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Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 25 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

10 October 2014 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO

A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 11 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network recorded four (4) volcanic earthquakes and two (2) rockfall events during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate emission of white steam plumes drifting Northwest was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 206 tonnes/day on 10 October 2014. Ground deformation data showed continuous inflation at the base of the edifice from August 2014 to October 2014 precise leveling surveys. The edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements. Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.

Philippines: UNICEF Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Humanitarian Situation Report #26, Issued on 10 October 2014

10 October 2014 - 4:52pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines preview

Highlights

  • UNICEF and partners continue to provide life-saving and recovery assistance for children affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

  • September was National Mass Immunization Month. UNICEF and WHO supported the Department of Health to vaccinate 13 million children under 5 years in the Philippines. UNICEF provided 3 million doses of measles-rubella vaccine, 1.2 million doses of polio vaccine and $7.8 million in cold chain equipment.

Situation overview & humanitarian needs

According to OCHA, 14.1 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. 4.1 million people, including 1.7 million children, were displaced. The devastation occurred in some of the Philippines’ poorest regions and communities where prior to the Typhoon more than 40% of children lived in poverty.

Philippines: Ground-breaking projects for ShelterBox in the Philippines

10 October 2014 - 12:24pm
Source: ShelterBox Country: Philippines

ShelterBox continues to develop new shelter solutions to meet the needs of communities affected by disasters

Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November 2013, was the most powerful storm ever to make landfall, claiming 6,200 lives and destroying a million homes. In the five months following the disaster, more than 100 ShelterBox Response Team members delivered 7,000 tents, 10,000 solar lights, 870 water filtration systems, 2,300 mosquito nets, 445 tool kits and 30 SchoolBoxes.

But our assistance has not stopped there. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have maintained our commitment to the Philippines and are extending the type of help we are able to offer. The ShelterBox is still at the heart of what we do, and our distinctive family relief tent remains a key part of most deployments. However, as we strive to develop into a global leader in shelter provision, we are embracing new ways of responding to the needs of communities affected by disasters.

This is critical because all disasters are different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. As ShelterBox CEO Alison Wallace explains: ‘We must constantly evolve as a charity and develop our aid, because different disasters need different responses.’

We have been growing our aid offering for some time now. In the response to Typhoon Haiyan, for example, alongside tents we also distributed Shelter Repair Kits containing tools, tarpaulins and fixings to help beneficiaries begin the process of rebuilding their homes.

We are now taking this process to the next level in the Philippines. After a careful assessment process, we have entered into four project partnerships with leading international agencies including ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development), Handicap International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) which will lead to the construction of nearly 1,700 ‘core transitional’ shelters.

Designed to house a single family, the shelters will be constructed using locally sourced materials, wherever possible, in areas that were in the path of Typhoon Haiyan: in Eastern Samar, where the typhoon first made landfall; in northern Leyte, close to the devastated city of Tacloban; and on the island of Bantayan, in northern Cebu. In each community, a rigorous beneficiary selection process ensures that we prioritise the most vulnerable.

This will not only provide more than 8,000 vulnerable people with a safe, durable home but will also help to train the wider community in how to ‘build back safer’ as the shelters are designed to withstand further storms. The goal is to develop resilience to future disasters.

As CEO Alison Wallace puts it: ‘How much better to rebuild in ways that will make communities more resilient to the next storms, and what better opportunity for ShelterBox to fulfill its commitment to be a real team player in meeting humanitarian shelter needs?’

ShelterBox recognises that shelter is a process, not a product. So we will continue to refine and develop the range of tools at our disposal to meet the specific shelter needs of communities affected by a disaster. And we will collaborate with an ever-increasing range of partners – from aid agencies to freight companies, and from government bodies to the UN Global Shelter cluster that coordinates the efforts of the leading humanitarian shelter specialists.

This is all part of ShelterBox’s evolution into a flexible supplier of emergency shelter tailored to the needs of those whom we seek to help.

Liberia: Philippines health workers sought for Ebola-hit West Africa

10 October 2014 - 7:58am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Guinea, Liberia, Philippines, Sierra Leone

10/10/2014 - 11:38 GMT

The Philippines is considering deploying substantial numbers of health workers to West Africa amid a global appeal to deal with the Ebola virus, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said Friday.

The United States and United Kingdom have both specifically asked Manila to provide "human resources", Ona said, adding that the nation's high number of qualified health professionals make it well-placed to provide help.

