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Philippines: Missing in Mindanao: the plight of internally displaced people in the Philippines

6 July 2015 - 11:24am
Source: Peace Direct Country: Philippines

With rates of internal displacement in South Asia reaching over 3 million, Sara Woodward discusses the plight of IDPs in the Philippines and efforts to tackle their problems.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines internal displacement as the movement of individuals seeking sanctuary within the confines of their own home countries.

Because of natural disasters and armed conflict, the global number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has been increasing. As of the end of 2013, the UNHCR estimated the worldwide population of IDPs to be 33.3 million. These people are unique to migration studies in that – unlike refugees who cross state borders to seek safety – IDPs remain under the nominal legal protection of their own government. This is crucial, in light of the fact that governments sometimes cause their flight in the first place.

The Philippines in context: under-development and independence movements

In South Asia in particular, there were an estimated 3.2 million IDPs by the end of 2013. Their displacement tends to be caused by conflict between governments and religious, ethnic, or clan-affiliated non-state rebel groups. They are often competing for political power, resources, land, and economic opportunity.

The conflict in the southern portion of the Philippines – where some groups have been struggling for autonomy for the past 30 years – is the catalyst for much of the displacement in the archipelago. General under-development in the region, and an unequal distribution of wealth, have helped fuel the fighting. In September 2013, Human Rights Watch reported that militants had attacked Zamboanga, a mostly Christian city in the south. The resulting encounter between the militants and government forces resulted in 120,000 people, mostly Muslims, to be displaced.

At least 71,800 people were newly displaced in the Philippines during 2014. As in previous years, they were largely concentrated in Mindanao and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. In late 2014, many of these IDPs remained in evacuation camps, and by March of this year, armed clashes in central Mindanao were reported to have displaced almost another 100,000 people.

They are unable to return home because of continuing violence and insecurity. Some have been displaced more than once, and the ethnic minorities caught in the middle of the conflict can be denied access to funds and government support.

Counting the cost: no exact figures on Filipino displacement

While there is no exact number of IDPs in the Philippines, which is telling on its own, estimates suggest that most of these people remain displaced. This is nonetheless down from the height of the conflict, in 2008-2009, when the number was around 700,000.

Some IDPs began to return home in 2011, largely because of a fledgling peace process. But natural disasters and a resurgence of violence have recently led to a new wave of displacement. This displacement caused by conflict often affects the same communities repeatedly, undermining societal resilience and pushing already poor people into poverty.

While the media often highlights the conflict and displacement of Muslim citizens, there is less focus on the effects of conflict on the indigenous Lumad people. Lumads, a term used by the indigenous peoples of Mindanao to describe themselves, are regularly displaced not only by the violence itself, but also because of the politics related to it.

Reports have highlighted the devastating social and economic impact of the conflict on indigenous communities, and noted that the Lumads often refuse to join local defence militias, which leads to suspicions of them being communist sympathisers. This leads to arrests, more persecution and greater violence and abuse.

Progress in sight? Taking account of IDPs

Efforts to address these issues within the Philippines have been set in motion. In August 2014, the Philippines House of Representatives approved the ‘Internal Displacement Act of 2014’, which seeks to recognise the rights of all IDPs and provide protection and assistance, no matter the cause of their displacement.

Crucially, the bill recognises the importance of preventing displacement and, where possible, attempting to stop activities responsible for it and providing compensation for those who are displaced. While this is a positive step, questions arise when considering responses to possible state-generated displacement. The Senate was still discussing the bill in early 2015. Once both chambers agree on a draft, it will be sent to the president to sign into law.

In addition, since the end of 2010, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has overseen a programme intended to address peacebuilding and reconstruction, that incorporates IDP assistance.The Programme for Communities in Conflict-Affected Areas (known by the Tagalog acronym, PAMANA) is intended to support community-based development and provide a method of bottom-up as well as top-down post-conflict reconstruction.

While efforts have been made towards promoting peace and reconstruction in the Philippines, dealing with the displacement and exclusion of minorities must be addressed. Research on the relationship between underdevelopment, conflict and migration, as well as focused, continued action on the part of policymakers, indigenous advocates and local governments, can help support peacebuilding and assist in creating the structures necessary to provide for those affected by conflict.

