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Philippines: TS Seniang leaves 2 dead, 33,055 families affected in AgSur

6 January 2015 - 10:53pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

AGUSAN DEL SUR, January 6 (PIA) - Tropical Storm (TS) “Seniang” perceived by many Agusanons as the most disastrous as it affected 33,055 families or 124,767 persons and left two persons dead in 11 municipalities in Agusan del Sur that submitted reports to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC), as of January 4, 2015.

According to PRDDMC, they are still awaiting for the final report from the City of Bayugan, municipalities of San Luis and Talacogon as to affected families or persons during the PDRRMC’s reporting.

According to the reports, the municipality of Bunawan has the highest affected families reaching 9,440 or 43,578 persons from 10 barangays, followed by Esperanza with 6,696 families and no headcount of the number of persons from 12 barangays. Ranking third is La Paz with 6,657 families or 30,083 persons from 15 barangays while Prosperidad claimed 4th having 5,737 families with 27,595 persons from 22 barangays.

As embodied in their respective plans, all the 13 municipalities and the lone city of Bayugan had utilized all their evacuation centers where Sibagat town had filled their nine evacuation centers, Talacogon with four, San Luis also nine, Esperanza with 20 evacuation centers, Prosperida with 10, San Francisco with eight, Rosario with three, Bunawan with 14, Trento with two, Sta. Josefa with five, Veruela with two, Loreto with one, La Paz with three and San Luis with nine evacuation centers, with a total of 2,734 affected families evacuated.

There are two casualties that were recorded by the PDRRMC identified as Pepe Ares, 50 years old from Mikit, San Martin, Prosperidad who died due to landslide and CJ Florentino from Barangay 4, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur who died from drowning. LGUs have already extended burial assistance to the bereaved families.

All the affected families provincewide were extended relief foods and goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Caraga Region and their respective local government units during disaster and after the actual flooding ranging from canned goods to packed groceries as contents of family packs. (David M. Suya, PIA-Agusan del Sur)

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 17 Dec 2014 - 6 Jan 2015

6 January 2015 - 10:34am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Snapshot 17 December – 6 January

Nigeria: A series of suspected Boko Haram attacks in Borno and neighbouring states have resulted in more than 80 deaths, 225 kidnapped, hundreds of homes burneds and thousands displaced.

Central African Republic: Nearly 200,000 people need nutrition assistance. Over 36,000 people are trapped in seven enclaves across the country; a group of 474 Fulani who fled to Yaloke months ago and now cannot leave are in particular need.

Syria: 76,000 people were killed in conflict in 2014, the highest annual toll since the war began, and including 18,000 civilians. 4.8 million people are in hard-to-reach areas. Shortages of food and medicine caused the deaths of more than 300 civilians in areas under government siege in 2014.

Updated: 06/01/2014. Next update: 13/01/2015

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: NDRRMC Update SitRep No.18 re Effects of Tropical Storm "Seniang"

6 January 2015 - 7:03am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

World: CrisisWatch N°137, 5 January 2015

5 January 2015 - 9:23pm
Source: International Crisis Group Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

December saw a significant deterioration of the security situation – compared to the previous month – in nine countries or conflict situations in the world, including in South Asia (Pakistan and India), and East Africa (South Sudan and Kenya). There is a risk of increased violence in the coming month in Sudan, where major offensives are anticipated on the heels of a failure in the peace talks; in Sri Lanka, in the context of the 8 January elections; and in Haiti, where the current president could rule by decree unless parliament's mandate, due to expire on 12 January, is extended. On a positive note, the Colombia peace talks emerged strengthened in December, and relations between Cuba and the U.S. dramatically improved.