The United Nations has meanwhile called for a 20-fold increase in the world's response to the Ebola epidemic, which has killed nearly 3,900 people in West Africa since the beginning of the year.

"I think it is also something of a responsibility for our country... to respond to that global call for assistance," Ona said at a joint news conference with World Health Organization Western Pacific director Shin Young-soo.

"We (Philippine officials) are meeting on this issue and should be able to make a firm decision... maybe in a week or so."

The Philippines is expected to decide after President Benigno Aquino meets key officials to discuss the specific US and UK requests, Ona added.

Shin said the Philippines was in a unique position of having "so many qualified health workers" and wanting to express its gratitude for the global rescue and rehabilitation effort after it was struck by Super Typhoon Haiyan last year.

Other Asia-Pacific countries have also offered support including medics from China, financial support commitments from Australia and South Korea, and laboratory experts from Japan, Shin added.

The health secretary said the Philippines would only be sending volunteers, and noted it had a potentially large pool.

The health department has fielded queries from Filipino health workers wanting to work in West Africa, he added.

"The human resources that may be needed (may) not necessarily be working only in the Ebola-affected facilities," Ona said when asked about the potential size and composition of the Philippine contribution.

"(There) may also be workers needed, for example, in public health, or taking care of hospitals where the usual non-Ebola patients go," he added.

The United Kingdom has specifically offered financial assistance that could potentially cover the salaries of Filipino volunteer health workers, Ona added.

Ona said about 3,000 Filipinos already work in worst-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

About 150 Filipino soldiers also serve as peacekeepers under United Nations command in Liberia.

cgm/jfg/lto

Philippines: Girl Leading the Charge to Disaster-proof her Community

9 October 2014 - 11:57pm
Source: World Vision Country: Philippines

by Mai Zamora, World Vision Philippines, Communications

Can you prevent a natural disaster?

Fourteen-year-old Lyka will quickly tell you no.

But, in the next breath, this Filipino ninth grader will tell you that the damage caused by a natural disaster can decrease.

HAILING FROM AN AREA FREQUENTLY FLOODED

Lyka is one of the child champions on Child-focused Disaster Risk Reduction and Local Capacities for Peace. She lives in Agusan del Sur, in the Southern part of the Philippines, a disaster-prone province.

“We have been experiencing flooding almost every month especially after Typhoon Bopha hit our province where a lot of houses were destroyed and trees were uprooted.

“For us to be prepared in the next disasters, World Vision trained us on how to be ready and how to mitigate disasters, together with the local officials in our community.”

LEADING OTHER CHILDREN

Lyka is one of World Vision sponsored children who have been exposed to child participation activities in their community. Together with other children, she have been attending activities for children to learn their rights and responsibilities on their respective communities.

“With the trainings I attended with World Vision, I learned and realized how we can help our community. Before, I thought that only adults can plan and think of what’s good for us.

“I was so happy with the training because we, the children, and the local officials in our village have been helping each other on how to be disaster ready. I am so happy that they are listening to us [children] and they are taking our suggestions.”

PREVENTING DISASTER DAMAGE

“In one of the sessions of the local officials, we were invited to give suggestions on how we can protect and mitigate disaster. We shared our ideas like tree planting activities and identified places that can be risky for the community. A few months after, we did a tree planting with them,” Lyka says.

Since then, Lyka has been speaking about community disaster preparedness to children of different faiths from other provinces.

“And for other to learn and improve the relationship to other ethnic groups, I share my learning to my classmates and other child leaders. Sometimes, my teachers would even ask me to share what I learned from the training, “ Lyka says.

“Every time I have the chance to speak to others, I always encourage my fellow children to help each other and share what they learned. I know if I will do this often we will be having a peaceful and disaster-ready community,” she concludes.

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 24 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

9 October 2014 - 11:42pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO

A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 10 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network recorded three (3) volcanic earthquakes and one (1) rockfall event during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate emission of white steam plumes drifting east-southeast and southwest was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 299 tonnes/day on 09 October 2014. Ground deformation data showed continuous inflation at the base of the edifice from August 2014 to October 2014 precise leveling surveys. The edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements. Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.

Philippines: Project Agos launched

9 October 2014 - 10:44pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MAKATI CITY, 10 Oct. (PIA)--To help move the country’s disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) system forward, and in celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Australian Embassy in the Philippines and Rappler launched Project Agos, a partnership that aims to harness technology to maximize the flow of critical data before, during, and after a disaster.

Project Agos combines top down government action with bottom up citizen involvement to help communities prepare for disasters and adapt to the impact of climate change.