India: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (30 June - 6 July 2015)

6 July 2015 - 7:34am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Solomon Islands

INDIA

Heavy rainfall across West Bengal caused landslides killing an estimated 40 people with many still missing.
Continuing rainfall is impeding relief efforts as the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) attempts to carry out rescue efforts.
There is a shortage of food and safe drinking water in the affected areas.

40 people dead

The NDRF is working alongside national disaster teams at the landslide sites. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue up to 9 Jul.

MYANMAR

According to the Government’s Emergency Operation Centre, the flood situation affecting Rakhine State, Tanintharyi Region, Kayin State, Ayeyarwaddy Region and Bago, is improving.

The Government has led the emergency response, including the distribution of relief items and provision of medical care. As of 4 Jul, the Relief and Resettlement Department reported 7 deaths and over 14,000 people affected across the country. Rakhine State is the most seriously affected with 114 homes destroyed in Ann Township. In other townships, people who were temporarily displaced by the floods have returned home.

BANGLADESH

Following recent flash floods and landslides in the south east the Government provided support to affected families with the distribution of rice and cash. A Core Assessment Group will lead a Joint Needs Assessment from 29 Jun to 15 Jul in 8 upazillas in Cox's Bazar, Bandarban and Chittagong districts.

Existing agency field presence will collect data to complement information gathered from the Government.

DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLUC OF KOREA

A long period of abnormally dry weather has led to lower agricultural production, reduced access to water for drinking and irrigation, leading to a deterioration of health, nutrition and sanitary conditions

CHINA

At least four people were killed and more than 48 injured by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in China's Xinjiang region, according to state media. The US Geological Survey reports the quake struck at a depth of 20km near Hotan city and followed by a series of aftershocks. Officials report over 3,000 houses and buildings were damaged. Media reports that Government will send 1,000 tents and other relief.

3,000 houses damaged

PHILIPPINES

Moderate to heavy rains caused by an Intertropical Convergence Zone affected over 122,000 people in six provinces of Mindanao. As of 2 Jul five people have died, eight injured and over 65 houses damaged.

NORTH WEST PACIFIC

A series of weather systems are affecting the north west Pacific.

Tropical Storm Nangka passed close to the Marshall Islands brought high swells, dislodged roofs and caused power outages to Majuro. Unconfirmed reports from IOM indicate around 200 people were displaced in Wotje atoll and moved into schools.

Forecasts predict Tropical Cyclone Chan-Hom will reach the coastal areas of eastern China on Jul 10. The China Meteorological Authority suggested preparedness measures by local authorities.
Tropical Storm Linfa produced heavy rainfall over the northern Philippines. No major damage is reported. Linfa will creep slowly northward toward Taiwan, bringing more heavy rain this week

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Tropical Cyclone Raquel passed over the Solomon Islands on 5-6 Jul bringing heavy rain and landslides.

The storm damaged at least 80 houses and washed away bridges. The National Disaster Management Authority is managing the response. Damage assessments are now underway.

PRECIPITATION FORECAST

In the next three months, there is an extremely high chance of below normal rainfall in Indonesia and Malaysia. Papua New Guinea and western India are also likely to receive less rainfall than average. Meanwhile above average rainfall is likely across the Pacifc, in particular Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu.

Philippines: DSWD disaster teams ready to assist LGUs in ‘Egay’s’ path

6 July 2015 - 7:06am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

QUEZON CITY, July 6 -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Regions I, II, and III and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have 100,125 family food packs available at the Field Offices ready for distribution to local government units along the path of Tropical Storm Egay.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman assured that there are also family food packs prepositioned at the local level aside from those at the regional offices and at the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City to ensure that families affected by the tropical storm will immediately receive assistance.

“Prepositioning of relief supply at the provincial and municipal levels is already a regular disaster preparedness measure that we undertake to ensure that assistance is not delayed,” Sec. Soliman said.

Aside from the food packs, a standby fund amounting to P12.3 million in the four DSWD-Field Offices is also ready to be used for the purchase of emergency relief supplies.

In Regions IV-A and IV-B, V, and VI that are not along the path of TS Egay but are experiencing heavy rains, the DSWD-Field Offices also allocated 146,850 food packs including some 58,597 packs that are stored at NROC.

To date, members of the DSWD Quick Response Teams continue to remain on alert status to assist LGUs in disaster operations and management of evacuation centers.

As of press time, a total of 4 families with 19 persons evacuated in Benguet and Kalinga in CAR due to landslides.

