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Philippines: Communities face multiple challenges following Typhoon Melor

19 January 2016 - 3:29am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Philippines

By MJ Evalarosa, IFRC @MJEvalarosa

As communities in the Philippines begin to recover from the combined impacts of Typhoon Melor and Tropical Depression Twenty Three, many classrooms in the affected provinces are still too damaged to be used. According to the Department of Education, more than a thousand classrooms were totally damaged, while 2,000 more require major repairs. Regular classes have resumed on 4 January 2016 but many schools had to set up temporary classrooms or conduct their lessons outside the damanged buildings. 

For students in the town of MacArthur, going to school meant helping to clear the debris and salvage what they could from their classrooms. The town, which is nestled within the municipality of Monreal in Masbate, suffered the worst of the damage when the typhoon struck. Father Danilo dela Bajan, who lives inside the school grounds, said that it would take another week before they can resume classes.

“It is difficult to find workers to set up temporary classrooms and help clear the debris, because they themselves are victims of the typhoon and are busy repairing or rebuilding their own homes,” Father Danilo said. “At the moment, our school urgently needs chairs and books, since they have been completely destroyed.”

For some schools, like in San Vicente in Bulusan, Sorsogon, students were asked to help clear the debris from fallen trees and damaged roof under the supervision of their teachers. In the town of Kauswagan in the Biri Islands, Northern Samar, school only started on 6 January as students and teachers spent the first three days cleaning broken glass and burying them to prevent anyone from getting cut.  

Last December, Typhoon Melor and Tropical Depression Twenty Three triggered a massive flooding that caused structural damage in several areas in Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas. At the peak of the typhoon, over 362,000 people were being supported inside and outside evacuation centres. The estimated cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure is 6.5 billion Philippine Pesos (USD 140 million), with agriculture damage alone amounting to 4.3 billion Philippine Pesos (USD 90 million).

Over a month since the typhoon, communication and electricity lines are still down in many provinces, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach like island communities in Masbate and Northern Samar. “Our only form of communication with the most affected areas like Northern Samar was via radio since cell phone lines were down,” said Philippine Red Cross Chairman, Richard Gordon.

On 18 December, a composite team from the Philippine Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was deployed to Northern Samar to assess the damage wrought by Typhoon Melor. In total, 872 personnel consisting of 136 staff members and 736 Red Cross volunteers took part in the relief operation.   

“We wanted to see the extent of the damage and to make an assessment as to how we can assist the communities so that they can get back on their feet,” Gordon added. 

For the latest updates on the emergency response in the Philippines, follow @IFRCAsiaPacific.

Philippines: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (12 - 18 January 2016)

18 January 2016 - 4:22am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Philippines, Thailand

PHILIPPINES

The number of displaced families in North Cotabato province temporarily increased from 186 families to about 600 families (2,800 people) following armed conflict over land between two clans associated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on 7 Jan. About 60 per cent of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned home by 12 Jan. Remaining IDPs are staying with friends or relatives. Initial assistance was provided by municipal authorities.

2,800 people displaced

Zamboanga City declared a state of calamity amid water shortage due to the persisting dry spell. Local authorities reported that some 600 hectares of rice and corn fields in the city were declared unusable by farmers. Insufficient water supply is reportedly escalating the tension between the displaced and the host communities.

600 acres unusable

THAILAND

The Government announced that nine provinces throughout the country are affected by drought.
Emergency procedures are in place to ensure adequate water supply during the dry season.

Nine drought-affected provinces

LAO PDR

Six circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus (cVDPV1) cases have been confirmed in Bolikhamxay and Xaisomboun Provinces as of 11 Jan, including two confirmed deaths. On 13 Jan, the Prime Minister declared the current Vaccine Derived Polio Virus (VDPV) outbreak a National Public Health Emergency. The Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion of Ministry of Health and National Immunization Programme have put in place measures to ensure vaccines are available in all health facilities in the country.

JAPAN

A 6.7M earthquake struck off the coast of Hokkaido on 14 Jan. No tsunami was generated nor were there reports of casualties or damage.

