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Philippines: Philippines: Thousands flee fighting in central Mindanao

4 March 2015 - 12:07pm
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

Manila (ICRC) – Thousands of people have fled their homes as fighting between government security forces and armed groups escalates in Maguindanao province, in central Mindanao. The number of displaced people is rising.

Entire communities from villages in Kalbugan and Buliok, in Maguindanao, displaced by a range of clashes in early February fear returning to their homes owing to the risk of explosive devices and the general uncertainty of the situation.

"Civilians are forced to flee out of fear. Displacement, especially when it's prolonged and repeated, uproots people from their normal lives and causes untold suffering," said Pascal Mauchle, head of the ICRC's delegation in the Philippines. These families need food, clean water and access to sanitation, he said.

The ICRC reminds all parties to the fighting to respect human life and dignity. Civilians and civilian property – such as houses, agricultural land, water-supply lines and health-care facilities – must be safeguarded. All injured or sick people – regardless of their religion, ethnic group, gender or political beliefs – must receive medical treatment appropriate to their condition.

Working closely with the Philippine Red Cross, the ICRC delivered relief, such as food and hygiene items, last week to some 20,000 people in North Cotabato and Maguindanao; and began providing drinking water daily in two evacuation centres. With their presence on the ground and close proximity to the affected population, both organizations stand ready to provide further support.

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 and a permanent presence in Mindanao since 1986.

For further information, please contact:
Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 908 868 6884
Wolde Gabriel Saugeron, ICRC Manila, tel: +63 918 907 2125

World: 56% of the 100 cities most exposed to natural hazards found in Philippines, Japan, China, Bangladesh – Verisk Maplecroft

4 March 2015 - 5:33am
Source: Maplecroft Country: Bangladesh, China, Japan, Philippines, World

The strategic markets of Philippines, China, Japan and Bangladesh are home to over half of the 100 cities most exposed to natural hazards, highlighting the potential risks to foreign business, supply chains and economic output in Asia from extreme weather events and seismic disasters, according to new research from global risk analytics company, Verisk Maplecroft.

The 5th annual Natural Hazards Risk Atlas (NHRA) assesses the natural hazard exposure of over 1,300 cities, selected for their importance as significant economic and population centres in the coming decade. Of the 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural hazards, 21 are located in the Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan and 8 in Bangladesh. The analysis considers the combined risk posed by tropical storms and cyclones, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, severe storms, extra-tropical cyclones, wildfires, storm surges, volcanoes and landslides.

The Philippines’ extreme exposure to a myriad of natural hazards is reflected by the inclusion of 8 of the country’s cities among the ten most at risk globally, including Tuguegarao (2nd), Lucena (3rd), Manila (4th), San Fernando (5th) and Cabantuan (6th). Port Vila, Vanuatu (1st) and Taipei City, Taiwan (8th) are the only cities not located in the Philippines to feature in the top 10.

Manufacturing and logistics hubs among cities most at risk

According to Verisk Maplecroft, natural hazards constitute one of the most severe disrupters of business and supply chain continuity, and also threaten economic output and growth in some of the world’s key cities, especially for those located in the emerging markets.

“As typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the tsunami in Japan showed us, natural hazard events can have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on supply chains, business and economies,” states Dr Richard Hewston, Principal Environmental Analyst at Verisk Maplecroft. “Understanding how, where and why those risks manifest is an imperative in managing potential shocks.”

According to the NHRA, several key manufacturing and logistics hubs are highly exposed to natural hazards. One of the world’s busiest ports Tokyo is ranked 22nd, while the commercial centres of Manila (4th), Taipei City (8th) and Dhaka (35th) and the important Chinese manufacturing locations of Wenzhou (49th), Foshan (63rd) and Dongguan (80th) all feature among the 100 most exposed cities.