In Region I, a total of 1,603 families in the Provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, were reported evacuated but were still being validated by the Regional Response Cluster.

Likewise, DSWD received reports involving 34 families or 157 persons who were affected by a tornado and big waves in Region VI.

Sec. Soliman once again urged the residents in areas affected by TS Egay to heed the announcement

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 6 | 1 June – 3 July 2015

6 July 2015 - 12:41am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Zamboanga Communications Working Group readies over 28,000 remaining IDPs for durable solutions.

  • Back-to-school campaign benefits conflict-affected children in Mamasapano.

  • Communication, accountability and community participation prompted for better humanitarian response and preparedness.

  • Carpenters build resilience in communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

FIGURES

Zamboanga Crisis

Number of IDPs remaining in Grandstand evacuation centre: 1,900

Number of IDPs in transitional sites: 15,100

Number of IDPs hosted by relatives and friends or renting temporary homes: 11,300*

Number of IDPs awarded permanent shelters: 2,900**

Number of IDPs received home material assistance: 8,300**

Source: CCCM Cluster (as of 22 June 2015), *Protection Cluster (as of December 2014) **National Housing Authority (June 2015)

Flooding in Mindanao

Number of IDPs: 380

Number of houses damaged: 65+

Source: OCD (ARMM and Regions X and XII) (as of 3 July 2015)

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 468, 1 July 2015

5 July 2015 - 11:04pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: Australia, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia (France), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam

Northern Hemisphere

China (No Update)

As of 30 May, there were 26 cases of dengue reported in China for 2015. Compared with the same period of the previous of 2012 to 2014, the number of dengue cases reported in China has increased slightly in 2015(Figure 1).

Malaysia

As of 20 June 2015, there were 53,823 cases of dengue with 158 deaths reported in Malaysia for 2015. This is 34% higher compared with the same reporting period of 2014 (n=40,208) (Figure 2). From 14 to 20 June 2015, there were 2,348 cases of dengue reported, 8.6% higher than the cases reported in the previous week (n=2,161).

Philippines (No Update)

From 1 January to 30 May 2015, there were 28,600 cases of dengue, including 86 deaths, reported in Philippines. This is 6.33% higher compared with the same reporting period in 2014 (n=26,897) (Figure 3).

Singapore

As of 20 June 2015, there were 3,868 cases of dengue reported in Singapore for 2015. From 14 to 20 June 2015, 209 dengue cases reported, 16 cases more than the previous week, and lower than the same reporting period in 2014(n=506) (Figure 4).

Cambodia

As of 31 May 2015, there were 1119 cases of dengue, including one death, reported in Cambodia. To date for 2015, Cambodia has experienced a relatively stable number of new cases reported each week, following the average seasonal pattern during 2009-2014 excluding 2012 (Figure 5).

Lao PDR

As of 19 June, there were 304 cases of dengue and no deaths reported in Lao PDR for 2015. From 13 to 19 June 2015 (week 25), 60 cases of dengue were reported. This is higher compared with the number cases reported in the previous week (n=32) of 2015 (Figure 6).

Viet Nam

As of 21 Jun 2015, there were 14,474 cases of dengue including 12 deaths reported in Viet Nam for 2015. Compared to the same reporting period in 2014, number of cases increased by 26.8% and number of deaths increased by 5 cases. From 15 to 21 June 2015, there were 601 cases of dengue reported with no deaths from 34 out of 63 provinces. Compared with previous week (n=597 cases), number of cases increased by 0.7%.

Southern Hemisphere

Australia (No Update)

As of 31 May, 1,000 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases have been reported in Australia for 2015.
Compared with the same reporting period of last year (n=1,014), the number of reported cases is lower, but is consistent with previous seasonal trends (Figure 8).

French Polynesia

From 08 to 14 June 2015, 27 confirmed dengue cases were reported in French Polynesia (Figure 9). There were 19 hospitalisations including 6 severe cases in 2015.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 04 re Effects of Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)

5 July 2015 - 9:16pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Since 22 June 2015, Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has been affecting Mindanao. Moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstorms were experienced in Regions IX, XII and ARMM, resulting to flashfloods and flooding especially in the low-lying areas.

II. EFFECTS

A. Affected Population (Tab A)

"1. As of 05 July 2015, a total of 25,876 families / 126,338 persons were affected in 199 barangays of 25 municipalities and 2 cities in 6 provinces of Regions XII and ARMM.

