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Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Koppu DREF operation n° MDRPH019 - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) Update n° 1, 6 November 2015

6 November 2015 - 3:52am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

This operation update covers a revision and application for a second disaster relief emergency fund (DREF) allocation to support an additional 2,000 families affected by the typhoon. Following assessments, it has been identified by PRC that there are additional needs to be covered during the emergency relief phase, as such the plan of action has been revised. This revision covers an increase in the number of families to be supported with food, nonfood items and emergency shelter materials from 2,500 to 4,500 families, resulting in an increase of the budget allocation from CHF 269,794 to CHF 397,643 . The operation is still set to be completed by 18 January 2016. A DREF final report will be available 90 days after the end of operation.

Philippines: Painfully slow rebuild after Philippine super typhoon

5 November 2015 - 11:36pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Tacloban, Philippines | AFP | Friday 11/6/2015 - 03:16 GMT | 782 words

by Ted Aljibe

Two years after a super typhoon devastated the Philippines and sounded a global alarm on climate change, a massive rebuilding programme has had big successes but at least one million survivors are still without safe homes.

In Tacloban, a major coastal city that was nearly completely destroyed and where thousands died, restaurants and shops are bustling again -- showcasing the best of a remarkable resurrection for many communities.

But on the city's outskirts and elsewhere, many people endure deep poverty as they live in flimsy new homes that make them extremely vulnerable to future storms that will inevitably whip in off the Pacific Ocean.

More than 7,350 people were killed or left missing after Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, with the strongest winds ever recorded on land.

Tsunami-like storm surges higher than trees exacerbated the disaster, demolishing communities on central Philippine islands that were already among the nation's poorest.

"I cry almost every night. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how are we going to survive," Esliba Bascal, 59, who lost her son and home in the disaster and now lives in a makeshift dwelling just outside Tacloban, told AFP last week.

Like many others, Bascal's hopes for a new government-provided house in a safe place have not come true.

She lives with her husband, widowed daughter-in-law and six grandchildren in a brick-and-tin structure built on the same site as their previous home that was wiped out by the storm surges.

"We were poor, but now we're poorer. Life is hard but I have to be strong for my grandchildren," said Bascal, who earns about 20 pesos (50 cents) a day selling biscuits, chips, soap and other daily goods from her home.

  • Mixed success -

President Benigno Aquino's government launched a 150-billion-peso ($3.2 billion) reconstruction programme for the disaster zones, which the United Nations has praised for its efficiency in some key sectors.

About 60 percent of that money has been spent, much of it on roads, bridges and schools, according to Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who is in charge of the recovery programme.

Money has also been used for start-up capital for survivors to start small businesses, as well as farm and fishing supplies.

A resilient local private sector and hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from the international community has also been extremely important.

The Red Cross, for example, said it had given cash assistance to more than 90,000 families and rebuilt or repaired 65,000 homes.

Yet, the government has come under fire for not doing enough to help the more than one million survivors it identified as living in coastal areas who were vulnerable to future storms and needed to be resettled.

Out of the 205,128 families living in the path of future storms, just 928 have been transferred to permanent shelters, according to the government.

The government calculates an average of five people per family.

Many of the others who have yet to receive new homes are simply living in repaired or rebuilt homes, like Bascal.

The government is aiming to relocate nearly 100,000 families by next year, with the project to be completed by 2017, Chito Cruz, chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, told reporters this week.

Cruz said one of the reasons it was taking so long to relocate people was because buying safe new land from private title holders was extremely difficult.

Locals also complain that the proposed resettlement areas are in isolated locations well away from the coast.

The coastal areas are the main hubs of the regional economy, and people cannot afford to travel long distances.

"We have accomplished much over the last two years, but there is still a lot that must be done," Balisacan said in a briefing on the recovery programme this week.

But he also emphasised Haiyan had turned cities and towns into "wastelands", and that even the US government struggled after Hurricane Katrina caused massive damage in 2005.

Meanwhile, Haiyan has become a rallying point in the global campaign to contain global warming, with visits to the disaster zones this year by leaders such as Pope Francis and French President Francois Hollande.

Scientists have warned storms such as Haiyan, which generated record winds of 315 kilometres (196 miles) an hour at landfall, could become the new normal as global warming worsens.

While in the disaster zones, the pope and Hollande issued similar warnings as they urged world leaders to take decisive action at a crucial summit in Paris starting on November 30.

The summit is aiming to seal a pact aimed at keeping global temperature rises to no more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels.


© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: ‘Yolanda’ donation issue explained many times over - DSWD

5 November 2015 - 9:31pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterated that out of the P1,165,797,345.13 cash donations it has received for Typhoon Yolanda, P994,585,418.46 have already been disbursed as of November 3 with the balance of P171,211,926.67 currently being disbursed for supplementary feeding program and tourism projects.

This reiteration came after Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. raised his complaint that the DSWD refuses to answer his inquiries on where the donations for ‘Yolanda’ went.

“Since September when the issue on donations came out in the media, the Department has been issuing statements on the matter. Various media publications, TV networks, and the social media have carried our statements. We even published in a broadsheet and tabloid an infographics on the donations,” DSWD Assistant Secretary Javier Jimenez, Department Spokesperson, said.

​A​fter confirmation from the Office of the Secretary​, Asec. Jimenez added that the Department has not received any request letter from the Senator.

Specifically, the donations are allotted for the following:



Shelter Assistance ​ 820,932,687.50

Support to operations 128,086,638.38

Livelihood Assistance 107,007,468.84

Purchase/Replacement of Furniture and Equipment like Fork Lifts/Water Dispensers 4×4 transportation and Warehouse Equipment 33,652,577.54

Relief Assistance 26,118,100.00

Provision of family kitchen kits 22,365,728.00

Reconstruction of Civil Documents 5,000,000.00

Repair of DSWD Center in Reg. VIII 2,000,000.00

Purchases to fulfill the wishes of Children in Tacloban/provision of Toys and art materials for the Play And Art Therapy for child-victims 903,245.23

Financial Assistance to Victims 113,607.00

Asec. Jimenez continued that the latest donation received by the DSWD was the US $300,000 (P14-M) from the Nigerian Government.

The donation was used to build ​ ​a Water Supply Support Project for Typhoon​ ​Yolanda-affected families now residing in Ridgeview Park, Villa Diana and Villa Sofia resettlement sites located in the norther part of Tacloban City. The project provides potable water supply, on-site water source development, water filtration, and rain harvesting.

