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Philippines: Bohol earthquake recovery operation comes to an end; Boholanos grateful for repaired shelter, new homes

9 March 2015 - 5:48am
Source: Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

Husband and wife Pablito and Carmelita Taghap, 66 and 65 years old respectively, who live in Cahayag, Tubigon, Bohol were left homeless after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas on October 15, 2013, totally damaged their house, along with the other homes and structures in their community. Without a place to go, the couple lived in a makeshift tent for a while, which made their situation very difficult especially when typhoon Yolanda struck Bohol the following month.

When the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) stepped in to provide core shelter and shelter repair assistance, they were among the selected families who became beneficiaries of the core shelter project. Pablito, a farmer, and Carmelita, a tailor, actively assisted the skilled workers in building their home. They were very thankful to the PRC for their new home, which they said they would not be able to build by themselves from their meager earnings.

Pablito and Carmelita are just two of the individuals reached by the recovery projects of the PRC and partners in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in Bohol. A year and four months after, PRC’s recovery operations in Bohol ended in February after completing all its target projects for all affected communities in the province.

Shelters, hygiene and sanitation

At the end of PRC’s recovery efforts in Bohol, a total of 304 core shelters or full houses were constructed. To help build damaged houses and structures, 100 carpenters and masons were given training and 1,700 shelter repair kits were provided through conditional cash grants.

Along with construction and repair of damaged structures, the PRC also focused on hygiene and sanitation in schools and communities with the construction of school latrines, supported with hygiene and sanitation trainings in schools and communities. Ten water and sanitation (WatSan) latrines were constructed in public schools, while a total of 2,883 pupils were reached through children hygiene and sanitation transformation (CHAST) sessions. To ensure that proper hygiene and sanitation are observed in schools, 80 individuals were given CHAST training for school-based WatSan committees.

Similarly, families and health volunteers participated in participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation (PHAST) sessions to help prevent the spread of diseases in communities affected by the earthquake. A total of 6,025 families and 96 community health volunteers participated in PHAST training.

PRC emergency earthquake response

In the wake of the tremor, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) was one of the first agencies to provide emergency response through rescue and transport of casualties in hospitals, first aid management, provision of food and necessary non-food items for displaced families in evacuation centers, clean water, health and hygiene promotion, and welfare assistance such as psychosocial support, guidance and counseling, tracing and restoration of family links, and referrals.

The earthquake left 225 people dead, almost a thousand injured, thousands of people displaced, and damaged 73,000 structures including homes, buildings, roads, bridges, churches, air and sea ports, hospitals, and local government structures in both Cebu and Bohol.

Philippines: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (3 - 9 Mar 2015)

9 March 2015 - 5:39am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: China, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands


As of 5 Mar over 82,000 people are displaced due to continuing insecurity in the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao in Central Mindanao. This is an increase of about 12,100 people over the previous three days, according to the authorities of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). As of 4 Mar, over 64,000 people were staying in 48 evacuation centres across 12 municipalities, while others were hosted by relatives and friends. The situation along the border of the two provinces has stabilised.

82,000 people displaced

48 evacuation centres

On 5 Mar, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of the ARMM led a Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis in the affected municipalities with the support of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team. Findings of the assessment mission will be shared in due course.

Local and national authorities with support of UN agencies, ICRC and NGO partners continue to assist the displaced families through provision of food, NFIs, WASH and health assistance and are pre-positioning additional relief goods.1


Fighting continues between the Government of Myanmar Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and other armed groups in the Kokang self-administered zone, northeast Shan State. Due to insecurity, lack of access and continuing conflict, the number of people displaced to China and within Myanmar is difficult to verify. Chinese media has reported 30,000 people crossing into China, while some 13,000 people are estimated to have fled the Kokang region to other parts of Myanmar, according to local authorities. Those displaced in China or within Myanmar were provided with assistance. Assistance was provided by local authorities to those displaced in China and for internally displaced in Myanmar,
Myanmar Red Cross Society and local civil society organizations.2


Heavy rainfall on 3 Mar caused river overflows in the provinces of Western Highlands, Central Highlands, Southern Highlands and Jiwaka.
As of 4 Mar, local authorities and local media report six people killed in the village of Polga in Jiwaka province, while a number of houses were destroyed throughout the affected area. In total, about 100,000 people were affected by the rainfall and floods.3

6 people killed

100,000 people affected

On 9 Mar, the National Weather Service issued strong weather warnings for areas south of Port Moresby. This system is responsible for continuous rain and gale force winds in the southern region from Daru to Samarai.4

SOUTH PACIFIC A severe tropical depression located north of Vanuatu and east of Solomon Islands is rapidly intensifying. Weather models predict it is likely to track southeastward and reach tropical cyclone category by the evening of 9 Mar after which it will be named Tropical Cyclone Pam.