Part of the launch is the conduct of a roundtable discussion on the theme "Making #ZeroCasualty a Reality” Wednesday, October 8 in the Meralco Case Study Room in the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City.

The theme takes off from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) policy of a “zero casualty” goal during disasters.

Representatives from the national government, local disaster management offices, civil society, the private sector, bloggers and netizens took part of the conversation and discussed the role each sector and individual has to play in disaster prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery to achieve the zero casualty goal.

The conversation highlight the need for deeper collaboration and information sharing between various sectors, one of the key objectives of Project Agos.

Building upon the rallying call “Make #ZeroCasualty a reality,” an online conversation also took place to make netizens realize how they can contribute to the #ZeroCasualty goal based on their respective roles in society.

Rappler, through its civic engagement arm, Move.PH, will be working with and capacitating technical government agencies and local government units to make use of technology and social media for disaster preparedness and response.

Australia’s support to Project Agos is part of its commitment to work with Philippine partners to make Filipinos safer and more resilient to the threats from natural disasters and climate change, which drive people into poverty and threaten sustainable economic development.

According to the 2012 World Risk Report, the Philippines is the most disaster-prone among the world’s most populous countries.

Disasters cost the country an average of PhP19.7 billion (US$440.3 million) in damages every year – about 0.5 per cent of the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

Half of the country's land area is economically at risk from multiple hazards such as typhoons, floods and earthquakes. Four in every five Filipinos are vulnerable to the economic repercussions of natural disasters. The most affected are farmers, with agricultural damages estimated at PhP12 billion (US$268.2 million) per year.

The devastating effects of such disasters are something Filipinos are very familiar with. The earthquake that hit the Visayas in 2013 destroyed world heritage sites and claimed many lives.

Typhoons Ondoy, Glenda, and Mario paralyzed the country’s capital for days.

In the past decade, an average of over 1,000 people died from natural disasters every year.

But in 2013, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) alone claimed the lives of at least 6,300 according to official reports. (Aus Embassy/Rappler/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)

World: Crop Prospects and Food Situation, No. 3, October 2014

9 October 2014 - 9:05am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, World, Yemen, South Sudan preview

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The forecast for global cereal production in 2014 has been raised closer to last year’s record, which is expected to boost inventories to a multi-year high.

  • Export prices of wheat and maize decreased further in September to multiyear lows, driven by expectations of large global supplies in 2014/15. Even rice prices, which had been rising in previous months, fell in September.

  • In Western Africa, the Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has disrupted markets, farming activities and livelihoods, seriously affecting the food security situation of large numbers of people. Moreover, irregular rains in several areas of the Sahelian belt result in mixed production prospects.

  • In Central Africa, food crop production in the Central African Republic is estimated to have increased from the sharply reduced 2013 output, but still remains well below average due to the impact of widespread civil insecurity.

  • In Eastern Africa, the overall food security situation is improving as harvesting has started in several countries. While food prices are generally stable or declining, they are at record high levels in Somalia and the Sudan.

  • In Western Africa, in spite of adequate cereal supplies at the regional level following last year’s above average harvests, humanitarian assistance is still needed in several parts, due mostly to conflict related population displacements

  • In Southern Africa, food security conditions improved significantly in response to bumper maize harvests and generally lower prices.

  • In North Africa, a slightly below-average cereal crop was gathered in 2014. Wheat production in Tunisia recovered from last year’s weather-stricken harvest, while reduced plantings following poor rains caused a sharp reduction in Morocco.

  • In Central America, drought conditions have significantly reduced the 2014 main first season harvest in key producing countries. In Mexico, cereal production is expected to remain above average due to better-than-expected yields.

  • In South America, higher yields offset reduced plantings, with coarse grains production estimated at an above-average level. Wheat production is forecast to recover strongly following two consecutive low crops, due to increased plantings.

  • In the Near East, drought conditions resulted in a below-average cereal harvest. Food security in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq continues to deteriorate as a result of the persisting conflict.

  • In the Far East, aggregate cereal output is estimated to be close to last year’s record level. A considerable drop in the exportable surplus from India is expected to reduce aggregate cereal exports in the 2014/15 marketing year.

  • In CIS Europe, cereal production is estimated at a record level. Accordingly, exports are forecast at an all-time high.

  • FAO estimates that globally 36 countries, including 26 countries in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food due to conflict, crop failures and the impact of localized high food prices on vulnerable groups.

