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World: Communicating with Communities Newsletter, December 2014 - January 2015

1 February 2015 - 10:06pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, World

This update seeks to support growth in innovative policy, practice and partnerships in humanitarian action to better communicate with disaster-affected communities. Readers are encouraged to forward this email through their own networks.

What's inside

  • Indian Ocean Tsunami - Stories of change.
  • Nepal - Moving Mountains documentary explores earthquake risk through stories of those who survived the 1934 earthquake.
  • Myanmar - One of the last great “un-phoned” territories opens up.
  • Bangladesh - Radio programming, Hello Red Crescent - We listen to You.
  • Philippines - Typhoon Haiyan and Hagupit, communications and much more.
  • Global - Toolkit, reference guide and more.
  • CDAC Network - OCHA's Global CwC 2014 Update, First Response Radio and the Humanitarian Media and Communications Roster.

Philippines: Typhoon Hagupit: Partnership and Preparedness in CwC Response

1 February 2015 - 9:58pm
Source: CDAC Network Country: Philippines

Gil Arevalo, OCHA’s CwC Officer in the Philippines, explains how networks and relationships built during the response to Typhoon Haiyan enabled communicating with communities initiatives to get off the ground quickly when Typhoon Hagupit hit the same area one year later.

The late American writer Alexander King once said that the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis is a good hot cup of coffee.

And that was probably all it took for OCHA to be able to call an emergency meeting on December 13 2014 with the First Response Radio-Far-East Broadcasting Company (FRR-FEBC) [a partnership between Manila-based radio station and CDAC Network Member First Response Radio] and the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON).

In a coffee meeting near the UN office in Manila, with no memorandum of agreement or any official partnership paper, OCHA witnessed how the FRR-FEBC and PECOJON agreed to deploy a team together to set up a humanitarian radio station on the December 15 in the municipality of Taft, Eastern Samar --- the area worst hit by Typhoon Hagupit.

The network, or Community of Practice (CoP), of Communications with Communities (CwC)/Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) was established in Eastern Visayas in early 2014, during the response to Typhoon Haiyan. The CoP includes staff from humanitarian agencies, local government and media agencies who participated in the CwC/AAP technical working groups, which were part of the cluster system post-Haiyan.

However, the response to Hagupit would be the first time that a partnership was forged between FRR-FEBC and PECOJON for a joint humanitarian radio project, using emergency radio equipment entrusted to FRR-FEBC by International Organization for Migration (IOM), as partners in CwC.

And the rest was a good example of how to further improve working with CwC partners both in preparedness and emergency response.

Lessons from past typhoons

The Typhoon Haiyan response in 2013 taught us, CwC/AAP specialists and practitioners, the importance of having CwC/AAP technical working groups across three affected regions in Eastern Visayas, which were coordinated and integrated into the cluster system.

The Typhoon Hagupit response, almost one year later, taught us not only the valuable lesson of sustaining the good practice from Typhoon Haiyan, but also expanding the level of partnership within the network or CoP.

It was one of those rare experiences when the same region, Eastern Visayas, was badly affected by two calamities. It was the first landfall area in Haiyan and happened to be the most affected by Typhoon Hagupit, which hit the region less than a month after the first year commemoration for Haiyan.

However, Hagupit brought some silver linings in the proactive engagement of Members of the CwC/AAP CoP in Manila and the various field level working groups in Western and Eastern Visayas – largely thanks to experience and learning from Haiyan.

All members and partners of the field level working groups and CoP responded collaboratively, pre-positioning staff, solar radios and other resources for Hagupit’s expected impact (it was anticipated to be as strong as Haiyan). Assessments carried out by members immediately after the typhoon highlighted areas where access to information was poor. And that paved the way for FRR-FEBC and PECOJON (including local journalists from Radyo Abante) to broadcast as 98.7 FM from December 15 to January 7 2015 in Taft, Eastern Samar.

Just like OCHA and IOM, FRR-FEBC and PECOJON are CDAC Network Members and worked in various capacities during the Haiyan response in 2013. They were active members of the Philippine CwC/AAP CoP based in Manila and were also part of the successful field level technical working groups in Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas

For over three weeks, the 98.7 FM station was recognised as a conduit bridging local government units (LGUs), humanitarian and development agencies and affected communities in Eastern Samar.