Asec. Jimenez said that with the second year commemoration of Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, the DSWD continues to focus on implementing rehabilitation projects to ensure that survivors will finally attain normalcy. ###

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan: two years on the climate isn’t changing

5 November 2015 - 6:32pm
Source: Caritas Country: Philippines

Caritas says a binding global climate agreement needs to be reached to save millions of lives and reduce dramatic climate events such as the Philippines’ Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The storm hit the western Philippines two years ago and was one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded. It killed over 6,300 people and over 3,000,000 were forced from their homes. Caritas launched one of its largest relief operations in recent years to help 1.8 million people in the immediate aftermath of the storm with emergency aid and in the two years that followed.

“Climate change has a face – it is the thousands of people in my country who have been killed by storms, it is the people who are homeless, the children who are orphans and the communities who have to build their lives and homes from scratch only to see them washed away again,” says said Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines. “The name of climate change two years ago was Haiyan, now it’s Koppu. Even when the sun comes back out, these massive storms cast a dark shadow over our country and threaten our lives and our future.”

In the two years that followed Caritas focused on rebuilding communities by providing training, materials to rebuild houses, provide sanitation facilities and bolsters communities’ abilities to face disasters.

Almost 28,000 people benefited from disaster risk reduction programmes, over 200,000 people where helped to reboot their livelihoods and over 165,000 people were provided with a roof over their heads.

“With Haiyan Caritas faced a massive challenge,” says Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis. “What started out as a tragedy with much death and suffering became an opportunity for the Caritas confederation to draw together and work with communities to rebuild and restart their lives. But the basic injustice remains – every day we wait to come to a binding global climate agreement, more and more people die in the world’s low-income countries.”

Caritas Philippines is helping 25,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by the more recent Typhoon Koppu that hit in October 2015.

At the end of November Caritas will be at the COP21 climate meeting in Paris to call for governments to reach a climate agreement which will save lives and help communities grow and flourish.

For more information, please contact Michelle Hough on +39 06 69879721 / +39 334 2344136 or

Philippines: Long-term solution for water access in the Philippines

5 November 2015 - 6:28pm
Source: Caritas Country: Philippines

The Philippines are made up of around 7,000 islands – which means that water is never far away. But finding fresh water for drinking and domestic use was a real struggle for many poor communities even before Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

In the remote coastal barangay (district) of Tagalag in Marabut town, Samar province fetching water every day was a very time-consuming task for everybody. People would sometimes have to walk to the next barangay with big containers to collect their daily water supply.

Many barangays were overwhelmed by ‘storm surge’ during the massive typhoon. This is when huge debris-filled waves of water speeding inland wash away houses, roads and water-supply systems. The serious risk is that the sewage system contaminates water supply and puts people of risk of stomach upsets or even cholera.

Following disasters, Caritas raises awareness among people of all ages about avoiding flood waters. Ten-year old Honeyrea, who benefitted from another Caritas water programme following Haiyan, said, “It is important the water is clean, so people don’t get sick.”

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Caritas teams carried out hygiene training as they distributed sanitation kits. Staff encouraged people to maintain the latrines and to collect rubbish. Caritas Philippines (locally known as NASSA) was providing drinking water to 25,000 people in the months after the disaster.

To help Haiyan-affected communities in the long-term, Caritas has provided water supply facilities to areas such as Barangay Tagalag, which never had access to clean drinking water. Working hand-in-hand with members of the community, a level two piped-water system has been installed in the barangay to supply water to 185 households.

“The materials used for this piped system are of a good standard so I am confident that this will last a lifetime,” Barangay Captain Manuel Llego said.

No more long, exhausting travel with big containers to other barangays for the communities where the piped system was introduced. No more time, energy and money expended. No water, no more.

Philippines: Supertifón Haiyan, dos años después: Filipinas es más resiliente ante los desastres dos años después de Haiyan

5 November 2015 - 9:15am
Source: Acción contra el Hambre Country: Philippines
  • Durante estos dos años, los esfuerzos de la comunidad humanitaria, las autoridades y la propia población filipina en la reconstrucción han aportado importantes lecciones para la reducción del riesgo de desastres en el segundo país más expuesto del mundo.

  • Tras la primera respuesta de emergencia para salvar vidas, se sigue trabajando para restaurar sus medios de vida (principalmente el cultivo de cocoteros y la pesca) en las zonas afectadas, un proceso que puede durar hasta diez años.

  • La población filipina ha dado una lección de resiliencia al mundo tras lo que se ha considerado el peor desastre de la historia del país.

Madrid, 5 de noviembre de 2015

Dos años después, la perspectiva del tiempo permite analizar las lecciones aprendidas del desastre más virulento conocido en la historia reciente de Filipinas. El tifón Haiyan, de vientos de hasta 300 km por hora, provocó más de 6.000 fallecidos y las vidas de unos 15 millones de personas quedaron afectadas. A pesar de su efecto devastador, las consecuencias podrían haber sido mayores de no haber sido por la eficacia de la respuesta humanitaria y la capacidad de recuperación de la población filipina.

“La colaboración entre las autoridades y la comunidad humanitaria fue fundamental para minimizar los efectos del tifón. La rápida puesta en marcha de un plan de contingencia permitió en poco tiempo centralizar la respuesta en los barrios y las comunidades. Sin embargo, tras una primera respuesta de emergencia, el foco de la comunidad humanitaria se centró en la aplicación de soluciones sostenibles de cara a futuros desastres”, explica Benedetta Lettera, Jefa de Base en Tabloban tras el desastre y hoy responsable geográfica para Filipinas de la organización.

Acción contra el Hambre movilizó inmediatamente a sus equipos ya presentes en el país y consiguió llegar a la zona cero 72 horas después de que ocurriera un desastre “que supuso enormes retos logísticos para el acceso del personal humanitario y la ayuda, especialmente en las comunidades rurales”, apunta Lettera. Trabajando muy estrechamente con socios y con las autoridades locales pusimos en marcha programas de apoyo nutricional y psicológico; agua, saneamiento e higiene; seguridad alimentaria y medios de vida. Casi un millón de personas fueron atendidas por Acción contra el Hambre en 46 municipios de 7 provincias. Dos años después los programas se centran, entre otros, en la reducción del riesgo de desastres y la adaptación al cambio climático.

