Philippines - ReliefWeb News
Philippines: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (31 January - 6 February 2017)
Aid agencies in Cox’s Bazar estimate that 69,000 people have crossed the border from Myanmar since the 9 October attacks in northern Rakhine. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a report based on interviews with 200 Rohingya people who have newly arrived in Bangladesh. The OHCHR report details allegations of serious human rights abuses by security forces in northern Rakhine. The recent OHCHR report underscores the need for immediate action to strengthen protection of civilians in Rakhine and to allow full, unhindered humanitarian access to the affected area, including for international staff.
69,000 people crossed the border from Myanmar since 9 October
More than 24,000 people remain internally displaced in northern Maungdaw township which is the area most severely affected by the 9 October border post attacks and subsequent security operations. WFP has reached more than 45,000 people in this area with emergency food aid since 13 January. UNHCR has also delivered non-food items to more than 10,000 people and aid from Indonesia has reached 99,000 people. International humanitarian staff are still not allowed to participate in delivery of life-saving services, including health and nutrition, outside the main centres. Access for the delivery of other assistance, including protection activities, remains severely restricted.
24,000 people remain internally displaced
As of 6 February, about 178,000 people in north-eastern Mindanao remain displaced by flooding caused by a series of weather systems that brought heavy rains since 8 January. Of those displaced, 20,000 are at 127 evacuation centres while most are being hosted by relatives or friends. A total of 586 houses in the towns of La Paz and Trento (Agusan del Sur province) were damaged. Roads in some areas, particularly Agusan del Sur, remain impassable while school classes have been suspended. DSWD is coordinating assistance with local government authorities.
178,000 people displaced by floods
As of 30 January, about 5,700 people displaced by military operations began to return to their homes in Ampatuan municipality, Maguindanao province. Those displaced were predominantly members of indigenous groups. The local government provided transportation and DSWD provided food packs for their return. No civilian casualties were reported as a result of the incident. On 29 January the military announced it had ended its operation against an armed group associated with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Since the latest eruption of Lopevi Volcano in Malampa Province on 13 January, authorities raised the alert level to 3 (out of 5). Aerial observations indicate that Lopevi has spewed volcanic plume up to 3 km above sea level. While the current volcanic activity is considered to be minor with no reported casualties or major damage, the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-hazards Department has issued an advisory to communities in the surrounding islands and visitors as a precaution. The last reported eruption of the volcano was in 2007
MANILA, Feb. 6 - Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial reiterated the importance of cleanliness in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases noting that as of February 2, 2017, a total of 57 Zika cases have been reported in the country.
"It is very important to search and destroy the potential breeding sites in order to prevent the spread of Aedes mosquitoes that serve as vector of the virus. We reiterate that cleanliness is still the key against mosquito-borne diseases. The public is reminded to be vigilant and pre-cautious in eliminating mosquito breeding places through the ‘4S campaign’. The 4S means Search & destroy mosquito breeding places, use Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than 2 days, and Say yes to fogging ONLY when there is an impending outbreak,” Secretary Ubial said.
As of February 2, 2017, a total of 57 Zika cases were reported in the country. There were 38 (67%) females and 19 (33%) males. Age ranged from 7 years-59 years (median 32 years). There were no deaths. These were detected in the following areas: National Capital Region - 20 cases (35%); CALABARZON - 18 cases (32%); Western Visayas - 15 cases (26%); Central Luzon - 2 cases (4%); and Central Visayas - 2 cases (4%).
Of 57 cases, 7 were confirmed Zika pregnant cases. Age ranged from 16 years to 32 years. Three came from NCR and 2 each from CALABARZON and CENTRAL VISAYAS. One case, 16-year-old from Las Piñas) already gave birth to a baby boy at full term without microcephaly. Another case, 32 year old from Central Visayas had spontaneous abortion at 9 weeks of pregnancy. The rest are being closely monitored.
The Department of Health (DOH) is currently verifying a report that a mother and her full term, newborn baby girl in Western Visayas, were screened positive for Zika virus antibodies using a rapid diagnostic test, which is not confirmatory. The mother did not manifest any symptoms of Zika virus throughout her pregnancy. She gave birth by normal spontaneous vaginal delivery. However, upon the birth of the child, it was observed that the size of the baby's head is smaller than the usual (microcephaly). The baby was also born with encephalocoele, rare type of birth defect of the neural tube that affects the brain, in the area between her eyes.
"Samples from mother and the baby were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and will be subjected to a confirmatory test on Zika virus using Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR)," Secretary Ubial explained.
The health chief added that Zika infection is asymptomatic in 80% of cases and most of the time the disease is self-limiting. However, the effect on the result of pregnancy should not be discounted. Zika virus has been linked to congenital CNS malformation like microcephaly. DOH calls on pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites especially during day time. Insect repellents are safe for regular application. For those with fever, rash, and conjunctivitis, submit yourself for consultation.
Zika viral disease, caused by Zika virus, is characterized by fever, rash, and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms are joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and vomiting. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for a week in most cases and not requiring hospitalization.
Zika virus is usually transmitted through the bite of infected female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that transmit Dengue and Chikungunya viruses. There have been reports that the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact.
The symptoms of Zika virus disease can be treated with common pain and fever relief medicines, rest, and plenty of water intake. Pregnant women who develop illness should seek advice of doctors before taking any medicine. If symptoms persist, patients are advised to consult the nearest health facility. Currently, there is no available vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection. (PIA/DOH)
BUTUAN CITY, Feb. 6 (PIA) – Providing much needed aid to the 454 affected families situated in Agusan National High School (ANHS) was the aim of visiting Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara during the distribution of about 500 packs of relief goods, Friday, Feb. 3.