Philippines: ICRC: Our work in the Philippines in 2015

18 January 2016 - 1:35am
Source: International Committee of the Red Cross Country: Philippines

HUMANITARIAN CONCERNS AND RESPONSE IN THE PHILIPPINES

The year 2015 was challenging for the Philippines due to several internal armed conflicts and other situations of violence that led to the displacement of around 100,000 civilians, mainly in Mindanao. Typhoons have also brought significant humanitarian consequences in some parts of the country.

The level of conflict-related incidents was slightly higher than in 2014. The ICRC, a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization, was concerned by the almost daily occurrence of attacks and encounters, arrests, summary executions and improvised explosive devices mainly in Central and Eastern Mindanao, and the Sulu Archipelago, but also in Sorsogon Province in Region 5 and Samar in Region 8.

The ICRC has increased its confidential dialogue with all parties to the conflicts in relation to the respect for international humanitarian law. Its priorities have included building the resilience of communities affected by chronic armed conflicts through various projects; supporting the authorities to address the causes and consequences of extreme jail overcrowding; and enhancing the capacity of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), its primary operational partner, to help people affected by man-made and natural disasters.

Philippines: ‘Lando’ victims get aid from PLGU

18 January 2016 - 12:48am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

Ben Moses Ebreo

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Jan 17 (PIA) – Fifty eight families in the upland town of Sta. Fe town recently received cash assistance from the provincial government here in order to rebuild their houses wrecked by the recent onslaught of typhoon ‘Lando’ in the province last year.

The cash assistance ranging from P3,000.00 for partially damaged houses and P5,000.00 for totally damaged houses of the typhoon victims is part of the calamity funds given by the provincial government for calamity victims in the province.

Governor Ruth Padilla said more than 200 victims of typhoon ‘Lando’, whose houses were totally or partially damaged, will be given the same assistance particularly in the towns of Kasibu, Bambang and Aritao, among others.

Families of the five died casualties of the recent typhoon ‘Nona’ in Alfonso Castaneda town will also be given P10,000.00 each as cash assistance, Padilla said. (ALM/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)

India: 2015/2016 El Niño in Asia – An Actor Analysis

17 January 2016 - 11:32pm
Source: Action Against Hunger Country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines

Situation to Date

In June 2015, drought conditions monitored by satellite showed high water deficits in various parts of the country. Cambodia suffered from a 2015/16 El Niño-induced drought that could rival the devastating effects of the 1997-98 episode.

Cambodia is considered by international institutions a moderate priority country23 among those most-affected by the 2015/16 El Niño. Areas of growing concern are located around the centre of the country and the North West.

Weather Patterns

Regional forecasts by the end of 2015 (October-December) indicate a moderately favourable improvement in rainfall patterns as compared to the seasonal averages. This could help alleviate the impact of the drier than average Monsoon months (July-September), usually providing about three-quarters of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. However, this relative improvement will be insufficient to compensate the existing deficit, which has already dried up many of the country’s water sources with limited capacity to fill them again until the next wet season (monthly average rainfall during the dry season show only few days of rain per month on the country. While climatic conditions are expected to improve, the situation remains preoccupying in terms of water availability by mid-2016.

Philippines: Int'l community supports milestones in Bangsamoro peace process

17 January 2016 - 3:24am
Source: Government of the Philippines Country: Philippines

MANILA, Jan. 17 -- Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles expressed her gratitude to the support and attention that the international community is giving to the Bangsamoro peace process, noting that these indicate the level of success the Philippine government has achieved in pushing peace in Mindanao.

"The level we have on our interchange and conversations with other countries regarding the Mindanao peace process is different (from the local mood)," Deles said in a meeting with media on January 12. "Some of the works that we have done caught the interest of the international community."

Deles said that such level of international discourse on the Bangsamoro peace process has not happened before in any of the government’s previous peace tables. She said the level of attention and engagement of the international community in connection with the Bangsamoro peace process, only showed that the negotiations are progressive and productive.

“This is a milestone in the peace process. What we went (through) last year only showed the profound understanding of the (interested) sectors on the peace negotiations,” Deles said.

