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Philippines: Policy Forum on disaster response to children set

29 April 2015 - 10:08pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

ILOILO CITY, April 30(PIA)—A Policy Forum on Children’s Charter Progress Report, was organized April 29, to assess performance of stakeholders’ response to disasters and risk reduction management involving children.

This is being spearheaded by Save the Children Philippines, which operates in Estancia, Iloilo, one of the hardest-hit towns in northern Iloilo.

Krista J. Zimmerman, humanitarian advocacy manager of SC-Philippines, said the Children’s Charter Progress Report is based on research done with communities, policy makers and policy implementers in Manila, Leyte and Iloilo.

“The study assessed the performance of pre-Yolanda disaster risk reduction policy on the Philippines through the perspective of child rights and protection,” Zimmerman said.

She added that the Progress Report on the implementation of the Children’s Charter on Disaster Risk Reduction was published in November 2014 and distributed to government agencies and legislators in the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives.

“Since then, the House has passed legislations encapsulating the recommendations on the report,” Zimmerman said, adding that the Senate is also considering companion bills.

SC has dubbed the forum “Children’s Charter Progress Report and the Children in Emergencies: Building a Better Scorecard for Local Policy and Practice Monitoring.”

The policy forum will serve as platform for expressing interests, expertise sharing, and knowledge exchange among government agencies, local government units, civil society, academe and the private sector.

On top of it, according to Zimmerman, is charting a way forward on child-centered disaster risk reduction and management, based on the Children’s Charter Progress Report.

The event was at the Sarabia Manor Hotel and Conventions Center, Iloilo City. (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

Philippines: Jesuit priest, Moro youth plea for peace on final BBL hearing

29 April 2015 - 10:05pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, April 30 -- A Jesuit priest representing the country’s top Catholic Church leader and a Muslim youth-leader who also comes from a Moro royal house have joined forces in appealing to Congress to help achieve peace in Mindanao by passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) president Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. told the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law that he believes the BBL “requires a search for compromise and consensus” and that “peace building is essentially trust building.”

In the same forum, Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, a multi-awarded youth leader and Moro princess, said the BBL is the last hope for peace in the Bangsamoro, as she appealed to fellow Filipinos especially those in Metro Manila to understand the Filipino Muslims’ yearning for peace.

“We hope you will respond to the struggles of our ancestors. As the youth of today, we will safeguard what you will bestow upon us,” Usman said.

Tabora represented Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who along with Usman, were named by President Aquino as members of the National Peace Council that was convened to study the BBL and find ways to explain it further to the public. The other members of the Peace Council include former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jaime Zobel de Ayala and former Ambassador to the Holy See Howard Dee.

According to Tabora, any delay in the passage of the BBL would be “wasteful” of the previous efforts that had been exerted to attain peace. He also wondered aloud why people are seemingly disregarding the efforts put forth and sacrifices made by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front all these years.

“Peacemakers on both sides—of the government and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front)—have spent 17 years to bring us to this juncture. There is enough goodwill on both sides to bring this agreement to its conclusion, one that would provide communities in one of the most deprived regions in the country with a genuine fresh start. To set it aside now would be foolhardy,” he said.

Tabora also stressed that it is vital for the BBL to be passed now since there has been no other time when so much political will has been invested in the peace process.

“It would be foolish for us to end at this time and try to restart again in an indefinite future,” he said, echoing Former Chief Justice Davide’s earlier comments.

Davide, speaking for the council, has stated that the timing for the creation of a Bangsamoro autonomous region is “auspicious” in light of the 17 years of negotiations, the Aquino administration’s firm commitment to the peace process and most especially the mutual trust and goodwill that has already been established.

He also referred to the BBL as “an autonomous law that broadens the original one and more fully complies with our government’s constitutional promise and duty.”

Passing the BBL a good starting point for peace

The Peace Council has called for the immediate passage of the BBL, claiming that it is faithful to the constitution and would not lead to a Moro sub-state. They also shared their five major findings about the draft BBL and their recommendations in a report which they submitted to the House Ad Hoc Committee through Rodriguez.

Usman, on her part, appealed once more to lawmakers to give the BBL a chance.

“We strongly believe that the BBL will start us on the path that will bring peace to Mindanao and the rest of the country. The BBL is not a ‘silver bullet’ that will solve all our problem but we cannot even begin to solve the problems if we don’t address it. It’s an excellent starting point,” she said.

Usman, founder of Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement, also read statements and messages from Bakwits which include young children. She said the messages she has received are simple ones, yet seldom heard in Metro Manila.