Transferencias de dinero para recuperar los medios de vida, una de las lecciones de Haiyan Filipinas sufre al año una media de 25 tifones, siendo considerado el segundo país del mundo más expuesto a desastres naturales sólo por detrás de Bangladesh. En el caso de Haiyan, los supervivientes tuvieron que reanudar sus vidas prácticamente sin ningún recurso. Por eso, fortalecer sus medios de vida es fundamental para que la recuperación del desastre sea lo menos traumática posible. Sobre todo para la población más vulnerable, ya que el 40% de las víctimas ya vivían bajo el umbral de la pobreza. Acción contra el Hambre puso en práctica tras Haiyan programas de transferencia monetaria no condicionada, un tipo de respuesta que en los últimos años se ha afianzado como una de las intervenciones post-emergencia más eficaces: las familias más afectadas recibían dinero, muchas veces de forma incondicional, otras a cambio de trabajo para limpia de escombros las zonas afectadas. Con ello no solo se reactiva la economía local sino que se da a la persona damnificada la posibilidad de decidir sus propias inversiones para la recuperación. "Este dinero nos dio esperanza y encontré una oportunidad para dar un vuelco a nuestras vidas," afirma Sherel Sudario, de 26 años. Ahora ella dirige una pequeña tienda con la que obtiene lo suficiente para cubrir las necesidades diarias básicas de su familia. Acción contra el Hambre entregó con esta modalidad 26.000 pesos filipinos a 10.000 familias afectadas durante 2014 y 2015.

Gestionar el riesgo para que no vuelva a pasar

Tras el primer impacto, la propia población ha liderado el proceso de recuperación durante estos dos años. La reconstrucción se ha realizado con un enfoque integrado de gestión del riesgo, para prevenir que algo así pueda volver a pasar en el futuro: “hemos construido las letrinas y las infraestructuras de agua con materiales más resistentes y en lugares más elevados, se han realizado planes de contingencia para saber cómo mejorar la alerta y cómo y dónde deben evacuarse las comunidades... los tifones que han venido después de Haiyan han sido ejemplos de cómo la preparación de la población es crucial parta mitigar y minimizar el daño”, explica el responsable de gestión del riesgo ante desastres, Didier Verges.

La comunidad internacional debe mantenerse alerta

A pesar de que los análisis sobre la evolución de la recuperación son optimistas, no hay que olvidar que siguen existiendo necesidades entre la población más vulnerable. “El segundo aniversario es un ocasión para estar agradecido por cómo se ha ido recuperando el país y para recordar a aquellos que todavía no se han recuperado del todo. Hay miles de personas todavía intentado retornar a sus antiguas rutinas y miles que aún buscan una casa permanente," ha afirmado Javad Amoozegar, director País de Acción contra el Hambre en Filipinas. Aún quedan retos: son 2.000 las familias por reasentar y la zona vetada para la construcción a 40 metros de la costa para evitar que el mar vuelva a llevarse a comunidades vuelve a ser habitada por comunidades de pescadores.

En un entorno tan propenso a padecer los efectos de los desastres naturales, la comunidad internacional no debe bajar la guardia ante las consecuencias del cambio climático. Los expertos apuntan a una relación directa entre este y el aumento de la intensidad y la recurrencia de los tifones en el país. Queda poco menos de un mes para que se celebre la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático de 2015, mientras los filipinos se preparan para hacer frente a sus consecuencias.

Acción contra el Hambre es una organización humanitaria internacional e independiente que combate la desnutrición infantil a la vez que garantiza agua y medios de vida seguros a las poblaciones más vulnerables. Intervenimos en más de 45 países apoyando a más de nueve millones de personas. Nuestra visión es un mundo sin desnutrición; nuestro primer objetivo, devolver la dignidad a quienes hoy viven amenazados por el hambre.

Más información y entrevistas con portavoces:

Departamento de Comunicación Acción contra el Hambre-España Carlos Riaza / Alicia García 91 771 16 72 - 609 018 735

Philippines: Recovery, rehab efforts for ‘Yolanda’ survivors continue

5 November 2015 - 8:22am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

“Despite several disasters which occured after we are attending to, we never left the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Recovery and rehabilitation efforts are in full swing in all the affected areas,” according to Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

Sec. Soliman made this assurance as the country commemorates the second year of Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ on November 8.

Meanwhile, government agencies tasked with the recovery and rehabilitation of ‘Yolanda’- affected areas held a joint press briefing this morning at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), Ortigas, Pasig City. The different clusters, namely​:​ ​ ​

Support led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Infrastructure by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Social Services by DSWD, Livelihood by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Resettlement led by Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), and National Housing Authority (NHA) gave updates on accomplishments.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera who represented Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman reported that the agencies under the Social Services Cluster focused on health security through the delivery of priority medical program and projects; provision of Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for 987,545 families (96%) out of the total target of 1,028,329 families with damaged homes; delivered books and learning materials and, strengthened and institutionalized partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs), U​nited N​ations​ agencies, local and international non-government organizations, civil society organizations, and private donors in the implementation of major and support programs and projects for communities in resettlement sites.

The Cluster also implemented the repair and rehabilitation of damaged structures, and the construction of new ones using the Community–Driven Development (CDD) approach of the KapitBisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

Out of the funded 13,876 sub-projects, 2,887 have been completed to date which are mostly roads, flood/river control, community center and multi-purpose halls; footpaths, foot and access trails/ electrification and lighting, school buildings, water system, day care centers, health stations and bridges.

From tents to transitional shelters to permanent homes

Meanwhile, as of October 14, DSWD, in partnership with NGOs, such as Operations Blessing, Catholic Relief Services, Operations Compassion and Oxfam has completed construction of 2,315 transitional shelters in Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar. A total of 1,576 families or 7,302 individuals are staying in these transitional shelters. On the other hand, the National Housing Authority (NHA) which is tasked for the construction of permanent houses for Yolanda victims has completed 17, 641 units while 41,566 units are ongoing.

About 929 units were turned-over at Tanauan and Tacloban City, Leyte. A total of 92,544 housing units are targeted to be completed until December 2016,

About 1,500 families who have already relocated to permanent housing sites in Ridgeview Park, Villa Sofia and Villa Diana will have their own source of potable water through a water supply support system.

Ten water tanks were installed in Ridgeview Park, two in Villa Sofia and three in Villa Diana. Each water tank will have a capacity of 5,000 liters.

The water supply support system, which includes on-site water source development, water filtration and rain harvesting, was made possible through the donation of the Nigerian Government amounting to US $300,000 (equivalent to P14-M). The project which costed P10M is a joint undertaking of the DSWD and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Asec. Cabrera said that rehabilitation and recovery efforts in affected areas are on track.

She added that survivors continue to demonstrate their resiliency two year after the disaster.

Philippines: Philippines: Clean water for 4,000 people in Zamboanga

5 November 2015 - 8:00am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Manila (ICRC) – A community-based water-supply system providing potable water to over 4,000 people, including displaced families, was officially inaugurated today in Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City.

The project, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the village and city authorities, is a long-term solution to the shortage of water in this barangay (village), which hosts about 900 people displaced by the armed fighting in 2013.

