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Philippines: DSWD targets zero tents in ‘Yolanda’ areas by year end

9 November 2014 - 2:29am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman vowed that all efforts are being exerted so that by December 30, none of the remaining survivors in all Yolanda-affected areas would be staying in tents and makeshifts.

In June 2014, there were still 3,219 families staying in tents and makeshift houses in Leyte and Samar. Now, majority of them have already been moved to safer transitional shelters.

Last week, Sec. Soliman visited Barangays 88, 89, and 90 in Tacloban City to check on the condition of families staying in tents.

During her visit, Sec. Soliman consulted the Chairmen of said barangays to discuss the residents’ transfer to transitional shelters.

DSWD in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been relocating the 138 families in Brgy. 88, in batches, to IPI and NHA bunkhouse communities, Badato Transitional Site, and to Villa Sophia Permanent Relocation Site. The transfers were done on October 30 and November 3. The last batch will be brought tomorrow,November 8.

On the other hand, there are still 257 families staying in tents in Brgys 89 and 90.

These families will be transferred to their on-site bunkhouses constructed by OXFAM and Green Mindanao by November 30.

Meanwhile, Sec. Soliman reported that there are no more families staying in tents in Giuian, Eastern Samar.

The 132 families who were previously in the tent city have been transferred to temporary shelters in Brgy.

Getty Hollywood in Cogon. Emilia Orgando’s family was among those who have recently moved to their new temporary shelter.

“Mas ligtas na kami sa kapahamakan dahil may ligtas na bahay na kami. Salamat sa tugon ng gobyerno (We are safer now because already have a house. Thanks to the response of the government),” she shared.

DSWD provided ‘pabaon packs’ to the families comprising of 25 kilos of rice, 6 canned goods, 8 cereal drinks, 6 sachets of coffee, and family and hygiene kits. ###

Philippines: P52-B released to 'Yolanda' victims since 2013; ABAD: Post-Yolanda rehab on the right track

8 November 2014 - 10:17pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Almost one year since Typhoon Yolanda first hit Visayas, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of P52 billion to support government relief and rehabilitation efforts in the provinces affected by the supertyphoon.

Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “The National Government has made great strides this past year to help the people affected by Typhoon Yolanda, especially in Leyte and Samar. On our part, we had to ensure there were enough funds to support the rescue and reconstruction efforts and that these funds were released as quickly as possible.”

The amount of P52 billion was sourced from the following: the 2012 Calamity Fund and Continuing Appropriations, the 2013 National Budget, the 2013 Calamity Fund and Continuing Appropriations, the P14.6B Supplemental Appropriations, the 2014 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF), the 2014 National Budget, and the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program, among other sources.

This amount was released to various national government agencies (NGAs), government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), and local government units (LGUs) to fund their respective relief and rehabilitation programs and projects. The funding was grouped according to the four Main Clusters as consolidated under the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (CRRP): infrastructure, social services, livelihood, and resettlement.

The biggest share (P6.06 billion) went to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to augment its Quick Response Fund (QRF) and to support its feeding program. The Department of Education (DepEd) had the second biggest allocation with P4.96 billion for the repair of classrooms and the allocation of new school seats (though this amount also included requirements for the Bohol earthquake).

On the other hand, various municipalities in Iloilo, Cebu, and Leyte received a total of P36.8 million to help in the relief and rehabilitation of the communities in these areas.

“Though a lot of work still needs to be done in helping the Yolanda victims, we are on the right track with President Aquino recently signing the P167.9-billion rehabilitation master plan. This is our commitment to help the Yolanda-affected cities and municipalities not only to rebuild but to build back better,” said Abad.

Yolanda, recorded as the strongest typhoon in recent history, had swept through the Philippines on November 2013. With a speed of more than 300 km/h, the supertyphoon caused massive destruction in Regions IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and Caraga. According to the DSWD, it affected almost 1.47 million families with 918,261 displaced from their homes. The overall number of reported damaged houses was 1.17 million.

Philippines: Canada Marks One-Year Anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan

8 November 2014 - 9:30pm
Source: Government of Canada Country: Canada, Philippines

Government of Canada committed to improving the well-being of people affected by the devastating storm

November 8, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance, alongside Senator Tobias C. Enverga Jr., marked the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan making landfall in the Philippines on November 8, 2013. They were joined by Her Excellency Petronila P. Garcia, Philippine Ambassador to Canada, members of the local Filipino-Canadian community and Patrick Brown, Member of Parliament for Barrie.

Minister Oliver also announced, on behalf of Minister Paradis, the Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction Assistance Call for Proposals. This call for proposals, valued at up to $20.6 million over a period of four years, is designed to help restore the livelihoods of people in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan. It forms part of the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund through which the Government of Canada matched the $85 million in eligible donations made by individual Canadians.

“On this one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, we pay tribute to the resilience of the people in the Philippines affected by the storm, the work of our partners and the generosity of Canadians,’’ said Minister Oliver. “Our relationship with the Philippines and the Filipino-Canadian community is long and strong, and we will continue our support to help build a better future for the people of that country.”

Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. It devastated large parts of the Philippines. It is one of the deadliest typhoons on record in that country, causing more than 6,000 deaths and affecting 16 million people.

From the very beginning, Canada has played a leading role in the global response to the impact of the typhoon by providing significant humanitarian assistance to meet the immediate and early recovery needs of affected people and by deploying a number of experts from various Government of Canada departments to support a broad range of critical needs faced by the Filipino authorities.

“Last year I saw first-hand the resolve and the determination of the people of the Philippines to overcome the crisis, as well as the compassion and dedication shown by Canadian humanitarian workers who went to the Philippines to help those in the worst of circumstances,” said Minister Paradis. “Canadians feel strongly about helping to support communities affected by natural disasters and other emergencies abroad. We will always stand at the ready to provide humanitarian assistance to people who need it.”

Quick Facts

  • When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on November 8, 2013, Canada was already putting in place a rapid, lifesaving, whole-of-government response working closely with the Filipino-Canadian community, humanitarian partners and the Government of the Philippines.

  • On November 10, 2013, Canada established the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund, through which more than $85 million in eligible donations by individual Canadians were matched by the Government of Canada

  • Canada also sent relief supplies such as tents, blankets, water purification tablets, shelter kits, and other essential items from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s emergency stockpile.

  • Elements of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) were also deployed to support relief efforts by providing clean water, medical assistance and logistical support, including addressing pressing needs on Panay Island.

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada also expedited the processing of immigration applications for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan who had applied before the tragedy. By September 2014, nearly 2,100 applications had been approved after being expedited as part of the special immigration measures.

  • In 2014, the Philippines was confirmed as a country of focus for the Government of Canada’s international development efforts.

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Philippines: Access to RH Services Better in Yolanda Areas, Needs to be Sustained

8 November 2014 - 4:24pm
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Philippines

November 8, 2014

Progress in restoring access to reproductive health services following the massive destruction of facilities caused by Typhoon Yolanda has been remarkable but efforts should be sustained as communities move toward full recovery.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, acknowledged the strong commitment and support of the Department of Health and other humanitarian partners in the efforts to quickly restore health services in the Yolanda-affected areas.

The DOH said 432 health facilities were damaged by the typhoon and some P1.4 billion will be needed to complete the repair and reconstruction. One year after Yolanda, 40 per cent of these facilities have been rehabilitated and are back in operations.