The 46 remaining goods were given to the ANHS non-teaching personnel and those evacuees who helped carry the goods.
During an interview with Sen. Angara, he stated ways on helping the evacuees from short term solutions like “giving relief goods to those affected” to long term solutions like “infrastructure that would alleviate damages … from these typhoons."
“As we know with climate change, we should always be prepared for the worst,” he said.
Angara along with Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vic Lagnada and Vice Mayor Jose “Joboy” Aquino II, led the distribution of relief goods for the evacuees who have since vacated their homes since Jan. 20.
“We were thinking of going to Cagayan de Oro City but we were told that there were more people affected in Caraga region, that’s why we shifted our plans to Caraga,” the senator explained.
Moreover, Cagayan de Oro faced heavy rains that led to severe flooding in the said area, gaining the senator’s attention prior to Butuan.
“We heard that CDO [received] a lot of donations already … [We need] to make sure that at least everyone receives some help,” he added.
After Butuan, Angara visited other towns in Agusan del Sur, including Bayugan City and Prosperidad. (Jeffrey Tuazon/Mark Carag, ANHS-Butuan City/PIA-Agusan del Norte)
The post-typhoon rehabilitation effort and assistance program to affected over 86,000 affected farmers in three provinces of the Bicol Region is under way.
The Department of Agriculture regional office in Pili, Camarines Sur announced it has started distributing palay, corn and assorted vegetable seeds and seedling of various fruit trees.
Also included in the assistance package worth over P720-million are drugs and biologics for animals, reported DA-Bicol regional executive director Dr. Elena B. delos Santos during a management committee meeting here.
The three provinces covered are Albay, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes.
The provincial and municipal LGUS are in charge of distributing directly to the affected farmers, de los Santos said.
Groups and individual farmers requesting for assistance directly from the DA regional office are also provided if they are in the master list prepared by the LGUS, delos Santos said.
For Camarines Sur, the DA has turned over to the provincial government over 5,000 bags of certified seeds; 4,226 packs (20 kg.) of hybrid palay seeds; 19,770 packets of assorted vegetable seeds; 250 kilograms mungbean seeds, 1,500 bags of yellow and white corn hybrid seeds; 1,085 cacao, lemon and pili seedlings and 13,942 doses of drugs and biologics for animals. There are 10,000 bags of certified seeds for delivery, delos Santos said.
For Albay, the DA has turned over to the provincial government 5,000 bags of certified palay seeds; 5,000 packs of hybrid palay seeds; 1,000 bags of yellow and white corn seeds; 10,600 grafted cacao and pili seedlings; 12,500 packets of assorted vegetable seeds; and 2,500 assorted garden tools.
There is a scheduled delivery next week, delos Santos said, of 435 bags of open pollinated variety and hybrid seeds.
For Catanduanes, the DA has distributed 3,000 bags of certified palay seeds; 12,500 packs of assorted vegetable seeds; and 17 bottles and/or boxes of various drugs and biologics for the treatment of affected animals.
De los Santos has endorsed to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol a proposal made by PhilFida for the rehabilitation of typhoon-damaged abaca areas in Catanduanes.
She said the proposal is now being considered for funding under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) since abaca is one of the priority products being promoted under the Catanduanes Priority Commodity Investment Plan to be funded by the project.
Delos Santos said the rehabilitation effort of DA-Bicol is only the start of a greater assistance program that the DA will provide.
Funding for the initial assistance was taken from the savings generated by the regional office from previous calamity funds, which were released by the Budget Department only recently.
President Rodrigo Duterte also committed P500-million in assistance from the national government after visiting the typhoon-hit areas recently.
DA Bicol has already submitted to Sec. Piñol its Rehabilitation Plan for the rice, corn high value commercial crops, livestock and abaca subsectors including various infrastructures and facilities totaling over P1.4Billiion.
Official estimate placed the typhoon damage at P5.1 Billion and the number of affected farmers at 86,735. (DA)
Philippines: Boat Garage Project for ‘Yolanda’-affected fisherfolks of Guiuan, Samar almost complete
A boat garage constructed through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will soon benefit the residents of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, a coastal town ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
The project, worth around P26M, is being constructed as part of the rehabilitation and recovery program for the municipality after the massive destruction left by ‘Yolanda’.
DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo recently visited Guiuan to check on the progress of all the projects being implemented for ‘Yolanda’-survivors in the area.
Sec. Taguiwalo said, “The boat garage is meant to provide a safe and secure place for fisherfolk to dock their boats. This is especially needed during typhoons. Through the construction of the boat garage, we hope to help the fisherfolk of Guiuan to become economic drivers. We also hope that this project will open other investment opportunities in the town.”
Some income may also be generated by the local government through the boat garage by imposing minimal registration and docking fees.
Guiuan Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales expressed the town’s gratitude for the project which will benefit around 201 fisherfolk associations. The said project, once completed, is expected to be a big help to the local economy of Guian, as well as to nearby towns.
Aside from the boat garage project, Sec. Taguiwalo also visited the Guiuan Rural Health Center (RHC) which was rebuilt through the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program.
Funded through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS program, the RHC is under the management of the local government and is headed by a medical doctor. The center has a delivery room, an anti-tuberculosis program, a laboratory, and a weekly well-baby clinic. Free medical consultations and free medicine provisions are also being done in the RHC.
The re-construction of the center and its efficient operations show the fruits of a coordinated and sincere partnership between the DSWD and the local government.
Sec. Taguiwalo reiterated, “Laging mas mahusay ang resulta ng mga bagay na bunga ng kooperasyon at sama-samang pagkilos para sa pagbibigay ng maagap at may malasakit na serbisyo sa ating kababayan (Cooperation and united action will always yield better results towards the provision of efficient and compassionate service to our needy fellow Filipinos.”