"Water was really scarce here in Taluksangay. It was difficult. Now our lives are better – people in the community no longer fight to get first in line. We can easily get water. We don't have to ride our banca (boat) anymore because the water source is near," said Alawi Asid, whose family was displaced from Layag-Layag.

Clean water started flowing from nine communal tap stands in September, reaching a total of 4,000 people in Taluksangay transition site, the nearby relocation site, and the host community. More people stand to benefit as the water system has the ability to cover additional localities in the barangay. Only half of the capacity of the water source has been used so far.

The project was built by 80 displaced people who were employed in a cash-for-work programme, with the ICRC providing materials and technical expertise. It was recently handed over to the Taluksangay Water and Sanitation Association (TAWASA), which was formed with ICRC support, and which will operate and maintain the project. To help the TAWASA sustain the project, the ICRC gave them tools, spare parts and office supplies.

"The ICRC went beyond the engineering works, focusing also on community organization and empowerment. The community took ownership of the project, and the system is self-sustaining, making it able to last for years to come," explained Marcel Goyeneche, who heads the ICRC office in Zamboanga.

Since the armed clashes in 2013, the ICRC has stayed on with the Philippine Red Cross to support thousands of displaced people in Zamboanga in speeding up their recovery and improving their health and living conditions.

For further information, please contact:

Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: 0908 868 6884

Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Manila, tel: 0918 907 2125

Philippines: Tzu Chi's free clinic delivers quality health care to typhoon survivors in the Philippines

5 November 2015 - 6:41am
Source: Tzu Chi Foundation USA Country: Philippines

November 8 will mark the second anniversary when typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made landfall in the Province of Leyte, the Philippines, which resulted to thousands of death in Tacloban City.

As a continuous effort to help the local people, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation in the Philippines teamed up with the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Singapore to carry out a three-day large-scale free clinic in Tacloban City from October 22 to 24 at the Leyte Progressive High School (LPHS) and the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC). The clinic offers various medical services ranging from general medicine, pediatrics, ENT (ears, nose, and throat), dentistry, ophthalmology, optometry, traditional Chinese medicine, to surgery.

A total of 486 personnel composed of doctors, medical staff, and volunteers gathered from Manila, Cebu, Tacloban, Ormoc (cities in the Philippines), Singapore, and Taiwan.

Among the 142 delegations from TIMA and Tzu Chi Singapore were some Filipino doctors, who are practicing in Singapore. They expressed their happiness to Tzu Chi for providing them with the opportunity to serve their countrymen back home. For the first time many local volunteers from Tacloban City also joined for the mission. One of them was Susan Yap, who helped in the pharmacy section. “We would like to thank Tzu Chi Foundation for giving us this special opportunity. I wish many people would join and volunteer also because activities like this give us rare chances to help,” she said.

Preparation beforehand

Expecting a great turnout of more than 3,700 people, logistic planning became a daunting event for TIMA. Thanks for years of experiences, TIMA Philippines and TIMA Singapore were able to set up the venue efficiently with supplies and the medical equipment shipped from Manila. As for the site, international and local Tzu Chi volunteers gathered for a meeting on October 19. It was a busy day for everyone, as they prepared for the upcoming medical missions. They supported the over-all logistics from the planning until implementation. They helped the entire operation through setting up safe water source and steady electricity, unloading and assembling the portable machines, putting up the tents, posting direction signs, cleaning up the window panes, and mopping floors of LPHS.

Among the crowd of busy volunteers, Lee Kok Heong from Singapore was using an organic cleaning agent, which she made herself, as she mopped the floors and sanitize the surroundings. When she was asked why she was so keen in cleaning, “I’m very keen because this is my way to respect the patients who will walk in this room and lie down on the table for check up. It is important to clean things for them,” Lee said.

Another volunteer, Charlito Centes from Manila, shared Lee’s feeling. “I’m taking part in this mission for Dharma Master Cheng Yen. Because Master extends her help to those she doesn’t even know, how much more for us living in just the same country? ...We are doing this cleaning as our way to show respect to the patients so they will trust in our goal of giving them proper treatment,” Centes said. This is how Tzu Chi volunteers show their great love to all patients visiting the free clinic.

In addition to preparing the venue, Tzu Chi has conducted a pre-clinic survey on October 11. The event was led by Dr. Antonio Say and Dr. Bernardita Navarro, two volunteer-doctors of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Eye Clinic in Manila. Four hundred patients with eyesight-related problems gathered at LPHS for the pre-clinic examination. Allan Ortello, a farmer from Santa Rita, Samar, was among them. Ortello is now 45 and since 20 years ago, he has been enduring the meaty mass that covers both of his eyes, a condition called pterygium. His eye condition gets in the way with the daily routine at the field. He was meaning to go for a consultation but is prevented by the lack of financial resources. Another patient, Leopoldo Casaldan, Jr. from Tacloban City, also came for the prescreening. He used to be the breadwinner in his family but since he acquired cataract in both of his eyes, his ability to be the provider was paralyzed. Of the 400 patients, 169 including Ortello and Casaldan, were qualified for eye operation during the free clinic period. With this chance, they now have reasons to look forward to a brighter future.

Putting people’s lives on track

It was like a big region-wide gathering as thousands of residents from all over the Eastern Visayas flocked at the Leyte Progressive High School for the first day of Tzu Chi’s medical mission on October 22. Although the free clinic did not open until one o’clock in the afternoon, many people, including mothers holding their babies or with their sick children, pregnant women, and the elderly waited anxiously under the burning sun early in the morning. With an empathetic heart, Tzu Chi volunteers sought for their understanding and asked them to go home and come back after lunch.

People filled up the waiting room as soon as the clinic opened in the afternoon. One hopeful patient was Archer Barda, 35, who traveled as early as 4am from Ormoc City to consult and avail of a free surgery for his deformed legs caused by a horrible car explosion five years ago. Without proper treatment initiated for his scalded left leg, callus formed which prevented his leg from stretching properly. He was told later by different hospital that his condition is too complicated and cannot be operated. For five years, he endured not being able to walk properly and felt miserable at the thought of not being able to work for his family. But all things changed after the surgery courtesy of Tzu Chi’s free clinic.

Singaporean doctor, Dr. Fong Poh Him patched up the injured part of Barda’s left leg with a graft from his abdomen. “I really miss all the work that I used to do before I met the accident. Now I can go back to working and sustaining the needs of my family.” Barda said, overjoyed that he can finally stretch his left leg after the surgery. Few more rehabilitation sessions and he can fully recover his mobility.