UNFPA underscored the prioritization of barangay health stations and rural health units that also serve as birthing centers in communities. About 70 per cent of health facilities damaged by the typhoon were BHSs, while 25 per cent were RHUs. These facilities play crucial role in the delivery of health services because they are most accessible to communities.

“Following the typhoon, we have seen pregnant women giving birth on the wayside and in unsanitary conditions. In the province of Capiz alone, the provincial health office reported two maternal deaths after the typhoon,” said UNFPA Philippines Country Representative Klaus Beck. Both cases were due to postpartum hemorrhage compounded by limited access to emergency obstetric care as the typhoon damaged health facilities.

Mr. Beck said these cases clearly demonstrate the urgency of restoring life-saving reproductive health services immediately after a disaster.

Approximately 250,000 pregnant women were affected by the typhoon and about 1,000 childbirths were expected daily, with 150 to experience potentially life-threatening complications.

With the help of local partners, UNFPA conducted 206 reproductive health medical missions in 22 priority areas in the provinces of Leyte, Eastern Samar, Capiz and Iloilo. These outreach missions provided maternal care to 23,028 pregnant women and mothers who have just given birth in the six months prior to the typhoon.

With birthing centers severely damaged by the typhoon and major hospitals having limited capacity to treat obstetric complications, UNFPA set up an Emergency Maternity Unit in Palo, Leyte to complement local capacities to provide safe and clean deliveries. The EMU is basically a maternity hospital built from containers and was used mainly for Caesarean section deliveries.

UNFPA also reached out to close to 20,000 adolescents and youth with information sessions that focused on building their life skills amidst the tragedy. In many humanitarian situations, the disruption in young people’s normal way of life could lead them to high-risk behaviours such as alcoholism, drugs and unsafe sexual behaviours that could result to unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Mr. Beck emphasized the need to sustain and strengthen programmes for adolescent reproductive health. “As we transition to the recovery phase of the Yolanda tragedy, we need to continue nurturing our young people so they can mature into responsible adults,” he said.

To support restoration of health services, reproductive health kits ranging from medical equipment to medicines and supplies were donated to hospitals and community health centers. Fifteen van ambulances and 26 tricycle ambulances have been handed over to local government units and health facilities to support their emergency obstetric referral system. With funding from the Government of Japan, UNFPA is reconstructing 19 birthing centers in 15 municipalities affected by Yolanda.

UNFPA has mobilized some P322 million for the restoration of reproductive health services through the support of donors that include the Governments of Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Kuwait and Hungary, private sector donors Virgin Unite and Procter & Gamble Philippines, and the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund.

For more information, contact:
Arlene Calaguian Alano, Communication Officer, UNFPA Philippines Tel: +63 2 901 0306 / E-mail:

Philippines: One year after Typhoon Haiyan: building stronger, resilient communities

8 November 2014 - 3:59pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

MANILA, Philippines, 8 November 2014 – A year after Typhoon Haiyan left more than 6 million children in need of emergency assistance, UNICEF is helping build stronger more resilient communities that are better prepared for future disasters.

“We must sustain the gains made for children over the past year, and make communities resilient to future disasters,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative. “The area is prone to natural disasters. Our efforts must continue beyond the one-year mark, so that any future natural disaster does not result in the same level of damage and devastation.”

A year ago millions of children in the Philippines lost their homes, schools and loved ones. Typhoon Haiyan affected more than 14 million people, including four million who were left homeless. UNICEF responded immediately deploying emergency teams and supplies as well as essential health, protection, nutrition, education and water and sanitation support. Over the last year UNICEF has;

Provided 1.3 million people with access to clean water and 500,000 children with hygiene supplies at their schools.
Immunized more than 1.3 million children against measles.
Built more than 2,000 temporary learning spaces for more than 210,000 children and provided 620,000 children with school supplies.
Provided approximately 40,000 children with critical psychological support.
A year later, UNICEF’s work has shifted from emergency assistance to investments in longer-term activities to strengthen communities, such as;

Providing cash assistance to more than 15,000 vulnerable families to pay for basics like food, shelter, school fees and healthcare while rebuilding their lives.
Strengthening health care by rebuilding cold chains - the system used to safely distribute vaccines - with disaster resilient equipment in 150 health facilities.
Improving sanitation by building latrines and other sanitation infrastructure while working with communities to end open defecation.
UNICEF will continue to work with partners and alongside communities for as long as needed to rebuild and restore normal life for children and their families in the Philippines.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and it's work please visit

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For further information, please contact:
Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Philippines in Manila, Tel: +632 901 01 77, Mobile: +63 917 867 8366,
Marianna Zaichykova, Emergency Communication Specialist, UNICEF Philippines in Tacloban, Mobile: +63 917 5059130,

Philippines: Typhoon Yolanda, A Year Later: U.S. Embassy Manila Suports Filipino Resilience

7 November 2014 - 11:17pm
Source: US Department of State Country: Philippines

By Staff
Embassy of the U.S. Phippines

MANILA, Philippines, November 07, 2014 — On November 8, 2013 Typhoon Yolanda slammed into the Philippines leaving death, debris and broken lives in its wake. Within hours the U.S. Embassy, USAID, and U.S. armed forces, working with their Philippine partners were on their way bringing life and hope to the victims. The story of those events and of the hope that has returned to the areas ravaged by Yolanda can be seen on the U.S. Embassy’s YouTube channel: Typhoon Yolanda, A Year Later: U.S. Embassy Manila Supports Filipino Resilience:

At its peak, the U.S. military efforts included more than 13,400 military personnel, 66 aircraft (including 10 C-130s to augment the Armed Forces Philippines’ 3 aircraft along with 8 MV-22 Ospreys) and 12 naval vessels. The United States delivered more than 2,495 tons of relief supplies and evacuated over 21,000 people. More than 1,300 flights were completed in support of the relief efforts for Operation Damayan to approximately 450 sites.

The fast-acting bilateral teamwork between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military was possible because of the Visiting Forces Agreement. Other countries wanted to immediately respond to the Philippines’ call for help, but had to wait as their governments worked out legal agreements for their troops (foreign soldiers) to work in the Philippines.

The initial focus of U.S. relief efforts included aerial damage assessments of the islands, search and rescue missions, and the delivery of food, water and basic supplies to people displaced from their homes. By the seventh day of relief operations, the U.S. military delivered about 665,000 pounds of relief supplies provided by U.S. Agency for International Development. U.S. military aircraft logged nearly 650 flight hours, moved nearly 1,200 relief workers into Tacloban and airlifted almost 5,000 survivors away from typhoon-impacted areas. Eight days after the storm's landfall, a joint DOD-USAID- United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund team helped to rebuild Tacloban's municipal water system and restored water service, reaching an estimated 250,000 people.

Since last November, the United States government, through USAID, U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense, has provided assistance worth more than six point four billion pesos (PHP 6,425,217,370 or US $143 million) to help those affected by Typhoon Yolanda to rebuild their lives. The United States is one of the largest bilateral donors to support post typhoon recovery efforts. Whether this was temporary assistance with food, water and shelter, or long-term assistance with building new weather-resistant school and health buildings, training emergency responders, or integrating disaster preparedness into local school curriculum, the United States remains dedicated to the Philippines.