In some ways, this was déjà vu for FRR-FEBC and PECOJON, given the stations they set up during the height of Haiyan response. The big difference this time was that even prior to the destruction brought by the typhoon, there was no radio station active or operating in Taft municipality.

The CwC/AAP technical working group based in Borongan, Eastern Samar, reported that the LGUs were thankful for the presence of 98.7 FM, and felt relieved to have a radio station that caters to the ongoing humanitarian response reaching most affected areas.

More than just providing access to critical information, once again humanitarian radio became the voice and ally of the affected communities, while putting some positive pressure on humanitarian agencies, the government and LGUs.

Embracing challenges

As recognised by FRR-FEBC, PECOJON, IOM and even OCHA, partnering for the first time on this humanitarian radio initiative was a laboratory test in various ways. It was a big test for the CoP in terms of working with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It also highlighted the benefits of the ad-hoc nature or level of partnership among FRR-FEBC, PECOJON and IOM. From the onset, the usual bureaucratic process in any level of partnership was simplified, as this collaboration depended on trust and commitment within the network to look at the existing capacities, resources, and mechanisms. It proved that formalising partnership, and developing relationships and trust between different actors, should be a priority as part of preparedness.

Creating exit and transition strategies was of course a challenge. It has always been. And this response was no exception.

Three weeks might not be enough to bridge the gap in access to information for communities, and to ensure that LGUs will continue to address the unmet humanitarian needs of those affected.

What FRR-FEBC, PECOJON and IOM accomplished in a short span of time was already commendable. It opens more windows of opportunities for the network or CoP to continue to improve the various levels of engagement or partnership, and find opportunities to work together.

After all, it’s a small world for all CwC/AAP specialists and practitioners. The next thing we know, we’re going to work together either in preparedness or emergency response. I am looking forward for more hot cups of coffee with my colleagues. As the old saying goes, ‘it’s like déjà-brew: the feeling or experience that you’ve had this coffee before’.

World: Communication and Complex Emergencies: A Resource Guide

1 February 2015 - 9:52pm
Source: Government of Australia Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, World

Reference Guide - Communication and Complex Emergencies is a reference guide developed by the University of Adelaide’s Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit (ACCRU) and the Australian Civil–Military Centre (ACMC).

This guide examines the broad topic of communication and its role in a range of different humanitarian and complex emergency situations. Such situations demand communication initiatives that support and promote humanitarian relief efforts, conflict reduction processes, and post-conflict transition and recovery.

Philippines: Nation should not lose focus on attaining Mindanao peace, says official

1 February 2015 - 12:45am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The country should remain focused in achieving a long and lasting peace in Mindanao and should not allow emotions to rule in overcoming challenges confronting the country today especially after the deaths on more than 40 police commandos in Maguindanao last week, a Palace official said.

This is in the midsts of reports that 43 administration allies are mulling to withdraw their support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), seen as the hope to bringing stability to Mindanao.

In a radio interview over dzRB by Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said this issue was raised by President Aquino during his address to the nation Wednesday.

“Ipinaalala ng Pangulo ang kahagalahan na matanto natin ‘yung kung bakit kinakailangan nating patuloy na magtrabaho tungo sa pagkamit ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan,” Coloma said in the radio interview.

The country has witnessed decades of war in Mindanao, Coloma said, noting the conflict has not helped the region in attaining stability and instead had brought misery and despair to the people.

“Kaya dapat nating alalahanin ang mga mahahalagang leksyon na natutunan na noong nakaraan at tanungin ang ating mga sarili kung paano ba ang pinakamainam na landas tungo sa kinabukasang mas maaliwalas,” he said.

Although there are those voicing their doubts on the ongoing peace process, Coloma said there are other leaders who echoed their support to the peace talks.

Among them include Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, among others.

Asked if the Palace plans to talk to its congressional allies to rally support for the BBL, Coloma there is no such plan at this time adding however that the executive branch is ready to reach out to its supporters in Congress.

Asked to comment on the possible restiveness in the police force as a result of the Maguindanao incident, Coloma said police personnel are free to voice their sentiments in a constructive way.

But everyone must not be swayed by their emotions and should not forget the real picture of the roadblocks that the country is facing, he said.