Jessie Yao, 62 years old, was similarly grateful that he was able to consult the condition of his mentally ill daughter, Jane, 38 years old. Jane was diagnosed with a condition called scattered papules and received medicines. Another Yao’s child also suffers from mental disorder. Despite this, Yao and his wife raised the two out of tender love and care. “What I worry about is the future of my two children because as time passes by, we will grow old and feeble and no one will look after them.” the 62-year-old father said. Yao earns an income of 200PHP a day from their small variety store at home in Barangay San Joaquin, Palo. This low income has prevented them from seeking medical care for their children, and has gradually improved since they started receiving 4,000PHP (85USD) subsidy every month from the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Barda and Yao were beneficiaries of Tzu Chi’s rice assistance program, which also helped thousands of others in the Philippines. They, among many others, are once again grateful for the medical assistance from the foundation

Transforming hopes into realities

After a successful first day, the succeeding days also saw a large turnout of residents when they learned that the Tzu Chi Foundation was offering medical services free of charge. One department filled to the brim with patients was Ophthalmology, where many residents, both old and young, came to receive cataract surgery. Most people in the Philippines cannot afford cataract surgery as it costs around 580USD—the equivalent of four months salary of a minimum wage earner. For the past five years, 65-year-old Margano, who looks undernourished, has been living in darkness due to his cataracts. Margano had one wish: to see his fields in colors again.

Cresencia was too afraid to leave her house because of blindness. Her vision developed cataracts and has deteriorated with age, leaving her husband to do the household chores alone. “If she can see again, at least she won't trip or fall in the house,” Cresencia’s husband said. “I hope that she will be able to see me one day,” her daughter said. “I want to receive surgery, I am not afraid of the pain. If I go completely blind, who will look after me?” Cresencia said.

For Juny, writing down his own name was a huge struggle as he has suffered visual impairment since young. Unable to find a job, he could only raise chickens at home and help out around the house. “When he was little, he had to look at everything closely in order to see clearly. It was hard for him,” Juny’s mother said. “If I can see again, I want to go back to school.” Juny said.

Rosemarie, 22, was another young cataract sufferer, who cannot see well since the second grade. She had tried prescription eyeglasses but to no avail. In order to read the writings on the blackboard, she had to stand up close enough to the board to see. But through hard work, the patience and guidance of her teachers, Rosemarie managed to finish her secondary education. But poverty, coupled with her impaired eyes, stopped her from continuing through college. Not wanting to waste all the idle time she has, she decided to work and landed a job as an encoder at a telephone company, and later a house helper. Unfortunately, her eye condition deteriorated further, forcing her to stop working.

Margano, Cresencia, Juny, and Rosemarie are four people among over a hundred patients who went to seek assistance to improve their impaired eyesight to get a better future. For all of them, the free surgery is a long-time wish that has finally come true. Thanks to a group of TIMA doctors, these residents not only had their sight restored through cataract surgery, but can now look forward to a better outlook filled with hope and optimism. “This means so much to me,” Rosemarie said after her operation and her wish to provide for her family now has high possibility. “If it were not for Tzu Chi, I wouldn’t have been operated; or I would have waited so long before this can be possible.” Rosemarie expressed her gratitude.

Partnerships for the greater good

In order to provide comprehensive medical services to the residents of Tacloban, Tzu Chi has also teamed up with the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), which functions as the second venue for the medical mission this year. Six TIMA doctors and five anesthesiologists from the hospital worked together to conduct major surgical procedures.

A group of TIMA doctors performed thyroid removal procedures at the EVRMC. Because of poverty, many residents have no choice but to endure their pain and suffering, which often leads to a worsening of minor problems.

Jocelyn, who has had a thyroid growth for 15 years, has had to put up with all sorts of mockery by her neighbors. Even her children were made fun of at school because of her big lump on the neck. Like Jocelyn, 30-year-old Josephine is troubled by the same problem. As her husband makes only 100PHP (~2USD) a day, the family can barely get by, let alone pay for the cost of surgery. “We needed to do some checkups before the surgery, but we don't have the money for it. The checkups are very expensive and we simply cannot afford them,” Josephine said. Aracarc put off her surgery for four years. “I knew there would be doctors here today. I've wanted to get operated many times before, but I was too afraid. I decided to come today because these doctors have come from overseas,” she said.

Several patients also came for hernia surgery. Some of them have suffered the condition for many years. Lying on the operating table was Patricio, who has been suffering from a hernia for 15 years. However, because he did not have the 30,000PHP (650USD) required for surgery, he had to live with debilitating pain for years. “Sometimes, I am in complete agony and the pain is excruciating. I am so grateful to Tzu Chi for this free surgery,” he said. As these patients entrust TIMA doctors with their lives, the medical team has made it their duty to see to it that patients receive the best possible care.

Compassionate health stewards

As the registration has reached the maximum capacity in the last day of the free clinic, people continued to wait anxiously and hoped slots opened up. The medical team decided to take less break time to extend the clinic hours and be able to help more patients. “Sometimes, the way I look at this, (if) I don't do this procedure for these people, who is going to do it for them? Or are they going to end up not having it (treatment)? Then is it going to become dangerous for them? Because if that is the case, then we should try,” said TIMA doctor Fong Poh Him.

“This is proof that we cannot wait to do good deeds. I am truly grateful to my colleagues for participating this time. They didn't get agitated due to the overwhelming amount of work, but worked calmly as one instead,” another TIMA doctor, Deng Guorong, said.

With a duty to relieve patients of their pain and suffering, TIMA doctors put their hearts into their work, hoping to ease the pain that has tormented these patients for months and years on end.

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 10 | 1 – 31 October 2015

5 November 2015 - 1:10am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines


  • Over 700,000 people remain displaced due to flooding caused by Typhoon Koppu.

  • Small-scale farmers in Central Luzon suffer dual effects of El Niño and the typhoon.

  • About 3,300 people, mostly indigenous Lumads, displaced in Surigao del Sur for two months.

  • Livelihoods key to the recovery of an estimated 28,500 IDPs in Zamboanga.


Typhoon Koppu

# of IDPs 713,600

# of IDPs in evacuation centres 9,100

# of IDPs outside evacuation centres 704,400

# of destroyed houses 18,800

# of partially damaged houses 118,900

Cost of agricultural damage $180 M

Source: NDRRMC, Department of Agriculture (as of 3 November 2015).

Zamboanga Crisis

# of IDPs in transitional sites 17,200

# of IDPs temporarily returned to their places of origin 2,100

# of “home-based” IDPs 11,300*

# of IDPs who received permanent housing or home material assistance 12,600**

Source: CCCM Cluster (as of 26 October 2015). *Protection Cluster (as of December 2014). **National Housing Authority (as of 4 November 2015).