“Imagine ourselves in that kind of situation. It is clear that only peace and cessation of war and conflict could arrest the downward spiral of the lives of millions of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao,” she said. (PPMB)

World: The Market Monitor - Trends and impacts of staple food prices in vulnerable countries, Issue 27 - April 2015

29 April 2015 - 3:11pm
Source: World Food Programme Country: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Global Highlights

  • In Q1-2015, FAO’s global cereal price index fell a further 13 percent year-on-year. It is now 5 percent lower than in Q4-2014.

  • Real prices of wheat have fallen by 10 percent over the last quarter. Prices are 20 percent lower than in Q1-2014 and at their lowest levels since mid-2010, thanks to large supplies, favourable production forecasts and strong export competition.

  • Real prices of maize have largely stabilized, falling just 2 percent since Q4-2014. Even so, prices are 17 percent lower than in Q1-2014. Although production has started to contract slightly, large carry-over stocks will ensure ample global supply.

  • Real prices of rice have fallen by 3 percent since Q4-2014 to pre-crisis levels last seen in early 2008.
    Global market supplies remain ample and competitively priced.

  • In Q1-2015, real prices for crude oil reached half what they were the year before. This is translating into significantly lower diesel and gasoline prices in some countries.

• The cost of the minimum food basket increased severely (>10%) during Q1-2015 in eight countries: Cameroon, Colombia, Mozambique, Peru, Zambia, Tajikistan, South Sudan and Syria. High increases (5–10%) were seen in nine countries. In the other 50 monitored countries, the change was low or moderate (<5%).

  • Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS (Alert for Price Spikes), are evident in India, Ghana, Nepal, Rwanda and Sudan (see the map below). These spikes indicate crisis levels for one of the two most important staples in the country, whether they are maize, rice, wheat, sorghum or bananas.

World: Southeast Asia: Annual Report 2014 (MAA51001)

29 April 2015 - 8:20am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World

Overview

ASEAN region is undoubtedly a very dynamic region in Asia and the Pacific. With Indonesia accounting for two-fifth of regional output, value added in South-East Asia (SEA) continues to grow by 5 percent in 2014. According to the World Bank, Singapore and Brunei are the only ASEAN countries that are considered high income. Malaysia and Thailand are categorized as upper-middle income economies, while Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are lowerincome economies. Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar, on the other hand are categorized as low income. In spite of progress in reducing poverty, the region still faces development challenges and gaps closely associated with social inequities. Irregular migration and human trafficking remain significant challenges that will continue to increase in the coming years. Migration public health, concerns the governments, particularly the re-emerging infectious disease such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. Natural disasters and conflict in certain areas also pose on-going threats to population and have resulted in the displacement of significant numbers of people.

However, growing levels of wealth and the resultant penetration of new technologies, means that innovation is necessary if the Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies are to maintain our privileged position within the humanitarian community. Shifting disaster and developmental trends, driven by factors such as climate change, rapid urbanization and weakening social structures, demands more strategic, evidence-based approach to communications and advocacy. This growing focus on the development agenda (Community Safety and Resilience-CSR, National Society Development-NSD, Communication and Advocacy/Humanitarian Diplomacy-HD) in SEA is part of a broader effort in 2014 to re-imagine and reposition the regional delegation in a rapidly changing Red Cross and Red Crescent context. There is a clear need to innovate; adapting our ways of working and communication and understanding better our operating context. Focus has been placed on working on profiling the needs of vulnerable communities, using Bangkok as the third largest humanitarian hub in the world to position the Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies in the region.

In 2014, the SEA region has witnessed widespread natural calamities (Indonesia, Lao and Philippines) and political instability (Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand), which had impacted some of the planned activities towards the end of the year.

The resilience agenda has been structured maximizing health, disaster risk reduction (DRR), NSD, climate risk reduction and public health in emergencies as well as other cross-cutting components as defined in the “Resilience House Model” and “Regional Road Map” of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies of the region. The project on building regional capacity and collaboration for community resilience in SEA (Regional Resilience Initiative – RRI, previously named C3R) commenced as a regional project to provide platform for National Societies to explore opportunities in order to build their capacity towards strengthening advocacy/ HD, disaster law and gender and diversity components in National Societies programming, along with technical competencies on DRR, climate change, pandemic preparedness and response preparedness. The project also facilitated to strengthen the links between the National Disaster Management Authority of the specific country along with other stakeholders including ASEAN Secretariat, Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, which ultimately has added value in forging strong partnership and provided an opportunity to be better placed within a specific country.

