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Philippines: Rebuilding lives and livelihoods two years on from Typhoon Haiyan

3 November 2015 - 11:10am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By Kate Marshall, IFRC

When Typhoon Haiyan tore through central Philippines two years ago, the livelihoods of thousands of people were severely affected. Farmers lost their crops and livestock, small businesses were destroyed and in some cases local markets collapsed.

Prior to the typhoon making landfall, poverty levels in parts of the Visayas were high, with most people relying on agriculture or small-scale commerce as their primary income source.

Restoring the livelihoods of vulnerable people has been one of the biggest success stories in the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan recovery operation. In the past two years cash distributions have helped over 150,000 households to get back on their feet.

Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon says: ‘We are happy to see people rise above the storm, and pleased for those whose lives we have improved by creating different kinds of opportunities for them.’

Under the Haiyan recovery operation, households receive up to $220 to support their chosen income-generation activity. While the majority choose to restock lost assets such as livestock or seeds to grow crops, a small but growing number are converting hobbies or existing skills into small businesses.

Livelihood support to Haiyan survivors goes beyond cash grants. Community-managed livelihood grants are also being provided. They give people from the same village the ability to enhance existing skills or diversify into a new enterprise that benefits all the residents. Community grants have been used to fund a variety of projects including a rice mill, a mangrove replanting project, construction of an artificial reef for fish breeding, a water refilling station and a pineapple plantation.

The Lumaynay Pineapple Plantation Association in Aklan is a group of mainly landless labourers from an upland area who decided to pool their resources to improve their income. The association received the equivalent of about $4,000 from the Red Cross to grow a special variety of pineapple whose fibre is used to make high quality fabric. The grant covers training, equipment and seedlings. The profit will be split between association members, with about a third being ploughed back into the business.

President Michelle Narte was the driving force behind the project.

‘Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed all our crops so we had to think of ways of having a sustainable income,’ she says. ‘It makes sense for us to join together and grow a crop that will be made into something special that is part of our heritage.’

Philippine Red Cross, supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is offering skills training at partner vocational institutes to young people whose mainly low-income, rural families cannot afford to put them through college. This program has been expanded to fund more than 1,100 places. To date nearly half have completed their training and are looking for employment, mostly in growth sectors such as hospitality, catering, welding and engineering.

Sim Billiones, from Capiz, was offered a job at a top hotel in the provincial capital, Roxas, before he had even graduated.

‘I didn’t want to work on the farm,’ he says. ‘At the hotel I’m applying the basics I learned in the course and now I’m helping out when there are banquets and weddings. It’s hard work but I am helping to support my family.’

Sim’s proud mother Nelly says what he contributes from his small salary is helping pay the bills and put his twin brother Sam through school. Meanwhile, dad Romeo and mum Nelly are also able to buy and fatten up pigs and breed ducklings.

Philippines: Staying Afloat

3 November 2015 - 3:51am
Source: Community and Family Services International Country: Philippines

The return to their former livelihoods has always been one of the major milestones aspired by the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the Zamboanga siege. For 21 IDP seaweed farmers, this aspiration became reality, as they were able to resume their seaweed planting activities thus taking a great leap towards the rebuilding of their lives.

“Agar-agar talaga ang kinabubuhay namin, noon pa bago mag-giyera (Seaweed planting has always been our main source of livelihood, even before the siege),” recalls Bensadar Talanghati, an IDP currently living in a transitory site in Barangay Taluksangay, Zamboanga City. “Pero nung nag-giyera na, lahat ng kabuhayan namin ay nawala. Hindi na kami nakabalik sa pagtatanim ng agar-agar kasi kahit may lugar, wala naman kaming capital para makapagsimula ulit. (But when the siege broke out, we lost all of our livelihood. We were not able to return to seaweed farming because even if we had a place, we didn’t have enough capital to start over).”