World: One Year after Typhoon Haiyan: Social Protection Reduces Vulnerabilities to Disaster and Climate Risks

7 November 2014 - 7:53pm
Source: World Bank Country: Philippines, World

Submitted by Mohamad Al-Arief

  • Countries can respond to natural disasters better and assist victims faster if social protection systems are in place
  • Social protection systems have a role in addressing the human side of disaster and climate risks.
  • Global collaboration on mitigating disaster and climate risk through social protection systems facilitates solutions

Social protection specialists, disaster risk managers, risk finance practitioners and climate change experts at the World Bank Group sat down together recently to discuss the role of social protection systems in addressing the human side of disaster and climate risks.

Together with government counterparts and donor partners, they extracted lessons and came out with a compelling message: countries can respond to natural disasters better and assist victims faster if robust social protection systems are in place.

One case in point was the story from the Philippines.

A year ago today, typhoon Haiyan–the strongest tropical storm ever to make landfall in history—wreaked havoc in the eastern part of the country. Millions of its citizens were affected. Many lives were lost, livelihoods shattered. Haiyan’s wrath was indiscriminate and left a path of destruction as far as the eyes can see.

After the storm passed, we met Heidi Condisiangco—a young housewife and mother of three in Cebu Province. Her family sought shelter under a dining table when her house was battered by strong winds and rains when the powerful Haiyan came ashore. The roof of her house was blown away. Heidi and her family had to rebuild her life back from the rubble.

One saving grace was the fact that Heidi was among the 3.9 beneficiary families of Philippine’s flagship conditional cash transfer called the Pantawid. Through this program—implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development—she was receiving monthly cash grants for sending her kids to school, undergoing regular health checks and attending Family Development Sessions, which had taught her to prepare for typhoon disasters, among other lessons.

With the loss of livelihood after the storm, the Pantawid program was modified so that payments were made, without conditions, to help support families like Heidi’s during their time of need. Humanitarian agencies used the same delivery mechanism to channel food and other support to affected families in the program.

We spoke with Philippine Secretary of Social Welfare and Development Corazon “Dinky” Soliman and she said, “In the first critical days after the disaster, it was the network of implementers of our Pantawid Conditional Cash Transfer Program and the leadership in municipalities that we were able to mobilize. The database of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction helped us in identifying families that could be enrolled for various rehabilitation programs, such as the cash-for-work and cash-for-asset rebuilding.”

Countries in Asia and the Pacific regions are amongst the most prone to disaster and climate risks - and these natural calamities have devastating impact on lives and livelihoods, especially for the poorest and the most vulnerable.

This week, the Government of the Philippines and the World Bank Group hosted the first ever global forum to capture this very lesson on how countries could better respond to natural disasters through robust social protection systems. The event, supported by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Rapid Social Response (RSR) Trust Fund, brought together experts and policy makers from 17 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific regions. Social protection systems have a big role to play in addressing the human side of disaster and climate risks. Having them in place before disaster strikes is critical to addressing livelihood losses with disaster.

In the case of the Philippines, established social protection programs can serve as a platform to quickly deliver assistance to the affected and vulnerable. Moreover, good practice has shown that programs that are built so that they can scale-up quickly after a disaster, such as in Ethiopia, hold great promise. There is also scope to design adaptive social protection systems that not only adapt to the onset of disasters but can also help communities to adapt to the onset of climate change. Moreover, new disaster risk financing approaches can play a key role in scaling up such social protection programs after disasters.

Heidi’s life might be far from perfect, but the fact that she had immediate access to assistance made a difference for her and her family. For us, this initiative is a testament of how the new World Bank Group should work: through the power of collaboration. Breaking down the silos and harnessing the brain trust across the various practices within the World Bank Group is a beautiful thing.

Philippines: British weather experts to help the Philippines prepare for disasters like Typhoon Haiyan

7 November 2014 - 3:46pm
Source: Department for International Development Country: Philippines, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

British expertise from the Met Office will help the Philippines better predict and prepare for natural disasters.

As the Philippines marks one year since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, the International Development Secretary has announced new UK support for the country’s long-term recovery.

A team of meteorologists and senior climate scientists from the Met Office will head to the Philippines to help develop their national weather centre, helping the country to better plan evacuations, put in place life-saving public warning services and build infrastructure that can withstand natural disasters.

Weather scientists from the Philippines will also be brought to the UK to be trained in how to use the supercomputers and sophisticated software behind the Met Office’s weather and climate prediction systems.

As well as this work with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the £9 million aid package will get small businesses back on their feet and help the country prepare for the financial costs of future disasters.

The total package includes:

  • funding to develop the Philippines’ weather centre (£820,000);
  • a contribution to an Asian Development Bank fund which will encourage lending to more than 160,000 micro-enterprises to help get small businesses, especially farmers and fishermen, back on their feet (£5 million); and
  • help for the Philippines to access catastrophe risk insurance so it can prepare for the financial costs of natural disasters (£3 million).

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

The UK was at the forefront of the international response to Typhoon Haiyan. One year on from the devastating typhoon the UK has not forgotten about the people of the Philippines. As communities there continue the process of rebuilding their lives, UK aid is making a difference. By sending a team of specialists from the Met Office we are offering the very best of British expertise and weather know-how to strengthen the Philippines’ resilience to future disasters. We are also helping restart vital fishing and farming industries so thousands of the poorest women-led households can get their livelihoods back. It will not happen overnight, but the sooner people can get back to work and get on with their lives the sooner the country as a whole can fully recover.

Notes to editors

Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever recorded at landfall, killing 6,190 people, damaging more than a million homes and wiping out roads, schools and hospitals. The UK was one of the leading responders with £77 million in humanitarian funding delivering lifesaving food, shelter and medicine.

This included:

  • matching the first £5 million donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal for the Philippines, ensuring leading charities had the resources to help victims of the typhoon and make the public’s generous donations go even further;
  • £8 million for the Rapid Response Facility so partners on the ground could provide crucial humanitarian aid, including temporary shelters, bedding, blankets and solar lanterns;
  • £8 million to fly vital supplies such as water purification kits and medical support, as well as teams of humanitarian and medical experts, to flood hit areas;
  • up to £9 million for the deployment of MOD assets HMS Daring, HMS Illustrious and RAF aircraft to the Philippines to support the aid effort;
  • the deployment of 21 NHS staff trained to operate under emergency conditions;
  • £30 million to support the UN and Red Cross emergency appeals for the Philippines; and,
  • up to £17 million additional funding to cover unmet needs and provide support for early recovery.

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Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan - One year later

7 November 2014 - 3:42pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines

Filipino farmers bounce back and build resilient livelihoods

7 November 2014, Rome/ Tacloban - One year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated coastal and farmland areas in the central Philippines, farmers and fishers are well on the road to recovery and building more resilient livelihoods.

FAO, in close collaboration with the government of the Philippines, is reaching out to communities in severely affected areas through some 22 projects across the MIMAROPA, Western, Central and Eastern Visayas regions.

"Farmers are the backbone of this recovery and the key to build community resilience to future disasters," said FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva on the eve of the one-year anniversary. "Their work now will ensure that when the next typhoon hits, the impacts are smaller and they are able to recover quicker," he added, having witnessed local rebuilding efforts first hand during a visit to affected areas in March of this year.

Typhoon Haiyan's record force decimated crop fields, orchards, fishing boats and gear - virtually all productive assets that rural and coastal families base their lives upon- causing losses to agriculture across the nine affected regions and threatening the nation's food security.

Within hours of the Typhoon making landfall around, 1.1 million tonnes of crops, 44 million coconut trees suffered severe damage, as did fishing communities along some of the country's most productive shores.