The key highlights of the Regional Community Safety and Resilience Forum (RCSRF) in September were the agreement of participated National Societies to reactivate the Regional Disaster Response Teams (RDRT) mechanism in the region and to accelerate the technical cooperation with ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) to support peer-to-peer training and capacitybuilding among National Societies of the region. A joint plan of action between AHA Centre and Red Cross Red Crescent was agreed at a meeting in Jakarta in October 2014. Climate Change Master Training-of-Trainers was organized to develop a core group of climate change experts amongst SEA National Societies who can provide technical support to plan and implement climate smart project activities at national, sub national and community levels.

Many National Societies in SEA have taken great strides in working with their governments and other key partners to influence the development of laws, rules and regulations for disaster management (DM), risk reduction and response. Given the ongoing activities and momentum with regards to disaster law among National Societies and governments in the region, a dedicated regional disaster law delegate joined the team in the South-East Asia regional delegation (SEARD) in August 2014 to support SEA National Societies to build their knowledge and capacity in disaster law and legislative advocacy; to participate in the development or review of DM and related laws (and the associated regulations and guidelines); and in the undertaking of technical assistance projects. Disaster law is one of the key components in the RRI project. The project will continue building on the trusted, pre-established relationships with National Societies, governments and humanitarian partners (e.g. the UN), capitalizing on the auxiliary status of the National Societies as well as their participation in national-level processes relating to DM and response, in order to positively influence legislative work in SEA.

A number of actions were carried out to promote youth engagement and strengthen the youth network in SEA. Youth empowerment initiatives were carried out and youth trained on Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change (YABC) were linked with different programmes such as health, DM and so on. Initiatives were taken to mainstream/integrate youth into CSR actions with their improved positioning and increased representation. The second Asia Pacific Youth Summit in Beijing in October has also re-affirmed the importance of regional Red Cross Red Crescent Youth Network (SEAYN), where SEAYN commitment in the final Beijing Youth Summit Commitment has been included and endorsed.

The increase of interest on gender and diversity was seen and support is being provided from SEARD based on the needs and demands of the National Societies. The First Regional Red Cross Red Crescent Workshop on Gender and Diversity was organized for National Societies to gain a shared understanding about gender and diversity as well as their inclusion within programming. A regional Red Cross and Red Crescent network on gender and diversity was also launched during the event. The organization of this network is being promoted and possibilities have been explored for peer learning and sharing. The participants also reviewed the terms of reference (ToR) of the network, provided inputs and suggested for its endorsement at the SEA Leadership meeting in February 2015.

The organizational capacity assessment and certification (**OCAC**) process has been progressing well with increased interests from Myanmar Red Cross Society (Myanmar RC), Timor-Leste Red Cross Society (CVTL) and Viet Nam Red Cross Society (Viet Nam RC) to carry out OCAC self-assessment in 2014. Myanmar RC reviewed its OCAC findings and developed a plan together with the partners for harmonized support on organizational development (OD) and capacity building. Cambodian Red Cross Society (Cambodian RC) is undertaking branch organizational capacity assessment (BOCA) exercises in its branches. Significant progress has been made in finance development in Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam. SEARD also supported the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society (Brunei Darussalam RC) to prepare financial statement and submit to the Finance Commission.

A range of communication materials were developed and several other activities took place to voice the needs of vulnerable communities and support National Societies to build their capacity to function effectively in both emergencies and non emergencies. Some of the resources that were developed including World Disaster Report 2014, numerous publications to support global and regional events such as one-year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, Ten Years on: Remembering the Indian Ocean Tsunami, Global Volunteering Forum and so on.

Philippines: Voc-Tech trainings benefit 6,683 Yolanda survivors

29 April 2015 - 12:02am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

ILOILO CITY, April 29 (PIA) --- A total of 6,683 typhoon Yolanda-affected individuals from Western Visayas benefitted from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-6 Emergency Response Rehabilitation and Recovery (TERRR) program.

TESDA-6 public information officer Bernadette Puertas said that TERRR was implemented to help Yolanda-affected residents in the region undergo technical vocational training so that they could find employment opportunities.

“Of the 6,683 who were enrolled in the program, a total of 5,014 already graduated from the various accredited training centers in the region, as of March 31, 2015,” she said.

She said that 2,702 of these scholars are already employed; 2,503 have been assessed, while 2,142 have been certified.

The scholars were trained from the array of tech-voc trainings like carpentry, computer hardware servicing, and information technology and on tourism sector.

The TERRR program covered 2,606 beneficiaries from Iloilo province, 1,717 from Capiz, 1,123 from Aklan, 697 from Negros Occidental, and 540 from Antique.

TESDA allocated P81.21-million for the community-based specialty training program that addressed the specific skills needed in Western Visayas and promote employment. (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

Philippines: APEC meeting in Bacolod to center on disaster risk finance

29 April 2015 - 12:00am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

BACOLOD CITY, April 28 -- Officials and delegates from member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will tackle disaster risk financing when they meet at the SMX Convention Center here on April 29 to 30.