Despite gains, the fastest growing economies still lack resilience to natural hazards

The highest risk cities in Japan and the Philippines are highly exposed to a variety of hazards, including earthquakes, typhoons, severe storms and landslides. Tuguegarao (2nd), Lucena (3rd) and Manila (4th) in the Philippines, along with Kawasaki (15th), Osaka (16th) and Nara (17th) in Japan are highly prone to earthquakes and typhoons – two of the deadliest and costliest hazard types.

Natural hazard risk is compounded in the Philippines by poor institutional and societal capacity to manage, respond and recover from natural hazards events. In addition to assessing exposure, the Natural Hazards Risk Atlas also evaluates a country’s ability to manage and mitigate the impacts of natural hazard events, through the Socio-economic Resilience Index. While Japan, which ranks 178th out 198 countries for resilience, is classified as ‘low risk,’ the Philippines (80th), is considered ‘high risk’, in part due to entrenched corruption and high levels of poverty.

“With foreign investment continuing to flow into countries highly exposed to natural hazards, those which are unable to demonstrate robust resilience may lose an element of their competitiveness,” adds Hewston. “Company decision-making over sourcing locations or market entry is increasingly influenced by issues such as strength of infrastructure and institutional robustness.”

Notes to editors:

Verisk Maplecroft's 5th annual Natural Hazards Risk Atlas provides a framework to evaluate business risks and acts as a tool to support decision making to achieve a real reduction in risk. The Atlas not only identifies locations which are prone to natural hazards, but also quantifies the socio-economic resilience in those locations, providing support for informed, preventative decision making by governments, communities, individuals and indeed businesses to facilitate disaster risk reduction. It consists of 29 indices and interactive maps analysing major natural hazards across 198 countries, including: seismic activity, tsunamis, volcanoes, landslides, flooding, tropical storms and cyclones, storm surges, severe storms, extra–tropical cyclones, wildfires and drought.

For more information contact

Jason McGeown Head of Communications
Verisk Maplecroft, 1 Henry Street, Bath, BA1 1JS, United Kingdom +44 (0)1225 420000

Philippines: Philippines: Mindanao Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 2 Mar 2015)

3 March 2015 - 11:12am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines

Armed conflict, clan feuds and generalized violence caused protracted displacements in Central Mindanao from 2012 to 2014. At the end of 2014, more than 77,000 were still without durable solutions, including 30,000 internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in Zamboanga City.

Two months into 2015, almost 70,000 people have been displaced due to a clan feud between families reportedly associated with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the recent ‘all-out offensive’ of the government armed forces against the BIFF. Local authorities and humanitarian partners report that an estimated 46,400 people are hosted in 45 evacuation centres

World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 25 February – 3 March 2015

3 March 2015 - 10:27am
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, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, World, Yemen

Afghanistan: Heavy snowfall has caused avalanches in northern, central and eastern Afghanistan; 280 people have died. Panshir province is most affected. Communication lines have been disrupted in places, power supplies to Kabul have been cut. Priority needs are for NFIs and emergency shelter; access to isolated areas is difficult.

Philippines: 10,000 more people have been displaced in the past week, as fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters continues in Pikit, Maguindanao, and Pagalungan, Cotabato. At least 34,000 have been displaced in total. The latest assessment indicates high security concerns as well as protection, shelter, WASH and health assistance needs.

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

World: For Women in Asia, ‘Home’ Is a Battleground

3 March 2015 - 8:29am
Source: Inter Press Service Country: China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor-Leste, World

By Kanya D'Almeida

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 3 2015 (IPS) - Nearly half of the four billion people who reside in the Asia-Pacific region are women. They comprise two-thirds of the region’s poor, with millions either confined to their homes or pushed into the informal labour market where they work without any safeguards for paltry daily wages. Millions more become victims of trafficking and are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery.

Others find themselves battling an enemy much closer to home; in fact, for many women the greatest threat is inside the home itself, where domestic abuse and intimate partner violence is a daily occurrence.