During a visit to the Philippines in July 2015, Colombian Ambassador Tito Saul Pinilla said his government considers the decommissioning and normalization processes being implemented by the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a model in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the rebel group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

“The situation in the Philippines between the government and the MILF is the same with the Colombian government and the FARC,” Pinilla said. “After 25 years of armed conflict, we have come to the peace table and it came to our interest on how the Philippines did the ceremonial decommissioning.”

Last June 16, 145 MILF combatants and 75 crew-serve and high-powered weapons were decommissioned in simple ceremonies in Sultan Kudarat to signal Phase I of the normalization process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the Philippine government and the MILF.

The International Decommissioning Body (IDB), a multinational independent body led by Turkey, supervised the decommissioning process of the MILF forces and weapons as stipulated in the CAB.

Other countries in conflict-situations like Thailand and Myanmar have also sent delegations to study the Bangsamoro peace process.

In July last year, 16 members of the Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC) went to the Philippines to study the peace process, especially in upholding the role of women in the peace talks.

New York-based International Peace Institute (IPI) hailed both Deles and GPH chief peace negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer as ideal women peacemakers for their key roles in the government peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the MILF.

Deles is the country’s first woman presidential peace adviser while Ferrer is the first female to chair the MILF peace negotiations and the first female chief negotiator in the world to sign a major peace agreement.

Ferrer also accepted the 2015 Hillary Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The said award honors Ferrer for her “indefatigable work to bring about peace in the Philippines and for (her) historic role as the first female chief negotiator to sign a comprehensive peace agreement.” (OPAPP)

World: Over 12 million children have better educational opportunities through IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF partnership

15 January 2016 - 9:58pm
Source: UN Children's Fund, Save the Children Country: Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, Philippines, Viet Nam, World

NEW YORK, 15 January, 2016 – More than 12 million children in over 46 countries have better schools, teachers and learning materials, thanks to a 13-year partnership between the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children and UNICEF.

Since 2003, the IKEA Foundation’s ‘Soft Toys for Education’ campaign has contributed €88 million to Save the Children and UNICEF, helping to increase school attendance for some of the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable children. Funds have also helped train teachers, provide educational materials and improve child protection systems in schools and communities.

“Education is the most solid road leading out of poverty. All children have the right to an education but still too many are left behind. Partnering with UNICEF and Save the Children for 13 years has allowed us to address this issue strategically and invest in improving the quality of education in some of the world’s poorest communities—and we’re incredibly grateful to the IKEA customers and co-workers who have worked so hard to make that right a reality for over 12 million children,” said Per Heggenes, CEO IKEA Foundation

In Ethiopia, funds from the IKEA Foundation have helped UNICEF reach children in rural farming communities with basic education. The flexible schooling model has been so successful that the Ethiopian government has rolled it out nationally.

In China, IKEA Foundation funding helped develop early-childhood development centres for disadvantaged children living in selected rural communities. The impact of these centres on children’s lives contributed to the Government of China’s decision to universalize preschool education.

“UNICEF is grateful to the IKEA Foundation, IKEA co-workers and customers for the commitment demonstrated over the past 13 years to help transform children’s lives through education,” said UNICEF Global Chief of Education Josephine Bourne. “We will continue to build on these achievements so that many more of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized children are given the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their families through education.”

With the support of the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children has worked in 17 countries in Asia and Europe to provide educational opportunities for previously out-of-school children, to improve the learning environment and to train teachers on child-centred, nonviolent, and inclusive teaching methodology.

In Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam, Save the Children has, together with education authorities and civil society organizations, supported policy reform and practices to ensure that children from minority groups learn in a language they understand.

“Education is a human right and the means by which to equip children with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the world. It also saves lives, protects and builds peace. Save the Children is extremely grateful for the partnership we have with the IKEA Foundation and the support we receive from IKEA employees and customers around the globe. Together, we have made an enormous difference for children with disabilities and children from ethnic minority groups, and Save the Children will not rest until all children have the opportunity to learn,” said David Skinner, Director of Save the Children’s Education Global Initiative.