In South Asia, both Pakistan and India experienced severe violent attacks. In Pakistan, the deadliest ever attack by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) took place on 16 December on a military-run school in Peshawar, killing at least 148, including 132 children. The military retaliated by escalating operations against militants in the tribal belt. The government introduced a counter-terrorism “National Action Plan”, including the establishment of military-run courts, which would require a constitutional amendment undermining fundamental rights and due process. It also lifted a moratorium on the death penalty, leading to the execution of several non-TTP militants allegedly responsible for past attacks on the military. (See our recent report). In India’s north east, militant Bodo separatists killed over 70 people in several attacks across Assam state on 23 December. The attacks, which reportedly targeted Adivasi settlers and came in response to several Bodo deaths during the army’s ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the area, prompted retaliatory vigilante assaults on Bodos and an intensification of the military campaign. In Sri Lanka, as the race tightened ahead of the 8 January presidential election between joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena and President Rajapaksa, an increasingly volatile campaign environment, including numerous attacks on opposition activists and rallies, raised concerns about the possibility of serious election related violence. (See our new report on the January presidential election and blog post published today).

In the Horn of Africa, both Sudan and South Sudan saw serious armed clashes. In South Sudan, peace talks between warring parties ground to a halt. Both sides remain at odds over the details of a power-sharing deal, in particular the powers that SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar would have as premier of a transitional government. Clashes between the opposing forces continued despite the recommitment in November to a cessation of hostilities agreement, including in Nasir town where fighting between government and SPLA-IO forces is ongoing. There is a risk attacks will escalate into major offensives if no political agreement is reached. (See our new report). Peace negotiations in Sudan floundered as the government continued to reject a comprehensive approach to talks with rebel groups in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Violence is already on the rise, and major offensives are anticipated if the talks fail. The government has stepped up pressure on the UN presence, expelling two UN officials in late December. Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants continued to step up attacks in Kenya. On 2 December 36 non-Muslim workers were killed at a quarry near Mandera, prompting hundreds to flee the town. Thirteen were injured and one killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants on a club in Wajir. The government’s clampdown continued, as President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law an anti-terror bill that is widely contested and seen by many as draconian. (See our recent report)

Elsewhere in Africa, government rule was challenged in both Gambia and Gabon prompting a crackdown. In Gambia, the military foiled a coup attempt against President Yahya Jammeh. Three coup plotters were reportedly killed as the military repulsed the 30 December attack on the presidential palace in the capital Banjul. Dozens of military personnel and civilians were subsequently arrested and, according to Gambian official sources, a weapons cache found. President Jammeh, who was abroad at the time of the coup attempt, has accused dissidents based in the U.S., UK and Germany of masterminding the attack and alluded to suspected foreign support. The government in Gabon violently cracked down on protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. On 20 December, protesters clashed with security forces – officials reported one killed, but protesters suggested at least three. Several opposition leaders were detained by police in late December.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, political crisis deepened in both Venezuela and Haiti. In Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro’s government pushed through a number of appointments to key institutions with a simple majority vote, installing government allies in the judiciary and other branches of state. In doing so it has violated a number of legal and constitutional requirements designed to ensure that nominees are impartial and of good repute. The opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance abstained in all the appointments in protest. (See our latest report and recent blog post). Haiti’s political crisis over its long-overdue elections intensified, with mass protests demanding the resignation of President Michel Martelly even after Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resigned, and calling for polls to take place. There were fears of further violence with parliament’s mandate set to expire on 12 January, leaving Haiti without a functioning government and meaning Martelly would rule by decree. On 30 December, Martelly reached a deal with the senate and the chamber of deputies to extend their mandate, however lawmakers still need to approve the deal and agree on an acceptable provisional electoral council.

In Russia’s North Caucasus region and in Libya the situation deteriorated in December. In the North Caucasus, fifteen police, two civilians and eleven militants were killed, and 36 police injured, in a shootout between rebel gunmen and police in the Chechen capital Grozny in the early hours of 4 December. An Islamist group claimed responsibility for the raid. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced that relatives of militants responsible would be punished; sixteen houses belonging to insurgents’ relatives were later destroyed. Meanwhile, the leader of the Caucasus Emirate's Dagestan network and several insurgency leaders from Dagestan and Chechnya pledged loyalty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In Libya, multiple new frontlines emerged across the country, with heavy clashes in the south, west and east between the military allies of the country’s two rival parliaments. The fighting deepened the conflict between the two political bodies. A UN-sponsored political dialogue was again postponed due to disagreements over participants.