"With one-third of the country relying on the agriculture sector for their livelihood, it is crucial to get people back on their feet as quickly as possible and assist them in rebuilding their lives," said FAO Representative to the Philippines José Luis Fernandez, adding that "We need to start building people's ability to be self-reliant from day one."

Leveraging nearly $ 40 million in support from the international community, FAO and local authorities have been providing assistance to 150 000 farming and fishing families (some 750 000 people), in four critical areas of intervention: rice and corn farming, fisheries and coastal communities, coconut-based farming systems, and coastal/mangrove forest rehabilitation.

Rice farmers bounce back

In response to a request by the government of the Philippines, within weeks of the disaster, FAO began distributing rice production packages in time for the December/January planting season, enabling farmers to bring in their first crop without skipping one harvesting season. These rice farmers have already sown their fields for the second time with the certified rice seed and are now harvesting the second time since the typhoon.

"Farmers have been key responders in this emergency", Fernandez underscored. "We helped them source seed to plant in time. They, in turn, filled local markets with rice four months later. Without their perseverance, food aid and other forms of humanitarian assistance would have been required much longer and for many more people."

Since December, FAO has provided some 100 000 rice and corn farming households (some 500 000 people) with certified rice seed, corn seed, fertilizer and hand tools.

In order to further build resilience and make accessing markets easier, FAO is providing water- and-pest-resistant storage containers to protect farmers' seeds, along with drying nets and post-harvest equipment, and is training farmers in how to reduce post-harvest losses.

Looking at the future: Improving sustainable practices

With an estimated 30 000 small-scale fishing boats lost, damaged or destroyed, nearly two-thirds of fishing communities lost their productive assets. FAO is working closely with local authorities to restore fisheries-related livelihoods while paving the way for more sustainable development.

"The rehabilitation process of the fisheries sector, presents the opportunity to introduce improved practices and help small-scale traders and fish processors add more value to their production," said Fernandez.

Because mangroves play a key role in stabilising coastlines against weather shocks and contribute to aquaculture and fisheries, FAO is working with local communities and organizations to promote the rehabilitation of natural mangrove forests.

Women, who are essential to post-harvesting activities like conserving, selling and trading fish, are being trained how to add extra value to their products.

FAO and partners are also training boat builders on the construction and maintenance of a newly developed hybrid wood-and-fibreglass boat, which will provide a more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective option for fishers. This is being complemented by the distribution of various inputs, such as boat engines, fishing gear, seaweed and fish production kits.

In all, the fisheries programme is extending support to 19 000 families in the target regions, which benefits some 95 000 people.

Beyond coconuts

Given that newly planted coconut trees take an average of six to eight years to be ready for harvest, support to coconut farmers has focused on providing affected families with alternative sources of livelihood.

"Diversifying sources of income also gives families an added buffer against future shocks," Fernandez noted.

FAO has been providing agricultural inputs like vegetable seeds, root and fruit crops, as well as livestock such as poultry and cows, which will also help families enrich and diversify their diet.

"Almost all of our animals perished from the typhoon. We have not started raising animals yet, but this assistance from FAO is crucial in allowing us to restart poultry and livestock-raising again," said Madeline Laubena, a coconut farmer from Aklan in Western Visayas.

Farmers are also being trained on seed production management, entrepreneurship and climate-resilient agricultural practices.

Over 35 000 coconut farming and agroforestry-reliant families are in the process of developing more diversified and resilient livelihoods through FAO's programme, which will benefit some 175 000 people.

About FAO's Haiyan Response

FAO's typhoon Haiyan recovery work to date has been supported by the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF), the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department of the European Commission (ECHO) and the Governments of Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Philippines: Haiyan one year on: With UNDP help, slowly getting back to normal

7 November 2014 - 3:21pm
Source: UN Development Programme Country: Philippines

“I remember how scared everyone was,” says Marina Delubio, a resident of Barangay 88, one of the biggest suburbs of Tacloban City. “We were clinging to the rafters of our semi-concrete house but it sounded like the fury of the winds and the tsunami-like waves were still going to take us all away. My family and I were happy to survive, but in the next few hours we realized that we were left with nothing.”

One year ago, when Typhoon Haiyan struck Barangay 88, it left 80 percent of the homes completely destroyed, and the streets littered with bodies. The storm also caused massive destruction to public and commercial infrastructure, leaving most of the 2,500 families who live in the barangay without livelihood.

“I lost my job in the beauty salon which was looted empty right after the typhoon and was very worried for my family, ” says Marina – a single mother of one and a breadwinner for four nephews and nieces, and an ailing 86 year-old mother.

In the first few days following the disaster, UNDP was active at the devastated site, starting to remove debris and establishing an emergency source of income for those affected by the worst ever storm to hit the Philippines.

“In those early days it was vital to restore a sense of normalcy to the hundreds of thousands of affected people in Tacloban and the surrounding areas,” says Mr. James Abdul, Area Coordinator of UNDP’s Haiyan Response Programme. “Within days we had started a programme of cash-for-work, giving locals jobs to clear debris and dead bodies – so emergency services could operate and people could access schools, health clinics, roads and markets.”

In Barangay 88, this helped restore access to work and to local services for hundreds of families who lost their livelihoods.

“UNDP was among the first to provide assistance to us,” says Barangay Captain Emilita Montalban. “I want to thank UNDP for clearing San Jose Central School, the health centre and the streets. Removing the debris gave us jobs and hope. UNDP was a lifeline for survival at a time of desolation and chaos.”

Barangay 88 then became the first recipient of cash grants from UNDP to help small businesses. These cash grants, given to 300 small enterprises in Tacloban City, as well as the Municipalities of Dulag, Tolosa and Palo, are helping to restore self-confidence among the worst affected business owners who lost capital or productive assets from the storm.

“One year on, I am able to venture into a new business using the cash grant,” says Marina. “With the money from UNDP, I was able to start a food vending business and get back on my feet again. Today, we have a long way to go before we will have fully recovered but my family’s future is brighter because I have been able to maintain an income during this critical time.”

Today, Barangay 88 is a much happier place than it was one year ago. Building has begun and many homes and businesses are now restored. According to Barangay Captain Montalban, about 60 percent of the more than 1,600 homes that were destroyed by the storm are being repaired. At the same time, nearly 400 displaced families have been relocated to transitional shelters.

But the road to recovery is a long one. UNDP has begun the process by providing emergency income in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and in the future it will help the government to map the areas that remain most vulnerable to future disasters. In Barangay 88, a pilot of this mapping programme is already helping families to resettle - with government assistance - to areas that are less dangerous.

But for Marina, the recovery is happening one day at a time. “We have a long way to go – but the worst is behind us. Typhoon Yolanda [as Haiyan is known locally] took away our means of survival but it left us with hope and a strong, resilient spirit,” she says.

Philippines: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Typhoon Haiyan recovery operation - November 2014

7 November 2014 - 2:22pm
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, Philippine National Red Cross Country: Philippines

World: Strengthening Regional and National Capacity for Disaster Risk Management: The Case of ASEAN

7 November 2014 - 1:52pm
Source: Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement Country: Indonesia, Philippines, World

In recent decades, regional organizations have become increasingly active in disaster risk management (DRM). This reflects a broader growing trend of intensifying regional cooperation. However, the role of regional organizations in DRM and of their role in capacity building at the national level has received little attention from the academic community. This study attempts to address this knowledge gap by examining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which has emerged as a prime example of deepening cooperation and integration in Southeast Asia.