SLP is a community-based capacity building program that increases the economic opportunities of the families through the different modalities that it offers such as skills training, seed capital fund, pre-employment assistance fund, and the cash for building livelihood assets. It is implemented through the Community-Driven Enterprise Development Approach which equips program participants to actively contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets.
KALAHI-CIDSS, on the other hand, is a social protection program of DSWD in combating poverty. It uses the community-driven development (CDD) strategy to empower ordinary citizens to actively and directly participate in local governance by identifying their own community needs, planning, implementing, and monitoring projects together to address local poverty issues. Some of the results of Kalahi-CIDSS include improved access of communities to basic services, increased community involvement, and positive impact in household wellbeing. ###
Philippines: DSWD releases guidelines on implementation of Pres. Duterte’s P5,000 financial assistance for ‘Yolanda’ survivors
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released Memorandum Circular No. 3, which provides mechanisms for the distribution of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s financial assistance worth P5,000 to households affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 who have not received the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) from the government up to now.
During the third year commemoration of ‘Yolanda’ in Tacloban City in November last year, Pres. Duterte addressed the appeal of some 200,000 survivors who have not received their ESA ever since the super typhoon hit the country. He committed to give financial assistance worth P5,000 to each household to finally help them rebuild their houses, and eventually, their lives.
The financial assistance will be funded by P1 billion from the Socio-Civic Projects Fund of the Office of the President and will be coursed through the DSWD.
“The Department has earlier issued a Memorandum following Pres. Duterte’s announcement of the assistance last year, guiding concerned units at the Central Office and Regional Offices on the preparations needed to operationalize the President’s directive,” DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.
The assistance will be provided to eligible households affected by ‘Yolanda’ in Regions VI, VII, and VIII and the Negros Island Region. Each entitled household, without distinction as to the extent of damage to the home, will receive P5,000.
The beneficiaries will be given the assistance directly through a cash card to be issued by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
In order to qualify for the President’s financial assistance, a household must meet all of the following criteria:
The dwelling of the household must have been damaged by ‘Yolanda,’ regardless of the extent of the damage or ownership of the lot on which the house is built;
The household requested assistance from the DSWD on or before November 8, 2016, and must either;
Have been included in one of the lists submitted to the DSWD by People’s Organizations (POs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) on or before November 8, 2016;
Have been included in one of the lists of unfunded ESA family-beneficiaries submitted on June 22, 2016 to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM); or
Have submitted, on or before November 8,2016, a complaint to the DSWD of not having received assistance, which must have been confirmed and validated by the DSWD.
To avail of the financial assistance, eligible households must submit the following documents:
Accomplished Financial Assistance Application Form, indicating the demographic information of the household-beneficiary;
Certification issued by the proper barangay authorities on the residency of the household-beneficiary; and
Any valid Identification Card (ID).
In case a household is unable to present any valid ID, the partner PO to which the identified beneficiary belongs to shall issue a Certification as to the identity of the beneficiary. The PO shall also send a representative during the distribution of the assistance to affirm the identity of the beneficiary.
Certification executed by the beneficiary that the household has not received any of the following assistance:
Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), in cash or in kind;
Core Shelters from DSWD under the Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) and Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP);
Permanent housing from National Housing Authority (NHA); or
Any other shelter or housing grant from the government.
DSWD- Field Offices (FOs) in Regions VI, VII, VIII, and NIR will be the implementing offices of the program under the supervision of the Office of the Secretary.
The FOs will validate and receive from the prospective beneficiaries the documentary requirements and will come up with a list of eligible households, which they will submit to the Central Office.
The Central Office (CO) will consolidate the lists from FOs into a single master list and submit the same to the LBP, which will open an account and issue a cash card for each beneficiary. The bank will load each card with P5,000 upon receiving the needed funds from the DSWD and transmit them to LBP branches corresponding to the concerned field offices.
The concerned field offices shall ensure that the LBP branches will distribute the cash cards to the beneficiaries. The distribution of the financial assistance will be completed within six months.
“The assistance is meant to give justice to ‘Yolanda’ survivors who have been fighting for three years to get the ESA from the government, but were not able to avail. A little more patience and this will be given to them. We at the DSWD have been doing our best to validate the beneficiaries of Pres. Duterte’s financial assistance program and to process its release as soon as possible so these victims can start their lives anew,” she said,” Sec. Taguiwalo ended.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is in initial talks with the South Korean government for the granting of US$200-million worth of advanced water treatment and purification equipment to assist local government units (LGUs) with poor-quality water sources.
DILG Secretary Ismael ‘Mike’ D. Sueno said the highly advanced water purifying equipment being offered by the South Korean government to LGUs in the form of soft loans can reportedly purify salt water and even canal water in high volumes.
“If our agreement with South Korea would push through, the said equipment will help communities in far-flung areas where access to clean drinking water remains to be a challenge,” said Sueno.
The South Korean government expressed its willingness to be of assistance to LGUs during a meeting between DILG and Korean officials at the DILG Central Office in Quezon City just recently.
"Although nothing is official yet, we are excited about this and we are in close correspondence with the Korean government to come up with a mutually-beneficial understanding," Sueno said.
He said a technical working group may soon be created to facilitate and discuss the specifications of the equipment and its suitability to the needs of LGUs.
In the same meeting, DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Epimaco V. Densing III said the assistance will complement DILG’s efforts in providing waterless LGUs easy access to potable water supply through the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig para sa Lahat (SALINTUBIG) project.
