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Philippines: Nutrition Causal Analysis: Municipalities of Aroroy, Cawayan, Milagros and Monreal Masbate Province, Region V Philippines Final Report (September 2014 – January 2015)

12 August 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

The province of Masbate belongs to Bicol Region and is known to be one of the most needy provinces of the Philippines with a poverty incidence of and 44.2% (NSCB 2012). Child undernutrition remains to be a major public health issue in Bicol region with high rate of underweight, stunting and wasting (respectively 24.6%, 39.8% and 7.4% - NNS 2013). As the rest of the Philippines, the province is located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific and often impacted by typhoon of medium intensity. Its geographical location also contributes to its susceptibility of sea level rise, storm surges, flooding and drought what is believed to have an impact of farming and fishing livelihoods. In 2014, Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH/ACF) decided to develop actions in the four municipalities of Masbate having the poorest socio-economic indicators (Aroroy, Cawayan, Milagros and Monreal). Being new in the area, ACH implemented a Link NCA in those four municipalities to gather information regarding malnutrition mechanism and therefore, to be able to tackle the root causes of undernutrition. The study took place from September 2014 to January 2015.

Philippines: Indigenous peoples / Displacement: UN expert appalled at distortion of his views by Philippines Armed Forces

12 August 2015 - 11:03am
Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Philippines

MANILA / GENEVA (13 August 2015) – In a statement of clarification, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, today described the misrepresentation of his comments by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the situation of hundreds of internally displaced indigenous persons in Davao, Mindanao, as “unacceptable and a gross distortion of my views.”

In a press release issued on 7 August, the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command misquoted Mr. Beyani as saying that the indigenous people in Davao City have not been displaced from their ancestral homes, but are victims of human trafficking. The Special Rapporteur conducted a ten-day official visit* to the Philippines at the invitation of the Government which concluded on 31 July.

“During my recent official visit to the Philippines, representatives of the AFP informed me of their assessment that the indigenous persons concerned in Davao City were victims of trafficking in persons and were being held against their will in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran facility.

Let me be absolutely clear, the indigenous persons in Davao are not victims of human trafficking. I was explicit in my discussions with the senior AFP representatives on multiple occasions, and indeed at my Press Conference that the indigenous persons concerned should under no circumstances be considered to fall into the category of trafficked persons.

The indigenous peoples whom I interviewed informed me that they relocated to this facility freely and in response to the militarization of their lands and territories and forced recruitment into paramilitary groups operating under the auspices of the AFP. My reference to their being ‘manipulated’ related to the attempt to forcibly move them out of the UCCP facility without proper and adequate consultation with them.

I therefore consider that the AFP statement by the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) in its news release of 7 August that the lumads (Indigenous People) in Davao City are victims of human trafficking is incorrect, unacceptable, and represents a gross distortion of my views on this issue.

At the end of my visit on 31 July, I called for a peaceful resolution of the situation in full consultation with the indigenous peoples concerned and their legitimate leaders. It is essential to avoid any form of manipulation of their situation by any party, governmental or non-governmental. The human rights, security and wishes of the indigenous peoples themselves must be the highest priority. No attempts should be made to forcibly remove the people from the UCCP facility.

In my official exit statement of 31 July I highlighted that indigenous peoples have been particularly vulnerable to conflict-induced displacement in many regions, particularly in Mindanao. For example, I am concerned by the plight of some 700 indigenous peoples currently living in basic Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) church run facilities in the city of Davao having been displaced from their ancestral homes for several months due to long-standing conflict between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA) in their region.

During my visit, I travelled to Davao to consult the national and local authorities and the indigenous peoples themselves on this situation. I heard from the AFP its assertion that it is seeking to protect the communities and provide services to them in conflict regions; however the displaced IPs made it clear that it is their presence and that of the paramilitary groups in their communities that continues to create anxiety amongst the indigenous communities.

The community wishes to return to its lands but stressed to me that they will only feel safe to do so if the long-term militarization of their region comes to an end and they can return with guarantees of safety, dignity and protection.

They described to me their concerns including their alleged forced recruitment into paramilitary groups, known as Alamara, under the auspices of the AFP and harassment in the context of the on-going conflict between the AFP and the NPA. Schools have reportedly been closed and/or occupied by the AFP or Alamara, hampering the access to education of indigenous children.

While tribal leaders informed me that they are not being detained against their will at the UCCP centre in Davao, as is evident by reports of their periodic return to their communities, their current situation is neither acceptable nor sustainable.It is essential to find a rapid and peaceful solution to their situation in full consultation with their legitimate leaders, with their voluntary and secure return to their ancestral lands being a high priority.