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan one year on : older people key to recovery

7 November 2014 - 12:29pm
Source: HelpAge International Country: Philippines

Executive summary


This report marks the one-year anniversary of the typhoon that struck the central region of the Philippines on the morning of 8 November 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, was one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, with wind speeds reaching up to 195 miles per hour. The damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan was extensive, affecting many of the islands of the central Philippines. Over 1 million homes were damaged or completely destroyed, more than 6,000 people lost their lives and over 4 million people were displaced.

A significant proportion of those affected by the typhoon were older people. Around 1.27 million, or 8% of the reported 16 million affected people were aged 60 years or over.

Many older people lost relatives, shelter and livelihoods, leaving them displaced and traumatised. Many had to deal with existing vulnerabilities such as noncommunicable diseases associated with poverty and poor nutrition. Poor access to information compromised their ability to receive help. For example, 75% of older people interviewed by HelpAge and UNHCR did not know that medical services were available free of charge.

About 65% of older people were working pre-Haiyan, but many were not included in post-Haiyan cash-forwork programmes.

HelpAge International (HelpAge) worked closely with the Coalition of the Services of the Elderly (COSE) to assess the level of damage and identify the immediate emergency support needs of the typhoon-impacted communities. Within days of the disaster, HelpAge International and COSE formed a joint response as HelpAge-COSE and began to provide essential relief support to people in the affected islands of Negros Occidental, North Cebu and West and East Leyte. There were two distinct phases in this emergency response.

The initial relief phase covered a period of six months from November 2013 to April 2014 and supported older people households in particular but also included other households in the affected communities. The second, or recovery phase, from May 2014 onwards, addressed the particular longer term needs of older people for shelter, health and livelihood support, targeting the most vulnerable and poorer older person households.

A key strategy throughout has been to help older people help each other. Older people not only have particular needs during emergencies but can also contribute to meeting these needs. For example, HelpAge and COSE worked through Older People Organisations (OPOs) to enable older people to obtain ID cards so that they could claim entitlements such as discounts on medicines.
They recruited and trained older volunteers to provide peer counselling to traumatised older people in hospital and relocation shelters.

Supporting existing and new OPOs continues to be a priority to make sure that responses to older people’s need for a regular income, shelter, healthcare and access to rights and entitlements are appropriate and sustainable.

The relief phase focused on meeting the essential food and non-food needs of older people and the wider affected community. Counselling support was provided by trained older people volunteers to other older people, as many had suffered traumatic affects from the impacts of the typhoon. Access to appropriate medical care was limited, even before the disaster, in response to this, basic health check-up services were provided through the Rural Health Centres. Shelter support was provided to allow basic repairs as many homes were either damaged or destroyed. The relief support provided in the first six months reached a wider group of affected households, not only older people.

From May 2014 onwards, the second, or recovery phase saw a reduction in the number of communities that could be supported, as the recovery support would focus on sustaining impacts over a longer period, till the end of 2015. In this phase, recovery support would be aimed at older people, in particular, the most vulnerable poorer older person households would be targeted. The initial recovery support had focused on rebuilding typhoon damaged older people houses, training local carpenters on improved construction techniques, restoring lost livelihoods as a result of the typhoon and providing social welfare grants to the most vulnerable older person households. The longer term recovery support includes supporting protection and inclusion activities, healthcare support, livelihoods training and grants and increasing community resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction support. A key strategy is the direct involvement of community based Older People Organisations (OPOs). The OPOs are receiving training and support to promote the sustainability of these important services at the community level and beyond the current emergency.

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan one year on: older people key to recovery

7 November 2014 - 12:06pm
Source: HelpAge International Country: Philippines

By Sarah Gillam

One the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, we release a joint report with our partner in the Philippines, Coalition of Services of the Elderly, showing that older people have been key to helping 150,000 people recover from the typhoon.

New skills have been acquired, stronger homes built and farming diversified using global aid, to help communities on the road to recovery.

Based on the records provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, approximately 1.27 million people over the age of 60 were affected by the typhoon, or 8% of the reported 16 million people affected, many losing their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.

Ensuring older people are part of the recovery process

Before Typhoon Haiyan, nearly 65% of older people were working but many were not included in cash-for-work programmes after the disaster.

Poverty levels and malnutrition rates in Leyte province were high. And poor access to information compromised people's ability to receive help. For example, 75% of older people interviewed by HelpAge and UNHCR did not know that medical services were available free of charge.

As a result, with our partner the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), we stepped in to ensure older people were a key part of recovery efforts.

Our main objectives were to ensure older people had regular incomes, shelter, healthcare and access to their rights and entitlements.

Rebuilding homes and livelihoods

Working with local older people organisations, we set about making this happen, through cash transfers, shelter repair and training in carpentry and geriatric care, piloting a mobile community health service and ensuring community pharmacies had access to appropriate and affordable medicines.

We also helped older people access legal documents and senior citizen ID cards, through training on their entitlements.

Targeted training in crop diversification was provided to farmers after coconut trees were wiped out. This helped farmers to raise household income with increased harvests of more resilient crops.

Older carpenters were trained in new building techniques, resulting in stronger shelters with improved resistance, for older people in the community. Those that had lost their tools were provided with replacements, to ensure they could resume work.

"HelpAge and COSE created ways for us to help our fellow senior citizens." said Virgilio Virola, 60, from Palo, Leyte. "It really helped to take part in the carpentry training."

Creating age-friendly communities

At least 10,000 older people received cash transfers, with 11,000 older people receiving cash and repair kits to build new homes. Rice seeds and fertiliser were given to 7,000 farmers. Cash helped kick start businesses ranging from selling fish and food to taxi services, pig and poultry farming and fishing.

This support has enabled older people to help one another and improve their own resilience in the aftermath of the typhoon, encouraging them to actively participate in the process of rebuilding age-friendly communities.

"We received 10,000 pesos (US$222) from HelpAge-COSE and restarted our mini store and food outlet. Now we make sure we have some savings from these businesses," said Erlinda Yabao, 71, from Tacloban, Leyte.

We have also encouraged older people to join training in psychosocial support and present radio programmes about some of the issues being discussed.

Realising older people's potential to contribute

Many older people said that joining in HelpAge activities made them realise how they could contribute, helping them to feel part of society again.

"In any emergency, helping communities to meet their most immediate needs as well as aiding longer term recovery is a challenge," said Ian Clarke, HelpAge International & Coalition of Services for the Elderly Emergency Programme Director in the Philippines.

"But we have overcome these challenges with the active involvement of older people themselves as well as with the support of their organisations," he said.

The Confederation of Older Person's Association in the Philippines (COPAP) also contributed to the success of the emergency relief by providing psychosocial support to older people, identifying specific needs and helping to distribute aid.

Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Anniversary: Three generations under one roof in tent city

7 November 2014 - 12:05pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Philippines

TANAUAN, the Philippines, November 7 (UNHCR) – Merlyn Aguilar may live with 12 family members in a tent among hundreds of others in UNHCR's tent city in the central Philippines town of Tanauan, but she has every reason to feel proud.

Since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan smashed into the central Philippines a year ago tomorrow, her family has pulled together with the help of the UN refugee agency and its corporate partner, United Parcel Services (UPS).