Following the massive flooding in some areas of Mindanao, World Vision will be distributing clean water kits that include Procter & Gamble (P&G) water purifier packets, filter cloth and jerry cans and hygiene kits in the next days.
“We initially aim to assist 2,500 families in the municipalities of La Paz and Loreto, Agusan del Sur. Let’s continue to uphold the families in prayer, those whose houses are still submerged, and especially for the protection of children from water-borne diseases,” says World Vision Acting National Director, Rommel Fuerte.
Agusan del Sur is one of the five provinces of Caraga Administrative Region. According to the Field Health Service Information System (FHSIS) of the Department of Health, the ratio of households with access to safe water in the region is 56:100. Of the total households in 2006, only 46.57% have access to community water system while 53.43% have deep and shallow wells as their source of water.
The flooding started in the first week of January after tropical storm Auring dumped heavy rains in the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao. It was followed by a low pressure area (LPA) and sustained by tail-end of a cold front. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 600,000 people have been affected across nine regions of Visayas and Mindanao - Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).Nine casualties have been reported while more than 8,000 families are still in evacuation centres. To date, more than 254 areas are still submerged while 13 municipalities in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte are now under state of calamity.
“It has been raining non-stop since the beginning of the year. We haven’t seen the sun for almost a month now. With this intervention, we hope to mitigate the spread of water-borne diseases and provide access to clean drinking water,” says Franlyn Salindato, World Vision staff based in Agusan del Sur.
The P&G water purifier packet, which is able to treat up to 10 litres of water, was first introduced in Agusan del Sur in 2012 through World Vision’s Clean Water Project. Most families in the areas either rely on rainwater, deep wells or the lake for drinking water. For some who have money to spare, they buy. World Vision has assisted at least 40,000 people (9,000 families) through the Clean Water Project intervention.
MANILA, Feb. 5 - President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Friday, January 3, that he has lifted the government's unilateral ceasefire with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
"Kagabi I decided, I called General [Eduardo] Año and said, ni-lift ko ‘yung ceasefire tonight. Wala ng ceasefire," President Duterte said in his speech during his visit to M’Lang, Cotabato, for the launching of the M’lang Solar Powered Irrigation System (MSPSIS).
The communist groups have demanded the release of 400 political prisoners, which the President denied. Duterte also said that he had lost a number of soldiers in the hands of the rebel groups despite the truce.
"I really tried but the demands are just too huge that it is impossible to meet or even work out a compromise," he said.
"So I really would like to express my sadness.
We cannot have a peaceful generation. There will always be fight," he added.
The President stressed that his decision to release the leaders of communist groups and to resume peace talks with them showed his sincerity and eagerness to end communist insurgency in the country.
However, he said that releasing 400 political prisoners could not be possible since the decision would not only come from him.
"Unreasonable demands...I would have wanted very much, talagang gusto ko --- it's about 50 years in the making. But let it not be said that I did not try. So I guess that peace with the communists cannot be realized during our generation. Maybe years from now," he said.
"Therefore I’m asking the soldiers, 'Go back to your camps clean your rifles and be ready to fight.' I am sorry but that is how it is," the President said.
From M'Lang, the President proceeded to Kidapawan City to visit the wake of PO2 Jerome Ruefa who was killed from a pursuit operation in M’lang, Cotabato.
He also visited the wounded police personnel from the same pursuit operation: PO1 Angelito Edep and PO2 Joselex Avena who are confined at Kidapawan Medical Specialists Hospital.
He then went back to Davao City to visit the wake of 2Lt. Miguel Victor Alejo at St. Peter Chapel & Funeral Homes in Panacan.
The 26-year-old junior officer from the 67th Army Infantry Batallion was killed in an encounter with members of NPA last Wednesday in Barangay Lambog, Manay, Davao Oriental.
Alejo was with a team composed of police and army soldiers dispatched to respond to reports regarding NPA rebels extorting money in Barangay Rizal.
The troops were waylaid as they were heading for the village, leading to the death of Alejo and the wounding of army Private Jocno Sumatin. (PND)
This bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has determined that external assistance is not required at this time, but continue to monitor the evolving situation.
Moderate-to-heavy rains dumped by the tail end of a cold front and a series of low pressure areas have caused flooding in several provinces of Visayas and Mindanao islands in the Philippines, killing nine people, damaging more than 1,300 homes, temporarily displacing at least 334,000 people, washing away livelihoods and affecting more than 1.5 million people across nine regions.
While localized flooding in parts of Mindanao is not uncommon during January, this year the situation has been compounded by back-to-back low pressure areas – within a span of two weeks – that have interacted with the tail-end of a cold front
The initial floods were as a result of heavy rains brought by the interaction of a low pressure area (LPA) that tracked Mindanao on 16 January and the tail-end of a cold front that affected southern parts of the country during the same period. The weather system brought heavy rainstorms over Palawan, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and northern Mindanao. While the LPA eventually dissipated, the tail-end of a cold front continued to affect Visayas and Mindanao, bringing moderate-to-heavy rains across nine regions, including parts of southern Luzon. Cagayan de Oro City, in the province of Misamis Oriental, received at least one month’s worth of rain within 24 hours and as a result there was widespread flooding.