I urged the Government, in consultation with indigenous peoples themselves, to give greater attention to addressing the causes of displacement whether it be due to the militarization of their areas or due to development projects.”

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16280&LangID=E

Mr. Chaloka Beyani, professor of international law at the London School of Economics, was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons by the Human Rights Council in September 2010. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/IDPersonsIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Check the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/Standards.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – the Philippines:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/PHIndex.aspx

For further information and media inquiries, please contact Graham Fox (+41 22 917 9640 / gfox@ohchr.org) or write to idp@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 471, 11 August 2015

12 August 2015 - 1:38am
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Australia, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia (France), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Viet Nam

Northern Hemisphere

China (No Update)

As of 30 June 2015, there were 43 cases of dengue reported in China for 2015. Compared with the same reporting period of the previous three years, the number of dengue cases reported in China has increased slightly in 2015 (Figure 1).

Malaysia

As of 1 August 2015, there were 70,680 cases of dengue with 190 deaths reported in Malaysia for 2015. This is 28.6% higher compared with the same reporting period of 2014 (n=54,976) (Figure 2). From 26 July to 1 August 2015, there were 2,736 cases of dengue reported, 7.3% higher than the cases reported in the previous week (n=2,549).

Philippines (No Update)

From 1 January to 18 July 2015, there were 40,593 cases of dengue, including 134 deaths, reported in Philippines. This is 0.67% lower compared with the same reporting period in 2014 (n=40,866) (Figure 3).

Singapore

As of 1 August 2015, there were 5,422 cases of dengue reported in Singapore for 2015. From 26 July to 1 August 2015, 251 dengue cases reported, 43 case fewer than the previous week, and lower than the same reporting period in 2014 (n=891) (Figure 4).

Cambodia

As of 28 July 2015, there were 4,674 cases of dengue, including 16 deaths, reported in Cambodia. The number of cases has been steadily increasing; however, the total number of cases is still below that of 2011-2013, up to the same reporting period. (Figure 5).

Lao PDR

As of 31 July, there were 743 cases of dengue and no deaths reported in Lao PDR for 2015. From 25 to 31 July 2015, 84 cases of dengue were reported, which is 20% more than that of the previous week (n=70) (Figure 6). The weekly number of cases was higher than that of 2014, but lower than that of 2011-2013. There is no alert for country level for the week ending 31 July 2015.

Viet Nam

As of 2 August 2015, there were 21,154 cases of dengue including 12 deaths reported in Viet Nam for 2015. Compared with same reporting period in 2014, the number of cases increased by 46.2% and the number of deaths increased by 3 cases. Compared with same reporting period from 2010-2014 (average), the number of cases decreased by 33.7% and the number of deaths decreased by 50.6%. From 27 July to 2 August 2015, there were 1,177 cases of dengue reported with no deaths from 41 out of 63 provinces. Compared with previous week (n=1,090 cases), number of cases increased by 8.0%.

Southern Hemisphere

Australia

As of 31 July, 1,178 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases have been reported in Australia for 2015. Compared with the same reporting period of last year (n=1,311), the number of reported cases was lower, and was consistent with previous seasonal trends (Figure 8).

Pacific Islands

French Polynesia

From 27 July to 2 August 2015, 23 confirmed dengue cases were reported in French Polynesia including 3 cases which were dengue serotype 1 (Figure 9). There were 10 hospitalizations and 3 severe dengue cases in July 2015.

Samoa

An Outbreak is occurring in Samoa (dengue serotype-3). Samoa has reported a total of 220 cases of Dengue Like Illness (DLI) including 15 hospitalizations as of 2 August. Most cases were under 25 years of age. No deaths have been reported.

American Samoa

An Outbreak is occurring in American Samoa (dengue serotype-3). As of 6 August 2015, 238 suspected cases, 75 hospitalizations and 4 deaths have been reported. The outbreak enters its tenth week.

Philippines: Resilience amidst natural and man-made disasters in the Philippines

11 August 2015 - 2:00pm
Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office Country: Philippines

Resilience is the ability of countries to resist, adapt, and quickly recover from a disaster or crisis. Strengthening the resilience of populations can help reduce the impact of disasters which affect millions every year. The EU places resilience as a central objective of development and humanitarian assistance and spent 13% (or €122 million) of the EU's humanitarian funding on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities in 2014.

The EU supports the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in its mandate to assist and protect victims of armed conflict and natural disasters and works with IFRC towards increasing the resilience of populations in need.