Philippines: Two years on, Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan support ‘restores hope and dignity’ to more than 880,000 people

4 November 2015 - 11:36pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

Manila, November 5, 2015 - Two years after Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) devastated the central Philippines, the Philippine Red Cross and its Red Cross and Red Crescent movement partners have helped tens of thousands of families get back on their feet by building safer homes, health facilities and classrooms; providing financial support and training to boost people’s livelihoods and ensuring that the health of thousands more is improved through access to better sanitation.

As of the end of October, the Red Cross Haiyan Recovery Programme had directly reached more than 880,000 people with shelter, livelihood support, water, sanitation, health and education programs.

‘The success of our Haiyan operation would not have been possible without the support of our partners in the Red Cross as well as private sector partners and individual donors who have generously contributed to help alleviate the suffering of those whose lives have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan,’ said Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon.

‘Because of the massive destruction caused by Haiyan, there was an enormous outpouring of support that came to us to help restore people’s lives and dignity.’

During the relief phase in the months following Haiyan, the Red Cross reached 1.3 million people with emergency assistance which included cash payments to more than 90,000 families to meet their immediate needs. This was one of the biggest emergency cash distributions in the Red Cross’s history of responding to emergencies and disasters.

‘I commend the Philippine Red Cross for their team's swift mobilization and response to rescue operations after Typhoon Haiyan,’ says Kari Isomaa, Head of Delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Philippines.

‘The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement will continue its work to empower communities, families and individuals to build back and improve their lives with safer homes and sustainable livelihoods until the operations are completed by mid-2016.’

The Philippine Red Cross’ Haiyan Recovery programme, which is supported by the IFRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and partner national societies, has so far built and repaired more than 65,000 homes in nine affected provinces, reaching 80 per cent of the target of 80,000 houses.

More than 59,000 households have received cash to restore their livelihoods. While the majority elected to buy livestock and seeds, some used existing skills to set up a small business selling food, clothes or craftwork.

Also under the livelihood programme, more than 1,000 young people from vulnerable households are completing skills training courses ranging from housekeeping to welding and automotive qualifications.

The Red Cross is also supporting community-managed livelihood projects which include rice mills, pineapple fibre weavers, artificial reefs, water refilling stations and organic farming.

The recovery programme has improved sanitation and education facilities for 32 schools, while 38 health facilities have been repaired and reconstructed. Both programmes are ongoing.

Hygiene promotion and sanitation programmes run by Philippine Red Cross have reached 65,000 families and students, while 121 communities have participated in Community Based Health and First Aid sessions.

The Red Cross also focused on restoring classrooms so students can go back to school. 410 classrooms have been rehabilitated and reconstructed, benefiting 39,165 students.

For further information:

In Philippines:

In Kuala Lumpur:

  • Patrick Fuller, communications manager, Asia Pacific | Tel: +60 12 230 84 51 | Email: Twitter: @pat_fuller

In Geneva:

Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, Senior Communications Officer, IFRC | Tel: +41 79 213 24 13 | Email:

Philippines: Red Cross Haiyan assistance restored livelihoods, shelter, community facilities and services

4 November 2015 - 11:32pm
Source: Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

Two years after Haiyan (local name Yolanda), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has helped tens of thousands of affected families to get back their livelihoods, built safer, more disaster resilient homes and classrooms, and given people access to improved health and sanitation facilities and services.

As of end of October, 884,228 people have benefitted from PRC’s Haiyan Recovery Program which includes services ranging from shelter, livelihood, cash relief assistance, water and sanitation, hygiene promotion, and rehabilitation of classrooms.

“The success of our Haiyan operations would not have been possible without the support of our partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement and private partners who have generously contributed to help alleviate the suffering of those whose lives have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Because of the massive destruction caused by Haiyan, there was also a massive outpouring of support that came to us that helped restore people’s lives and dignity,” said PRC chairman Richard Gordon.

To date, PRC’s Haiyan Recovery program has built 66,011 homes out of the target 80,203 or 86 percent of the target number of houses to be built, amounting to around 2.2 billion pesos. The Red Cross Haiyan shelter program is spread across nine Haiyan-affected provinces: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, and Western Samar.

During the emergency phase, the Red Cross was able to provide emergency cash relief assistance to 90,779 families, the biggest ever cash transfer programming operations in the RCRC Movement history after an emergency or disaster. A total of PhP 281,529,400 or USD 6,256,208 was disbursed to affected families in a matter of four months from December 2013 to March 2014. Unconditional cash relief given per family ranged from PhP2,000 to PhP5,000.

Provision of shelter was augmented with livelihood assistance in the form of livelihood cash grants that beneficiaries used to start a new livelihood source or restart their lost livelihood. As of date, 59,218 families out of the target 62,289 households or 95 percent of the target number of beneficiaries, have been provided with livelihood assistance through conditional cash grants. The total amount of livelihood assistance to date is P592,180,000.

Aside from housing and livelihood, PRC also focused on health, sanitation and education. Through the Haiyan recovery operations, there are now 32 schools with improved access to water and sanitation facilities and 38 health facilities that have been repaired and reconstructed, which will cater to 222,618 individuals based on the population of the area.

The education sector was not left behind as the Red Cross also focused on restoring classrooms so students can go back to their classes. As of date, 410 classrooms have already been rehabilitated and reconstructed, of which 39,165 students have benefitted. There were also 5,083 students who have received school kits from the Red Cross.

Philippines: Yolanda survivors to move into first fully developed Red Cross Village in Daanbantayan

4 November 2015 - 11:30pm
Source: Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

Less than two years after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ripped through the Philippines, 128 families in Daanbantayan, Cebu who lost their homes are moving into new, permanent houses with the support of the Philippine Red Cross and its partners.

The village is the first fully developed resettlement site for typhoon victims in the Philippines. The 30sq meters typhoon enhanced housing units come with a bathroom and latrine including septic tank and a decentralized treatment system for grey and used waters that make released waters harmless to the environment.

Energy is provided through a 33kW photovoltaic power plant, installed through the efforts of the Red Cross and Electricians Without Borders, a French NGO, enabling all households to access electricity at a half price. The solar power plant also provides electricity for the multipurpose hall, accommodating a newly built day care center and barangay health station, and the livelihood center.

“Better and safer housing is key to recovery but it is only by providing proper water sanitation and energy access and making sure that people have access to sources of livelihood that we support their long term resilience,” said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.