On a positive note, there was progress both in Colombia and Cuba. In Colombia, peace talks with FARC emerged strengthened from the crisis triggered by the kidnapping of an army general in November. The guerrillas declared an unprecedented, indefinite unilateral ceasefire, which entered into force on 20 December. President Santos welcomed the ceasefire but rejected demands for third party verification and said that security forces would continue operations. There are questions about sustainability, but if the ceasefire holds, it will help break the ground for ending decades of conflict. Expectations that exploratory talks with the ELN could finally develop into formal negotiations are rising, after the country’s second guerrilla group said it would make a “special announcement” in early January. (See our recent report on the challenges of ending the Colombian conflict). December saw a dramatic improvement in relations between Cuba and the U.S., with the U.S. announcement on 17 December that it would normalise ties with the island. The possibility of an end to the decades-long U.S. embargo of Cuba is set to transform political relations across the hemisphere (see our blog post on U.S.-Cuban relations).

World: Shelter Projects 2013 - 2014

5 January 2015 - 5:16pm
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, UN Human Settlements Program, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Central African Republic, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World


Shelter Projects 2013-2014 is the fifth edition in the series which began in 2008. This book adds 27 new shelter case studies and overviews, bringing the total number of project articles to over 150. This valuable repository of project examples and response overviews represents a significant body of experience offering unique reference material for shelter and settlement practitioners worldwide.
To quote Albert Einstein, “anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”, and the objective of this publication has always been to encourage the sharing of lessons learned, both good and bad, and to advocate the following of best practices. Such knowledge sharing helps practitioners to be more accountable to crisis affected communities by implementing effective shelter responses and to show impact to donors by ensuring adequacy in our settlement and shelter interventions.

Shelter programming should operate in accordance with recognized shelter best practice while enabling those displaced to return to their homes or equivalent living space in a timely manner encouraging community recovery and building resilience to possible future shocks. Participation and promoting a sense of ownership is the key to achieving successful projects.

The introduction section of this publication provides and overview of the emergencies which have continued to require large-scale settlement and shelter responses since the last edition. The on-going and widening conflict in Syria, vast destruction left in the wake of tropical storms Sandy in the Americas and Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines and recurring flooding in Pakistan prompted this edition to include four overview pieces to complement the geographic spread of the selected case studies.

The international humanitarian community is dealing with unprecedented levels of displacement and scale of natural disaster. This implies a requirement for increased shelter needs, larger mobilization of resources and projects requiring improved models of delivery as well as innovative, cost-effective solutions which incorporate best practice as well as positioning the persons of concern at the forefront of response interventions.

The topics of the opinion pieces in Section B were decided on through discussion with a technical advisory group. The pieces are written by experts with specific interests and experiences and we are extremely grateful for their invaluable contribution. The topics include the importance of assessment in shelter, evaluating cash-for-rent subsidies, security of tenure and humanitarian shelter, supporting host families as shelter options and urban settings, all of significant current relevance and interest in the settlement and shelter domain.

These new case studies remind us of the similarities yet uniqueness every crisis presents. It is important not to ‘re-invent the wheel’ with every emergency and this publication acts as a tool for building on and improving on the successes of completed shelter projects. The case studies address common issues emerging in shelter response, outline different approaches to addressing shelter needs and assist in evaluating the impact on affected communities. They provide an excellent resource against which to gauge proposed shelter interventions and possible outcomes.

The Shelter Projects website - - has been updated with the latest edition and provides an easy way to search the repository of case studies, overviews and project updates.
We are once again indebted to everyone who contributed case studies and to the technical advisory group for their valuable time and expert input.