Although the Soft Toys for Education campaign has ended its successful run, the IKEA Foundation will continue its commitment to UNICEF and Save the Children through ongoing grants in Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in the areas of education, early-childhood care and development, child protection, adolescence and humanitarian response.

Notes to editors

Behind these figures are the individual stories of teachers and children like May Yoi Ching Marma in Bangladesh, Naima in the Philippines, Nokolunga in South Africa and Jan Sankoh in Sierra Leone. Save the Children
The story of Naima in Mindanao, the Philippines https://www.savethechildren.net/save-children-ikea-foundation-partnership-case-study-philippines

The story of May Yoi Ching in Bangladesh
https://www.savethechildren.net/save-children-ikea-foundation-partnership-case-study-bangladesh

UNICEF

The story of Nokulunga in South Africa
http://www.unicef.org/esaro/5440_south-africa_day-of-the-girl-child.html

Studying despite the Ebola outbreak Sierra Leone
http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/sierraleone_81528.html

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation (Stichting IKEA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change.

Learn more at www.ikeafoundation.org and www.facebook.com/IKEAfoundation.

About IKEA Group

Our vision is to create a better everyday life for people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high-quality home furnishings, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 315 stores in 27 countries. In addition, more than 40 stores are run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 716 million visitors during FY14 and 1.5 billion people visited www.ikea.com.

About Save the Children

Save the Children is the world’s leading independent organization for children, delivering programmes and improving children’s lives in more than 120 countries worldwide. Working towards a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation, Save the Children’s mission is to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Learn more at www.savethechildren.net and www.facebook.com/savethechildren.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit http://www.unicef.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Join UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For further information, please contact:

IKEA Foundation
Radu Dumitrascu, Tel: +31 6 5569 8570, email: Radu.Dumitrascu@IKEAfoundation.org

Save the Children
Suzanne Standfast, Tel: +46 733 553 431, email: Suzanne.standfast@rb.se

UNICEF
Tania Dhakhwa, Tel: +41 22 909 5243, email: tdhakhwa@unicef.org

World: Finding Ways Together to Build Resilience: The Vulnerability and Risk Assessment methodology

15 January 2016 - 6:58am
Source: Oxfam Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Ghana, Myanmar, Philippines, World

Oxfam's Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA) tool develops a holistic, landscape-wide understanding of vulnerability and links up actors across various levels of governance to jointly identify and analyse root causes of vulnerabilities for distinct social groups and later design programmes and risk reduction initiatives accordingly, ensuring that they are equitable, gender-sensitive and effective.

Attention to historical and evolving power dynamics is fully embedded into the design of the VRA, primarily through the convening of a Knowledge Group to inspire and drive the analysis.

The VRA methodology has been implemented by Oxfam and its partners in twelve countries and by other aid and research organizations, such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the University of Cape Town and the University of Botswana.

Philippines: ‘ShelterBox was the answer to my prayers’ - Repairing homes and lives in the Philippines

14 January 2016 - 7:12pm
Source: ShelterBox Country: Philippines

Just before Christmas, category 4 Typhoon Melor caused catastrophic damage to the region of Northern Samar in the Philippines. Homes, crops and livelihoods were totally destroyed in many communities.

ShelterBox has been aiding the recovery by working with French aid agency ACTED to provide vital shelter materials and tools to 400 families in the areas of Palapag and Mapanas.

These two areas were the hardest hit by the typhoon. No home escaped damage, and at least half of them were destroyed completely.

Mercedes Arca and her husband Valentin, who at 82 is the second oldest person in the island vilalage of Binaly, were just one of the families to lose their home to Typhoon Melor.

Mercedes told us that before the typhoon came, they were warned to seek the safety of higher ground and even to consider leaving their island home, which is where the couple were both born and raised. However, they had heard this warning many times in the past and the little island had always escaped the worst of the storms.

The couple decided to stay, but after a night of heavy rains the wind started blowing so hard that the roof began to come apart. At this point, they fled their home to the local primary school. More than 400 people crammed into the two concrete buildings as the storm raged overhead.