"During Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), we were told to evacuate, so we moved to my in-law's house up the hill. When it was over, we came back and our house was gone, completely washed away. The same thing with the crops – the bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes – we rely on these for food and they were all gone," recounted Leonila Garen, 30, a resident of Mabini village in Basey, Samar province, Philippines.

Coping in the face of disaster

Leonila, a mother of five, recalls how difficult it was during the first few days after the typhoon, when their world fell apart. If it was not for basic humanitarian goods reaching them, they would have had nothing to eat. Her family spent a few more weeks at a relative's house until her husband was able to gather enough scrap material for a makeshift shelter, using a tarpaulin as a roof.

With the crops gone, her husband – who used to earn a living farming and delivering copra, a coconut product, once a week– found himself jobless and without an income.

Village councilor, Efren Pacanas, summed up the hardship facing his community: "The people in our village have very limited sources of income, with the majority relying on upland farming for their livelihood. When the Typhoon came, all the crops were destroyed. The people had nothing."

A resilient community

Councilor Pacanas explained that before the typhoon, the remote village of Mabini had been facing problems of a different nature – armed conflict. "Upland farming is only done on a seasonal basis; it's purely rain-fed, which is one of the reasons why it is taking longer for our community to recover completely. Also, transporting crops downtown has always been a challenge for us owing to the poor road network. This is further complicated by the armed clashes that erupt occasionally in some districts." The most recent incident, he said, was in February this year.

Growing up in Northern Samar province, Leonila is no stranger to armed conflict. "Others, especially the children, still get scared when they hear gun shots, but I'm already used to it."

In 2011, as part of ICRC's work to support communities affected by armed conflict, a water network was constructed to supply clean water to more than 1 200 people in Mabini. Before this, villagers had to spend over two hours each day on paddle boats to collect drinking water from the Sohoton river.

Today, this access to water has helped the community recover more rapidly from the effects of the Typhoon. "With water readily accessible, we have more time to spend cultivating the land," said Rogelio Asis, a local farmer.

Building a more robust future

A year and a half after Typhoon Haiyan, Leonila and her family are living in their new home – this time, sturdier than the temporary structure her husband had built. "It would have taken us at least five years to build a house like this because our income is just enough to cover our most basic needs. With four of the children in school, we could only dream of having a house," she said, adding that having been chosen as a beneficiary of the Philippine Red Cross / ICRC shelter programme is an answered prayer. She is also very happy with the latrine that was built this year, as in the past, they had none of their own and had to use the toilet of their relatives nearby.

Leonila's family is among the 4 461 households who received storm-resilient shelters from the Philippine Red Cross and the ICRC in 2014. The ICRC, together with the National Society, focused its response on Samar island, where it has been working for years to address the needs of communities affected by armed conflict.

To complete the houses, individual latrines are being added this year with help from partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

As the people of Mabini strive to overcome the difficulties left behind by one of the world's most powerful typhoons and continue to deal with cycles of conflict, they remain resilient, facing challenges that come their way one day at a time.

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 5-11 August 2015

11 August 2015 - 10:32am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 5-11 August 2015

Burkina Faso: Heavy floods in Ouagadougou, Kadiogo province, and Bobo-Dioulasso, Houet province, in early August affected around 19,780 people. Significant damage to houses and food stocks were reported. Additional flooding in the north could bring the total number of affected to 122,000. More than 1.5 million people are facing Stressed or Crisis food security outcomes in Burkina Faso, especially in the Sahel region in the north.

India: Floods caused by protracted heavy rains have affected an estimated 10 million people in India. Reported as the worst flooding in 200 years, it has displaced one million people.

Myanmar: Flooding and landslides linked to Cyclone Komen have, as of 10 August, affected around one million people and killed 99. 12 out of 14 states and regions have been affected. On 31 July, Rakhine state, Chin state, Sagaing region and Magway region were declared natural disaster zones. Close to 200,000 people have been displaced.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: ACF Philippines Bulletin Volume 5 Issue 2, April-June 2015

10 August 2015 - 2:47am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

HLA, ACF Collaborate to Improve Disaster Resilience in the Philippines

MAKATI CITY – The Humanitarian Leadership Academy, a global consortium of aid organizations designed to help communities become more resilient in the face of disaster and give them training and skills to respond to crises in their own countries, and ACF, signed a memorandum of understanding on May 27, 2015.

Christopher John Lane, director for global operations of HLA, and Javad Amoozegar, ACF country director, in the presence of ACF disaster risk reduction referent Mark Cervantes and Sarah Dominguez, learning and development manager of HLA, held “HLA-ACF MOU Signing Ceremony” in Makati City to begin the documentation of case study on experiences, lessons and good practices of ACF in its disaster risk reduction and resilience programming in the Philippines.