The discussion, which carries the theme "Disaster Risk Finance-APEC Roadmap of Resilient Economies," is jointly organized by the Department of Finance, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The discussion opens on Wednesday with a session on the microfinance landscape in the Asia-Pacific region that seeks to provide a background for APEC member economies, using the Microinsurance Network’s World Map of Microinsurance (WMM).

It is a platform for knowledge generation and sharing on microinsurance. Participants will study key developments in the microinsurance market covering market development strategies, financial education, and trends in the use of traditional and innovative models, among others.

In the second session on Wednesday, delegates will deliberate on how to push the frontiers of microfinance, and showcase innovations in the sector, including those in agricultural insurance, mobile-based and other types of distribution channels, and parametric- or index-based microinsurance.

It will discuss the requirements for facilitating the expansion of these innovations, including appropriate infrastructure, internal capabilities, and external partnerships.

The meeting also aims to tackle the possibility of collaboration between government and industry, based on experiences within and outside the APEC.

In the succeeding session, attendees will discuss the role of microfinance in responding to calamities, which is a concern among poor APEC member economies.

The session will focus on the role of microinsurance in helping individual households address their needs, such as rebuilding of houses, access to capital to restart businesses, and securing funds for daily subsistence, once disaster strikes.

After that, the delegates will consider ways to move forward as APEC member economies incorporate microfinance in the Cebu Action Plan, which will be launched in September.

The session will examine the options for moving forward, including proposed activities and timelines.

The last session on Wednesday will be “Disaster Risk Finance: An Overview of the Current Situation and International Initiatives.”

On Thursday, April 30, participants will discuss “Institutional Arrangements for Disaster Risk Mitigation and Adaptation.”

In the wake of disasters, governments are the first responders at various levels and must undertake immediate resumption of basic services to accelerate recovery and provide relief measures for local communities.

This session will look into the budget and institutional arrangements for mitigation and adaptation; assess the importance of raising public awareness; and identify measures that will facilitate the functioning of disaster risk finance, focusing on risk education and awareness, business continuity plans for small enterprises, businesses’ risk-informed investments, and how to maximize the use of risk information.

The session will also explore potential regional initiatives to support disaster risk financing, and examine such regional initiatives as the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility in the hope of developing ideas that could be adopted by APEC member economies.

It will also seek to identify ways to address the lack of available data, which is a major impediment in the evaluation of disaster risk.

Issues such as the collection and disclosure of relevant regional, domestic and local data, including hazard, exposure and vulnerability; the establishment, adjustment and disclosure of municipal level hazard maps; and the use of disaster risk models will also be given special attention.

The last session on Thursday will discuss the way forward for disaster risk finance in the Cebu Action Plan. (PCOO/PND (as)

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 22–28 April 2015

28 April 2015 - 10:35am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu, World, Yemen

Snapshot 22–28 April 2015

Nepal: The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on 25 April has affected 8 million people. As of 28 April, 5,057 people have been reported dead, and more than 8,500 injured. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in tents, while the villages closest to the quake’s epicentre remain inaccessible.

Burundi: President Nkurunziza has confirmed he is seeking a third term in power, and insecurity in the country is growing, with two killed during protests in the capital. 800 people are crossing into Rwanda every day. 20,400 are now in Rwanda, and 5,000 in DRC, as tensions relating to elections continue to increase.

Niger: 3,080 cases of measles were recorded across the country from 1 January to 23 April, with 77% in Zinder region. WHO reported another 1,150 suspected cases of meningitis, including 129 deaths, have been recorded for all regions except Diffa 1 January–27 April.

Updated: 28/04/2015. Next update: 05/05/2015

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Philippines: Bringing back the water, bringing back the smiles

28 April 2015 - 4:35am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

ARAKAN, Philippines -- Having a waterpoint about 30 meters from the front door of Julieta Locario is bliss.

Julieta, 33, a mother of three, used to carry gallon containers of water for drinking and domestic chores uphill to her house in Kinawayan, Arakan town in southern Philippines. Clean water is expensive and collecting is consuming and labor intensive. For Julieta, this is particularly true since she has to carry her daughter to the water source every day. Christine, 8, cannot walk, after she fell off a hammock when she was still a baby. In her younger years, Julieta would carry Christine down and back to the water source to attend to her bath and personal hygiene. Through the years, Christine grew heavier and taller making it more difficult for her parents to move her around, until a friend lent her a wheelchair.

Another gift that the Locarios are thankful for was the rehabilitation of the village water system and construction of the reservoir.

