the geographical areas covered by the Haiyan PhATS programme. More households were found to have their own improved sanitation facilities, and improvements in handwashing practices (reported frequency and when practised) were recorded. Increases in access to school WASH facilities and presence of mechanisms to support and maintain improved WASH practices in schools were also found.

However, the findings also highlighted several persistent challenges across Haiyan-affected areas. Notably, findings show **no statistically significant difference in the proportion of households that practice open defecation, with 15.2% of households reporting at least one member continuing to practice open defecation.** Focus group discussions identified a number of potential reasons for this, including households still sharing facilities, the perceived high cost of installing their own toilets, a lack of facilities outside of the home (at school, work, other public areas), and the lack of water for toilet maintenance, as well as a continued perception that open defecation by small children is inevitable. The insights relating to the ongoing practice of open defecation, even in households that have access to a toilet and in communities that have declared ‘zero open defecation’ status, indicate that local authorities should encourage and support communities to continue improving sanitation practices and facilities, to reduce the use of shared toilets at the household level and to ensure access to clean and functioning sanitation facilities in schools, health centres and other government institutions, in order to ensure that all members of a household consistently use a toilet (or practise safe disposal), no matter their age, and whether they are at home, at school, at work or in a public place.

The assessment also found a lack of trust in improved water sources combined with a lack of household’s knowledge on how to adequately treat drinking water. This is a concern and should be addressed through strengthened and publicly accountable water quality monitoring and reporting mechanisms, along with increased behaviour change communications on safe household water treatment and storage methods. Schools also need to identify solutions to challenges of reliability of water supplies (by increasing on-site storage capacities, for example) to ensure that water is available for drinking, flushing and cleaning toilets and for daily group handwashing and tooth brushing.

Through these baseline and end-line assessments REACH supported UNICEF and its partners in developing evidence-based practices for sustainable change in sanitation and hygiene behaviours in the Philippines context. It is hoped that this data will provide insights to strengthen the development of ongoing programmes in the Haiyan-affected areas, and elsewhere in the Philippines, to further increase their impact and overall effectiveness.

Philippines: Three years after Haiyan, more women & communities have become resilient - CARE

7 November 2016 - 7:44am
Source: CARE Country: Philippines

Three years after typhoon Haiyan caused catastrophic devastation across Central Philippines, more communities have become resilient to disasters and climate change impact. On 08 November 2013, Haiyan shocked the world as it mercilessly swept away houses, destroyed farmlands and livelihood assets, and left unimaginable number of casualties. The typhoon struck mostly the poorest communities and left people --including landless farmers and fisherfolks, indigenous tribes and micro-entrepreneurs-- without any source of income. As of November 2016, international aid organization CARE and its partners in the Visayas have reached more than 380,000 people through emergency food distributions, shelter repair and livelihoods recovery assistance, and various trainings on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, women empowerment, and skills advancement. “Typhoons and other natural calamities have been hampering people’s recovery efforts. So it is important to not just provide livelihood options but also educate the communities about disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation,” said David Gazashvili, CARE Philippines Country Director. “CARE was quick to mobilize its staff and resources from different parts of the world after the typhoon. Through the generous support of our donors and collaboration of our staff, partners and communities we support, we are able to help build sustainable livelihoods and disaster-resilient communities,” said David Gazashvili, CARE Philippines Country Director. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Philippines endured a total of 274 natural calamities over the past two decades, making it the fourth most disaster-prone country in the world. After Haiyan, the Philippines experienced relatively strong typhoons such as Hagupit in 2014, Koppu and Melor in 2015 and recently Sarika and Haima that caused massive agricultural damage. “The biggest challenge for these communities is to protect their assets from natural calamities that’s why our emergency response is part of a long-term commitment. We place great importance on building local capacity, partnerships with local organizations and strengthening women’s participation.” CARE is currently implementing livelihoods recovery programs for communities severely affected by Haiyan in Eastern and Western Visayas regions. A total of 281 community associations have been supported through financial assistance and trainings to revive rice and corn fields, provide harvest facilities for farmers, boost abaca and seaweed production, promote eco-tourism, have economic opportunities for women weavers, etc. Also, more than 900 women micro-entrepreneurs have been assisted to start their income-generating activities and involve more people in their respective communities. Aside from the financial support, CARE has partnered with various local NGOs, government agencies and LGUs, the Academe and training institutions to provide learning sessions to people affected by the typhoon. The trainings include relevant topics on entrepreneurship, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, hazard mapping and contingency planning for disaster preparedness, gender and development, climate change mitigation and other industry-focused subjects. CARE’s assisted community organizations are now practicing organic farming, using solar dryers for their commodities, and other eco-friendly livelihood practices. CARE continues to work with the affected people and reach more communities in the Philippines through livelihoods recovery assistance and skill-building trainings. CARE works in the most vulnerable and geographically isolated areas affected by Haiyan, with special attention given to women and girls and the most marginalized.