When the biggest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines made landfall early on November 8, Merlyn and the children were sheltering at the local gym. Even before arriving at the shelter, the strong winds and heavy rain forced them to abandon the bags of clothing they had packed for evacuation.

"I didn't sleep for three days because I was trying to sleep sitting up. There was nowhere to lie down," says 36-year-old Merlyn. "I gathered 10 chairs, and placed plywood on top so that at least eight of my children had somewhere to sleep."

Her husband Joel managed to rescue her mother, Lola, just in time, but suffered his own losses. His brother, grandfather and aunt are still missing and presumed dead. Thousands of people are thought to have been killed by the typhoon on islands like Leyte, where Tanauan is located.

The new house the Aguilars had been building was destroyed. "The house had some foundation posts built, half of the walls were already cemented – only the roof was lacking," says Merlyn. "We're sad it was all lost. It's really difficult."

Thanks to the emergency funding provided by UPS, the UN refugee agency was able to support them during this difficult time and provide them with a tent, kitchen set, jerry cans, a solar-powered lantern and plastic sheeting. "UNHCR helped us in many ways," says Merlyn. "The greatest help was the tent. Without the tent, we wouldn't have had anywhere else to go."

Her daughter Margelyn, aged 15, adds, "We use the solar lantern when we study, when we cook, and when we go to sleep because we have very young siblings who are afraid of the dark."

It's not just the children who are traumatized. Before the typhoon, Joel went out fishing to supplement the family income, but since Typhoon Haiyan he has not returned to his old trade because of his fear of the sea.

His eldest son, 19-year-old Jomar, looks at the sea with mixed emotions. It is his livelihood but also brings back terrifying memories. At the height of the storm, he was in the shop where he sells fish. He escaped through a window as the wind grew stronger. He recalls hesitantly how he and his siblings fell sick with flu and diarrhoea in the following days, and how scarce food was.

"The worst thing about the typhoon is that I lost my uncle," he says. "Livelihoods were lost, lots of people suffered from hunger, many lost their fishing boats. The sea caused so much destruction."

With an extended family to sustain, everyone has to chip in to help. Margelyn put her education on hold: "After the typhoon, I did not go back to school immediately because I was the one lining up for relief goods. Every time there was a distribution, I volunteered to be the one to line up. I wanted to help, so I told my mother that I won't go back to school."

But she is determined to finish school and become a policewoman to fulfill her grandfather's dream. Her older brothers are working to support the family. Although still very much affected by the typhoon, Jomar feels hopeful about the future: "I want to finish school so I can help my family, improve our lives, and help other people."

For now, the Aguilar family is looking forward to being relocated to a permanent house, somewhere they can all continue to live together more comfortably. At 75, grandma Lola has other ideas. With a shy smile and a twinkle in her eye, she says, "I have been married twice and widowed twice. I would like to marry again and live in my own house."

By Marjanna Bergman in Tanauan, the Philippines

Philippines: Statement by the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, on behalf of the humanitarian Country Team and the United Nations Country Team, on the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)

7 November 2014 - 11:37am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Country Team in The Philippines, Humanitarian Country Team in the Philippines Country: Philippines

(Manila, 6 November 2014)

Marking the first anniversary of super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) the Humanitarian Country Team and the United Nations Country Team and their partners in the Philippines take the opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives and to acknowledge the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people.

Typhoon Haiyan struck land in the early hours of 8 November 2013, causing death, injury and the destruction of services and infrastructure. The scale of the typhoon was unprecedented and damage stretched over many thousands of miles, affecting 14 million people in its path.

“We are humbled by the extraordinary resilience of the Filipino people who, despite the unprecedented destruction and tragedy that struck, pushed through individually and collectively, and with generosity of spirit, to this point where recovery is well underway,” said Luiza Carvalho, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines.

She continued, “We are privileged to have been able to contribute to the humanitarian response led by the Government of the Philippines and will continue to support recovery efforts at all levels and in particular through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and relevant line ministries.”

In partnership with national agencies, local governments, donors, private sector, and civil society, the Humanitarian Country Team served, among others, roughly 3.7 million people with food assistance; 82,000 mothers given feeding counsel; 23,000 pregnant and lactating women with pre-natal and post-natal care; almost 1 million people with rehabilitated water systems; 350,000 with new or rehabilitated latrines; 570,000 households with emergency shelter; 162,000 households with emergency employment; 102,000 people provided information on prevention and management of gender-based violence in emergencies; 20,101 young people provided with information and services on health and protection; and 100,000 farmers with agricultural seeds and tools. Additionally, 4,900 temporary learning spaces were created, 545,000 children received learning materials, and public health outbreaks were effectively prevented.

“We thank donors as well as our Government counterparts for the trust in us to deliver life-saving and protection services. We recognize that this assistance was just part of a total pool of human and material resources volunteered by both local and international communities.”

Ms. Carvalho observed that recovery started as soon as two months after the event, with UN agencies and partners fully shifting gears to rehabilitation and development work in August, due to the good results of humanitarian phase and in response to the GoP’s official launch of the recovery phase. Among others, UN agencies and partners have been assisting the Department of Social Welfare and Development build transitional shelter for families living in tents and evacuation centers. “We commend the efforts of Government and partners and look forward to this kind of effective and focused partnership to drive the recovery phase.”

She concluded, “We recognize that ‘building back better’ will be a complex and long process, particularly the rehabilitation of human settlements and the restoration of livelihoods. There is also the immediate concern of preparedness against upcoming weather systems for families and communities whose coping mechanisms are not completely restored. Through the Yolanda Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP), the government has clearly outlined the work that lies ahead. We are committed to support this process.”

Please contact:
Dulce Saret, UN Coordination Office, Manila: +63 9088878277,
Orla Fagan, OCHA Regional Office, Bangkok: + 63 91 75977219,

Philippines: Philippines: A Year After Typhoon Haiyan - Survivors Rebuild Their Lives

7 November 2014 - 10:58am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Philippines

By Anthony Chase Lim — 7 November 2014

It has been a year since Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) devastated the Visayas region of the Philippines. The World Food Programme’s Faizza Tanggol and Anthony Chase Lim went back to Leyte to find out how the people are rebuilding their lives one year on.

When Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, swept across the Visayas region of the Philippines on 8 November 2013, it became the strongest typhoon in recorded history to make landfall.

By the time Haiyan had left the Philippine Area of Responsibility, approximately 14.1 million people were affected, 4 million of which were forced to flee their homes, over 6,000 individuals had lost their lives, and 5.6 million survivors were at risk of food insecurity.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm and in response to the Philippine Government’s clarion call to address the priority needs of the worst-stricken areas, the World Food Programme (WFP) launched an emergency operation targeting the most vulnerable populations located in the hardest hit areas of Leyte, Panay, and Samar.

Providing immediate food assistance

WFP immediately implemented general food distribution in November, closely working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by providing rice and nutrition commodities to supplement DSWD’s ‘family pack’ which also included canned sardines and instant noodles. Through partnerships with various key government agencies, local government units (LGUs) as well as international and national non-government organizations (NGOs), WFP provided over 35,000 metric tons (mt) of rice to 2.95 million affected individuals in 138 municipalities throughout 10 provinces in the Visayas region.

Procopio Molina and Lilian Florendo, both left homeless in the wake of the super typhoon, were among the recipients of this food assistance. Both still vividly recall the timely, vital aid they received.

“The rice from WFP and food from the DSWD were a huge help because we had nothing to eat at that time,” Procopio said.