The true concerns he said is effectively fighting terrorism and at the same time working to achieve enduring peace in Mindanao.

Philippines: Civilians killed in Philippines anti-terror raid: mayor

31 January 2015 - 9:32am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Cotabato, Philippines | AFP | Saturday 1/31/2015 - 09:43 GMT

An eight-year-old girl and three men -- one with his hands bound -- were among those killed in a botched anti-terror police operation in the Philippines last weekend, a local official said Saturday.

Mamasapano town mayor Benzar Ampatuan said residents had told him police tied up the man to stop him tipping off their targets ahead of the pre-dawn raid, in which 44 commandos died in one of the force's bloodiest days in recent years.

A local farmer's daughter and two other men were also found dead in their homes after the fighting, Ampatuan said, the first report of civilian casualties in the bloodbath.

"Their wives said they were hit in the crossfire," he told AFP, adding that five other residents of the corn-farming region were also wounded.

The Philippines on Friday held a national day of mourning for the dead police officers, who were killed as they hunted the man blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia, in which 202 people died.

Nearly 400 members of the elite police unit were sent to a village near the town of Mamasapano on January 25 to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said 11 of its fighters were killed and 15 wounded in the gunfight that ensued. A second rebel force, the MILF splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, has not disclosed whether it suffered any casualties.

Filipino officials said Zulkifli was killed by the raiders, a claim that has yet to be independently confirmed. A second target, Filipino militant Abdul Basit Usman, escaped.

The government has faced calls for retribution after at least one police survivor alleged some of the policemen were killed after they surrendered and their corpses were desecrated.

Despite the bloodbath, both the Philippine government and the MILF pledged at the end of the Kuala Lumpur talks on Saturday to pursue their 2014 agreement.

The process calls on parliament to pass a law giving minority Muslims self-rule over several provinces and for the 10,000-member MILF to disarm gradually.

The accord aims to end decades of armed conflict that had claimed 120,000 lives and kept the Catholic nation's Muslim south in abject poverty and lawlessness.

str-cgm/cah

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan - Emergency appeal n° MDRPH014, operation update n°11

31 January 2015 - 2:48am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Emergency appeal n° MDRPH014
GLIDE n° TC-2013-000139-PHL
Operation update n° 11
31 January 2015

Period covered by this Operation Update: 5 August 2014 to 18 January 2015
Appeal target (current): CHF 99.88 million
Appeal coverage: To date, 87 per cent covered in hard pledges. Households affected by Typhoon Hagupit in December 2014 will receive relief and recovery support under this appeal.

Appeal history:

  • 30 July 2014: A further revision of the emergency appeal was launched, seeking CHF 99.88 million to support 100,000 households (500,000 people) through December 2016.

  • 16 January 2014: A revision of this emergency appeal was launched for CHF 126.2 million to support 100,000 families (500,000 people) over 24 months.

  • 12 November 2013: An emergency appeal was launched on a preliminary basis for CHF 72.3 million to support 100,000 families (500,000 people) over 18 months.

  • 8 November 2013: CHF 475,495 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Philippine Red Cross in delivering assistance to those affected and undertake initial needs assessments in the affected areas.

Philippines: IOM Philippines - Response to displacement due to conflict and natural disaster in Mindanao, 30 January 2015

31 January 2015 - 1:49am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Philippines

ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN PNP-SAF AND ARMED GROUPS ERUPTS IN MAMASAPANO, MAGUINDANAO

OVERVIEW

On Sunday, 25 January, at least 44 police officers from the elite Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) were killed during the 11-hour firefight with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Barangay Tukanalipao in the town of Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The PNP-SAF reportedly launched the operation in order to serve an arrest warrant against Jemaah Islamiyah leader Zulkifli bin Hir also known as Commander Marwan and whose presence had been confirmed in the area.

Marwan is one of the most wanted JI leaders operating in Southeast Asia. He was believed to be involved in several bombing and terror attacks in Mindanao involving the JI-assisted Abu Sayyaf group. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has recently offered a USD 5 million bounty for his capture. Meanwhile, foreign-trained bomb maker Abdul Bassit Usman is a Filipino rebel with the Abu Sayyaf group. He is also believed to have links with JI and the Islamic extremist group, al-Qaeda. The US FBI has offered a USD 1 million bounty for his capture.

INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (ARMM HEART) reported displaced 563 families, who are now staying in an evacuation centre in Barangay Dalidap or with their relatives in nearby villages. ARMM HEART furnished IOM Cotabato with the following data on the extent of displacement brought about by this latest armed conflict.

Philippines: Give peace a chance, say Philippine and rebel negotiators

31 January 2015 - 12:56am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | AFP | Saturday 1/31/2015 - 05:48 GMT

Philippine government and Muslim rebel negotiators issued a joint plea Saturday for the country to stick to a historic peace accord that is now in peril after a deadly clash spurred calls for retribution against the guerrillas.

Both sides told a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur that two days of talks in Malaysia on disarming the rebels had made progress, and they vowed not to waver in implementing an accord on the voluntary surrender of weapons.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has waged a decades-long bloody insurgency in the Muslim southern Philippines, but an accord signed last year has raised hopes of a lasting peace.

Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer warned of dire consequences if the process were allowed to crumble.

"The other alternative is simply unthinkable," she said.

"It will bring chaos and bring about the rise of other groups (and) even more extremists with very radical ideologies."

The talks in Malaysia marked the first formal sit-down between the two sides since a botched Philippine police raid on the southern island of Mindanao last Sunday.

The operation targeted a wanted terrorism suspect but resulted in 44 police commandos being killed in clashes with the MILF and a smaller rebel faction.

The rebels' chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal also said the MILF was fully committed to the peace process.

The MILF signed a protocol agreement on Thursday for disarmament, and both parties said they would go ahead with the symbolic handover next month of 75 high-powered guerrilla firearms.

They also vowed to strengthen existing ceasefire mechanisms to avoid future clashes.

But President Benigno Aquino, who must convince Congress to approve the deal, is under mounting pressure to strike back at the rebels.

"In the next few days we know there will be challenges before us," Coronel-Ferrer said.

She said the government would engage with Philippine lawmakers to keep the process on track.

"That is our message. Please stay the course with us," she said.

The MILF and various other Muslim rebels have battled since the 1970s for independence or autonomy.

The peace agreement signed last year would create a southern autonomous region for the Philippines' Muslim minority with locally elected leaders by mid-2016.

The conflict has condemned millions of people across Mindanao to brutal poverty and created fertile conditions for Islamic extremism, with the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and other hardline militants making remote areas their strongholds.

skc/dma/mtp

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: FAO Philippines Newsletter - 2015 Issue 1

30 January 2015 - 12:26pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Typhoon Haiyan – One year on

  • A bumper harvest for Visayas Farmers

  • Looking at the Future: Improving Sustainable Practices

  • Community nurseries help rebuild typhoon-damaged farms in Mambusao

  • Creating new access to markets for family farms

  • Analyzing climate change impacts to improve food security

  • Events

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Bopha (MDRPH011) - Operations update no. 8

30 January 2015 - 5:00am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Period covered by this update:
1 July 2014 to 31 October 2014

Appeal target: CHF 16,267,217

Appeal coverage: 50 per cent

Appeal history:

  • 21 December 2012: An emergency appeal launched for CHF 16,267,217 to assist 40,000 families (some 200,000 people) for 18 months.
  • 5 December 2012: A preliminary emergency appeal issued for CHF 4,523,369 to cover 10,000 families (some 50,000 people) for 11 months.
  • Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 393,198 was allocated to support the National Society in its initial response

Summary: Typhoon Bopha (locally known as Pablo) affected more than 6.3 million families across 34 provinces in southern Philippines in December 2012, killing more than 1,100 people and destroying or damaging more than 230,000 houses along its path. The emergency appeal operation which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched to support the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in assisting people affected by Bopha came to a close on October 2014.

In summary, the following assistance was provided through this appeal operation:

  • Food packages distributed to 17,000 families

  • Non-food items (blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans, hygiene kits) were provided to 17,000 families

  • Hygiene promotion sessions reached some 40,000 families

  • Shelter repair assistance was given to some 8,100 families

  • Typhoon-resilient core shelters were built for 1,200 families

  • Livelihoods assistance was provided to some 2,800 families

  • Water and sanitation facilities were rehabilitated/constructed in four schools

  • Water search and rescue (WASAR) and information technology equipment were provided to three chapters while one chapter was equipped with a vehicle suited for off-road conditions

  • The Compostela Valley chapter of PRC received support to construct an office building.