Written by: Dennis Amata (Information & Communications Manager, CARE Philippines)

Philippines: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (1 - 7 November 2016)

7 November 2016 - 3:55am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand

MYANMAR

WFP has been granted access to deliver food to four affected villages in the north of Rakhine State where security operations have been underway for the past four weeks.
This follows the visit by the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator to the north of Rakhine with nine Ambassadors last week. This is the first time humanitarian access has been granted to the affected areas of Maungdaw Township since the violence that erupted on 9 October. The UN continues to advocate strongly for full access to all affected areas to assess and respond to all humanitarian needs and to resume pre-existing humanitarian activities. For the past month food, cash and nutrition assistance benefitting approximately 150,000 people has been suspended.

PHILIPPINES

Heavy rains have triggered floods in southern parts of the Philippines.
On 3 November, flash floods in the municipality of Isabel, Leyte province, affected more than 3,000 people, and on 6 November, flash floods in Sultan Kudarat province, Mindanao, affected over 19,000 people with hundreds of people displaced to evacuation centres.
The municipal Social Welfare and Development Offices are responding to the needs of the affected families.

22,000 people affected

SRI LANKA

More than 450,000 people across 17 districts remain affected by drought. A significant reduction compared with 800,000 affected people the week prior. According to the local Meteorological Department, rains are expected in the drought affected areas over the coming 10 days which should ease the drought conditions but also poses a risk of floods.

450,000 people affected

THAILAND

According to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, 51 of the 76 provinces of Thailand have experienced flash floods during this year’s rainy season (July to October).
While the regular rainy season has now ended, as of 6 November, flooding continues in Phetchaburi and Krabi provinces in the south of the country.
Local authorities are providing assistance to the affected households.
The situation is expected to improve as the current area of low pressure weakens.

NORTHWEST PACIFIC

Typhoon Meari is currently a Category 1 tropical cyclone, but is expected to weaken and unlikely to threaten populated areas. Meari is the 34th storm of the 2016 Northwest Pacific storm season. Peak storm activity is normally August, September and October however the storm season will continue into December.

Philippines: Where did the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) funds for ‘Yolanda’ survivors go?

6 November 2016 - 1:04am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today released an excerpt from its extensive and still ongoing investigation on the department’s recovery and rehabilitation program to address the crisis created by Supertyphoon Yolanda when it ravaged the country in November 2013.

This is in response to the clamor of many Filipinos seeking explanation as to why the DSWD is able to provide ESA immediately to survivors of recent typhoons Ferdie and Lawin while many of the survivors of Yolanda still have to be given assistance.

The focus of this excerpt is the Supplementary Budget from the Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda / Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Plan (RAY/CRRP), and it is based on the report of the Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DREAMB).

Since the damage caused by ‘Yolanda’ was very extensive, the funds of DSWD were not enough to provide for the shelter needs of the survivors. The budget submitted to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR) and the accomplishments as of August 15, 2016 are shown in the following Table.

Budget and Accomplishment for ESA (from report of DReAMB)

a. DSWD submitted to OPARR its proposal for ESA:

  • ESA for totally damaged houses: 449,127 HHs @P30,000.00 = ₱ 13,473,810,000

  • ESA for partially damaged houses: 517,214 HHs @ P10,000.00 = ₱ 5,172,140,000

b. From submission of the proposal until funds were released, DSWD released MC 24 on November 21, 2014. The field offices mentioned that they were not consulted regarding this new MC which disqualified individuals from receiving ESA based on the following:

  • They live in danger zones or ‘no build zones’;

  • They earn more than P15,000.00 per month;

  • They have been given shelter assistance by other NGOs.

c. The original list of beneficiaries submitted to OPARR had to be revised based on the new guidelines in MC 24. The municipalities had to re-validate and amend the master list, wherein some beneficiaries who were not eligible as prescribed in MC24 were delisted. This brought about a lot of confusion and anger on the part of the beneficiaries which are still evident while doing this study. Distribution of ESA was not easy; in fact, it could not be considered ‘emergency shelter assistance’ anymore since it was distributed in 2015, more than a year after Yolanda struck the islands.

d. DSWD received supplementary budget for ESA in the amount of ₱ 20,010,650,000.00. As of August 15, 2016, the accomplishments are as follows:

  • Partially damaged homes (667,429 @P10,000.00): ₱ P6,674,290,000.00.