As of 9 Mar, the Solomon Islands are experiencing heavy rains on the outer islands. The National Disaster Operations Centre reports that 38 people were evacuated in Malaita province and several houses and a bridge have also been submerged.

A response preparedness meeting with the Pacific Humanitarian Team was held on 9 Mar and partners are on stand-by to deploy.5

Other ongoing emergencies:

Philippines: Zamboanga crisis
Myanmar: Rakhine crisis
Myanmar: Kachin crisis

Philippines: Gov’t-CSO tie-up project helps restore civil docs of ‘Yolanda’ survivors

8 March 2015 - 4:20pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Tacloban City, Leyte – Some 2,110 partner-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from the provinces of Samar, Leyte, and Eastern Samar received a free copy of their live birth registration certificate last February 23, 2015.

In a Civil Society Organization (CSO)-led conference on Civil Registration held recently at the Ritz Tower de Leyte, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman commended the group behind the Mobile Civil Registration Project for helping Typhoon Yolanda survivors recover and reconstruct their civil records which were lost or damaged by the typhoon.

The project, which was launched in April 2014 and is still ongoing, is spearheaded by the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Legal Services (IDEALS) in partnership with the DSWD; Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); 20 local Civil Registrar’s Office of Leyte, Samar, and Eastern Samar; and various CSOs such as Plan International and Save the Children International.

“This project is essential because you are providing the beneficiaries with vital documents that would establish their identity and entitlement to their rights and privileges. Without the birth certificate, you can’t have the death certificate and your right to anything from the government or from anyone,” Sec. Soliman explained.

The project has two phases. Phase I, which is undertaken by the UNDP as lead CSO partner, has targeted to restore 83,790 civil registry documents of ‘Yolanda’ survivors in Eastern Visayas. To date, a total of 126,078 documents have been reconstructed.

Of this, around 8,000 documents belong to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

On the other hand, a total of 10,061 legal documents were produced for some 3,723 households. This resulted in an estimated aggregate sum of P30.71 million worth of benefits accessed by the beneficiaries.

For Phase II, which is implemented by UNICEF as CSO partner, a total of 43,266 civil registry documents were submitted to the local civil registrar’s offices, while 6,000 legal documents of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries were facilitated.

Sec. Soliman added that civil registration does not just go beyond identifying people, but it also facilitates access to social and child protection programs and services.

She also cited the importance of civil documents especially for the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya.

“To help identify our Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, among the documents that we need are birth and marriage certificates,” the Secretary continued.

The Secretary expressed optimism that this initiative will continue until all Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, whose documents were destroyed during the typhoon, will be provided with a copy of their civil registry documents.

For his part, IDEALS Executive Director Egad Ligon said, “Since 2013 we have been trying to help disaster survivors to reconstruct or register their civil records and obtain copies of their birth or marriage certificates or the death certificates of their relatives.”

He added that they have already assisted around 120,000 ‘Yolanda’ survivors since 2013 and that they are targeting to assist another 120,000 survivors for this phase.

Philippines: Philippines - Manila Fire Incident (MDRPH017): DREF Operation 1

8 March 2015 - 3:54am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Several fires broke out in the densely-populated Parola compound in Tondo, Manila on 2 March 2015. The worst of these reached general alarm (the highest level) before being declared under control by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and finally out in the early hours of 3 March. The Bureau of Fire Protection, together with local authorities and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) are currently assessing the damage caused by these fires.

As of 5 March, the Social Welfare Department of Manila City estimates almost 10,000 families (50,000 people) are affected, with more than 800 houses totally destroyed and some 200 suffering extensive damage. Latest reports indicated some 5,000 families (25,000 people) are being housed in six evacuation centres. No casualties due to the fire have been reported. The situation in Tondo, however, demonstrates how urban poverty and disaster risk are closely intertwined. Tondo is a shanty community where most houses are made of light materials; most of the fire cases reported are due to faulty electrical wiring in slum communities – usually caused by illegal power connections.