“The first relief that we got was one sack of rice,” explained Lilian. “I was really happy, I said, ‘Thank you Lord for this rice.’ Every month, we received one sack of rice.”

A year later, Procopio and Lilian continue to rebuild their lives on the foundations of hope.

Currently residing in a temporary house, Procopio has been building his family a new place to call home. “Eventually, we’ll have a new house. Merely half remains unfinished,” shared the 57-year old.

Despite the difficulties, Procopio remains optimistic. “We know things will get better. There’s always hope,” he said.

Meanwhile, having rebuilt their house, Lilian and her family now lend a helping hand to other people.

“When my family lost our house, people helped us rebuild it, so I want to do the same for others,” she shared. “When I heard my nephew had lost his grandfather and he and his cousin were left to fend for themselves, I arranged for a galvanized steel roof and some lumber so that they could reconstruct their house.”

For now, Lilian hopes that they will be able to fully recover from Haiyan. She has begun producing coconut wine once again to support her family’s income.

“We are truly grateful for those who gave to us as it was a really big help. We are in a better state now than we were before,” she said.

Emergency cash assistance

Noting the collapse of the main drivers of the local economy, WFP initiated an unconditional cash transfer programme in December when signs of market recovery became visible and financial delivery mechanisms became available in certain areas. The cash grant aimed to satisfy the additional food and non-food requirements of affected families as well as stimulate the local economy. WFP leveraged on the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) by topping up the government grant for two rounds with a fixed emergency cash assistance of PHP1,300 per 4Ps household. WFP also worked with NGOs to reach those who are not 4Ps members, but have also been severely affected by the typhoon. In total, nearly 530,000 individuals in 61 municipalities in the affected provinces were supported with cash assistance.

Noemi Kho, a mother to 5 children, had lost her husband during the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan.

“It was a huge, life-changing loss,” Noemi shared. “It made me realize that life is too short. If you have something to say to your loved ones, say it while they’re alive. You don’t know if they’ll be gone tomorrow.”

For Noemi, the cash grant helped her purchase other food needs, clothes, and school materials for her children.

“On behalf of the members of the 4Ps, we are thankful to WFP, because even in such a short amount of time, you were a big help to us in providing for our children,” said Noemi.

The family now lives in a temporary bunkhouse provided by the DSWD. Noemi has a new business selling t-shirts to tourists in MacArthur Landing Memorial Park.

Noemi radiates resilience as she shares how they are coping after Haiyan.

“I will manage, for my children,” she declared. “I don’t show helplessness in front of them. When my children realized their father was gone, they asked, ‘Ma, where will we go? Who will take care of our education?’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, you will all go to school, you will all be fed.’ That’s what I told my children, so now I give them hope.”

Nutrition support to the most vulnerable

To address health and hunger risks in the typhoon-affected communities, resources and efforts were also specifically devoted to vulnerable mothers and children who were at risk of acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, especially those who were taking refuge in evacuation centres. WFP, in partnership with the Department of Health, the National Nutrition Council, UNICEF, NGOs, and LGUs, fielded nutrition interventions.

Rubilyn Mansalay, Rizalina’s youngest child, was one of over 141,000 recipients of WFP’s nutrition support.

“The living conditions in the evacuation center made it difficult for my family. I worried about my children’s health, especially for my youngest daughter. Rubilyn was getting thinner and weaker, so when WFP informed me that she would be included in their nutrition programme, I was very happy and felt reassured that things will get better.”

Under WFP’s blanket and targeted supplementary feeding programmes, Rubilyn received ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSFs) such as Plumpy’Doz and Plumpy’Sup. These RUSFs provide young children with the vital nutrients they need during the important days of early development, a period placed at risk during times of emergencies.

A year has passed since Haiyan made landfall and during this period, WFP, through the assistance of the rural health unit, has been able to help Rubilyn and other young children maintain their good health and nutritional status allowing them to combat diseases and other long term effects of malnutrition during this critical period in the aftermath of the storm.

“When I see how healthy my daughter is now, I can’t help but smile. I am thankful that I still have my loved ones and that they are healthy because of the assistance from WFP and its donors.”

Philippines: Rebuilding the Philippines After Typhoon Yolanda through Sustainable Initiatives

7 November 2014 - 10:53am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

November marks the first year since Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan), the category five typhoon that swept across central Philippines; leaving over 6,000 people dead, thousands more missing and severely affecting the lives of at least 7 million others. Loss of homes, assets, livelihoods and infrastructures were widespread.

As the people of Philippines and the international community remember the lives lost and recognize the resiliency of survivors, ACF recalls one year of actions and looks to a future of restorative efforts to help provide the unmet needs of affected communities.

ACF's emergency response began 72 hours after the typhoon hit, with food and water deliveries in the most affected areas: Tacloban and Roxas. A year later, ACF has been on the ground every day addressing the immediate needs of the population, particularly children under five, pregnant and lactating women, single female-headed households, the elderly, and persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

"The first months after the typhoon, the survivors faced enormous challenges. One year later, they are on the road to recovery thanks to combination of impressive personal effort, an amazing spirit of resilience in the face of disaster and the collaboration of the local and national government units and the international community. The challenge, now, is to continue past year’s gains focusing on the long-term recovery, be it the improvement of their livelihoods or activities for the mitigation of the impact of future disasters”, says Eduardo de Francisco, ACF’s Director for the Yolanda Response.

ACF International has worked closely with partners and local government bodies in delivering programmes on nutrition and psychosocial support; water, sanitation and hygiene; food security and livelihoods. All of these integrate gender issues, disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and care for the environment. These have gone from the life-saving interventions of the first days to long-term, sustainable solutions for the affected population. All in all, our interventions have reached 555, 375 people.

“ACF exists because hunger and malnutrition persists. We work in emergency and development context, save lives and help rebuild livelihoods,” says Javad Amoozegar, Country Director.

For interviews with our spokespersons, please contact Rosa May de Guzman - Maitem at +63 998 998 5461 or /

Facebook: Twitter: Youtube: ACFphilippines Flickr: www.Acf_International

Philippines: ACF, Canada continues rebuilding initiatives one year after Haiyan

7 November 2014 - 9:41am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Canada, Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - ACF International (Action Against Hunger), the world’s leading organization in the fight against malnutrition, continues to support typhoon survivors one year after typhoon ‘Yolanda’ lashed the central Philippines.

ACF International has implemented two projects worth approximately $3.75 million CAD to restore livelihoods and access to water for over 100, 000 individuals in Leyte and Iloilo , two of the worst-hit provinces in Typhoon Haiyan’s (Yolanda) path. Restoring livelihoods and critical services, such as safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, are essential to prevent public health risks and malnutrition from taking root.

The organization has received funding from the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) to support 115,000 highly vulnerable people, including children under five, pregnant and lactating women, persons with disabilities and chronic illness, single female-headed households and the elderly.

“We are thankful for the commitment of the Canadian government to helping the affected families recover what they have lost, their welfare and self-sufficiency. We cannot reduce malnutrition without clean water and livelihoods to meet the needs of the affected families,” says Javad Amoozegar, Country Director of ACF International in the Philippines.

In Iloilo province, ACF is implementing cash-based interventions in the towns of Sara, Batad and Concepcion to help recover lost livelihoods. In Tacloban City, Tanauan, Sta. Fe, Jaro, Alang-alang, Ormoc City and Albuera in Leyte province, ACF has launched interventions to ensure access to safe water and sanitation and hygiene facilities.