The memorandum of understanding highlights the development of case studies with practical information on humanitarian response, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, climate change adaptation, recovery, resilience programming, and crisis-sensitive development, following the experiences of local community actions introduced in Arakan valley in North Cotabato by ACF through its integrated approach in development programming. The HLA is expected to disseminate the best practice and knowledge in vulnerable crisis affected countries and communities.

In the Philippines, ACF is implementing programs on nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), food security and livelihoods (FSL), advocacy and governance that directly result to reduced vulnerabilities and increased resilience of vulnerable people.

The HLA tapped the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), with 40 years of experience in working directly with the rural poor in developing countries to improve their lives by building their unique assets and strengths, to help develop the tools.

The cooperation agreement represents a new space for ACF to establish links with other actors, jointly with HLA, launched in London in March 2015, and IIRR, in the fields of disaster risk management and community resiliency building.

The HLA, launched in London in March 2015, empowers people around the world to prepare for and respond to crises in their own countries.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 7 re Preparedness Measures and Effects of Typhoon "Hanna" (Soudelor)

9 August 2015 - 10:33pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

(Extract)

II. EFFECTS

A. INCIDENTS MONITORED (TAB A)

A total of eight (8) incidents were monitored due to Southwest Monsoon enhanced by TY Hanna: Five (5) landslides, one (1) roadslip, and two (2) flooding incidents were reported in Regions VI, VII, IX and XII.

B. AFFECTED POPULATION (B)

  1. A total of 923 families/3,843 persons were affected in Region VI, Region VII, and Region XII. Of which, 215 families / 964 persons are inside evacuation centers.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: Effects of Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) as of 08 August 2015, 11:00 AM

7 August 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affected Regions VII, X, and XII since 30 July 2015 until 05 August 2015. Moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms were experienced resulting to flashfloods, landslides, and flooding especially in the low-lying areas.

II. EFFECTS

A. Incidents Monitored

"1. Landslide/Flashflood Incidents in Jagna, Bohol (Region VII)

• At around 1:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 4 August 2015, landslide/erosion and flashfloods incidents occurred due to nine (9) hours of non-stop heavy rains in the Municipality of Jagna, Bohol affecting eight (8) barangays, namely: Cabungaan, Canjulao, Cambugason, Pagina, Pangdan, Poblacion, Tejero and Tubod Monte. No casualties are reported.

"2. Flashflood Incident in Valencia City, Bukidnon (Region X)

• At around 2:30 PM, 04 August 2015, a flashflood incident occurred in Valencia City, Bukidnon due to heavy rains and isolated thunderstorms resulting to the deaths of nine (9) people.

"3. Flooding Incident in Municipalities of Maguindanao (ARMM)

• Since 30 July 2015, intermittent rains resulted to flooding in eight (8) municipalities of Maguindanao. No casualties were reported.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: Effects of Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) as of 08 August 2015, 6:00 PM

7 August 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (1TCZ) affected Regions VII, X, and XII since 30 July 2015 until 05 August 2015. Moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms were experienced resulting to flashfloods, landslides, and flooding especially in the low-lying areas.

II. EFFECTS

A. Incidents Monitored

"1. Landslide/Flashflood Incidents in Jagna, Bohol (Region VII)

• Around 1:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 4 August 2015, landslide/erosion and flashfloods incidents occurred due to nine (9) hours of non-stop heavy rains in the Municipality of Jagna, Bohol affecting eight (8) barangays, namely: Cabungaan, Canjulao, Cambugason, Pagina, Pangdan, Poblacion, Tejero and Tubod Monte. No casualties are reported.

"2. Flashflood Incident in Valencia City, Bukidnon (Region X)

• Around 2:30 PM, 04 August 2015, a flashflood incident occurred in Valencia City, Bukidnon due to heavy rains and isolated thunderstorms resulting to the deaths of nine (9) people.

"3. Flooding Incident in Municipalities of Maguindanao (ARMM)

• Since 30 July 2015, intermittent rains resulted to flooding in eight (8) municipalities of Maguindanao. No casualties were reported.

World: Asia-Pacific Region: El Niño Snapshot - August 2015

7 August 2015 - 3:46am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Fiji, India, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, World

Overview

El Niño is historically associated with lower rainfall amounts in the Asia-Pacific region; its impact is difficult to predict. Drought and floods are concurrently occurring in many countries in the region, however the effects of drought are expected to prevail and are likely to be heavier than expected.