UN Women says that women in Asia and the Pacific retain one of the world’s highest rates of gender-based violence, much of it concentrated within a single home or perpetrated by a spouse or intimate partner. In the Pacific Island nation of Papua New Guinea, for instance, 58 percent of women claim to have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse in relationships, while 55 percent say they were forced into sexual encounters against their will.

In Fiji, an island nation in the South Pacific, 66 percent of women report the use of violence by intimate partners; 44 percent suffered the abuse while pregnant.

In East Timor, one in four women experience physical violence at the hands of a partner every year and 16 percent of married women report being coerced by their husbands into having sex.

Any number of reasons could explain this grim reality. According to the Asia Pacific Forum (APF), “Women in the region experience some of the lowest rates of political representation, employment and property ownership in the world.”

Even those who have jobs earn less than their male counterparts, with a pay gap for women in the region ranging from 54-90 percent, despite the existence of laws supposedly guaranteeing ‘equal pay for equal work’.

A complete absence of legal provisions against sexual harassment in the workplace means that between 30 and 40 percent of working women in Asia and the Pacific report experiencing verbal, physical or sexual abuse, APF says.

The organisation also found that half of all South Asian nations, and 60 percent of countries in the Pacific, have no laws against domestic violence.

In this legal vacuum, men face almost no consequences for their actions and women have few places to turn for help, allowing the abuse to continue in a vicious cycle.

It also means that government data on abuse are, at best, extremely conservative estimates, since most women do not report violent incidents – either from fear of reprisals or because of a lack of faith in the legal system to deliver any solutions.

In India, for example, the most recent government household survey found that 40 percent of women had been abused in their homes; but an independent survey backed by the Planning Commission of India puts the number closer to 84 percent.

In Indonesia, where the police recorded over 150,000 cases of violence against women in 2009 – 96 percent of which were incidents involving a husband and wife – activists estimate that just one out of 10 cases actually gets reported; meaning the real number of survivors of domestic violence is at least nine times higher than official figures indicate.

Last year the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) reported that 2013 was one of the worst years for women, with the highest number of reported incidents of violence.

Citing statistics from the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), the Commission stated that 14.4 percent of married women, and 37 percent of separated or widowed women, experienced spousal abuse.

Four percent of all women who have ever been pregnant have suffered violence at the hands of a partner, while three in five abused women report long-lasting physical and psychological impacts of the violence or battery.

Policy-makers say tougher implementation of laws partially accounts for the increased number of reported incidents, which saw a 49.5 percent rise from 2012.

The same could soon be true in China, where the recently released draft of the country’s first anti-domestic violence law was hailed by civil society as a step towards stemming rampant abuse – physical, sexual and psychological – in millions of households.

Data from the government-run All-China Women’s Federation show that some 40 percent of women have been subjected to physical or sexual violence in their relationships, while just seven percent of battered women report the violence to the authorities. U.N. agencies say a dearth of laws against marital rape in the region has fostered a sense of impunity among husbands. In 2012, UN Women found that only eight countries across Asia and the Pacific had laws that specifically criminalised marital rape, leading millions – including women – to feel that men were justified in sexually or physically abusing their wives.

Too often, the legal system operates in ways that leaves women out in the cold and allows perpetrators of violence to walk free.

Courts are largely inaccessible to women in rural areas; legal fees and the price of forensic examinations are cost-prohibitive to women who are not in control of their own finances; and male biases within the police force means that law enforcement officials are largely unsympathetic to the few who dare come forward to report abuse.

Furthermore, women in Asia are woefully underrepresented in the legal system. While UN Women reports that a “quarter of judges and around a fifth of prosecution staff in East Asia and the Pacific are women […] South Asia lags behind, with women making up just nine percent of judges and four percent of prosecution staff.”

These numbers are even more dismal in the police, with women in South Asia comprising a mere three percent of the police force, a figure that rises to just nine percent for East Asia and the Pacific.