Miraculously, none of the villagers were hurt, but more than 120 homes had been destroyed or badly damaged. There was nothing left of Mercedes and Valentin’s house.

Mercedes was devastated, as they had no way of rebuilding again. She said: ‘What are we going to do? We are so old and have no money.’ But when the ShelterBox team, made up of Andrew Clark (UK) and Bill Woodard (US) provided the couple with materials to rebuild their home, she was overjoyed. She said: ‘Thank you, thank you. ShelterBox was the answer to my prayers.’

ShelterBox provided each family with locally sourced equipment including a hammer, a saw, a shovel and corrugated iron sheeting, which can be used as for walls and roofing materials.

In this video, Tom Tejano, the Mayor of Mapanas, explains what happened to the area when the typhoon hit, and how ShelterBox aid will help people to recover from the devastation.

The team worked with ACTED to combine distributions of aid with education on the equipment. Community members were not only shown the different ways that the materials could be used, but also ways in which they could build back safer, making them more resilient in the face of future storms.

ShelterBox has responded to 20 disasters in the Philippines in the past six years, most recently after Typhoon Hagupit in December 2014, but has never worked in this area of Northern Samar before. Together with ACTED, ShelterBox was the first organisation to reach these communities and give them the tools to rebuild their homes and lives.

World: Asia Pacific Food Price and Policy Monitor, December 2015 - Issue 28

14 January 2016 - 6:40am
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Country: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, China - Taiwan Province, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

HIGHLIGHTS

General inflation in the region was estimated at 2.3 percent, and food price inflation at 2.6 percent in November compared to one year ago.

  • In China, prices for fresh vegetables rose as unusually cold weather in November hampered transport and disrupted supplies to markets.

  • In Indonesia, drought conditions linked to El Niño over large parts of the country resulted in major delays in planting of the main season crops.

  • The Philippines approved US$ 404.1 million in spending to counter the effects of El Niño.

  • Mongolia released its State Policy on Food and Agriculture 2016 - 2025, emphasizing a shift to sustainable livestock practices and the expansion of arable land for crops.

  • India pledged to restore 13 million hectares of degraded forestland, in an announcement on the sidelines of the COP21 United Nations Climate Summit in Paris in December.

REGIONAL OVERVIEW

FOOD AND GENERAL INFLATION

General inflation in the region was estimated at 2.3 percent, and food price inflation at 2.6 percent in November compared to one year ago.

In November, general inflation in Bangladesh declined by 0.1 percent and food inflation by 0.4 percent. In China, consumer and food prices remained unchanged from the previous month. Price increases for fresh fruits and vegetables were offset by price declines for meat, poultry and eggs.

In India, general inflation was up 0.6 percent, and food prices rose 0.4 percent on more expensive pulses and spices.

In Indonesia, general inflation was up 0.2 percent, and food prices increased 0.3 percent on rising prices for rice and chicken meat. In Pakistan, general and food price inflation rose 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, as prices for chicken, tomatoes, onions and potatoes increased. In the Philippines, general and food price inflation inched up by 0.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Samoa’s general inflation increased by 0.5 percent, and food prices rose 1.6 percent, driven by higher prices for taro, ta’amu, and fresh fish. Sri Lanka’s general inflation was up 1.4 percent and food price inflation increased 3 percent on price increases for vegetables and green chillies.

In Thailand, general and food price inflation were down 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively. Viet Nam’s general inflation rose by 0.7 percent, and food prices increased by less than 0.1 percent.

Malaysia: Dengue Situation Update 482, 13 January 2016

13 January 2016 - 11:38pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: Australia, Cambodia, China, French Polynesia (France), Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Viet Nam

Northern Hemisphere

China

As of 31 December, there were 3,884 cases of dengue reported in 2015 for China, with majority of the cases being reported during September and October. From 1 to 31 December 2015, 62 dengue cases were reported with no associated deaths. The number of cases in the month of December decreased sevenfold compared to the number reported in the previous month (n=470) and lower than the number of cases reported in December 2014 (n=180) (Figure 1).