Country alerts

India

In early Aug, the India Meteorological Department reported a rainfall deficit as high as 57 percent in some areas. Monsoon rains affected the entire country ahead of schedule in 2015 and a strengthening El Niño pattern and prolonged dry spell in some regions has threatened to impact crop production. Reports are increasingly placing India at great risk as livelihoods, food production and food prices will likely experience significant impact.

Philippines

Drought warnings are in place for provinces in central and northern Philippines. In May, the Government placed eight provinces under a state of calamity due to worsening drought conditions. Meteorologists predict below normal rainfall conditions are likely to intensify in the coming months and into 2016. The El Niño could also trigger erratic behaviour of tropical storms, influencing their track and intensity.

Fiji

A drought warning is in place for Fiji where rainfall is well below average and sugar cane farmers are reporting crop reductions of around 25 per cent. Emergency water deliveries to villages and schools have already begun, especially on the outer islands and in some main island communities.

Vanuatu & Solomon Islands

Intensified drought conditions may adversely affect countries that are emerging from the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclones Pam and Raquel which included displacement, flooding and crop destruction. It is expected that the passage of possible tropical cyclone systems over or near island groups will be the primary source of significant rainfall over the year ahead.

What does this mean for Asia-Pacific?

El Niño affects the weather in large parts of the world, depending strongly on location and season.
The strongest effects on precipitation are in South East Asia and the western Pacific Ocean, especially in the dry season (August-November).

Disease: Health risks include outbreaks of a number of diseases including diarrhoea, leptospirosis and typhoid, by exposure to contaminated water or decreased hygiene due to water shortages. There may also be an increase in vector-borne diseases including dengue, chikungunya and zika virus due to increase mosquito vectors and increased temperatures. Malnutrition is also a significant risk.

Drought: El Niño events usually, but not always, coincide with much drier than normal conditions across the western Pacific, including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), eastern and northern Australia, South and South East Asia. Drier conditions can be expected particularly in the Philippines, PNG, India, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, and Niue. Extended drought conditions could lead to food and water scarcity and impact job security and income, especially in at-risk sectors such as agriculture and tourism.

Fires and haze: Drier weather in many countries can cause increased occurrences of forest fires and haze. Many of these blazes are on deep peat lands, particularly in areas such as Sumatra and Borneo, producing huge plumes of smoke and large amounts of carbon dioxide, which can cause significant health concerns.

Frost: Previous El Niño events have resulted in severe frosts in the highland provinces of PNG, severely impacting domestic garden and crop yields.

Heavy Rainfall: In an El Niño year there is usually more heavy rain in Pacific equatorial countries putting these low-lying nations at risk of flood and erosion.

Tropical cyclones: In the Pacific, El Niño patterns usually see more frequent and intense cyclones developing over a wider area. An eastward shift in tropical cyclone activity in the South Pacific towards the Cook Islands and French Polynesia may result in more frequent landfalls in Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Cyclone related rains could be above average in southern China causing widespread flooding.

El Niño in 1997 and 1998

The 1997-98 El Niño was one of the strongest on record, with substantial effects such as major drought conditions across Micronesia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The scarcity of water, and associated impact on agriculture led to increased incidences of health problems, nutritional deficiencies and food shortages. Additionally, countries experienced a number of social problems, including increased school absenteeism and ethnic strife. More recently,
El Niño conditions were observed in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2009. Impacts from these latter El Niño events were less and of a shorter duration.

Preparedness Recommendations

Humanitarian partners and government agencies should continue to closely monitor and record atmospheric conditions such as precipitation patterns, soil moisture etc. and consult with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and forecasters from World Meteorological Organization regional and global centres for updates. To this effect, OCHA will engage Resident and Humanitarian Coordinators to promote coordination of appropriate preparedness activities.

The humanitarian community should reflect on the lessons learned from previous El Niño conditions, including the severe 1997/98 effects on countries across Asia and the Pacific. It is important to ensure that governments and humanitarian responders have ready and available capacities to prepare for, and respond, to eventual El Niño conditions.

As predictions become more accurate and areas where events are anticipated, appropriate contingency processes and preparedness actions should be taken at the country level by the Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO), the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in consultation with meteorological agencies. Preparedness actions should be taken at the country level by NDMO and Met services with support of RCO where necessary.

Partners and government technical agencies at the country level need to identify and implement risk mitigation measures in order for citizens and communities to be better equipped if and when El Niño does have an impact at the local level.