Home to four of the five fastest-growing economies in the world, Asia’s shining visage is darkened by the shadow of misery its women face in their own homes.

Absent the implementation of robust laws, sustained efforts to improve women’s representation at all levels of government and genuine measures to ensure women gain a sturdy economic foothold in all countries in the region, experts say it is unlikely that domestic violence will decline.

Edited by Kitty Stapp

Philippines: Evacuated livestock in N. Cotabato get aid from provincial gov't

3 March 2015 - 7:23am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, Mar. 3 (PIA)—Some 747 farm animals in conflict-affected villages in Pikit town were treated by the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPVet).

Dr. Rufino Sorupia, provincial veterinarian, said the program tagged as “Sagip Hayop” was conducted in at least five evacuation centers in Bulol, Inug-ug, Gli-gli, Batulawan and Poblacion.

According to him, the move was aimed at providing medications and vitamin supplementation to sick farm animals to help them recover from the pressure brought about by evacuation.

“Not only people are stressed during evacuations, farm animals are equally stressed rom moving out of their familiar environment,” Sorupia stated adding that farm animals could get sick or worse die in the process.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Catherine Mato-Delima, veterinarian IV, disclosed that the OPVet was able to perform deworming on 27 carabaos, 61 cows and 20 goats, provide vitamin supplements to 45 carabaos, 81 cows and 21 goats and treated around 26 carabaos, 42 cows, 10 goats and 410 fowls from various sickness.

IEvacuation of thousands of residents in several barangays in Poikit and nearby Pagalungan in Maguindanao happened as a result of the armed conflict between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Bangasamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter.

Some families have already returned to their places but ohters, especially those whose houses were burned, remained in evacuation centers.

To help them with their daily needs, the provincial government together with the local government unit of Pikit has extended relief assistance to the affected families. (SJDuerme-PIA12/JSta.Cruz-N. Cot. Provincial Government)

Philippines: Philippines Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 2 | 1 February – 2 March 2015

3 March 2015 - 6:32am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Philippines


  • Nearly 70,000 people fled their homes following armed encounters between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government forces in central Mindanao.

  • An estimated 124,000 people displaced by conflict across Mindanao in 2014.

  • Philippine Congress passed House Bill 5062 to enhance the protection of children in disasters and emergencies.


Displacement in Central Mindanao

Number of affected people 69,700
Number of IDPs in evacuation centres 46,400
Number of evacuation centres 45
Number of house-based IDPs 17,200

Zamboanga Crisis

Number of IDPs evacuation centres 6,700
Number of IDPs in transitional sites 12,400
Number of house-based IDPs 11,300

World: Communicating with Communities Newsletter, February 2015

3 March 2015 - 1:46am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, World

This update seeks to support growth in innovative policy, practice and partnerships in humanitarian action to better communicate with disaster-affected communities. Readers are encouraged to forward this email through their own networks.

What's inside

  • Malaysia – Mobile assessments.
  • Bangladesh – Mothers with messages.
  • Myanmar – Community perceptions and technology.
  • Philippines - Targeting, social divisiveness, solidarity and more.
  • CDAC Network – Fanning flames, radio and does aid work?

“Look at my house–it’s like a pigsty! My neighbors are lucky. They get to live as human beings, while this—this is for pigs.”** Cando, community member from Tacloban, Philippines, sharing his frustration at having been deliberately excluded from shelter kit distribution due to his small family size. Read more >>>*

Philippines: Philippines must prioritize food and nutrition security, says UN expert on right to food

2 March 2015 - 11:51am
Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Philippines

MANILA (27 February 2015) – Access to sufficient and nutritious food is still limited in the Philippines despite recent progress, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, warned today at the end of her first fact-finding mission* to the country. Ms. Elver urged the Filipino Government to develop “a clear and comprehensive policy that promotes the right to adequate food.”