The site is ideally located, 200 meters from the sea, close to the farming areas and the main barangay road. Inhabitants will keep a close access to schools, markets and communication axes, and they will be able to either keep their sources of livelihood or develop new ones with the support of the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross has been working with farmers and fishermen in the barangay to help them increase their income, through training and supporting local associations. We have also seen people, who benefitted from Red Cross cash grants last year, already taking the opportunity to set up new businesses they can move to the Red Cross Village,” Gordon said.

The Livelihood Center, first of its kind and run by a local association of users, will offer services such as battery charging, refrigerators and stainless tables, and will allow farmers and fishermen’s associations to process food in the premises.

The new Barangay Health Station and Day-Care Center, fully built and equipped thanks to Sanofi Foundation donation, will also cater for the 3,124 population of the barangay, and replace infrastructures damaged or destroyed by the typhoon.

The 84 million pesos project was implemented with the support of the French Red Cross, and in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Philippines and France-Philippines United Action. The project was also made possible through donations from French companies such as Total, Sanofi and Caisse des Dépôts, as well as donations from the French people.

Philippines: Philippines: Mindanao: Tandag City, Surigao - Evacuation Centres Snapshot (as of 20 Oct 2015)

4 November 2015 - 10:04pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

Philippines: Amid Typhoon Haiyan recovery, some feel they are left behind

4 November 2015 - 6:39pm
Source: AlertNet Country: Philippines

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 4 Nov 2015 17:20 GMT

Author: Astrid Zweynert

TACLOBAN, Philippines, Nov 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Arsenjo Francisco has lived near the sea all his life, but the retired Filipino fisherman lost his love of the ocean when Super Tyhoon Haiyan killed 10 of his relatives, destroyed his house and swept away his belongings.

Read the full article

World: The Market Monitor - Trends and impacts of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 29 - October 2015

4 November 2015 - 8:04am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

This bulletin examines trends in staple food and fuel prices, the cost of the basic food basket and consumer price indices for 70 countries in the third quarter of 2015 (July to September).1 The maps on pages 6–7 disaggregate the impact analysis to sub-national level.

• FAO’s global cereal price index still continued to fall in Q3-2015, down 12.7 percent year-on-year and is now at 2010 levels.

• The real price2 of wheat dropped a further 14 percent over the last quarter. Prices are 30 percent lower than in Q3-2014, thanks to record production in 2015, abundant global supply and strong export competition.

• The real price of maize has dropped 2 percent since Q2-2015 and is 3 percent lower than in Q3-2014. However, global production 2015/16 is projected to be lower than this year.

• The real price of rice has fallen by 1 percent since Q2-2015 and is 15 percent lower than Q3 last year.
Despite reduced production amid increased global utilisation, weakened import demand has kept rice prices in check.

• In Q3-2015, the real price of crude oil dropped by 19 percent compared with Q2-2015 and reached a level last seen in 2004.

• The cost of the minimum food basket increased severely (>10%) during Q3-2015 in four countries:
Ghana, Myanmar, Syria and Tanzania. High increases (5–10%) were seen in Benin, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya and Mali. In the other monitored countries, the change was low or moderate (<5%).

• Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS (Alert for Price Spikes), are evident in 16 countries, particularly in Ghana, India, Malawi, Myanmar, South Sudan,
Sudan and Yemen (see the map below).3 These spikes indicate crisis levels for the two most important staples in the country, whether they are either cassava, maize, rice, wheat, sorghum or sugar.

Philippines: Two years on from Typhoon Haiyan; Malteser International helps more than 10,000 people to make a new beginning

4 November 2015 - 7:20am
Source: Malteser Country: Philippines

“When I grow up, I want to be a teacher,” says Hecil, 14 “And I want to be a nurse,” chimes in her 15 year old sister Jania Rose. The two girls live with their parents Corazon and Angelo in the small village of San Antonio on the island of Samar. When Typhoon Haiyan hit the island on 8th November 2013, the family lost everything, including their home.

But today, two years later, the girls look to the future with optimism. “The past is the past, life has to go on,” says Jania Rose. Her family are among the 700 especially needy ones in four villages of the heavily affected regions of Samar and Bantayan that received building materials for the construction of a new home from Malteser International. With the guidance of Malteser International, the young men of the town helped to build the new house at a safe distance from the sea, complete with a latrine and washing place. “We are much better protected from storms in our new house,” explains Corazon, the girls’ mother. When Typhoon Ruby lashed the island in December 2014, the new house not only survived completely without damage, it also served as a safe shelter for two other families whose houses were not yet complete.

“In the rebuilding program that we undertook with the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta, we placed a special emphasis on secure and inclusive, barrier-free, construction, that can be orientated to the needs of the individual families,” explains Cordula Wasser, the head of Malteser International’s Asia Department. “From the beginning on, local people have been actively involved in planning, the construction of the houses, and in making the project a reality.”

Thanks to the support of numerous donors, and of the international network of the Order of Malta, in 2014 and 2015, we were able to help more than 10,000 people achieve an improved quality of life in their new beginning. Alongside rebuilding, our focus lay in the areas of water supply and medical care, as well as disaster preparedness. In September 2015, we began to work on the construction of water supply and rainwater collection systems, as well as latrines, to ensure an improved provision of water and sanitation in the northern Province of Benguet in partnership with the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta.

Our results:


  • Reconstruction of 700 houses with Latrines
  • Distribution of 150 repair kits and 390 disaster preparedness kits for the repair of partly destroyed houses
  • Training of 22 young adults from the affected villages in carpentry and bricklaying
  • Distribution of seeds to 38 families for the planting of vegetable gardens

Water Supply:

  • Restoration of the communal water supply for more than 1,000 families in four villages and to two primary schools
  • Construction of sanitary facilities at a primary school
  • School campaigns on the theme of hand washing


  • Treatment of almost 1,400 people by a mobile medical team
  • Renovation and equipment of two medical centers
  • Psychosocial care for young people

Disaster preparation:

  • Disaster risk reduction and first aid training for 75 multipliers
  • Distribution of early warning and rescue materials to four village committees

Emergency aid following Typhoon Ruby in December 2014:

  • Aid with the timely evacuation of at-risk families
  • Distribution of food parcels for 1,350 people


The Philippines are one of the most disaster prone nations in the world. Earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding and drought all pose a threat to the country and, every year, the Philippines are affected by an average of eight or nine typhoons. The country is characterized by large regional income discrepancies. A quarter of the population lives under the national poverty line, most of them in rural areas, where access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities remains insufficient, making rural populations especially vulnerable to the effects of the recurring natural disasters. In November 2013, wide stretches of the Visayas archipelago, one of the poorest regions in the country, were devastated by typhoon Haiyan – the strongest to affect the country to date. More than 6,000 people lost their lives, around 28,000 were injured, and over a million lost their homes. A total of more than 14 million people were affected by the consequences of the storm. Malteser International has been working in close cooperation with the Philippine Association of the Order of Malta since 2009. The focus of our work lies in emergency relief for people affected by natural disasters, in rebuilding water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and in the field of disaster risk reduction.