  • Totally damaged homes (468,528 @P30,000.00): ₱ 14,055,840,000.00.

  • Total expenses: ₱ 20,730,130,000.00.

  • Other funds came from: donations – ₱ 543,277,224.90; QRF – ₱176,202,775.10.

What happened to the funds?

More than a million families have been given ESA. Despite that, there are still thousands who are still waiting for their ESA. The request to DBM in the amount of P1.17B for ESA of 83,228 families in Region 6 has just recently been disapproved.

The research team led by Assistant Sec. Aleli Bawagan focused on the many complaints the DSWD has received and continue to receive regarding ESA. Many individuals submitted written complaints to the research team. The complaints can be grouped as follows:

Wide discretion given to the barangay chair and other officials in the selection of ESA beneficiaries.

This paved the way for ineligible beneficiaries to be included in the list, such as: two ESA beneficiaries in one household; families who do not live in the barangay even before ‘Yolanda’ but are still included in the barangay voter’s list were included in the list; individuals who had partially damaged homes were listed under totally damaged.

This practice also excluded other survivors, such as: those living in remote sitios of the barangay; fisherfolk living in coastal communities; those who live in the barangay but temporarily relocated since there was no work available after ‘Yolanda’; and families, including government employees, who have a monthly salary of P15,000.00 and above. There was also an increase in claimants of ESA such as those who did not have their names listed since they did not believe that assistance will be provided (according to them ‘to see is to believe’), but had damaged homes as well.

The barangay officials also had the discretion to identify homes as partially or totally damaged since there were no clear guidelines.

  • Beneficiaries for totally damaged homes did not receive the full P30,000 ESA but received only P10,000;

  • The provision in MC24 re beneficiaries living in ‘danger zones’ was differently interpreted by LGUs. Some coastal communities in Iloilo were given their ESA, but not in Leyte and other provinces. Beneficiaries who lived in ‘danger zones’ were excluded despite the absence of any issuance that their community is in fact located in a ‘danger zone’;

  • MC 24 stipulated that ESA beneficiaries should not be recipients of shelter assistance from other NGOs, but since the assistance from various organizations was not closely monitored, this provision was again implemented differently by LGUs;

  • Despite unfinished distribution of ESA, P14,610,000.00 was returned to the DSWD Field Office by the former Mayor of Balangiga after he lost in the 2016 elections. Upon verification with the Field Office, it was confirmed that the said amount has been returned to the National Treasury.

  • Affected families outside the 50 km radius of ‘Yolanda’ path were excluded as beneficiaries.

  • Other beneficiaries were shortchanged, e.g.

  • some individuals took advantage of ESA distribution and would ‘buy’ the ESA of beneficiaries days before the distribution at a lower price, e.g. P8,000 for ESA of P10,000; the beneficiaries would ‘sell’ their ESA since they need the cash badly;

  • other beneficiaries received ‘voucher’ which contained a list of construction supplies woth their corresponding ESA; but since their homes have been repaired, again other individuals ‘buy’ their vouchers for a cash amount lower than the value of the voucher, e.g. P20,000 for ESA of P30,000; again, beneficiaries would ‘sell’ their vouchers since they need the cash more than the construction supplies.

e. According to the staff in the field offices, if AO17 was used rather than MC24, then ESA distribution would have been finished a long time ago. Unlike now, three years after Yolanda, there are still a lot of families not given their ESA.

f. It is recommended to formulate new guidelines for the distribution of ESA for future calamities. DREAMB is currently drafting the new proposed guidelines.

The remaining balance from cash donations of ₱35,166,640.42 and available funds from the DSWD Field Office 8 in the amount of ₱ 10.7M may be used for ESA. However, this will not be enough to cover the number of families who did not receive their ESA. The proposal to DBM for P1.17B for ESA beneficiaries in Region 6 has been disapproved. DSWD is currently looking at the possibility of requesting for funds from OCD.

Substantial Documentation

Asec. Aleli Bawagan – a full professor on leave from the University of the Philippines’ College of Social Work and Development — said that the initial conclusions included in the report can be easily validated and verified using the mountain of data, written complaints, as well as documented interviews that are at the hands of the team doing the research on ‘Yolanda’ aid.

“We are doing this independent of all outside help. This is strictly our initiative in the DSWD which we have taken because of the continuing demands of the public that records on ‘Yolanda’ aid be reported. Filipinos — especially those who have been hard hit by ‘Yolanda’ – have been demanding transparency and explanations for the last three years. The DSWD as caretaker of the donations and relief funds as well as the government’s main welfare agency cannot be remiss in its duty and allow another year to pass without giving a credible response to these demands,” she said.