“While the Filipino economy has shown impressive growth in recent years, access to adequate and nutritious food continues to be a challenge across most of the country both in terms of under and over nutrition,” she said, stressing that “child malnutrition is an issue of serious concern with some four million children in the country suffering from stunted growth.”

The human rights expert cautioned that “the effects of under-nutrition are irreversible, and lack of access to adequate and nutritious food is having a detrimental effect on future generations in the Philippines and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

“While some parts of the country are being transformed, high levels of poverty remain in the country and is becoming entrenched not only in rural areas but also in urban centres as the income gap widens and inequality increases,” Ms. Elver noted.

The rights expert expressed concern about small holder farmers, many of who are currently face increasing challenges that are undermining agricultural production, including deforestation, climate change and an ever expanding monoculture for export and large corporations.

“Landless farmers are particularly vulnerable as they await the passing of a Bill on agrarian reform which has been pending for some 25 years,” she said. “The Bill is laudable; however I am concerned at reports suggesting that huge tracts of land remain in the possession of a few, while those farmers who have tilled and worked the land are allegedly being harassed and criminalised.”

As communities affected by the devastating impact of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda gradually begin to recover, the rights expert called on the Government to develop adaptation and mitigation financing and support to urban poor, small farmers and coastal communities who are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

“The Government of the Philippines has declared its commitment to developing a national framework for ensuring the right to adequate food and I commend the efforts made to date to develop policies to ensure food security,” the Special Rapporteur noted. “The passing of the pending Right to Adequate Food Bill should be considered as a matter of priority.”

During her seven-day mission, Ms. Elver met with senior Government officials and representatives of Parliamentary committees, international organizations, development agencies, academia and a range of civil society and grass root organizations. She also visited a number of projects in Nueva Ecija, Luzon and interacted with communities living in Visayas, Tacloban as well as urban poor living in various locations in Metro Manila.

The UN Special Rapporteur addressed some key findings and recommendations during a press conference today that will be further developed in a report to the Human Rights Council in March 2016.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur:

Hilal Elver (Turkey) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food by the Human Rights Council in 2014. She is a Research Professor, and co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security, and Democracy housed at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a law degree, a Ph.D. from the University of Ankara Law School, and SJD from the UCLA Law School. She started her teaching career at the University of Ankara Faculty of Law. Learn more:

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

OHCHR Country Page – Philippines:

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
In Manila (during the visit): Teresa Debuque (+ 632 3367720 to 22 /
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Orlagh McCann (+41 22 917 9215 /

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 /

Philippines: Yolanda-hit areas receive P1.15B for more infra projects

2 March 2015 - 8:41am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.15 billion to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the implementation of infrastructure projects in various regions affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Charged against the FY 2014 Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program Fund (RRPF), the amount is slated for the construction, repair, and restoration of roads and thoroughfares that were affected by the supertyphoon in the different cities and municipalities of Regions IV-B (MIMAROPA), V (Bicol), VI (Western Visayas), VII (Central Visayas), and VIII (Eastern Visayas).

Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, “The 2015 budget has been designed to give full support to various rehabilitation and reconstruction projects this year. Consistent with our Build-Back-Better strategy, we don’t just plan to rebuild roads and bridges damaged by Yolanda. We also intend to develop better and more resilient infrastructure that will enable the affected regions to weather future calamities.”

Eastern Visayas, which experienced the most damage after being directly hit by the typhoon, will receive the largest allocation, with P661.7 million divided among the provinces of Tacloban, Leyte, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Samar. Meanwhile, Western Visayas will receive P305.9 million to benefit the provinces of Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, and Capiz.

The fund release is part of the P20.9-billion appropriation from the FY 2014 RRPF Continuing Appropriation.