Philippines: Philippine Red Cross to construct thousands of houses in Iloilo

9 October 2014 - 6:51am
Source: Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

Iloilo-- With the arrival of a ship bearing crates of GI sheets in Iloilo, the Philippine Red Cross can now begin the large scale shelter operations in the province.

Thousands of families devastated by typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas are going to have houses soon, with Iloilo as the first province to receive a large shipment of GI sheets in Eastern Visayas.

PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, who personally supervised the shipment of the first large tranche of GI sheets bound for Iloilo at the North Star transport facility in Baseco recently, said that "Iloilo is the first province that received a large shipment of GI sheets, but this is an operation that will reach ten provinces, all across the area devastated by typhoon Yolanda".

185 crates, containing over 350 sheets each or a total of 64,915 pieces, will be distributed to the towns of Ajuy, Balasan, and Lemery in the province of Iloilo to benefit 5, 277 families.

The GI sheets, together with all other necessary building materials to construct a shelter unit sourced in Iloilo, will be used for the construction of 2,600 core shelters and the provision of 3,700 shelter repair kits.

Gordon said that these were on top of the 7,000 houses already built by the Red Cross in Samar, Leyte, Cebu, and other places in Eastern Visayas.

Over the years, Gordon's leadership of the Red Cross has produced over 50,000 houses across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

"Whenever there is a disaster, the Red Cross is always there, during the emergency phase, when our first priority is the provision of relief. And then, during the recovery phase, when all our energies our geared towards helping these devastated communities get back on their feet again. "Gordon said.

At least two more shipments are scheduled for the provinces of Leyte and Cebu in the next few days, which will bring the total to over 300,000 GI sheets shipped for this phase of the operation.

Gordon said that it took some time to produce the GI sheets of this volume because ‘’ it’s difficult to obtain quality GI sheet from local sources. So we had to order customized GI sheets which conform to international standards, and had them painted red so donors can identify where the Red Cross houses are located. “

Gordon also added that although 1.6 M families were affected by typhoon Yolanda ‘’ our main objective is to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable. We aim to provide shelter to over 70 thousand families, the ones who really need them. Of course, there is so many more who need shelter, and that’s why the Red Cross is doing everything in its power to do more. We need everyone’s support to uplift the lives of those devastated by typhoon Yolanda. “

Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang said that for this particular shipment to Iloilo, 2,512 sheets for shelter repair will go to the town of Ajuy, 1,570 for shelter repair and 995 for core shelters will be brought to the town of Balasan, and 200 core shelters will be transported to the town of Lemery.

She added that ‘’ our hope is that by the time we mark the one year of Typhoon Yolanda, over 30 thousands units would have been repaired, and over 7 thousand core shelters constructed across the areas devastated by the storm. But even so, our work doesn’t end there. “

Pang also said that ‘’over all, this is a major operation for us. To put this in perspective, in the last ten years, the PRC has built over 50,000 shelter units across the entire country due to multiple disasters. For the communities affected by typhoon Yolanda alone, we will build well over 70,000 shelter units by next year“.

World: Right to food and nutrition watch 2014

9 October 2014 - 4:54am
Source: Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation Country: Colombia, Guatemala, Mali, Mexico, occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines, United Republic of Tanzania, World preview

Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Gains, Concerns and Struggles

NEW REPORT CALLS FOR MORE DEMOCRATIC FOOD SYSTEMS

Rome, Utrecht, Heidelberg, Geneva, Berlin, 8 October 2014 - Food security and human rights remain deeply threatened by concentration of land ownership, corporate domination of food systems and policy incoherence, reports the Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2014, officially launched today with the participation of the new UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Dr. Hilal Elver, at the FAO in Rome.

"As we celebrate the progress made over the past decade, it is important to keep in mind that we will have to work even harder to realize the right to food in order that hunger and malnutrition no longer afflict humanity", Dr. Elver cautioned on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security.

The Watch 2014 - titled Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Gains, Concerns and Struggles - discusses key policy processes and highlights the increasing influence of companies in international food and nutrition governance as a growing challenge in the global struggle for the right to adequate food.

On one hand, increased power of multinational food and beverage corporations over what ends up on the consumer's plate has led to a higher consumption of unhealthy ultra-processed foods, thereby contributing to obesity and malnutrition in both developed and developing countries.

Between 40 and 50 per cent of the adult population in Belgium and Colombia are overweight, reports the Watch 2014.

On the other hand, agribusiness and financial investors are taking control of natural resources and undermining the rights and food sovereignty of local communities and small-scale food producers. Such practices are promoted and condoned by governments in the name of 'development'.