We trust that the reader will find this edition of ‘Shelter projects’ relevant and thought-provoking, leading to improved settlement and shelter solutions for affected communities.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update SitRep No.17 re Effects of Tropical Storm "Seniang"

5 January 2015 - 12:57pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Philippines: ‘Pablo’-affected families get new homes

5 January 2015 - 5:11am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

DAVAO ORIENTAL, January 5, 2015 –Typhoon Pablo survivors in the three typhoon-ravaged towns of Boston, Cateel and Baganga will face the new year with a promise of new hope as they recently received permanent homes they can truly call their own.

Turned over by Provincial Government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the 2,418 families, who are the latest batch of permanent housing beneficiaries in the three towns, received the certificate of occupancy to their new homes last December 18, 2014. These families extended their gratitude both to the national and provincial government for realizing their dream of owning a home and a fresh start to their new lives.

“With these new homes, we can now focus more on our livelihood,” said one beneficiary, emphasizing this ‘gift’ would give them more confidence to dream more for their families.

Based on reports from the DSWD, over 13,000 beneficiaries in the three towns have, since the last two years, benefitted from the permanent shelter project implemented under the Modified Shelter Assistance Program initiated through the partnership of the DSWD and the Provincial Government.

Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon said she is very overwhelmed by the DSWD’s support to her province. “If there’s one agency who we should really thank for their support, then that would be the DSWD,” she says. “I personally have been a witness to their massive support to the province since day one until now in our rehabilitation phase." She also lauded the efforts of the department for standing ready especially when it comes to providing long-term shelters to the hapless typhoon victims, who can’t build houses on their own, given their lack of financial resources.

“These new homes symbolize security and hope as families start rebuilding their lives after typhoon Pablo ravaged their towns in 2012,” said the Governor, noting that ‘we cannot plan and focus in the long-term if we don’t have the security of a home’.

She also emphasized that the Government, through various interventions, is striving hard to attend the needs of the people and help them ‘Build Back Better’.

Meanwhile, a week after the permanent shelter turn over, a cash distribution followed in Caraga town, where most families have partially damaged homes. A total 841 families received Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) worth P10, 000 handed over last December 28 by the DSWD and the Provincial Government. This hand over of cash assistance completes the last phase of distribution of ESA to families with partially-damaged homes. (PIO DAVOR)

Philippines: South-South Cooperation: Lessons from the Philippines on the Roles and Needs of Young People in a Disaster

5 January 2015 - 4:58am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Indonesia, Philippines

Tagaytay, 12 December 2014 - Young people require special attention in times of disaster. In the aftermath of a natural or human-made emergency, young people are at greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence, early marriage and exposure to STIs and HIV. They can also be a valuable resource in humanitarian efforts. However, their needs and capabilities are often overlooked in disaster management planning.

To address this gap, UNFPA Indonesia in collaboration with UNFPA Philippines organized a ‘Training Workshop on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) and Youth Engagement in Humanitarian Settings’ from 8-11 December 2014. Held in Tagaytay in the Philippines, the workshop was supported by the Population Commission (PopCom) and Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), and was attended by a delegation of 20 youth leaders and humanitarian programmers from Indonesia. The workshop was conducted as part of the ongoing South-South Cooperation partnership between Indonesia and the Philippines.

At the workshop, participants turned their focus to the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents (aged 10-15) and youth (aged 15-24), together referred to as young people. The participants defined and discussed the basic concepts of ASRH and the risks confronting young people during a humanitarian response. They also studied guidelines and other tools for managing ASRH in a humanitarian setting, from the stage of disaster preparedness through the response stage to recovery and rehabilitation.

Aside from developing ways to respond to young people’s needs in an emergency, participants at the workshop also discussed ways for youth to get involved in humanitarian response. Participants from Indonesia, including several youth representatives, gained the skills and knowledge to attend to their peers in times of disaster and crisis via fun, interesting and interactive in-the-field training. The participants further discussed ways in which youth and ASRH information and services can ensure that young people become actors in development beyond the setting of a humanitarian response.