Bensadar is only one of the several IDPs who are now part of the livelihood component of the Zamboanga Recovery Project (ZRP). He, together with 20 others from the Taluksangay transitory, submitted livelihood proposals on seaweed farming and later had the opportunity to meet with CFSI’s Director for Philippine Programme, Vlad Hernandez on the 18 September 2015. The meeting allowed them to share their insights on how they want to go about or proceed with this livelihood venture.

During his time with the IDP seaweed farmers, Vlad shared his thoughts with them on how seaweed farming can further be explored as a lucrative livelihood venture, especially if and when the farmers choose to group together and form an organization.

“It’s amazing, they are interested to form an organization as seaweed farmers,” says Vlad. “I reiterated that before grouping together, they should first find a purpose for the organization, as that’s where the success of their livelihood will stem from.”

The seaweed farmers also shared with Vlad other potential activities that can be used to supplement the earnings of seaweed planting. “It takes 3 months to complete a cycle of seaweed farming – from planting the seedlings to harvesting,” Vlad continues. “It may be good that the farmers also look into producing seaweed seedlings, which they can use for the next cycle, or as a supplemental source of income, since they can sell these to other farmers in need.”

As for Bensadar, who has been driving a pedicab to support his family’s needs, the return to seaweed farming is more than just an opportunity; he sees it as a second choice in life. “Dito ako magpupundar, dahil ito ang nakagisnan kong kabuhayan (This [seaweed farming] is where I will persevere, since this is the kind of livelihood I grew up with),” he says. “Patuloy parin akong magpepedicab, pero itong pag-aagar-agar ang magiging pantustos sa kinabukasan ng pamilya ko (I will continue to drive a pedicab, but seaweed farming will always serve as the key to securing my family’s future.)”

Seaweed farming is one among the many livelihood grants provided by CFSI under the ZRP. Other livelihood grants include farms, sari-sari stores, fishing boats, and pedicabs. Exactly last week, on 27 October 2015, CFSI had its ceremonial handover of the first batch of livelihood grants in Barangay Taluksangay.

– Fae Cheska Esperas

Philippines: DTI offers Diskwento Caravan for Sta. Fe typhoon victims

2 November 2015 - 8:43pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Ben Moses Ebreo

STA. FE, Nueva Vizcaya, Nov. 2 (PIA) – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here recently conducted a Diskwento Caravan in this town to help typhoon victims avail of low-priced products.

The caravan which carried the theme Bagsak Presyo para sa mga Nasalanta ni Bagyong Lando” provided opportunities for the town villagers in buying basic and prime commodities at discounted low prices and seven product exhibitors in selling their products.

Ruben Diciano, DTI provincial director said the caravan was participated by product exhibitors namely: Savemore, Jade’s General Merchandise, Pandayan Bookshop, HBC, INc., Hydie Harrison Pasalubong and the National Food Authority(NFA).

He said the activity generated more than P75,000.00 total sales from 891 registered buyers.

“The exhibitors also provided freebies, discounts from 20 to 50 percent, buy one take one and three for 250 promos,” Diciano said.

The Diskwento Caravan which aims to allow consumers in accessing low cost and quality standard basic and prime commodities, school supplies and other local goods was supported by the local government unit. (ALM/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)

Philippines: Breast milk substitute donations discouraged in emergencies

2 November 2015 - 8:37pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, November 2 (PIA) – Local breast milk advocates remind the public of the milk code provision which specifically prohibits donation of breast milk substitutes, including infant formula and milk supplements’ even during emergencies.

This was reiterated by the National Nutrition Council during the conduct of the Nutrition in Emergencies (NiE) training workshop held in Cagayan de Oro city on 19-23 October 2015.

DOH NiE manual cites infants and children as among the most vulnerable victims of natural or human-induced emergencies, and that interrupted breastfeeding, and inappropriate complementary feeding heighten the risk to malnutrition, illness and mortality.