ACF International through the funding from the New Zealand Aid Programme embarked on a major initiative in May 2014 to solve the water and sanitation issues in the area.

The project provided clean water and improved sanitation by erecting five newly built water systems and 200 communal latrines, and rehabilitating existing springs and reservoir to benefit nearly 2,000 students from schools and over 500 households (4,000 people) in the towns of Arakan and President Roxas in North Cotabato and Cotabato City.

Because of this project, the Locarios and other residents started to fetch water from a nearer water point.

"Having the water point near our house is much easier for me since we do not need to walk far to get water anymore. I don't need to worry about leaving my girl in a wheelchair. We are so grateful for this water project, Julieta says.

Julieta’s neighbor, 49-year-old, mother of three, Geraldine Olao, now enjoys the privacy she has and her children in attending to their personal hygiene. “The water point is close to us, so my three daughters now have a private space to manage their menstrual hygiene in our own toilet,” Geraldine shares with a smile.

As the village’s water association bookkeeper, Geraldine has been collecting the village monthly contributions with a vision to set up community income-generating activities. “We are only ensuring that cash is ready to cover the cost for repairs and maintenance of the water system in the future. They have learned the hardest lesson of having and yet losing water supply because of negligence, according to Geraldine, referring to an old water system project that lost its value due to their own mismanagement. "We will strive for it not to happen again."

For ACF, focusing on water crosses all aspects of development. "Water has direct effects to economic, health, nutrition and gender issues. Access to safe drinking water fosters economic growth, improves education and development of children, especially girls,” says Javad Amoozegar, ACF country director.

"The highlight of our work is hearing people say ‘thank you’ to us that their children no longer suffer from diarrhea; mothers and fathers can now concentrate on more productive economic activities like farming and marketing, the elderly and persons who face physical and other disabilities do not have to walk long to fetch water,” says Amoozegar.

"This initiative goes a long way to ensuring that the best possible conditions related to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) are in place so that one of the most prominent underlying causes of undernutrition can be avoided. Our long-term goal is to bring access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to as many towns as possible that face similar problems," Amoozegar adds.

For more information, please contact:

Rosa May de Guzman Maitem

Communications Manager

ACF International - Philippine Mission Email: rmaitem@ph.acfspain.org Tel/Fax: +63-(02) 840-1808; +63-(02) 659-3598 Cellular: + + 63-998-560-5447

Philippines: ACF International responds to needs of people displaced by conflict in southern Philippines

28 April 2015 - 2:30am
Source: Action Contre la Faim Country: Philippines

COTABATO, Philippines – ACF International | Action Against Hunger responded to the needs of thousands of people displaced, including women and children, taking refuge in evacuation centers in Maguindanao in southern Philippines.

The displaced families fled the threat of conflict since February involving government security forces and armed groups in the restive southern Philippines.

ACF International, with funding support from UNICEF, has distributed clean drinking water, hygiene kits and put up emergency latrines in various evacuation centers in Shariff Aguak and Mamasapano towns in Maguindanao following assessments at the height of the hostilities.

“Our team, who have extensive knowledge of the context in Maguindanao, have provided water, sanitation and hygiene essentials to help protect over 700 families and children from preventable diseases, and continuously promote important hygiene awareness-raising activities,” said Javad Amoozegar, Country Director of ACF International.

The conflict has rendered over 60,000 people internally displaced, with a significant number of children trapped in challenging situations in evacuation centers.

“Based on what we've seen needs include food, shelter, water, sanitation. Children under five are the most vulnerable in these experiences. Ensuring these essentials are critical to reduce the burden of preventable diseases and under nutrition,” he added.

“Since the last week of March, we’ve reached out to the most vulnerable among them children under five, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, the elderly. Our goal is to fight hunger in dangerous situations that threaten women, men and children,” Amoozegar said.

Amoozegar also explained the conflict has provided a glaring fact about the generational experiences on displacement.

“We've talked to the displaced families who lost count of the number of times they have evacuated due to volatile situation in their communities. They worry of their children caught up in the challenging situation sheltering in vulnerable conditions,” he said.

"In the last 15 years of our work in Mindanao, we have witnessed how frightened families were forced to flee their village because of the insecurity, and far from their fields, their food was greatly reduced. Hundreds of children have become severely malnourished, particularly in Maguindanao as a result of the conflict,” Amoozegar stressed.

Since 2000, ACF has provided humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected families in Central Mindanao and to the disaster-affected population across the country, including Metro Manila. Currently, ACF is responding to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the islands of Samar, Leyte and Panay, and the Zamboanga crisis, and is implementing development projects in Masbate, Surigao and Compostela Valley.