The month of March is generally hot and dry, traditionally the “fire season” in the Philippines, and is declared Fire Prevention Month. According to the Bureau of Fire Protection, a total of 2,277 fire incidents have been reported nationwide since January 2015, with 23 fire incidents reported on 1-3 March 2015 alone. In Manila itself, over 615 fire incidents have been reported since the beginning of 2015.

Responding to the fire, PRC has deployed two staff members, 20 volunteers and 11 disaster response teams to the affected sites. A water tanker from the PRC National Headquarters (NHQ) was also deployed together with an emergency medical team to support government efforts in putting out the fire and providing essential medical and/or ambulance services to those affected. PRC also continues to provide a range of welfare services to affected people in evacuation centres.

Red Cross chapters around Metro Manila have been responding to scores of people affected by fires since the beginning of the year, with three chapters responding to the current situation. While this is only the beginning of March, resources are already being stretched, and it is impossible to predict the size and intensity of potential fire incidences and the magnitude to which these will affect people, especially urban dwellers in informal residences. It is in this context that PRC has requested for support from the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to enable the delivery of immediate relief assistance to affected families, including food and non-food items such as blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and jerry cans as well as hygiene kits.

Planning for the response has been coordinated with the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO). Under this response PRC will deliver food assistance to 1,800 families and non-food relief to 900 families. Priority will be on families that have lost all or most of their possessions, and currently in evacuation centres.

Philippines: Rebels sign up to vote as Philippines moves to save peace pact

7 March 2015 - 2:22am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Sultan Kudarat, Philippines | | Saturday 3/7/2015 - 06:00 GMT

Hundreds of Muslim rebels lined up in the Philippines Saturday to register as voters, keeping faith with a 2014 peace pact that was thrown into doubt after 44 policemen were killed in a botched terror raid.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, unarmed and wearing civilian clothes, had their photographs and fingerprints taken at a government building in the southern town of Sultan Kudarat to qualify for voter identification cards.

"They are all very eager to take part," Von al Haq, spokesman for the 10,000-member MILF's military wing told AFP.

Some would be voting for the first time, he added.

"This is part of our preparations to lead our own government," he said, referring to a March 2014 agreement in which the MILF committed to end an armed rebellion that has claimed 120,000 lives.

As part of the deal, the MILF is to disarm and President Benigno Aquino is set to legislate an area of Muslim self-rule.

Rey Sumalipao, regional head of the government's Commission on Elections, told AFP he expects about 1,500 members to register within the day to allow them to vote in national and local elections.

Other MILF members are expected to apply later, he added.

Muslim rebels have been battling for independence or autonomy in the southern islands of the mainly Catholic Philippines since the 1970s.

The peace process was thrown into doubt on January 25 when MILF forces and other armed groups ambushed police commandos going after Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, one of the world's most wanted Islamic militants.

The fighting left 44 policemen dead and sparked a public backlash, causing parliament to suspend debates on the proposed self-rule law.

The MILF returned some of the dead commandos' weapons and pledged to go after other militants sought by the Philippine courts, but rejected Aquino's demand that it surrender those who took part in killings.

Rebel leaders said they would impose their own sanctions on those found at fault.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have since said they will resume discussions on the bill that they said would likely pass by mid-June.

Al Haq, the MILF spokesman, said Saturday the high rebel turnout was proof they remained committed to the peace process.

"We're very confident that the peace process will continue," said Al Haq, adding he last voted in 1986 before becoming a full-time guerrilla.


© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

World: Community-led partnerships for resilience

6 March 2015 - 5:55pm
Source: World Bank, GFDRR Country: Brazil, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, Uganda, World


Why community-led partnerships matter

Recurring large-scale disasters coupled with smaller localized events and changing weather patterns call for strategies that effectively address local impacts of natural hazards and climate change. In recent years, policymakers and civil society organizations have noted that national legislation, policies and programs in place to advance disaster and climate resilience have not yielded results at local levels,1 particularly for communities that already suffer from structural inequalities and marginalization. Experience has shown that governments need the collaboration of local communities who live and work in hazard prone areas to ensure that proposed solutions strengthen the resilience of rural and urban poor communities that are most adversely affected by natural hazards and a changing climate.