China - Taiwan Province: AHA Centre Flash Update Typhoon Soudelor (7 August 2015)

7 August 2015 - 12:41am
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: China - Taiwan Province, Northern Mariana Islands (The United States of America), Philippines

Typhoon Soudelor has been categorised previously as super typhoon however, it has slightly weakened with current wind speed at maximum of 165 kmh and gustiness of up to 200 kmh. Typhoon Soudelor continuously to move toward west northwest and predicted to make landfall in central Taiwan within the next 24 hours.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) stated that the typhoon would not make landfall in any part of Philippines, but it would bring rains to the northern part of Philippines and possibly create moderate rainfall within the 700 kilometre diameter of the typhoon. The typhoon is now located at 485 east northeast of Batanes.

Today, the NNDRRMC reported four local landslides and flooding incidents. The damage is considered minor with one damaged house and no fatality.

Rain precipitation on 3 July 2015 Affected State/Region Photos from USA TODAY Typhoon Saudelor track and estimated rainfall intensity caused by the typhoon Typhoon Soudelor passed over Saipan island in Northern Mariana Islands on 2 August 2015. This caused flooding and significant destruction to residential houses, trees and electrical poles as shown in the pictures. The typhoon also left hundreds of Saipan residents in shelters, cut off roads, power and water services.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: Effects of Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) as of 07 August 2015, 8:00 PM

6 August 2015 - 8:00pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affected Regions VII, X, and XII since 30 July 2015 until 05 August 2015. Moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms were experienced resulting to flashfloods, landslides, and flooding especially in the low-lying areas.

II. EFFECTS

A. Incidents Monitored

"1. Landslide/Flashflood Incidents in Jagna, Bohol (Region VII)

• At around 1:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 4 August 2015, landslide/erosion and flashfloods incidents occurred due to nine (9) hours of non-stop heavy rains in the Municipality of Jagna, Bohol affecting eight (8) barangays, namely: Cabungaan, Canjulao, Cambugason, Pagina, Pangdan, Poblacion, Tejero and Tubod Monte. No casualties are reported.

"2. Flashflood Incident in Valencia City, Bukidnon (Region X)

• At around 2:30 PM, 04 August 2015, a flashflood incident occurred in Valencia City, Bukidnon due to heavy rains and isolated thunderstorms resulting to the deaths of nine (9) people.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 3 Preparedness Measures for Typhoon "Hanna" (Soudelor)

6 August 2015 - 2:59pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 2 Preparedness Measures for Typhoon "Hanna" (Soudelor)

6 August 2015 - 2:58pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Philippines: UNICEF Philippines Humanitarian Situation Report Mid-year Review (6 August 2015

6 August 2015 - 9:31am
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Philippines

Situation Overview

The Philippines remains prone to natural hazards including typhoons, earthquake and volcanoes. 2015 is currently experiencing an El Niño event and 16-20 typhoons of category 3 or higher, that may impact the Philippines, are predicted during the current typhoon season (June – November).
In addition to natural hazards, the long running armed conflict in Mindanao continues and a law enforcement operation launched by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Central Mindanao in February 2015 displaced over 125,000 people. The situation in the Sulu Archipelago in South Western Mindanao continued to be highly insecure, with children affected by fighting between lawless armed groups, family feuding and high levels of criminality. The ongoing conflict continues to exclude children in Mindanao from the benefits of economic growth experienced in other regions of the Philippines, and the region has the lowest rates for completion of elementary school and access to sanitation, and has the highest rates of malnutrition. Following fighting in late 2013 in Zamboanga there remains a total of 17,023 people displaced and elevated rates of malnutrition have been identified amongst Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs). The peace process remains intact, however there has been growing uncertainty over the passage of the ‘Bangsamoro Basic Law’ – which is a key part of the peace process. If the peace process fails there would be an increased risk of large-scale displacement.

World: Drones and Satellites for Good - How Satellite Imagery Can Protect Human Rights

6 August 2015 - 2:23am
Source: RESET Country: Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, World

Written by Marius, 06-08-2015

When it comes to human rights violations, it is often the weakest members of our society who are hardest hit. This is especially true for those who have no one representing their rights on their side. Using the latest technology, satellites can now be used to detect crimes. For our RESET special 'Drones and Satellites for Good', we show how two projects are working towards protecting human rights by using satellites images.

The question is simple and logical but nonetheless surprising: if we constantly have up to 1000 satellites orbiting the earth, how can it be possible that human rights violations initially go unnoticed? The possible poor quality of the images is one explanation. To be more exact, the sticking point is the question of who evaluates this information. The UN's Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) is taking a closer look for us. It uses satellite information to track and make note of humanitarian disasters, violence and human rights violations in a timely manner.