To prevent this, the nutrition cluster is tasked to institute immediate intervention during emergencies by providing adequate breastfeeding supplements, support to malnourished mothers/children, and other appropriate health services.

The Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) local support group will likewise be deployed to establish lactation rooms/corners, ensuring easy and secure access for caregivers to water and sanitation facilities.

Basic support in stimulating breast to continue producing milk, expressing milk by hand, breastfeeding supplementation, as well as, breast milk stimulation technique for female volunteers will be extended.

Infants who have never been breastfed or stopped breastfeeding would always be considered to try breastfeeding or relactation especially when resources to safely managed artificial feeding are limited.

NNC noted that uncontrolled distribution of breast milk substitute in evacuation centers can lead to early and unnecessary cessation of breastfeeding.

Meanwhile, children aging six months above especially those identified as moderately and severely undernourished are given ready to use therapeutic foods (RUTF), Fortified Blended Foods (FBFs) and micronutrient powders. (JCV/PIA)

Philippines: Antique records 811 dengue cases

2 November 2015 - 8:31pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

SAN JOSE, Antique Nov. 3 (PIA) - - The Provincial Health Office (PHO) reported that a total of 811 dengue cases were recorded from January to October 17, this year.

“This is 98.77 percent higher compared to 408 cases in the same period in year 2014,” said Supervising Sanitary Inspector Tessie M. Vergara.

The municipality of Tobias Fornier was identified with the most number of cases recorded at 161, followed by San Jose with 149 cases; Sibalom- 121; Valderrama- 86; Caluya 68; and Hamtic with 62 cases.

The disease is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito that is infected with a dengue virus. Dengue fever is fatal and mainly affects children.

Vergara said that most of the cases recorded at 44 percent belong in the age group of 11-20 years old, and 34 percent of the cases affect 1-10 years old.

Majority of affected patients were males, and only one fatality was recorded from the Municipality of Caluya last June 7, 2015.

Vergara said that the Provincial Health is sustaining its campaign against dengue, and distributed 1,500 treated mosquito nets to different households with clustering of dengue cases.

The municipalities that were given treated mosquito nets include Tobias Fornier, Valderrama, Hamtic, Caluya and San Jose.

Veragara reminded the public that rain-water settles in tree-holes, gutters, cans, used tires, and many others where it serves as breeding ground for mosquitoes, “therefore we should always keep the surroundings clean in order to eliminate breeding sites and prevent the dengue-carrying mosquitoes from breeding.” (JCM/VWV/PIA Antique)

World: IASC | Alert, Early Warning and Readiness Report | Outlook Period November 2015 - April 2016

2 November 2015 - 4:36pm
Source: Inter-Agency Standing Committee Country: Afghanistan, Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, Vanuatu, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe


The IASC Alert, Early Warning and Readiness report is produced bi-annually as an inter-agency effort by the Task Team on Preparedness and Resilience (TTPR) for IASC member agencies. The report highlights serious risks that were either identified as being of particular strategic operational concern or as having a high probability and impact on humanitarian needs. In addition to collaboratively assembling the report, the report includes an analysis of the state of readiness, prepared by OCHA, which is compared against each risk.

The featured risks are divided into conflict and natural hazard risks and include a detailed risk analysis section followed by an associated preparedness analysis. The risk analysis assesses the risk’s drivers and projects trends while the preparedness analysis looks at the IASC system’s readiness level as well as national capacities to cope with identified risks. A health risk alert outlines the predominant polio, plague and cholera concerns in a separate section which was added in view of potential restrictions to the UN’s operational environment.

World: CrisisWatch N°147, 1 November 2015

2 November 2015 - 3:56pm
Source: International Crisis Group Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

October 2015 – Trends

  • Deteriorated situations
    Central African Republic, Israel/Palestine, Macedonia, Republic of Congo, South China Sea, Turkey

  • Improved situations

November 2015 – Watchlist
- Conflict risk alerts

  • Conflict resolution opportunities