As archipelagic nations situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia and the Philippines suffer from frequent natural disasters that result in numerous deaths, environmental degradation and heavy economic losses. Under the framework of South-South Cooperation, which has been ongoing between the two countries since 2012, work has mainly focused on lessons from Indonesia on the engagement of religious leaders in family planning, and lessons from the Philippines on the successful decentralization of family planning and reproductive health. In the Tagaytay workshop, the focus of the partnership was expanded to ASRH and youth engagement in disaster and crisis response.

Mr. Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Representative in Indonesia, in his opening remarks emphasized that young people have both needs and roles to play in the event of a disaster.

“We have brought members of UNFPA Indonesia’s Youth Advisory Panel with us today, not only to include them in discussions that are relevant to them and their peers, but in the hope that young people like them can be prepared to follow the example of the Philippines in taking a leading role to support young people’s reproductive rights during a humanitarian crisis,” he said.

His counterpart Mr. Klaus Beck, as UNFPA Representative in the Philippines, gave a special welcome to the young Indonesian delegation, and agreed that young people have an important role to play in supporting humanitarian efforts during a disaster response.

“I am very happy to meet you young people, the future of not only Indonesia, but of the world,” he said. “As you’ve seen, young people can do a lot in humanitarian situations. There are different types of humanitarian situations − where one can prepare for it; and one that is unexpected. The lesson is that no one organization can handle disaster alone: coordination and partnership is very important.”

Development partners, including UN agencies, have developed their humanitarian response programmes to offer rapid assistance during disasters. Support is often provided to displaced populations, and especially to young children, pregnant women, mothers and the elderly. The Governments of Indonesia and the Philippines have also established disaster preparedness programmes to enable local governments, communities, and various public and private agencies to respond quickly to natural disasters.

The training workshop in the Philippines expanded the focus on young people as a vulnerable group in times of disaster, while also highlighting this group’s potential to help others – a valuable reminder for all agencies and institutions involved in managing disasters in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Philippines: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (30 Dec 2014 - 5 Jan 2015)

5 January 2015 - 2:56am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka


Tropical Storm Jangmi formed in the east of Mindanao on 28 Dec, intensifying as it made landfall in Hinatuan municipality, Surigao del Sur province (Region XIII), on 29 Dec. The storm made a total of five landfalls and then weakened into a low pressure area as it passed south of Palawan and exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility in the early morning of 2 Jan. Jangmi affected about 486,900 people across seven regions (IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X, XI and XIII). The death toll stands at 54 with 40 injured and 7 missing.

While some evacuees have begun returning home, over 77,400 people remain inside 187 evacuation centres. Over 390 houses were destroyed while around 1,190 sustained partial damage.

486,900 people affected

54 people killed

National and sub-national authorities continue to provide assistance including food packs, non-food items, mosquito nets and blankets, as well as medicine and hygiene kits. A total of P27,591,700 (US$614,800) worth of relief aid was provided.


As of 2 Jan, the situation across flood-affected areas in Peninsular Malaysia has improved including in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak states. According to the Government, almost 45,100 people remain displaced, most of them in Pahang, and 16 people were killed, most of them in Kelantan. Heavy rainfall in Sabah caused river overflows and displaced an additional 100 people. Heavy localised rainfall is predicted to continue.

The Government of Malaysia is leading the response and providing food and water, emergency shelter and mosquito nets with the support of the humanitarian community.

45,200 people displaced


As of 5 Jan, the Disaster Management Centre reports an estimated 1.1 million people were affected by floods, landslides and high winds since 19 Dec 2014 in 22 of 25 districts. There were 39 deaths reported with 20 people injured and 2 people missing.

1.1 million people affected

39 people killed

Currently, 30,654 people are living in 230 safety centres in 17 districts. Over 6,400 houses are reportedly fully destroyed and an estimated 18,537 houses partially damaged. The flood situation is gradually being normalised and partners on the ground report that those living in safety centres or with host families have begun to return home. The Ministry of Disaster Management is taking necessary steps to pay compensation for property damages.