Philippines: Philippines: Zamboanga Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 30 Jan 2015)

30 January 2015 - 4:52am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

On 9 September 2013 in Zamboanga City in Western Mindanao, fighting broke out between a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 16 months later, nearly 20,000 people are still in evacuation centres (ECs) and transitional sites (TSs).
The Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) plans to provide permanent housing for about 35,000 displaced people by June 2015. In the meantime, displaced families are being transferred to TSs like Masepla from the largest remaining EC in the JFE Sports Complex.

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Rammasun DREF operation final report (MDRPH015)

30 January 2015 - 4:37am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Summary:

Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) made landfall over the town of Rapu-Rapu, Albay province, east of the Philippines, in the afternoon of 15 July. It crossed the National Capital Region (NCR) the next morning, 16 July, pounding Metro Manila with strong winds and heavy rain, causing power outages and interrupting communication lines in its path. Rammasun exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on 17 July. A state of calamity was declared in 12 provinces, seven cities and 48 municipalities across six regions. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the typhoon affected more than a million families, displacing more than 600,000 (three million people) of them. In the aftermath of the typhoon, more than 100 people were reported dead, 1,250 people injured and five are still missing from eight regions across Luzon and Visayas. More than 600,000 houses were also damaged, totally damaging more than 110,000 of them.

Rammasun also left extensive damages in infrastructure, school facilities, agriculture, private properties and lifelines amounting to more than PHP 38 billion (CHF 747 million).

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Rammasun DREF operation final report

30 January 2015 - 4:37am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Summary:

Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) made landfall over the town of Rapu-Rapu, Albay province, east of the Philippines, in the afternoon of 15 July. It crossed the National Capital Region (NCR) the next morning, 16 July, pounding Metro Manila with strong winds and heavy rain, causing power outages and interrupting communication lines in its path. Rammasun exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on 17 July. A state of calamity was declared in 12 provinces, seven cities and 48 municipalities across six regions. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the typhoon affected more than a million families, displacing more than 600,000 (three million people) of them. In the aftermath of the typhoon, more than 100 people were reported dead, 1,250 people injured and five are still missing from eight regions across Luzon and Visayas. More than 600,000 houses were also damaged, totally damaging more than 110,000 of them.

Rammasun also left extensive damages in infrastructure, school facilities, agriculture, private properties and lifelines amounting to more than PHP 38 billion (CHF 747 million).

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 1 | 1 - 30 January 2015

30 January 2015 - 4:03am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

HIGHLIGHTS

• 20,000 people still remain in transitional shelters in Zamboanga – a 14 per cent decline in the last three months.

• 19 tropical storms affected the Philippines in 2014; the storm season was less active than the previous year.

• The Government focuses on disaster preparedness, calling for a “whole-of-society approach”.

• Evacuation orders lifted as the Mayon Volcano alert level is lowered.

• The Government invests in long-term solutions to resettle those regularly exposed to the threat of volcano eruption.

FIGURES

Zamboanga Crisis

  • number of IDPs in evacuation centres 7,335

  • number of IDPs in transitional sites 12,576

Philippines: Humanitarian Action for Children 2015: Philippines

30 January 2015 - 3:58am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

Due to a series of natural disasters in recent years, including Super Typhoon Haiyan and Typhoon Hagupit, and decades of conflict in Mindanao, some regions of the Philippines are struggling to recover and prepare for future shocks and stresses. The Philippines is the third most disaster-prone country in the world experiencing an average of 20 typhoons each year as well as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.1 UNICEF works in close partnership with the Government to prepare for and respond to the needs of children when disasters hit. In December 2014, Typhoon Hagupit affected over 2 million people and UNICEF has supported the Government led response with emergency supplies. In addition, the Government is leading the response for 60,000 people affected by evacuations around Mayon Volcano in October 2014 and significant work also is needed to complete the recovery caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Recurrent conflict in Mindanao has excluded many people from the benefits of economic growth and development experienced in the rest of the country. Disrupted schooling, poor sanitation and high rates of malnutrition all need to be addressed. The 38,000 people who remain displaced after the conflict in Zamboanga in 2013 are among the most vulnerable.