About ACF

ACF international | Action Against Hunger is a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger and malnutrition. 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 and nutrition, care practices and psychosocial and care practices, food security and livelihoods; water, sanitation and hygiene; disaster risk management; good governance and 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 eight million people annually.

For more information, please contact:

Rosa May de Guzman Maitem

Communications Manager

ACF International - Philippine Mission
Email: rmaitem@ph.acfspain.org
Tel/Fax: +63-(02) 840-1808; +63-(02) 659-3598
Cellular: + 63-998-560-5447

Philippines: Philippines: Health facilities for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Samar

28 April 2015 - 12:39am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Manila (ICRC) – Eight health facilities damaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan in Eastern Samar and Samar provinces have been fully restored and handed over today to local health authorities. As many as 60,000 people from seven municipalities will have access to health services at these facilities.

The Albino M. Duran Memorial Hospital in Balangiga, Eastern Samar, has provided preventive and curative health-care services to at least 17,000 patients since March 2014. Additionally, seven barangay (village) health centres – in Giporlos, Guiuan, Lawaan, Mercedes and Quinapondan in Eastern Samar, and in Basey in Samar – have been repaired or constructed.

"Now that the hospital has been rehabilitated, there is no longer a need to refer patients to other hospitals. They will save money and time as our services and facilities are readily available," said Dr. Benedicto Garcia, chief of the Albino M. Duran Memorial Hospital.

The facilities were rehabilitated and equipped by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), in coordination with the Department of Health and local government authorities.

In 2014, the ICRC completed the repair of Basey District Hospital and six rural health units in Eastern Samar and Samar provinces, and provided them with medical equipment and furniture.

The ICRC, jointly with the PRC, focused its response on the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on Samar Island, which is partly affected by armed violence and where the ICRC has been working for years to support the communities affected.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the Philippines for over 60 years.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 6884
Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 918 907 2125
or visit our website: www.icrc.org/ph

To preview and download the latest ICRC video footage in broadcast quality, go to www.icrcvideonewsroom.org

Follow the ICRC on facebook.com/ICRCph and twitter.com/icrc

World: Migrant Smuggling in Asia: Current Trends and Related Challenges [EN/MY]

27 April 2015 - 10:54pm
Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iraq, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, World

Migrant smuggling in Asia increasingly complex and dynamic, says UNODC

Bangkok (Thailand), 28 April 2015 — Smuggling of migrants poses a significant threat to Asia, generating an annual value of USD $2 billion for criminal groups and leading to deaths and human rights abuses, warns the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in a new report released today.

The report Migrant Smuggling in Asia: Current Trends and Related Challenges analyses the smuggling of migrants in 28 states from the Middle East to the Pacific and finds that criminal networks are creatively exploiting gaps between demand and regular migration, with smuggling fees to get to some destinations now reported as high as USD $50,000.

The report also stresses that a significant number of migrants use smugglers to cross borders in order to seek a better life, but end up in human trafficking situations. Far away from home and working illegally, smuggled migrants have little ability to assert basic rights and become vulnerable to abuse, trafficking and exploitation.

Southeast Asia continues to serve as an important source, transit and destination for migrant smuggling, with the majority of smuggling taking place within the region but with routes also reaching countries as far as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

Mr. Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative of UNODC in Southeast Asia and the Pacific emphasises the significance for the region, as smuggled migrants are more difficult to identify among the increasing number of regular migrants that accompany regional integration. "The cross-border movement of people in Asia is expected to grow rapidly and at unprecedented levels, in part due to new infrastructure projects and the opening of borders."

Migrant smugglers operate in highly flexible networks and quickly adapt to changing circumstances, such as redirecting routes in response to increased border controls. "In addition, the production and use of fraudulent documents are widespread," said Mr. Douglas. He added, "People that make use of smugglers face increased risks to their health and safety."

The complex phenomenon of migrant smuggling in Asia defies simplistic solutions. UNODC calls on countries to comprehensively address migrant smuggling, embedded in wider trafficking, migration and development policies — in line with the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime.

To address the situation, the report recommends strengthening data generation and understanding, and improving national laws and policies while protecting the rights of migrants, as well as building operational capacity at border crossings to identify, investigate and prosecute smuggling and trafficking networks, and the protection of victims. This will require international cooperation and political will, as well as the development of affordable, accessible and safe avenues for legal migration.

About: The UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (ROSEAP) is helping to promote the rule of law, counter organised crime, and protect vulnerable groups and communities.