Yet many policymakers are unaware that community-driven initiatives are already underway addressing the needs of impoverished, marginalized communities in the face of disaster and climate change. These initiatives have built multi-stakeholder partnerships with local and national governments, universities, researchers and the private sector. When successful, the results invariably benefit all concerned. National and local governments are able to design and deliver effective programs that fulfill their commitments to marginalized populations, as community partnerships help ground government policies and practice in local realities. At the same time, communities driving local action benefit by gaining access to public resources, technical training, and decision-making processes to scale up and sustain their initiatives, equipping them to better withstand the potentially devastating effects of disasters. In addition, partnerships are transforming relationships between communities and other stakeholders, recognizing communities as active agents, citizens, constituents, and stakeholders who have knowledge, experience, and capacities to contribute to problem-solving. Most importantly these partnerships are precedent-setting, demonstrating that reducing the impacts of disasters and climate change requires new kinds of collaborative strategies in which communities must play a central role.

Philippines: Red Cross completes 411 core shelters

6 March 2015 - 9:59am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, March 5 (PIA6) – Four hundred eleven core shelter units have been completed by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) as of Feb. 27 out of the 2,232 house construction target in view of its ongoing Typhoon Yolanda Recovery Phase assistance to identified sites in the province.

Tropical Storm (TS) Yolanda Operation Reporting Officer Alfred Dave See said that the completed units worth P105,000.00 each were already turned over to the beneficiaries as these are ready for occupancy.

“Construction of 126 more housing units is underway,” he noted, adding that building of additional batch of core shelters will commence this month.

The PRC’s shelter assistance with a total budget of P278,460,000.00 is for identified beneficiaries in the barangays of Panay, Dumalag, Dumarao, Panit-an, Dao, Ivisan and Tapaz towns.

The operation has also extended Shelter Repair Assistance to 4,658 households affected by the supertyphoon in November 2013.

A ceremonial hand over of 32 housing units by PRC to identified beneficiaries in Brgy. Capagao in Panit-an town last Nov. 8, 2014 marked the first anniversary of the devastation.

Aside from the housing assistance, the operation has also focus on livelihood support, water and sanitation, health facilities, rehabilitation and construction of classrooms, distribution of school kits and conduct of Community Based Health and First Aid sessions, among others. (JSC/AAL-PIA6 Capiz)

Philippines: More Filipinos pushed into poverty by Haiyan, high rice prices

6 March 2015 - 8:56am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | | Friday 3/6/2015 - 12:47 GMT | 304 words

Super typhoon Haiyan and surging rice prices pushed the number of Filipinos living in poverty to 25.8 percent in the first half of last year despite strong economic growth, official data released Friday showed.

The 1.2 percent rise was compared to the 24.6 percent of people in the Philippines who were considered poor a year earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a statement.

The increase followed Haiyan which struck in November 2013, killing more than 7,350 people and ravaging an area as big as Portugal in the nation of around 100 million people.

The government agency deemed a family of five who lived off 8,778 pesos ($199.3) a month -- roughly $1.33 per person a day -- to be poor.

Nevertheless the Philippines, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies, saw the average income of Filipinos rise by 6.4 percent in the first six months of 2014, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in the statement.

"The very high prices of food wiped out the gains in per capita income," he added.

The areas ravaged by Haiyan saw the most substantial jumps in poverty levels, he said.

Notwithstanding the ravages of Haiyan, the Philippine economy expanded by 6.1 percent last year, second only to China among Asian economies according to the government.

The biggest rises in per capita income, percentage-wise, occurred amongst the poorest sections of the Philippines during this period, Balisacan said.

However, the domestic price of rice, the staple cereal that accounts for 20 percent of the budget of low-income families, also shot up by 11.9 percent, he said.

Lean harvests and less imports were to blame, pushing up the inflation rate and eroding per capita income gains, he added.

The government is forecasting growth of between 7-8 percent this year, raising hopes it would make further inroads on reducing poverty.


© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: NDRRMC SitRep No.1 Internally Displaced Persons due to Series of Armed Conflicts in Mindanao

6 March 2015 - 4:10am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines


  • At 5:45 PM, 09 February 2015, a Rido incident between Nayang Timan and Giman Saligan broke out at Sito Tatak, Kalbugan, Pagalungan, Maguindanao. On February 19, 2015, the incident has escalated and affected Barangays Darampua and Masulot, Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao

  • On February 27, 2015, at 8:00 AM, a joint operation was conducted by PNP, Philippine Army and Philippine Marines against BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) in the Municipality of Datu Unsay

Philippines: Capiceños thank Japan gov’t. for help

6 March 2015 - 12:20am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Japan, Philippines

Jemin B. Guillermo

ROXAS CITY, Capiz, March 5 (PIA6) – Capiceños are grateful to the Japanese government for the continued help to supertyphoon Yolanda-affected residents in the area.

Panay mayor Dante Bermejo said that they are very thankful to the government of Japan for the various assistance to his people who were among the victims of typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

He said that the Japan government through the Japan Heart was the first to respond to his town in the aftermath of said devastating typhoon that displaced many of his residents.

“Aside from the Japan Heart, several other Japanese organizations have likewise extended their help to us particularly in providing livelihood opportunities for the coastal and island residents,” he said.

Bermejo added that the Japanese government has likewise partnered with the UN Habitat and Department of Social Welfare and Development in the construction of 70 houses.

He also expressed his appreciation to the said government for positively responding to their request for food for work program in the area.

The Japan government through its Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries donated to Panay town a total of 175.11 metric tons of rice for the identified 5,837 families in the area for the food for work program.

The donation to said municipality is part of the 580.08 metric tons of rice donation for victims of Yolanda in Carles, Iloilo and Balete, Aklan.

The rice donation, for which Panay is the only recipient in Capiz, was made through the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) for the Tier 3 program.

Bermejo said that each beneficiary is given a total of 30 kilograms of rice after rendering five days works such as clean-up and clearing activity in the barangay roads and highways as well as dredging of canals and drainage.

The turnover of rice donation, March 5, in Panay town was personally attended by APTERR General Manager Wiroj Saengbangka, MAFF-Japan Director General Akira Karasawa, Japan Embassy in the Philippines First Secretary Ryutaro Aoki and other Japan officials.

Also present were top officials of the National Food Authority led by Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina and NFA Assistant Administrator Joseph Dela Cruz, representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as representatives from the provincial governments of Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz. (JSC/JBG-PIA6 Capiz)

Philippines: ERC opens 4 schools in Samar, Philippines

5 March 2015 - 10:20pm
Source: Emirates News Agency Country: Philippines

SAMAR, 5th March, 2015 (WAM) – The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) delegation headed by Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouei, ERC's Chairman of the Board of Directors, today opened four schools in the South of Samar Province in the Philippines.

The event is in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan regarding provisions of humanitarian assistance at a value of US$10 million for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Governor of Western Samar Sharee Ann Tan, Governor of Eastern Samar Conrado B. Nicart and the UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Moosa Abdulwahid Alkhajah were present. The number of reconstructed and revamped schools by ERC has reached 10.

The opening of the schools is seen in the framework of the ERC's efforts to follow up on the latest developments regarding the conditions of the victims of the typhoon and to be briefed on the results of the exerted efforts of a number of relief organisations in the Philippines.

At the conclusion of the event, Filipino officials hosted a reception in honour of the ERC delegation.

Al Mazrouei expressed his happiness at the end of the first phase of the relief programme in Philippines, adding, "I cannot but express my happiness, as I feel proud that the ERC team has contributed positively in building the Island, and I extend my thanks for your efforts which drew joy from the parents and children."


Philippines: Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) - North Cotabato and Maguindanao

5 March 2015 - 5:22am
Source: International Organization for Migration, CCCM Cluster Country: Philippines


Since February 04, thousands of civilians from Barangays Buliok, Kalbugan, and Bagoinged, in the municipality of Pagalungan, Maguindanao and Kabasalan, Rajah Muda, Bulol, Buliok and Barungis in the municipality of Pikit, North Cotabato have fled their homes due to intense armed clashes between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). According to reports shared by Municipal Social Welfare and Development offices of Pikit, Pagalungan, Sultan sa Barongis and ARMM-HEART, a total of 72,833 displaced persons have taken temporary shelter in evacuation centers and host communities (home-based) as of March 2, 2015.
In close coordination with the local government units, IOM Cotabato has conducted assessment missions in the affected sites to identify the most pressing needs and concerns of the IDPs for possible response and referrals. To date, IOM Cotabato has assessed seven sites (four in Pikit, North Cotabato and three in Pagalungan, Maguindanao).