On 22 January, a second LPA entered the Philippines and again affected parts of Mindanao, bringing more rains with further flooding. The most impact was felt in CARAGA and Davao regions of Mindanao, especially the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley where massive flooding swept through several towns and caused significant damages. Without much reprieve, fresh heavy rains followed starting 27 January as a third LPA developed southeast of Mindanao and interacted with the tail-end of a cold front as it moved east before dissipating over Palawan. The new wave of rains compounded the situation, especially in CARAGA region.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the combined effects of the rains that have lashed starting mid-January resulted in at least nine deaths, injured 10 people, damaged homes and swept away livelihoods, mainly in CARAGA, Davao and Northern Mindanao regions. More than 320,000 households (1.5 million people) have been affected, with at least 1,300 houses damaged. The authorities pre-emptively evacuated over 17,000 households (85,000 people), with 53,200 people still remaining in evacuation centres or staying with host families. Parts of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao provinces have been declared under the state of calamity. Initial estimates indicated that the cost of damage caused to agriculture alone is more than PHP 126 million (CHF 2.5 million). The numbers – including of people affected, houses damaged, and cost of damage – will likely increase as figures from provincial disaster risk reduction and management councils are collated.
Action by the authorities
The NDRRMC disseminated weather advisories, based on forecasts by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), to regional DRMMCs urging them to continuously monitor the situation and undertake precautionary measures. Based on the advisories, local authorities undertook preemptive evacuation of evacuation of people from flood and landslide prone areas in order to minimize potential loss of human lives. The NDRRMC and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have also kept track of the humanitarian impact of the floods, with NDRRMC issuing Situation Report #11 on 26 January and Situation Report #2 on 31 January. The DSWD’s Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) is also issuing regular updates, with the latest released on 3 February.
The authorities – at regional, provincial, municipal and barangay levels – have mobilized resources to provide immediate assistance to affected people, with parts of at least six provinces placed under the state of calamity, thereby allowing the authorities to release emergency funds. Priority has been put on evacuation, rescue and provision of immediate assistance, including food and non-food relief assistance. The Department of Health and Department of Agriculture have conducted rapid assessments on matters related to health and livelihoods respectively. NDRRMC continues to monitor the situation and update information.
In its latest forecast, issued at 17:00h local time on 3 February, PAGASA has indicated that a new weather system is developing off Mindanao and will likely strengthen to a tropical depression. As the context is evolving, PAGASA, NDRRMC and local government units are continuously monitoring the situation.
Cause of displacement
Between 90 and 230 IDPs killed
Between 90 and 230 IDPs were killed on 17 January when the Nigerian air force accidentally bombed a displacement camp in Rann, in north-eastern Nigeria, while targeting Boko Haram militants (Le Monde, 24 January 2017). The overall situation continues to be of concern, with tens of thousands of displaced people in Rann struggling with severe food shortages and high levels of malnutrition (OCHA, 19 January 2017). The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, expressed dismay at the bombing. “This tragedy should never have happened and brings into stark focus the perilous situation that many internally displaced persons continue to experience in this region of Nigeria. The safety of IDPs must be guaranteed,” she said (OHCHR, 19 January 2017).
In central and southern Mindanao in 2016, fighting between government forces and non-state armed groups forced about 78,000 people to flee their homes in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Sulu provinces. Prolonged displacement, on the other hand, affected communities in Surigao del Sur, devastating their shelters and livelihoods. In Zamboanga City, around 11,000 people still live in transitional sites for more than three years after the clashes.
In the second half of the year, the hostilities between government forces and the New People's Army (NPA) halted due to the ceasefire declarations linked with the restarted peace process. However, remote communities that were affected for decades by this protracted conflict still struggle against poverty and underdevelopment.
"In 2016, we managed to help 310,000 of conflict-affected civilians in difficult-to-reach areas such as Lanao del Sur and Basilan, with strong support from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)," said Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation to the Philippines.
"This year, while we continue to assist displaced families, we will put an even stronger emphasis on the protection of civilians by enhancing our dialogue on international humanitarian law with all weapon bearers, the government, religious and community leaders," he added.
Helping people displaced by conflicts and violence
- Around 180,000 people displaced by armed clashes or violence in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur and Haran Compound in Davao City, or affected by drought in North Cotabato, received food and household items to help them cope with their situation.
- About 55,000 displaced people and residents in Maguindanao accessed safe water and sanitation facilities through ICRC projects in 13 evacuation centers.
- Around 68,000 people in southern Luzon, Northern Samar and Mindanao earned income through donations of vegetable seeds, tools, equipment or cash grants
- More than 37,200 people in southern Luzon and Mindanao received cash grants or joined cash-for-work projects that improved their communal facilities.
- Some 9,300 migrants returning from Malaysia received hygiene items from the ICRC through the PRC or the migrants' centers.
Caring for people wounded by conflict and violence
- More than 900 people wounded by weapons were treated in ICRC-supported health facilities in Mindanao. Among these, more than 90 patients received financial assistance while 41 patients benefited from PRC's blood services.
- In the ICRC-supported Davao Jubilee Foundation, 59 patients, including 52 people wounded in conflict, received financial aid for their physical rehabilitation. In addition, 8 amputees benefited from vocational training while 2 minors were given educational support.
- 7 hospitals in Mindanao were regularly supplied with medicines and medical materials, while 85 hospitals and health facilities received ad-hoc donations to cope with the influx of patients following clashes or emergencies.
- Ad-hoc medical supplies provided to local health facilities covered the needs of 7,000 displaced families in Sulu, Basilan and Lanao.
- Around 800 health staff and 500 community members were trained in first aid and basic life support by the ICRC, the PRC and local authorities.
Addressing jail congestion and its consequences
- Around 18,200 people were screened for tuberculosis (TB) in two ICRC pilot sites, the New Bilibid Prison and the Quezon City Jail. Through improved early TB-detection mechanisms, 999 inmates who had TB were identified and enrolled for treatment.
- Some 530 inmates in 3 jails experienced better living conditions after the renovation and construction of cooking stoves, water-supply systems, sanitation installations, ventilation facilities, and outdoor recreational areas.