Indonesia: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (24 Feb - 2 Mar 2015)

2 March 2015 - 5:31am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vanuatu


Whirlwinds in East Java, East and West Nusa Tenggara and Yogyakarta provinces have caused considerable damage to houses and three casualties - one in Lumajang (East Java), one in Sumba (East Nusa Tenggara) and one in Yogyakarta. Over 115 houses in East Java, 85 houses in West Nusa Tenggara and three houses in Yogyakarta were damaged. Local authorities removed debris and provided construction material for home repairs. The Indonesian Red Cross provided relief items to affected families in East Java.1

3 people killed

200 houses damaged

On 27 Feb, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck offshore with the epicentre located over 100 km northwest of Florest Timur, East Nusa Tenggara Province, at a depth of 572 km.There was no reports of casualties or structural damage.


Fighting that broke out on 9 Feb between the Government of Myanmar Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and other armed groups has continued in the Kokang self-administered zone, northeast Shan State. Due to insecurity, lack of access and continuing conflict, the number of people displaced to China and within Myanmar are difficult to verify. Chinese media reported 30,000 people crossing into China, while some 13,000 people, mostly migrant workers, are estimated to have fled the Kokang region to other parts of Myanmar, according to local authorities and civil society organisation in Shan State.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that civilians displaced across the border were provided assistance. Those internally displaced in Myanmar have received assistance from local authorities, Myanmar Red Cross Society and local civil society organizations in Lashio before travelling back to their places of origin. Information on the situation remains limited. There were several reported security incidents in Kutkai, Hseni, Namhkam and Muse. Humanitarian access to the areas remains restricted.3


Around 34,300 people are displaced along the border of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces due to continuing insecurity triggered by feuding between families reportedly associated with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on 9 Feb. According to the local authorities and humanitarian partners successive armed clashes increased the number of displaced people by 10,000 in the past week.

34,300 people displaced

Local and regional authorities – with support of humanitarian agencies including local NGOs and private organizations – have provided food, non-food items, WASH and shelter assistance. Latest needs assessments conducted by humanitarian partners highlight continuous security concerns as well as need for protection, shelter, WASH and health assistance.
The Mindanao Humanitarian Team is finalising the revision of the contingency plan. Sectoral response plans and estimated resources are required to help meet the immediate needs of affected people should there be an escalation of armed conflict.3


The National Disaster Management Office reported that volcanic ash and gas emissions are currently affecting people on Ambrym Island due to volcanic activity that increased on 21 Feb. This activity is possibly linked to a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that occurred on 20 Feb off the island’s south coast.

More than 8,300 people on the island are at risk of being affected by acid rain that can damage food crops and contaminate water supplies. Leafy crops and fruits are currently being affected by ash.

The Vanuatu Government conducted aerial surveillance missions on 21 and 23 Feb and is developing contingency plans that include actions based on various scenarios, including the potential movement of people either within or off the island.4

Philippines: DSWD earmarks P4.85 million for residents affected by armed conflict in Maguindanao, says Palace

2 March 2015 - 1:43am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, March 2 -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has allotted 4.85 million pesos for the residence affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Maguindanao, Palace said on Sunday.

"Naglaan na ang DSWD ng tulong na nagkakahalaga ng P4,850,000 para sa pagkain at iba pang serbisyo," said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., on Sunday.

"May 2,090 pamilya o 10,450 katao mula sa pitong barangay sa bayan ng Datu Salibo, lalawigan ng Maguindanao ang kasalukuyang nasa anim na evacuation centers at binibigyan ng kalinga sa kanilang mga pangangailangan. Ito ay bunsod ng armed conflict sa pagitan ng Sandatahang Lakas at BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters)," Coloma added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has an operation against the BIFF who believed to had aided two high value targets.

On January 25, police operatives conducted a manhunt on suspected terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan and Abdul Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The operation resulted to the killing of Marwan, while Usman eluded arrest. Forty-four police commandos were killed by suspected members of the BIFF and Moro Islamic Liberation Front during the operation.

Coloma also noted that there are additional provisions from the disaster response operations monitoring and information center of the DSWD and its field office in Region 12, should there be a need so.(PCOO/ PND (ag)