“We are in the recovery phase and ACF is focusing on rehabilitating water networks, protecting livelihoods such as rice farming, and recovering productive resources—actions which further reduce vulnerability to malnutrition and health risks,” says Amoozegar.

One year after Typhoon Yolanda, ACF has restored essential basic services on the islands of Leyte, Samar, and Panay. ACF has also ensured that adequate disaster management expertise is available to reduce risk and mitigate the impact of future disasters to over 600,000 people.

“Behind these services and statistics are thousands of our beneficiaries working hard to improve their conditions, and supporters such as the Canadian government, enabling vulnerable populations to build resilience against future disasters,” says Amoozegar.

“The ACF team has been on the ground since the day Typhoon Haiyan struck, delivering immediate life-saving assistance to the affected populations. “One year after, ACF is working on long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation projects, rebuilding households, markets, livelihoods, and approaching recovery with risk management in mind, in order to prevent a disaster like this from happening again,” says Amoozegar.

ACF International has mobilized over 50 international staff and over 418 Filipino nationals, delivering critical life-saving support to the affected populations in disaster zones in the Philippines. ACF’s dedicated teams are working with communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan, as well as the conflict in Zamboanga and the earthquake in Bohol. ACF is also contributing to poverty reduction in Central Mindanao through its integrated development projects.

About ACF

ACF international (Action Against Hunger) is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. ACF responds to help vulnerable populations around the world through programs that empower communities to overcome the barriers standing in their way.

In the Philippines, ACF tackles the root causes of hunger, prevents outbreaks of life-threatening acute malnutrition, and helps the most vulnerable communities regain self- sufficiency through integrated programs in Health & Nutrition, Care Practices & Psychosocial Support, Food Security & Livelihoods, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Disaster Risk Management, Good Governance & Advocacy while incorporating crosscutting issues such as gender, care for the environment, climate change adaptation and cultural sensitivity.

Our programs save lives and provide communities with long-term solutions to hunger and its underlying causes. We work in more than 45 countries and reach approximately 7 million people annually.

For more information, please visit

For interviews with our spokespersons in Manila, Leyte, Samar and Panay, please contact Rosa May de Guzman - Maitem at +63-999-673-9099,

Rosa May de Guzman Maitem
Communication Manager
ACF International Philippine Mission

Philippines: What slows Haiyan recovery - politics or practicality?

7 November 2014 - 9:06am
Source: IRIN Country: Philippines

TACLOBAN, 7 November 2014 (IRIN) - A year after one of the world’s most devastating typhoons swept through the Philippines, thousands are unable to resume their lives, with rehabilitation efforts bogged down by political divisions and bureaucracy, officials and survivors say.

In the village of Basper in the storm’s epicentre of fatalities, white wooden crosses have been erected over a mass grave for some 3,000 victims, nearly half of the entire official death toll (6,300); thousands more remain missing.

The bodies are still unidentified, and survivors with missing relatives have randomly placed crosses with the names of their dead, in a heart-breaking ritual of acceptance.

“There was no DNA testing done and they were just brought here. But at least they now have a permanent home. It gives us a feeling of closure knowing that whenever we want to visit them there is a place we can go to,” said Esmeralda Ignacio, 68, as she and her niece, Lynette de la Cruz, inspected the crosses.

Nearly a year ago, victims’ families were already calling for DNA verification, as officials pleaded for more time.

“It has been very slow, and it is very, very difficult to get back to the business of living when you can’t properly give your dead the burial they deserve,” said Ignacio of the government’s rehabilitation efforts and her family’s quest for their kin’s bodies.

“We went to City Hall, but no one could tell us where to get these documents. No one seems to know what to do,” she said.

She said the family is resigned to the fact they may never really find the victims’ bodies. But that, too, also poses a problem. Without a body, they cannot be issued death certificates, a necessary document to claim legal benefits, including insurance, among others.

Dwindling aid

Across town, Lita Paa huddled her five children under the tent for a quick meal of sardines and rice, the last of the family’s food rations received for the month. Aid has begun to run down, and even if she wanted to work, she couldn’t.

Paa’s family is among hundreds that still live in tents in the coastal village of Baybay. They were promised relocation in the government’s “build back better” programme, but it has yet to be realized.

“The biggest question no one can give us an answer to is: when?” she said.

The typhoon’s overall emergency relief efforts were funded at 60 percent by the end of October, as tracked by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with a $92 million shortfall for emergency shelter and $50 million for “food security”.

Aid agencies had been quick to give the fishing community boats so they could resume their livelihoods, but the municipal bay in Tacloban remains littered with tons of debris that has wiped out rich fishing grounds. The men cannot fish too far away in the open sea with their little boats, many of which now lie idle on the beach and which the fishermen jokingly call “solar boats” drying under the sun.

Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on 8 November last year, bringing devastating winds that at their peak hit 300km an hour. It left thousands dead and displaced nearly one million people, according to government data. It swept across the Philippines’ central islands from the Pacific, cutting a swathe of destruction in 171 (out of the country’s nearly 1,500) municipalities and making four landfalls.

The hardest hit areas were in and near Tacloban in Leyte Province, a coastal city of 250,000 people before the disaster hit. About 90 percent of the province was damaged, when huge waves swallowed up villages, while strong winds blew away homes.

Over 25,000 still in tents, bunk houses

One year later, the government and UN statistics say at least 25,000 people still live in tents and bunk houses. Observers say that while the emergency response was quick, bureaucracy and politicking has slowed reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“We only have about 100 of the promised 14,500 permanent homes finished. The government can only work with the resources it has, and you have to understand this is a massive rehabilitation and recovery effort,” Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez told IRIN.

“It is now primarily a shelter issue. That remains to be the problem here,” said Tacloban’s mayor, adding that a new township for those affected in his city was being built further inland, but this was being met by some resistance from survivors fearing a lack of jobs away from the city.

“We are adjusting to a new normal here and people have to understand that the situation is unique. We are relocating people because we want to save their lives,” he said. “People oppose change, but that is where we are headed.”

Romualdez has openly accused the government of President Benigno Aquino of neglecting his city on account of politics. The mayor and president come from rival political families.

“The bottleneck is in the resources, and trying to get these [government] agencies to begin implementing the projects identified,” Romualdez added.

At best, he said international NGOs are the ones who have helped the most. Up to 1 August, nearly 1,300 private sector/NGO projects were reported to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (OPARR).

President Aquino signed a US$3.73 billion, 8,000-page, eight-volume rehabilitation and recovery master plan - submitted to him in early August - in late October, nearly one week before the one year anniversary.

The plan, among others, is to build nearly 200,000 homes that can resist storms with 250km per hour winds, and rehabilitate damaged irrigation systems, roads, bridges and sea- and airports.

About one percent of those homes have been built, even as the government has released an initial $1.15 billion in reconstruction funds, an OPARR spokesman said in late October.

Back at a bunk house in Palo, on the outskirts of Tacloban, despair is as suffocating as the humidity. Tents and roofs leak, and jobless men have often resorted to drinking to pass the time, resulting in chaos and fights.

“Life here is very hard. There is a problem in drainage system, and it floods regularly. We are worried that this could cause diseases,” said mother of six Emma Zurita, 52, who was a voice lesson teacher. She has now turned to gardening for some income.

“You do what you can to survive. You can’t wait for aid all the time.”