- As part of our systemic support to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), we helped develop an e-learning project to train BJMP paralegals and a mobile application providing an early-warning system on jail emergencies. Quezon City Jail, one of the most critically overcrowded jails, was supported in the planning and design of its future jail facility.
Visiting people detained in relation to the conflict
- Inmates in 118 detention facilities were visited by ICRC staff who monitored their treatment and living conditions, focusing on more than 900 particularly vulnerable detainees.
- Around 400 detainees were visited by their relatives through the ICRC family visit program with support from the PRC.
- Detaining authorities received recommendations to improve detainees' treatment and living conditions, based on ICRC's multidisciplinary assessment of several severely congested jails.
Promoting international humanitarian law (IHL)
- More than 3,800 weapon bearers were educated on IHL, human rights, and humanitarian principles in armed conflict through dissemination sessions.
- Around 300 scholars, religious leaders, and members of Islamic institutions and armed groups learned more about IHL and Islamic law related to armed conflict in seminars held in Marawi City, Cotabato City, Maguindanao and Manila.
- The Philippine National Police Academy, the Philippine Public Safety College, and the UP Institute of Islamic Studies signed agreements with the ICRC to integrate IHL into their curriculum.
Enabling the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to respond to emergencies
- With support from Red Cross Movement partners, the ICRC trained and equipped volunteers of PRC Red Cross Action Teams (RCAT) in 16 priority areas to boost their capacities in emergency preparedness, reuniting families, providing first aid and disseminating humanitarian principles.
- Around 168 PRC volunteers (100 from RCAT) were mobilized for relief operations and livelihood support in conflict-affected communities in Mindanao.
NAGA CITY, Feb. 3 - The Social Security System (SSS) launched a more responsive Calamity Relief Package for members affected by Super Typhoon ‘Nina’ by offering a calamity loan assistance starting February 3, 2017.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said that the calamity loan is a new and separate loan window from the regular salary loan for members. The calamity loan for those affected by typhoon “Nina” allows members to borrow up to P16,000 if they are paying contributions based on the maximum monthly salary credit (MSC).
“With the onslaught of Typhoon Nina, we saw the urgent need of providing a more meaningful assistance to our members through loan availment. We hope that the calamity loan assistance will help lead our members and their families to full recovery,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said.
In the past, SSS offered the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP) which waived the required 50 percent completion of loan payment as a qualifying condition for loan renewal under its regular guidelines. Hence, even borrowers who have only paid a few monthly amortizations are allowed by SSS to renew their loans as a special consideration.
“Similar to salary loans, calamity loans are payable in two years in 24 equal monthly installments with an annual interest rate of 10 percent and one percent monthly penalty for late payments. To provide more assistance, we waived the one percent service fee for calamity loan applicants,” PCEO Dooc explained.
To qualify for SSS calamity loans, members should have a home address or property in the covered areas and a minimum of 36 monthly contributions, six of which should be paid within the 12-month period preceding the date of application.
Dooc also noted that members who availed of the SSS Loan Restructuring Program and those with final benefit claims, such as for total permanent disability and retirement, are excluded from the program. Employee-members can also apply for calamity loans, provided that their employers are updated in remitting their workers’ contributions and loan payments.
Members can file their calamity loan applications over the counter at any SSS branch sarting February 3, 2017. Those based abroad, such as seafarers and overseas Filipino workers (OFW), can file their applications through their designated representative, who should present an authorization letter to SSS.
“Applicants should also submit a Barangay Certification that will attest to their residence in the declared calamity area or to their current status as an OFW or seafarer, if applicable. The loan must be fully paid before the member can avail of another calamity loan in the future,” Dooc said.
Members can pick up their calamity loan check at the SSS branch which received their application. If left unclaimed after 10 days, SSS will mail the check to the member.
In addition to the calamity loan assistance, the SSS calamity relief package also features advance release of three-month pension under the SSS and Employees’ Compensation Program; and reduced interest rate under the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan Program. .
Qualified SSS members and pensioners have until June 2017 to apply for loans and advance pensions while deadline for Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan, is up to one year from issuance of its corresponding circular.
The SSS calamity relief assistance is offered in calamity areas declared by the National Disaster Risk Management Council, such as Batangas; Quezon; Naujan, Calapan and Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro; Gasan, Mogpog, Boac and Torrijos in Marinduque; Albay, Catanduanes and Camarines Sur; and Jipapad, Maslog, Oras, Dolores, Can-avid, Taft, Sulat, Arteche and San Policarpio in Region 8 as of 13 January 2017.
For more information, members and pensioners can visit the nearest SSS branch, contact the SSS Call Center hotline at 920-6446 to 55, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application forms are downloadable from the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph. (SSS)
TAGUM CITY, DAVAO DEL NORTE, Feb. 3 - The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) of the Local Government of Tagum bared its latest record regarding the series of relief operations it has conducted following the days of torrential rain that submerged eight (8) barangays here and pushed the local government to declare the city under the State of Calamity.
As of the end of January, a total of 5, 438 households received the relief packs distributed by CSWDO to the barangays of Cuambugan, Canocotan, Bincungan, Mankilam, San Miguel, Busaon, Liboganon and Pagsabangan. Each relief pack contained five (5) kilos of rice, 5 packs of instant noodles and eight (8) canned goods.
The relief operation started last January 20, 2016 concurrent to the onset of the heavy downpour. Four days later the City Council passed the Resolution No. 288 declaring Tagum City under the State of Calamity which facilitated the immediate release of the city’s calamity fund used by the local government in its relief efforts.