An estimated one million hectares of land have been appropriated in Mali in recent years, depriving peasant communities of their livelihoods. The expansion of mining in Sweden and its impact on peasant and indigenous populations illustrate that land grabbing is a worldwide phenomenon.

The Watch calls on governments to exercise political will in addressing the inequities in food systems, demanding the right to food be 'mainstreamed' in coherent food, nutrition, energy and trade policies.

Democratic institutions and mechanisms that engage those most affected by hunger in policy-making are among the goals of ongoing social mobilization and resistance worldwide - from Guatemala to India and Norway, as revealed in the Watch 2014.

As stressed by Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, "[t]here are major actors who are able to block change as a result of the dominant position they have acquired in the food and political systems. That is why food democracy is really the key to achieving more sustainable [and accountable] food systems."

Contact M. Alejandra Morena, Coordinator - Right to Food and Nutrition Watch

FURTHER INFORMATION

More background information

Articles of the Watch in separated pdfs

Subscribe to our newsletter

Follow the Watch on Facebook

Read the civil society report 'Ten Years of the Right to Food Guidelines: Progress, Obstacles and the Way Ahead'

Watch the video 'The Right to Food - A People's Struggle'

World: Food Outlook - Biannual Report on Global Food Markets, October 2014

9 October 2014 - 4:39am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World preview

Biannual FAO Food Outlook report and new Food Price Index released

9 October 2014, Rome - Food markets are more stable and prices for most agricultural commodities are sharply lower than they have been in recent years, according to the latest edition of FAO's biannual Food Outlook report and a new update to the Organization's monthly Food Price Index, both out today.

Bumper harvests and abundant stockpiles are key factors helping drive down international cereal prices, according to the report.

World wheat production in 2014 is forecast to reach a new record, it says.

For coarse grains, prospects for near-record production levels, combined with already-high inventories point to a very comfortable world supply and demand balance in 2014/15, especially for maize.

While rice outputs could decline slightly this year, stockpiles remain "huge" and are sufficient to cover over one-third of projected consumption during the 2015-16 period.

All told, world cereal production in 2014 is anticipated to reach 2 523 million tonnes (2.5 billion tonnes) — an upward revision of 65 million tonnes from FAO's initial forecast in May. World cereal stocks should hit their highest level in 15 years by the end of the cropping season in 2015.

Global output of oilseeds is also forecast to exceed last season's record due to further expansion of soybean production.

Meanwhile, world production of cassava looks to be on track to achieving another record high, driven by sustained growth in Africa, where the tuber is a strategic crop for food security and poverty alleviation.

Today's Food Outlook anticipates that world sugar production will increase in 2015-16, as well.

Meat production is set to grow moderately in 2014, but not enough to ease prices from their current high levels, while milk production continues to grow steadily in many countries.

Production of fish is also on the rise, driven largely by aquaculture and less-than-expected El Niño impacts.

Price drops across the board - almost

The FAO Food Price Index (FPI), also released today, has registered its sixth consecutive monthly drop — the longest period of continuous decline in the value of the index since the late 1990s — averaging 191.5 points in September 2014.

Among the FPI sub-indices, sugar and dairy fell most sharply, followed by cereals and oils, while meat remained firm (more).

Although meat prices remain high they could be stabilizing: the September Meat Price index remains 22 points up versus the same time last year, a historic high, but registered only a slight increase over August (0.3 of a point) after months of steady hikes.

High meat prices and large trade volumes for products in the animal protein category, including meat, dairy and fish, mean that the global food import bill — that is, the aggregate amount that all countries spend on imported foodstuffs — will surpass $1 trillion again this year, for the fifth year in a row.

The FAO FPI is a trade-weighted index that measures prices of five major food commodities on international markets.

While price trends for these commodities at the macro level are a useful indicator of global trends and can signal when consumer food prices might be at risk, they are not always directly mirrored in national, regional and local markets.

Regional differences highlighted in second report

To help spot food price spikes affecting consumers in the developing world, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), FAO recently launched a new website that reports abnormally high prices of staple foods in markets in 85 different countries.

Additionally, the Organization produces a quarterly report, Crop Prospects and Food Situation, that focuses on developments affecting food security in developing countries and LIFDCs.

The latest edition, published today alongside Food Outlook and the October FPI, highlights a number of hot-spots of particular concern.

The Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has disrupted markets, farming activities and livelihoods, seriously affecting the food security of large numbers of people, it says. And irregular rains in several areas of the Sahelian belt will result in mixed production prospects.