The Philippines in the year 2013: conflict is going on between the separatists of the Moro National Liberation Front and government forces. Already 131,000 people have been forced to flee, 10,000 houses have been destroyed and at least 130 people have lost their lives. Aid organisations no longer dare to act on site and the information on the situation is contradictory. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) finally used satellite images to identify the extent of damage to buildings from which the intensity of the conflict could be deduced.

Human rights also means having a fundamental guarantee of safety. Satellites can help in cases where human rights are at risk. They can assist aid organisations in gathering information about regions that are no longer safe to enter without the police or army. Last but not least, there are also situations in which the army, as in the Philippines in 2013, is not entirely impartial. In addition to use in dangerous war zones, the analysis of satellite data has also proven to be of use in complex civil war situations.

Sudan is one such case whereby the analysis of satellite data from 2011 saved lives, both indirectly and directly. This was made possible by the Satellite Sentinel Project which analyses satellite images derived from the border between Sudan and South Sudan. A partnership between John Prendergast (co-founder of the Enough Project) and the Project Not On Our Watch, the Satellite Sentinel Project was also co-founded by actor George Clooney, whose popularity surely played no small role in raising funds. However, Clooney is in this case more than just a celebrity face. He has travelled incognito several times to the region and pointed out shocking photos to the public about the extent of the crisis. He was even arrested at a later stage for taking part in a demonstration in front of the Sudanese Embassy against the (North) Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir in Washington DC.

So What's the Point of all This Observation?

First and foremost, satellite data can be used as evidence during the trials of war crimes. On the other hand the images are often so accurate that massacres or the existence of mass graves are detectable. In some cases, distant observers can play pivotal roles that affect the outcome of conflict. For example, in September 2011, when an employee of the Satellite Sentinel Project spotted thousands of soldiers and helicopters at Kurmuk, they were able to warn residents in that location and save numerous people.

In the video below, John Prendergast explains how he and George Clooney got involved with this project and how they go about their work with satellite imagery:

Video

From the bottom of the ocean to the outer reaches of the galaxy – the possibilities offered by drones and satellites are practically unlimited. Unmanned aerial vehicles are no longer only used in war zones. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, they are also valuable aids in the fight against pollution and social injustice. They can expose polluters and even locate people buried under rubble. In our RESET Special 'Drones and Satellites for Good', we will introduce projects that use satellites and drones towards sustainable development.

Philippines: Building more resilient farming communities after Typhoon Haiyan

5 August 2015 - 2:54pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines

To help build the resilience of small-scale rice-, corn- and coconut-based farming communities severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan, some 40,000 households have received recovery support in the form of water- and pest-resistant storage containers, along with training that will help farmers protect their seeds and reduce post-harvest losses.

One of the most important post-harvest activities is the storage of grains and seeds. However, according to a recent FAO Post-Harvest Haiyan Report, many farming households lose an average of almost 60 kg during the storage period.

“Appropriate storage facilities can play a crucial role in reducing seed and grain losses when natural disasters like floods or typhoons occur,” said Jackie Pinat, FAO Area Coordinator for Region VIII.

The report revealed that the majority of households were storing part of their rice seeds in rice sacks, which were not protected from extreme weather conditions.

“We know that other typhoons will come, so these air-tight storage containers, being pest and water-resistant will help farmers to minimize their losses and will enable them to store up to 80 kg of seeds, which equates to being able plant two hectares of rice paddy,” said Ms Pinat.

“There are also economic benefits to proper seed storage. Farmers will not be put under pressure to sell their produce straight away in order to meet their immediate needs, so this increases farmers’ bargaining power, as they have the option to delay selling while negotiating a better price.”

In addition, Ms Pinat explained that the storage drums can keep seeds for up to four months, allowing the farmers to save good seeds from the previous harvest for the next cropping season.

One of the recipients was Edgarde Montoya, who has been farming rice in Palo, Leyte for more than 20 years. His coastal community was first hit by the Typhoon, and then by the resulting tidal surge. “When Yolanda came, all the crops were washed out. Even the houses were destroyed,” he recalls.

Edgarde has since built back his livelihood through receiving training on better farming practices, along with a household farming kit and farm inputs, including the seed storage container.

“The assistance really helped us get through the crisis so that we could get back to farming. Now I can grow and sell crops again. The money that I earn from selling my crops, I can use to buy my families daily needs,” he says.

The inputs and trainings that have been provided to small-scale farmers like Edgarde enables them to implement the practices they’ve learned and ensure safer grain and seed storage to reduce losses, thereby increasing their resilience to natural disasters and their ability to recover.