"2. Population served inside and outside evacuation centers: 19,895 families / 99,421 persons:
o Inside ten (10) evacuation centers : 76 families / 377 persons
o Outside evacuation centers : 19,819 families / 99,044 persons

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 04 re Preparedness Measures and Effects of Severe Tropical Storm "Egay"

5 July 2015 - 9:04pm
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Tropical Storm (TS) "EGAY" has weakened slightly after crossing Northern Luzon.

At 4:00 PM, 05 July 2015, the center of Tropical Storm (TS) "EGAY" was estimated at 55 km West Southwest of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. It is forecasted to move Northwest at 9 kph.

Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) elsewhere are now lifted. TS "EGAY is expected to exit PAR by Wednesday afternoon (08 July).

As of 8:00 PM, 05 July 2015, no gate is open in Magat Dam.

Philippines: Tropical Storm Linfa brings floods to northern Philippines

5 July 2015 - 5:38am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Philippines

Manila, Philippines | AFP | Sunday 7/5/2015 - 07:49 GMT

Floods inundated towns in the northern Philippines as Tropical Storm Linfa struck the northern edge of the archipelago, where relief agencies were braced for disaster on Sunday.

The region's civil defence chief Chito Castro said that at least 11 coastal towns had been affected by floodwaters and swelling rivers as Linfa passed over the area.

"The rain is strong, the wind is strong. Major roads are impassable. Some houses are half-covered (with water), some are completely covered," he told reporters.

He said there were still no reports of casualties from the storm, but this could be because the focus was on relief efforts.

Power has also been knocked out in large areas of the north, hampering communications.

The storm, packing maximum winds of 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour, is moving northwest at nine kilometres per hour and is expected to curve northwards, moving off Luzon by Sunday evening.

National civil defence chief Alexander Pama said "we have pre-positioned the items necessary" in case the storm prompts any massive evacuations.

The disaster-plagued Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms each year, many of them deadly.

Among the worst in recent memory was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the central Philippines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,350 people dead or missing.

str-mm/st

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 03 re Preparedness Measures and Effects of Severe Tropical Storm "Egay"

5 July 2015 - 2:52am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Severe Tropical Storm (STS) "EGAY" has made landfall over Palanan, Isabela at about 11:00 PM, 04 July 2015 and has remained almost stationary for the past 6 hours.

At 4:00 AM, 05 July 2015, the center of Severe Tropical Storm (STS) "EGAY' was estimated in the vicinity of Divilacan, Isabela with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 120kph. It is forecasted to move Northwest at 7kph.

Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) No. 02 is raised in Kalinga, Apayao, Isabela, Quirino, Cagayan, and Northern Aurora including Babuyan and Calayan Group of Islands while PSWS No. 01 is raised in the rest of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Ilocos Norte, and Batanes.

As of 6:00 AM, 05 July 2015, no gate is open in Magat Dam.

Philippines: NDRRMC Update: SitRep No. 03 re Effects of Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)

5 July 2015 - 2:30am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

I. SITUATION OVERVIEW

Since 22 June 2015, Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has been affecting Mindanao. Moderate to occasionally heavy rainshowers and thunderstormswere experienced in Regions IX, XII and ARMM, resulting to flashfloods and flooding especially in the low-lying areas.

II. EFFECTS

A. Affected Population (Tab A)

"1. As of 04 July 2015, a total of 25,738 families / 125,699 persons were affected in 193 barangays of 24 municipalities and 2 cities in 5 provinces of Regions IX, XII and ARMM.

"2. Population served inside and outside evacuation centers: 19,757 families / 98,782 persons:
o Inside ten (10) evacuation centers : 76 families /377 persons
o Outside evacuation centers : 19,681 families 198,405 persons

B. Suspension/Resumption of Classes

  1. In ARMM, as of 04 July 2015, DepEd reported that 32 public schools were affected by flooding. About 9,970 students and 200 teachers were affected, resulting to the suspension of classes in the 32 public schools in the 10 Municipalities of Maguindanao.

Philippines: GIEWS Country Brief: Philippines 11-June-2015

4 July 2015 - 10:38pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Philippines

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Uncertain prospects for 2015 main season rice crop due to below-average rains

  • Cereal imports in 2014/15 marketing year (July/June) projected to increase from last year’s high level

  • Prices of rice continued to weaken over past few months