Food crop production in the Central African Republic is up from 2013's sharply reduced output, but still remains well below average due to the impact of widespread civil insecurity, the report adds.

In Eastern Africa, the overall food security situation is improving as harvesting has started in several countries. But while food prices in the region are generally stable or declining, they are at record high levels in Somalia and the Sudan.

Meanwhile, drought conditions in Central America have significantly reduced the 2014 main first season harvest in key producing countries.

Drought conditions have also been a problem in the Near East, leading to a below-average cereal harvest for the region, while the conflicts in Syria and Iraq continue to significantly degrade food security.

Philippines: Two killed in southern Philippines church blast

8 October 2014 - 11:00pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

10/9/2014 - 01:42 GMT

Two people were killed while three others were wounded in a grenade attack on a church in the southern Philippines, police said Thursday.

Church goers at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, in the farming town of Pikit, were in the middle of a prayer service early Wednesday evening when the explosion occurred, police said.

A nurse, 54, and a teacher, 39, died from shrapnel injuries, municipal police chief Senior Inspector Mautin Pangandigan said.

The grenade exploded close to where the two women were seated at the back, Pangandigan said.

Two businessmen and a teacher were wounded and were brought to the hospital for treatment, he said.

Police have yet to determine the motive for the attack, Senior Superintendent Aldrin Gonzales, regional police spokesman told AFP.

Pikit, in North Cotabato province, is a known hotbed of criminal gangs and Muslim insurgents.

strs-jfg/kma/jah

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 22 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

8 October 2014 - 10:19pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO

A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 08 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network detected one (1) rockfall event during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Weak emission of white steam plumes drifting Northwest was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 444 tonnes/day on 07 October 2014. Ground deformation data showed continuous inflation at the base of the edifice from August 2014 to October 2014 precise leveling surveys. The edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements. Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.

Philippines: NDDRMC Update Sitrep No. 23 re Monitoring Activities on the Alert Status of Mayon Volcano

8 October 2014 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines preview

I. ALERT STATUS OF MAYON VOLCANO

A. Alert Level 3 is still in effect as of 8:00 AM, 08 October 2014, which means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks. Mayon Volcano's seismic network detected five (5) rockfall events during the past 24-hour observation period.

B. Moderate emission of white steam plumes drifting south-southwest and southeast was observed. No crater glow was observed last night. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 387 tonnes/day on 08 October 2014. Ground deformation data showed continuous inflation at the base of the edifice from August 2014 to October 2014 precise leveling surveys. The edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements. Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.

Philippines: U.S. Helps Families Near Mayon Volcano in Albay province, Philippines

8 October 2014 - 7:57pm
Source: Government of the United States of America Country: Philippines, United States of America

ALBAY PROVINCE, Philippines, October 08, 2014 — The U.S. government has provided Php4.4 million to assist displaced families affected by the Mayon Volcano in Albay province.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology placed Mayon Volcano under Alert Level 3, which prompted the Provincial Government of Albay to evacuate more than 12,000 families living within the six-kilometer radius permanent danger zone.

U.S. Embassy Ambassador Philip Goldberg said, "The United States stands ready to help families cope with the challenges posed by the temporary displacement.”

U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide emergency sanitation, hygiene and non-food items to families seeking temporary refuge in evacuation centers located in the municipalities of Guinobatan, Camalig and Daraga. The humanitarian assistance, which will be distributed by World Vision for USAID, will focus on improving access to safe drinking water, functioning latrines, and temporary classrooms.

Ambassador Goldberg also expressed support to Albay Governor Joey Salceda’s “zero casualty objective” and commended all the brave families that participated in an orderly and successful pre-emptive evacuation: “The U.S. government will continue to monitor the Mayon situation and work with Philippine authorities to help the affected families.”

The United States is always ready to lend a hand to the Philippines, especially during times of disaster. U.S. government disaster-assistance funding over the last ten years amounts to Php8.1 billion. Beyond immediate disaster relief, the U.S. government also supports the Philippines in strengthening the capacity of communities to mitigate, prepare for and respond to natural disasters and the effects of climate change.

Philippines: WHO and RID 2650 work together in child immunization and dengue control and prevention in Region 8 - Philippines

8 October 2014 - 9:01am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Philippines

Since forming in 1905, Rotary International has been committed to creating positive and lasting change in communities worldwide. For over 100 years it has taken on various humanitarian, environmental and development challenges around the world, and has aided a wide range of international organizations.