Edgarde is well aware that more typhoons will surely come, but his outlook is optimistic: “I think I am now better prepared, because I am now more experienced, and more trained. I have readily available seedlings and I can use the grain storage container if another typhoon like Yolanda comes again. But I pray that it won’t happen.”

The Rice and Corn Recovery programme and Coconut-Based Farming Systems programme are part of FAO’s USD 39.7 million Typhoon Haiyan Strategic Response Plan, which aims to address the recovery needs of affected farming families. The programmes are funded by the Governments of Canada, Finland, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.

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Philippines: Five dead, three missing in southern Philippines floods

5 August 2015 - 6:53am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | AFP | Wednesday 8/5/2015 - 10:26 GMT

Five people have died and three more are missing as floods hit two southern Philippine cities, forcing about 400 residents to flee their submerged homes, officials said Wednesday.

Swollen rivers burst their banks and unleashed waist-deep floods on shanty towns in the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia on Mindanao island this week, provincial civil defence chief Ana Caneda told AFP.

Heavy rains have swamped the region since late last month and the government warned residents of vulnerable areas, including riverbank shanties, to evacuate, but some refused, she said.

"They may not have relatives to go to and don't want to go to the evacuation centres so they... (chose) to sit it out," Caneda said, adding that some had refused to leave their properties unguarded.

Rescuers recovered the corpses of five shantytown residents Wednesday when monsoon rains let up for the day, but three other residents remain missing, she added.

Caneda said the floods were brought on by a seasonal monsoon and were not related to Super Typhoon Soudelor, which is threatening Taiwan and China.

Hundreds of people are killed in natural disasters each year in the Philippines, which is battered by an average of 20 typhoons and tropical storms annually.

mm/cgm/tm

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: Decommissioning does not have to be in BBL, legal team reiterates

5 August 2015 - 2:20am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Aug. 5 – Decommissioning need not be included in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, a lawyer of the government peace panel said today.

“We have explained many times before that decommissioning as well as the broader normalization process need not be in the BBL,” Atty. Sittie Amirah Pendatun explained in response to Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s statement that one reason for the delay in the submission of his committee report on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is the difficulty in incorporating provisions on the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) weapons and combatants.

According to Pendatun, the primary reason why decommissioning and the normalization process are not in the proposed BBL is because the Constitution prohibits the creation of a bill with more than one subject, citing Art. VI, Sec. 26(1) of the 1987 Constitution which says “every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.”

“The BBL is really about the establishment of an autonomous region. It’s about the creation of a political entity which seeks to establish an inclusive system of governance for a multicultural segment of the Philippine population, and not about the MILF per se,” Pendatun said.

“For this reason, the normalization program is not a pertinent subject of the proposed BBL,” she explained. “In fact, if we include two subjects, there’s a possibility that this will be challenged in court for non-compliance with the constitutional requirement.”

In addition, Pendatun said that decommissioning does not need new legislation as it is within the power of the president to conduct peace talks and ensure the wellbeing of the country.

“We believe that the current legal framework empowers the President to enter into and implement the peace agreement, including decommissioning,” she said. “Thus there is no need for a new law.”

“The Supreme Court decided in a case that the President is the one in power to conduct peace negotiations. That is implicitly included in his powers as Chief Executive and as Commander-in-Chief,” Pendatun explained. Pendatun reiterated that the President as Chief Executive “has general responsibility to promote public peace,” and as Commander-in-Chief has the “specific duty to prevent and suppress rebellion and lawless violence," while noting that "normalization, which includes decommissioning, is a measure to promote public peace and to prevent or suppress rebellion."

Citing jurisprudence, Pendatun also noted that “the President must be given leeway to explore solutions for the implementation and to end hostilities, because the President is in a singular best position to know the grievances and also know the measures to address these grievances.

Finally, according to Pendatun, the Constitution already provides a guideline for the content of an organic act such as the proposed BBL.

“The Constitution itself provides the guidelines for it. We have two sections: Article X, Sec. 18 and Article X, Sec. 20,” Pendatun explained. “According to the Constitution, an organic act should contain the basic structure of government, [both] executive and legislative, the creation of special courts, provisions on the conduct of a plebiscite, and the legislative powers of the proposed entity. And all of these matters are already included in the proposed BBL"

The decommissioning process has already formally begun on June 16, 2015 with the ceremonial turnover and decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants, despite delays in the passage of the BBL in Congress. Further developments in the decommissioning process are expected with progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which includes the passage of the BBL, conduct of a plebiscite in the envisioned core territory and the establishment of the Bangsamoro region. (OPAPP)