Mayor Allan Rellon, who led in the distribution, said that the city government is always on the go in effectively responding to calamities that will hit the city. He also urged the affected families to remain vigilant even in the absence of rainstorms and other calamities as well as to actively coordinate with the local government so as to smooth the progress of disaster mitigation and response.
Meanwhile, Ms. Sally Balili of CSWDO said that their office is always ready in giving relief assistance to every Tagumenyo. She stressed that an adequate stock of relief supplies is ensured by CSWDO, especially that Tagum City is still experiencing random heavy rainfall.
On the other hand, the Incident Command Post of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office is still on its full swing.(CIO Tagum)
- Countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections for the first time in the past two weeks:
- 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 two weeks:
- Countries and territories reporting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past two weeks:
- The next situation report will be published on Friday, 17 February and will include a new country classification scheme.
Recent emergencies in Philippines, Nepal and Haiti show the value of sound construction
When a natural disaster hits an SOS Children’s Village, the ability of its infrastructure to resist the forces of nature is crucial to keep the children and staff safe. That no fatalities due to natural disaster have been reported in the history of the organisation is testimony to the construction standards it maintains.
On 8 November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in east-central Philippine city of Tacloban. The 101 children and their mothers of SOS Children’s Village Tacloban climbed into the ceilings of their homes while floodwater swept through the rooms below and strong winds tore at the roofs. The ceiling frames were strong enough to support the weight, with no injuries reported as the children were evacuated to SOS Children’s Village Calbayog as soon as the storm subsided.
“The houses were built to withstand winds of 250 km/h. Typhoon Haiyan reached wind speeds of up to 350 km/h, probably the strongest ever recorded in the world,” said Ashish Bansal, Deputy Director Construction for the SOS Children’s Villages International Office Asia.
The homes and buildings of SOS Children’s Village Tacloban were the only ones left standing in the immediate area. Although water damaged the furniture and ceilings, and mud clogged the drains, all the walls as well as the roof and ceiling framing remained intact.
In total, more than one million families were affected by the typhoon. As part of its emergency relief programme, SOS Children’s Villages is building more than 500 new typhoon-resistant homes. The last of the units are to be handed over in April 2017.
Earthquakes in Ecuador, Nepal, Pakistan and Haiti also confirmed the necessity for quake-resistant construction in countries prone to such natural disasters.
“There is a difference between earthquake proof and earthquake resistant. The first option is too costly. Damage can still happen to an earthquake-resistant building, but it should be something that can be repaired”, said Gerhard Sattler, Construction Advisor and Architect for SOS Children’s Villages International.
New homes for Nepal
In Nepal, no minimum building standards existed before the April 2015 earthquake which left 600,000 people homeless. Even post-earthquake construction regulations do not match the earthquake-resistant designs proposed by SOS Children’s Villages Nepal. The organisation is providing up to 250,000 Nepal rupees (€2,100) per house to help 320 families rebuild their homes. The Nepal emergency programme has also help rebuild damaged schools.
While the initial cost of earthquake- and storm-resistant buildings may be higher, there is a long-term saving in terms of general maintenance and disaster-related repairs. Even so, SOS Children’s Villages manages to keep initial construction costs equal or below international averages, according to Michael Spuller, Head of Programme Planning and Construction for SOS Children’s Villages International.
Hermann Boehler, International Maintenance Advisor for SOS Children’s Villages, said building maintenance is now part of the organisation’s strategic process. Inspection protocols are carried out twice yearly. Even if there is no visible damage from a natural disaster, the structure may be weakened. Systematic maintenance can help prevent further damage in case of another disaster.
“Safe homes are our main consideration, followed by low maintenance. Our construction managers always try to fight for quality construction. We can be proud that no children have been killed [in a natural disaster],” he said.
How SOS Children’s Villages fared in recent natural disasters
In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused widespread flooding and structural damage in Haiti, affecting around 2.1 million people. While more than 750 schools were destroyed or badly damaged, the Hermann Gmeiner School in Les Cayes escaped with water and roof damage to eight of its 12 classrooms.
No reports of major structural damage to SOS Children’s Village buildings were received after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador’s coast in April 2016. The organisation has villages and programmes in Pedernales and Portoviejo, two of the hardest-hit communities. SOS Children’s Villages is working with government and other agencies to help affected families rebuild their lives.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, SOS Children’s Villages set a new standard for mid-term emergency housing with its “Global Village Shelters”. The rigid, fully enclosed structures were erected to house some of the over 300 unaccompanied and/or orphaned children who found refuge at SOS Children’s Village Santo after the devastating earthquake. The shelters, complete with doors and windows, were designed to remain dry and secure during the rainy season.
The largest emergency relief and reconstruction programme undertaken by SOS Children’s Villages was in response to the 2004 tsunami in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand. In India, the architects responsible for designing and building 600 new family homes on behalf of SOS Children’s Villages were featured in a report by Harvard Business Review (17 February 2009). The so-called tsunami villages were recognised for high construction standards.
Philippines: DSWD maintains coordination with LGUs in CDO, CARAGA as heavy rains bring flooding anew
QUEZON CITY, Feb. 2 - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Offices (FOs) X and CARAGA maintain their close coordination with concerned local government units (LGUs) as heavy rains brought by a Low Pressure Area (LPA) and tail end of a cold front resulting in massive flooding have hit several areas anew in both regions over the weekend.
The regions are now experiencing good weather condition, but floodwaters have not subsided yet, hindering residents to go back to their respective homes and keeping evacuation centers (ECs) still open.
The DSWD-Disaster Response Operations and Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) reported that as of 2am today, the weather disturbance has affected a total of 55,824 families or 214,433 persons in 182 barangays in Regions X and CARAGA.