One of its member clubs, Rotary International District 2650 has been particularly passionate in the elimination of polio around the world. Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and in close cooperation with the World Health Organization, RID 2650 has focused efforts in the Western Pacific and has time and again visited the Philippines to give their support.

RID 2650 visits Tacloban and Eastern Samar

On September 22 and 23, RID 2650 along with the Rotary Club of Tacloban and the WHO, visited immunization activities in Eastern Samar. As support for the September ‘Ligtas sa Tigdas at Polio’ nationwide child immunization campaign, the RID 2650 has donated 27 heavy-duty cold boxes to Eastern Samar, and 2 ice pack freezers to both Tacloban and Borongan.

“When Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines last year, we knew we had to do something,” said Kingo Iwamoto, RID 2650 International Service Committee Chairperson. “This is our second time in the Philippines and we’re working hand in hand with the Rotary of Tacloban and WHO to help rebuild these affected communities.”

The 29 delegates from Japan were accompanied by Dr Go Tanaka of the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region, Dr Sigrun Roesel of WHO Philippines and the members of the Rotary Club of Tacloban. They visited health centers in the municipalities of Lawaan and Balangiga, Eastern Samar, and the Motocross bunkhouse in Tacloban, where all delegates gave OPV (oral polio vaccine) in a ceremonial event to the children in the said areas.

Apart from the donations for the immunization campaign, RID 2650 also has offered support through the WHO to strengthen existing dengue awareness and control actions in schools including at the Marasbaras National High School in Tacloban City.

The plan is to re-activate/establish the ‘little dengue brigade’ in schools wherein children will be trained / educated on adopting key behaviours and practices on dengue prevention, and use them as agents of behaviour change in their families, communities, barangays and cities.

Philippines: Field Report: Rebuilding schools in the Philippines after Yolanda

8 October 2014 - 12:40am
Source: Give2Asia Country: Philippines

It has been almost a year ago since Super Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda locally, left its trail of destruction in the Philippines. Tacloban City was one of the cities that directly felt the impact of the typhoon, leaving about 95% of the city in ruins and displacing approximately 12,000 households.

Give2Asia partnered with various organizations in order to develop the necessary response needed in order to facilitate community rebuilding in the different disaster-stricken areas.

This September, Alexie Mercado, Give2Asia’s Field Advisor in the Philippines, went to Tacloban and Guian wherein Give2Asia helped to support the rebuilding of different schools. This was made possible through our individual donor, Mona Lisa Yuchengco, as well as partnerships with Philippine International Aid and Seagate Technology, to the PhilAm Foundation.

To celebrate the re-opening and turnover of the one-storey, two-classroom building, there was a program created by the students and faculty at San Jose Central School in Tacloban City. There were prayers and songs performed by the students themselves.

However, it was the hand-written thank-you notes of the students that really made an impact. “It was hard to hold back tears after reading the note and watching the heartfelt performances of the children,” Alexie said.

Give2Asia emphasizes on funding long-term recovery projects and collaborating at the grassroots level. One year after the disaster, the people of Tacloban and Guian are still in the process of regaining what they lost. However, it is uplifting to see projects like this come to fruition and be instruments to people slowly rebuilding their lives after a disaster.

Give2Asia has recently launched a fund to support communities in South Asia devastated by recent monsoon floods. To learn more and donate, please visit give2asia.org/2014monsoons.

Philippines: DOH launches Inactivated Polio Vaccine to expand immunization for children

7 October 2014 - 9:28pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, 8 Oct. (PIA)--The Department of Health (DOH) today introduced the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) as part of the expanded program on immunization for children in ceremonies held in Parañaque City.

The IPV protects against polio type 1 and 3 and outbreaks of wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 while the OPV is effective only against the wild poliovirus.

The IPV (injected intramuscularly) will be given in health centers in addition to the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) drop when a child is fourteen (14) weeks old.

In a news release, Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said the introduction of inactivated polio vaccines will allow us to improve the protection of Filipino children against polio and maintain our polio-free status in the country.

“The DOH recognizes immunization as a key element in reducing the burden of childhood mortality and morbidity and the inclusion of the IPV boosts our children’s health and immunization programs,” the health chief concluded.

The inclusion of IPV is part of the country’s response to the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 that was drawn up after the May 2012 World Health Assembly declaration that the completion of poliovirus eradication is a programmatic emergency for global public health.

Globally as of September this year, there were 171 wild Polio Virus type 1 cases (152 from endemic countries and 19 from non-endemic countries) and 37 Polio Virus type 2 cases reported.