Philippines: Data on funds for Yolanda projects now online

4 November 2015 - 6:53am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Details of these fund releases and projects are now available on the DBM website.

The data on the website shows the list of fund releases disaggregated per year and per implementing agency and another list of fund releases disaggregated per year and per implementing agency with details, such as Special Allotment Release Order (SARO), purpose, and fund source.

“The DBM communicates honestly and openly at all times regarding the fund releases we make pertaining to programs and projects of the government. Here are the facts on how much public funds we have released for Yolanda projects so far and where we sourced them in the budget for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015,” said Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.

“Of the total requirement of P150 billion for rebuilding the communities hit by typhoon Yolanda, we have released a total of P93.87 billion as of October 23, 2015,” the budget chief said.

Abad said these fund releases were charged against various funding sources in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“The scale of the damage is unprecedented. And given that it was unforeseen, the total amount needed for the reconstruction efforts is not something that can be accommodated within the Calamity Fund. So we needed to find various funding sources within the budget,” said Abad, adding that the government moved to implement various measures to source funds for Yolanda response.

These measures include: extending the validity of the 2013 Budget to June 2014 via Joint Resolution No. 1; passing the Supplemental Budget in 2013 and allocating P14.6 billion in Calamity and Quick Response Funds to rebuild areas hit by Yolanda and other disasters; passing the Supplemental Budget in 2014 and allocating P10 billion for emergency shelters and permanent housing; introducing the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Program, with a total of P21 billion in 2014 and 2015, for rebuilding efforts; doubling the Calamity Fund, from P7.5 billion in 2013 to P13 billion in 2014 and to P14 billion in 2015; introducing the “Build Back Better” policy not only to restore normalcy for Yolanda-affected communities but also make them more resilient to disasters; and leveraging the use of excess revenues to fund rehabilitation activities.

Abad also said that a total of P46 billion is allocated for Yolanda projects in the proposed 2016 budget. This amount is composed of P18.9 in Special Purpose Funds and P27.3 billion lodged in agency budgets.

The amount of P18.9 billion is for the Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (YRRP), the master plan to build back better infrastructure, livelihood support, resettlement, and social services. This amount is part of the P38.9-billion National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund (NDRRMF), a Special Purpose Fund in the 2016 budget.

In addition to the P18.9-billion YRRP, the amount of P25.6 billion was lodged in the budget of the National Housing Authority (NHA) for the construction of housing units for Yolanda victims. Meanwhile, the amount of P992 million was lodged in the budget of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and the amount of P660 million was lodged in the budget of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for the installation of water and power lines in Yolanda-hit communities and resettlement sites.

To access the complete fund releases for Yolanda, visit:

Philippines: Philippines: Typhoon Koppu - Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 04 Nov 2015)

4 November 2015 - 6:25am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

World: Mainstream conflict/disaster risk reduction in education closer in Asia-Pacific

3 November 2015 - 10:46pm
Source: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Country: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Thailand, World

Push to include mitigation, preparation, response and recovery in regional curricula moves forward following nine country seminar

At least a dozen Afghan schoolgirls were trampled to death as they and others tried to flee to safety once the deadly 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck their country and Pakistan earlier this week. Their deaths were yet another tragic reminder of how integrating risk reduction in education is becoming a moral imperative in a region where such disasters are occurring with increasing frequency.

Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world, according to the latest Asia-Pacific Disaster Report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The estimated 1,625 disasters in Asia-Pacific over the past decade account for more than 40% of the global total and cost half a million people their lives. Violence in the region – terror attacks, politically fuelled clashes, etc – only compounds this natural volatility.

Addressing a recent regional seminar on this topic, UNESCO Bangkok Director Gwang-Jo Kim said that there is a pressing need for education that teaches people skills for how best to mitigate, prepare for and respond to conflicts and disasters as well as paths to recovery.

“Education has a vital role to play in this regard, as it can contribute strongly to building resilience to disasters and conflicts and enhancing capacities of the countries in the region to mitigate their effects,” he said.

Mr Kim was speaking at the “Regional Seminar on Integrating Conflict and Disaster Risk Reduction into Education Sector Plans, Curricula and Budgets” held in Bangkok from 19-23 October.

The seminar was attended by approximately 60 people, including representatives of education and related ministries from nine Asia-Pacific countries: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Thailand and the Philippines.

The seminar provided country representatives the opportunity to exchange ideas with experts and learn more about the practical implications of integrating C/DRR into education planning – such as costing, budgeting, etc – as well as to gain concrete tools and guidelines to make these changes in their national contexts.

Isiye Ndombi, Deputy Regional Director of UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (UNICEF EAPRO), noted that the benefits of C/DRR education could carry over for generations.

“We know that when disaster risk reduction is mainstreamed in learning and schools, it not only saves lives but the children grow to be adults who internalize the virtues of C/DRR in their daily lives,” he said. “The narrative of inter-connected risks that impact the lives of children and vulnerable groups should always be the centre of attention for the education sector.”

Mr Ndombi said the Bangkok meeting offered a chance to push forward the outcomes of the November 2014 Regional Consultation on Education and Resilience which took place in Manila, hosted by SEAMEO-INNOTECH.

“Our joint agreements and recommendations during the November 2014 Regional Consultation can now be put into action and applied to your respective policies, plans and programmes,” he said. “Actualization of the commitments set forth in the regional consultation, can now be shared with all – forming a community of practice and benchmarks, for all of us to adapt in our respective contexts.”

All representatives of organizing agencies stressed their commitment to improving C/DRR education in the region, with Mr Kim saying that UNESCO is keen to offer technical assistance to countries making this change.

Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, Director of the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization Secretariat (SEAMES), outlined how “resiliency in the face of emergencies (conflicts, extreme weather and natural disasters) was on the list of his organization’s seven priority areas for 2015-2035.

“This is a reflection of how crucial we believe it is to prepare schools’ leaders, teachers and students as well as local communities in managing and maintaining the delivery of education services pertaining to [resiliency in the face of emergencies],” he said.

The workshop was organized by UNESCO Bangkok and partners UNICEF EAPRO, SEAMES, the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (UNESCO-IIEP), SEAMEO’s Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), and PEIC (Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict), a programme of the Education Above All Foundation based in Qatar.