There are still 212 ECs open in the CARAGA Region, sheltering 12,643 families or 61,364 individuals. Most of the ECs are located in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur provinces.
Meanwhile, all ECs in Cagayan de Oro City have now been closed, but the DSWD-FO X continues to monitor the weather in the region.
A total of four provinces, 18 municipalities, Butuan City and 119 barangays are affected by the weather disturbance in the CARAGA Region.
The recent occurrence damaged 82 houses; of this number, 80 are partially damaged, while two are totally damaged. This brings the total number of damaged houses in the region due to the cold front to 506.
According to the report of the DSWD-FO CARAGA, heavy rains caused the water level in Agusan River to rise, causing flashflood to areas located alongside it, including Butuan City and the municipalities of La Paz, Esperanza, Talacogon, Las Nieves, San Luis, Rosario, Bunawan and Veruela.
FO CARAGA provided Family Food Packs (FFPs) and non-food items to affected families seeking temporary shelter in evacuation centers in the region. The field office has 18,770 available FFPs, of which, 9,970 FFPs are at the DPWH warehouse in Butuan City, while others are strategically prepositioned across the region: 2,700 in Prosperidad, ADS; 1,500 in Surigao City; 1,500 in Tandag City; 500 in Kitcharao, ADN; 600 in Dinagat Islands; and, 2,00 in Dapa, Siargao Island.
A total of P8,442,552 worth of assistance has been provided to affected families in Region CARAGA. Of the said amount, the Department has provided P2,808,430, while the LGUs and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) provided P4,614,662 and P1,019,460, respectively.(DSWD)
“Our DSWD-Field Offices in Mindanao region maintain their tight coordination with concerned LGUs in extending help to families who are still reeling from the effects of heavy rains and floods in the past weeks and are now affected anew by inclement weather. Rest assured that our social workers are on double time to help these families,” DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.
• Typhoon Nock-Ten-affected regions sustain heavy damage to agriculture and infrastructure as humanitarian actors find ways to further assist government recovery efforts.
• A Catanduanes community finds that preparedness and evacuation measures can achieve zero casualties.
• FAO augments government assistance to Typhoon Sarika and Haima-affected farmers.
• Flash flooding displaces thousands in Mindanao and Visayas.
• An inclusive dialogue with stakeholders ensures a safe and dignified return for Lumads in Mindanao.
• 2017 weather patterns predict a weak La Niña and normal rainfall for the Philippines.
# of displaced persons* 368
# of damaged or destroyed houses* 393,411
# of affected farmers** 41,298
*(Source: *DSWD as of 24 January **FAO as of 4 November)*
Flash flooding in Mindanao and Visayas
# of IDPs 92,481 (Source: DSWD as of 30 January)
# of IDPs in transitional sites 11,418
(Source: Zamboanga City Social Welfare and Development Office as of 16 January)
Typhoon Nock-Ten preparedness and response
Violent winds, intense rains and massive flooding were not the gifts Filipinos were expecting as Typhoon Nock-Ten (locally named Nina) slammed into the Philippines on Christmas Day, disrupting holiday celebrations for millions of people.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h and gusts of up to 255 km/h,
Nock-Ten made landfall in Catanduanes province and in seven other areas, leaving a trail of destruction which resulted in 13 deaths and several still missing. More than 393,000 houses were damaged, of which more than 98,000 are destroyed. Up to PhP6 billion (US$122 million) worth of agricultural crops and infrastructure were destroyed in the affected areas of the Bicol Region.
With the country still recovering from Typhoon Haima (locally named Lawin) which battered northern and central Luzon in October, Nock-Ten again tested the response capacities of government and humanitarian organizations. Disaster management officials were pressed to convince the people to abandon their Christmas celebrations and head for evacuation shelters. More than 400,000 people heeded the call and were evacuated across 18 provinces after local officials imposed forced evacuations and offered enticements such as free Christmas dinners at evacuation sites.
Good practices and lessons learned from typhoon emergencies
Disaster preparedness and response capacities of the Government have significantly increased over the years. The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), through OCHA, is an active participant in the Government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC) pre-disaster risk assessment meetings, contributing to better coordination and a greater understanding of the Government’s planning scenario and preparedness actions.
To support the Government in its response to Typhoon Nock-Ten, the HCT took stock of in-country pre-positioned relief items that can be readily mobilized, mapped the presence of humanitarian organizations and partners in the likely affected areas, and developed profiles of areas impacted. The timely information – in the form of updates, infographics, and an assessment report of the humanitarian situation – was widely shared among partners.
Building on this experience, the HCT is strengthening its inter-agency preparedness through contingency planning. The process looks at the operational response to a catastrophic typhoon scenario, reviewing the members’ roles and responsibilities. The exercise sees cluster lead agencies taking an active role in coordinating preparedness efforts, ensuring close coordination with their government counterparts. The planning process also provides the HCT with an understanding of in-country capacity and operational gaps. The plan is in its final stages and includes the development of a prepopulated template for a flash appeal which can be quickly finalised if the government requests international assistance.
Coordinating with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the NDRRMC was valuable especially in clarifying the Government’s operational policy for the typhoon responses at the national and local levels. As a result, the HCT was able to rapidly deploy field teams, which were instrumental in gaining first-hand information of the situation on the ground and placed it in a position to assist with coordination and planning the response.
The impact of the 2015‒2016 El Niño weather phenomenon has been one of the most intense and widespread in the past one hundred years. The agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people around the globe is affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and **extreme hot** and **cold weather**. While the El Niño itself has passed its peak and is now declining, its impact is still growing. Harvests in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in other areas.
This report provides a **global analysis** of the current and expected evolution of El Niño-related disasters and their impact on agriculture, food security and nutrition.