For Media Inquiries:
Ainsley Stinson Ainsley.stinson@unodc.org I +66-9-6237-1865

Philippines: Rehab efforts for past typhoons get P592-M support in 2015 GAA

27 April 2015 - 8:41pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, April 28 -- The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the release of P592 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to fund the various rehabilitation projects supporting the victims of Typhoons Mario and Luis living in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

“As our country moves along the path of inclusive development, we’ve not forgotten communities that were affected by previous calamities like Typhoons Mario and Luis. As such, the Administration is continuing rehabilitation efforts to improve their livelihood prospects and to minimize future damages as part of our ‘Build Back Better’ policy,”Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.

Chargeable against the FY 2015 General Appropriations Act, this release includes funding for Cash/Food for Work activities, which will receive P326 million for the benefit of 171,381 families. Meanwhile, the Emergency Shelter Assistance program for families with damaged houses—which will receive P131 million—will benefit 3,874 families with totally damaged houses and 18,433 families with partially-damaged houses. Lastly, 1,522 families will benefit under the Permanent Shelter Assistance program, which will receive P107 million.

Philippines: Rehab efforts for past typhoons get P592-M support in 2015 GAA

27 April 2015 - 7:52am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

From the Department of Budget and Management

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the release of P592 million to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to fund the various rehabilitation projects supporting the victims of Typhoons Mario and Luis living in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “As our country moves along the path of inclusive development, we’ve not forgotten communities that were affected by previous calamities like Typhoons Mario and Luis. As such, the Administration is continuing rehabilitation efforts to improve their livelihood prospects and to minimize future damages as part of our ‘Build Back Better’ policy.”

Chargeable against the FY 2015 General Appropriations Act, this release includes funding for Cash/Food for Work activities, which will receive P326 million for the benefit of 171,381 families. Meanwhile, the Emergency Shelter Assistance program for families with damaged houses—which will receive P131 million—will benefit 3,874 families with totally damaged houses and 18,433 families with partially-damaged houses. Lastly, 1,522 families will benefit under the Permanent Shelter Assistance program, which will receive P107 million.

Philippines: Philippines Annual Report 2014 (MAAPH001)

27 April 2015 - 7:18am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

Overview

In 2014, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) intensified its operations to support the recovery of people affected by previous disasters, specifically Typhoon Bopha which struck eastern Mindanao on December 2012; the 2013 typhoons and floods season which devastated parts of eastern Luzon; the Central Visayas earthquake on October 2013 which destroyed a large part of the province of Bohol; and most notably, Typhoon Haiyan which struck in November 2013 and killed more than 6,800 people and affected more than six million people across several provinces.

By April of 2014, operations for the 2013 typhoons and floods were completed, wherein International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) supported PRC in providing shelter assistance to more than 300 families and livelihoods assistance to more than 1,100 families. By October 2014, operations for Typhoon Bopha were also completed, with IFRC supporting PRC to provide core shelter to 1,200 families, shelter repair assistance to more than 8,100 families and livelihoods assistance to some 2,800 families.

PRC was also able to develop a model for the organization’s approach to resilience programming and its disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management framework during the first half of 2014. Furthermore, to improve the capacities of its staff and volunteers, the National Society, with IFRC support, attended and/or hosted trainings and workshops within and outside the country. To boost the National Society’s capacity in responding to future disasters, IFRC and other Partner National Societies (PNS) also supported PRC in getting disaster response equipment and training.

In response to the annual monsoon and typhoon season, PRC heightened its efforts in disaster preparedness, which included information dissemination on DRR as well as strengthening its response capacities. In July 2014, Typhoon Rammasun, locally known as Glenda, struck provinces in Bicol, east of Luzon. The typhoon caused extensive damage – killing more than 100 people. As the typhoon struck the province, Mayon Volcano in Albay was also threatening to erupt, and residents within a seven-kilometre area were evacuated.

Several weather disturbances affected the Philippines after Rammasun, with Typhoon Hagupit striking the Central Visayas region – including Typhoon Haiyan-affected areas; and Tropical Storm Jangmi (locally Seniang) which killed more than 30 people in eastern Mindanao. As PRC had significant focus on disaster response operations, some resources mobilized under this appeal in support of long-term National Society development, were implemented under Typhoon Bopha, Central Visayas Earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan operations.

Philippines: Philippines - Manila Fire Incident (MDRPH017): DREF Operation n° 1, Issued 27 April 2015

27 April 2015 - 1:40am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 2 March 2015, a fire broke out in the densely-populated Parola Compound of Tondo district, Manila, totally destroying some 800 houses and severely damaging 200 more. The Social Welfare Department of Manila City estimated that almost 10,000 households (50,000 people) were affected, with some 5,000 households (25,000 people) seeking accommodation in evacuation centres in the aftermath of the fire.