In the Philippines, the last recorded wild Polio virus case was in 1993. In 2000, the World Health Organization certified the Western Pacific Region, of which the country is part of, polio-free.

However, the Philippines is still a high-risk country for polio importation because of its highly mobile population, the presence of numerous airports, seaports, and other ports of entry, the presence of areas with low immunization coverage, and inadequate reporting of cases.

The country began its Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in 1979, five years after the World Health Organization launched its EPI in 1974. At present, the Program includes the administration of BCG (anti-tuberculosis), Hepatitis B, DPT (anti-diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus), OPV, HiB (anti-influenza type B), and MMR (anti-measles, mumps and rubella) vaccines. (DOH/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)

Philippines: One year after Typhoon Haiyan: stakeholders discuss global humanitarian challenges

7 October 2014 - 9:05pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department Country: Philippines

As the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan is approaching next month, members of the European Parliament's Committee on Development (DEVE) held today a panel discussion on the future challenges of humanitarian aid. The event was co-organised by the UN, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), and the Voluntary Organisations in Cooperation in Emergencies network (VOICE).

Claus Sørensen, Director General, European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) opened the event:

"Despite the enormous damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the transition from emergency to rehabilitation was quick. This was possible thanks to combined efforts by aid agencies, donors, the concerned governments, including civil protection authorities, NGOs and budgetary authorities," said Mr Sørensen. "Only through such joint efforts will we be able to make a difference for those most in need when disasters as devastating as Haiyan strike."

Background

Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) was the strongest cyclone ever recorded. It struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013, causing massive devastation in the central regions. Over 6 200 people were officially reported dead, 4 million were displaced and 14-16 million affected, out of which 6 million were children.

The humanitarian assistance and early recovery interventions provided by the EU institutions to the survivors amounts to over €40 million (ca. PHP 2.3 billion). This contribution has made a difference for around 1.2 million people. The overall EU's humanitarian assistance for Haiyan, including the funding coming from the Member States, amounts to over €180 million (ca. PHP 10.2 billion).

In addition to humanitarian assistance deployed in the immediate aftermath of Haiyan, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) carries out disaster preparedness programmes (DIPECHO) in Asia and other areas of the world prone to recurrent catastrophes. DIPECHO aims to increase the capacities of the local populations to face disaster consequences. Since 1998, €7.7 million (ca. PHP 436 million) have been released by the European Commission to the Philippines for such disaster preparedness measures.

Philippines: U.S. Continues Relief and Reconstruction Work in Yolanda-Hit Areas

7 October 2014 - 8:24pm
Source: Government of the United States of America Country: Philippines, United States of America

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines, October 07, 2014 — Nearly 11 months after Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated the Philippines, the U.S. government continues to partner with the Philippines on recovery and rebuilding efforts. Last week, U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Gloria D. Steele led the turnover of two school buildings at the Tacloban National Agricultural School (TNAS). The schools—containing ten of the more than 165 classrooms to be built by the U.S. government in the Philippines—are designed to withstand winds up to 360 kilometers per hour and an 8.5 earthquake.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez joined the ceremonies and thanked the American people for their on-going support. Angelica Dupa, an 8th grade student at TNAS, also expressed gratitude: “We will no longer be scared of typhoons and other calamities because the new classrooms are stronger than the ones we occupied.”

All of these continued reconstruction and recovery efforts are part of the USAID Rebuild project. Under the Rebuild project, the U.S. government is also working with Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble to reconstruct and restock 1,000 sari-sari stores. Store owners will be trained in basic store management and microcredit. Director Steele also gave assistance to the Barangay Basper Farmers Association, the TNAS General Parent-Teacher Association, the Tagpuro Women’s Seaweed Association, and the Old Kawayan Fisherfolks Association. Overall, the U.S. government’s support to the Philippines for Typhoon Yolanda recovery is estimated at $142.5 million.

“The projects we see today are born from the strong partnership between the U.S. and Philippine governments. As we work together in planting the seeds of recovery, we also direct our efforts toward ensuring that you will be stronger and better equipped to face future disasters,” Director Steele said.

Director Steele concluded her visit to the city by inspecting the ongoing construction of a USAID-funded school building with eight classrooms at the San Fernando Central School and a tuberculosis clinic at the City Health Office. She also went to Ormoc, Leyte to launch the U.S. government’s project, called “Preventing Trafficking in Persons through Sustainable Livelihood Recovery for Typhoon Affected People.” The project aims to reduce the vulnerability of typhoon-affected populations to trafficking-in-persons.