A UNDAC/UNEP team deployed to Bangladesh to undertake assessments and provide expert advice on clean-up operations after the oil spill affecting Sundarbans Shela River ended its mission on 2 Jan.
The team presented its findings and recommendations to the Government.
Based on the mission’s observation, there is limited immediate environmental impact.
Efforts by local communities, the Government, as well as timely tidal variations minimised the penetration of oil into the ecosystem. Recommendations include monitoring to determine the effect of the residual oil and its impacts on fisheries and livelihoods.

Philippines: DSWD clarifies report on expired relief noodles in Negros Occidental

4 January 2015 - 11:01pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Department of Social Welfare and Development

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified the issue that there were relief food packs containing expired noodles distributed to Typhoon Seniang survivors in Silay City, Negros Occidental. With instructions from Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, DSWD-Field Office VI immediately validated this report.

Upon coordinating with Silay City Social Welfare and Development Officer (CSWDO), the Field Office found out that only two food packs contained expired noodles.

The said food packs were part of the last tranche of relief goods for Typhoon Yolanda survivors, which were released to the CSWDO by DSWD last September 2014 with the specific instruction that those have to be distributed immediately to the intended beneficiaries.

The CSWDO explained that she had two extra packs from the last tranche of goods for the Yolanda survivors and, admittedly, without checking the condition of their contents, she just gave those out.

The Field Office has been checking the other local government units (LGU) and so far, it has not yet monitored any similar incident.

Sec. Soliman instructed all DSWD Field Offices to constantly remind LGUs on the immediate distribution of relief goods given to them to ensure that these will not expire and that survivors can immediately use them.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update SitRep No.15 re Effects of Tropical Storm "Seniang"

4 January 2015 - 4:14pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Philippines: NDRRMC Update SitRep No.15 re Effects of Tropical Strom "Seniang"

4 January 2015 - 4:14pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Philippines: Govt to continue strengthening frontline agencies to effectively respond to disasters, says Palace

4 January 2015 - 3:40pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Jan. 4 -- The Palace said it will continue to invest in strengthening frontline agencies of the government to effectively respond to disasters and calamities.

Among the government's major agencies dealing with disasters and forecasting are the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and the Department of Science and Technology.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said among the major thrusts of the government is increasing the yearly budget of these agencies.

In the case of PAGASA, the government has upgraded the agency's equipment, according to Valte.

PAGASA, which had issues in the past, has received attention from the government. The DOST, PAGASA's mother agency, has tried to resolve issues on the allowances of its personnel with the help of the Department of Budget and Management.

"‘Sa mga naging solusyon natin dito pinapakita ang willingness sa part ng administrasyon na umupo at makipag-usap sa ating mga kasamahan para makahanap ng magandang solusyon," Valte said.

"We continue to invest in mechanisms that will help them make better tracks or make better predictions."

DOST's Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH has been expanded, Valte said adding that efforts to complete hazard mapping will continue.

The government not only focuses on PAGASA, Valte said, the administration is also improving the capability of responders and rescuers to effectively respond to disasters.

"We continue to invest in the capacity for them to be able to do more," she said.

The government has also augmented PAGASA's budget from P396.5 million in 2014 to P3.46 billion for 2015, an increase of 526.5 percent.

The large chunk of PAGASA's 2015 allocation is intended for the purchase of state-of-the-art weather monitoring equipment, Valte explained.

The new budget will also go to personnel services of PAGASA. In 2014, PAGASA had an allocation of P352 million for personnel services, and in 2015 PAGASA got P434.4 million for personnel services, a 23.4 percent increase.

The country's weather bureau as well as other government front line agencies was once again in close scrutiny after several major typhoons hit the Philippines in 2014.

Among these weather disturbances were Typhoon Ruby that devastated Eastern Visayas as well as the more recent Tropical Storm Seniang that brought massive flooding and landslides in Mindanao and the Visayas regions. (PCOO/PND (as)