Following needs assessments, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) allocated CHF 119,798 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to enable the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to deliver immediate relief assistance to affected households, including food and non-food items such as blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and jerry cans as well as hygiene kits. Provision of safe water was also carried out to the affected households.

World: Pacific Disaster Center Supports Exercise to Improve Foreign Disaster Assistance

27 April 2015 - 1:14am
Source: Government of the United States of America Country: Philippines, United States of America, World

An exercise is underway that aims to advance United States Government (USG) coordination and response following a natural disaster impacting a foreign partner nation. The exercise, called “Nine Innings 2015,” is taking place in Quantico, Virginia, from April 20 to 23. Nine Innings brings together approximately 200 participants, and immerses them in a simulation involving a Magnitude 8.5 earthquake off the coast of Mindanao, Philippines, to which they will respond. U.S. and foreign governmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are collaborating to identify potential capability gaps, and further clarify roles and responsibilities during this event which is designed to exceed the ability of the partner nation to respond.

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) supported the scenario development, as well as providing on-site support through the use of PDC’s DisasterAWARE platform, which supplies participants with early warning, enables them to view and exchange critical updates and information as the scenario progresses, and facilitates communication among the various responding agencies and organizations, providing a common operating picture.

The event is hosted by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and Marine Corps University (MCU) and includes representatives and support from U.S. Department of State, USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), Department of Homeland Security, United States Pacific Command (PACOM), U.S. Institute Peace, International Committee of the Red Cross, InterAction, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DMHA), University of Texas at Austin, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and other associated organizations.

Philippines: Balikatan 2015: Multinational Team Teaches Health Workers First Responder Skills

27 April 2015 - 1:01am
Source: Government of the United States of America Country: Philippines

By Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal | April 24, 2015

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines -- Health workers attending exercise Balikatan’s First Responder Training Course prepared to put their patient care skills to the test as an announcement echoed throughout the training Coliseum.

“You are in a supermarket in Zamboanga,” said a voice over loudspeaker. “You heard an explosion. Your team is the first to arrive in the area. There are people on the ground, some moaning in pain. There are probably more but only a few for the most part are in one piece. The scene is horrific, and there is a danger of another explosion in a few minutes.”

U.S. military and Armed Forces of the Philippines Cooperative Health Engagement instructors trained 179 health workers in the surrounding communities by having them apply their skills during mass casualty response scenarios April 22.

During the training, the AFP facilitated the course with the U.S. forces assisting. A week prior the U.S. military CHE team prepared their AFP counterparts to lead the instruction for the first responder training course.

“This event is where the new trainers, that we trained last week during the train-the-trainer course, are teaching,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gary Held, 374th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician and CHE instructor. “They are teaching the exact same subjects that we taught them in going through mass casualty scenarios, stuff that might actually happen here, like overturned buses or an earthquake for instance. The new trainers are running with it, everything that we taught them.”

Together, shoulder-to shoulder, the multinational team trained community members to more effectively respond to a mass casualty occurrence.

“What we are trying to accomplish is that we want those health workers or rescuers to be able to address an emergency situation,” said Philippine Air Force 1st Lt. Catherine Joy E. Abaga, Nurse Corps, 570th Composite Tactical Wing and exercise Balikatan CHE medical coordinator. “We want them to have their own independence in their own units or their own barangay [or village] so they are able to have a group of people who are ready to respond to any situation, such as disasters.”

Abaga explained what U.S. and AFP forces are hoping participants in the training can walk away with.

“We want them to develop the skills, the attitude, and the knowledge to be able to do something for others who are in their barangay to extend immediate help,” Abaga said. “This has been a very productive activity especially for this community because not all of our participants are inclined medically. What we can do is equip them with proper knowledge in addressing the different threats, man-made or natural.”

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Stinson, 15th Medical Operations Squadron independent duty medical technician and CHE instructor, explained his experience working with AFP instructors.

“Working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been a great experience,” Stinson said. “I actually learned a few medical techniques here that we don’t use in the U.S. because in the Philippines, they are so resourceful. They can take a cloth and make it into something like an ankle brace, something we may not think of. We have the capability of having medical supplies in the U.S. but being here they may not always have access to those things.”

Abaga also shared her experience in working with U.S. Forces.

“We work with them easily,” Abaga said. “I’ve seen through both the Philippines and our U.S. counterparts that there is enthusiasm in that we’re working for just one thing. Race or nationality didn’t matter at all. What we created was good teamwork.”

This year marks the 31st iteration of the exercise, which is an annual Philippines-U.S. bilateral military training exercise and humanitarian civic assistance engagement.