Malaysia (no update)

As of 5 December, there were 111,285 cases of dengue with 301 deaths reported in Malaysia for 2015. This is 16.3% higher compared with the same reporting period of 2014 (n=95,693). From 29 November to 5 December 2015, there were 2,119 cases of dengue reported, which is higher than the previous week (n=2,087).

Philippines (no update)

As of 21 November 2015, there were 169,435 suspected cases of dengue, including 511 deaths, reported in Philippines. This is 59.5% higher compared with the same reporting period in 2014 (n=106,241) (Figure 3).

From 15 to 21 November 2015 (week 46), there were 548 suspected cases of dengue reported. (NOTE: Case counts reported here do not represent the final number and will change after inclusion of delayed reports)

Singapore

A total of 11,298 cases of dengue have been reported in Singapore for 2015 (data up to week 52 ending 2 January 2016), 61% lower than the number of cases reported in 2014 (n=18,168) for the same reporting period. From 27 December 2015 to 2 January 2016, 459 dengue cases were reported, higher than the previous week (n=372) and higher than the number reported for the same period in each of the last four years (2011-2014) (Figure 4). From November 2015, weekly case numbers have continued to increase in a trend that is not expected for the season.

Cambodia

As of 29 December 2015, there were 15,412 cases of dengue, including 38 deaths [CFR=0.2%], reported in Cambodia. The number of cases is decreasing and it follows a similar trend to that observed in 2011 to 2014.

In the week ending 29 December 2015, there were 183 cases reported, which is higher than the previous week (n=65) (Figure 5).

Lao PDR

As of 25 December, there were 1,952 cases of dengue and no deaths reported in Lao PDR for 2015. From 19 to 25 December 2015, 40 dengue cases were reported, which is higher than the previous week (n=36) (Figure 6). There is no country level alert for the week ending 25 December 2015.

Viet Nam (no update)

As of 30 November 2015, there were 79,912 cases of dengue, including 53 deaths, reported in 53 out of 63 provinces in Viet Nam. The cumulative number of cases reported in 2015 is higher than cases reported in 2014 for the same reporting period and is also higher than the median in 2010-2014 for the same period (Figure 7). In November, there were 20,910 cases reported including 10 deaths. Compared to October (18,754 cases and 10 deaths), the number of cases reported increased by 11.5%.

Southern Hemisphere

Australia

As of 31 December 2015, there were 1,667 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases in Australia. In 2015, 65 cases were reported in December. This is lower than the same reporting period of last year (n=107). The number of reported cases was consistent with previous years (n=1721 in 2014) and follows seasonal trend (Figure 8).

Pacific Islands Countries and Areas

French Polynesia (no update)

In the week ending 29 November 2015, 24 confirmed dengue cases were reported in French Polynesia (Figure 9).
Dengue virus serotype-1 has been identified in circulation.

Philippines: Typhoon Melor: Update on the emergency situation

13 January 2016 - 11:05am
Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Country: Philippines

Typhoon Melor (also locally knows as Nona) struck the Philippines on December 14th 2015, killing 42 people and causing important damages, and generating some huge needs in the typhoon-affected areas. In the Northern Samar province, where the typhoon made landfall, almost 41,700 houses were totally damaged, 140 families evacuated, and various municipalities were flooded.

ACTED teams conducted needs assessment in the municipalities of Mapanas and Palapag, Northen Samar, which have been particularly heavily affected and hadn’t received any assistance, despite huge needs. The most important needs are emergency shelter assistance, such as the provision of tarpaulin and shelter repair kits. In those two municipalities, 100% of the houses have been damaged and are either partially or totally destroyed! Access to water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, food relief assistance are other priorities that need to be tackled. Some skin diseases and dengue fever caused by the resulting insalubrity were notably identified by ACTED early assessment team, highlighting the need for quick relief.

Beyond emergency relief, livelihoods need also to be supported. A majority of households in Palapag and Mapanas rely on coconut and rice farming and on fisheries. But these activities were severely affected by the typhoon, leaving people vulnerable and without any income, deprived of their main source of living. A majority of the population now relies on food relief assistance, and without any support provided to the communities to recover their livelihoods, the area could face a food security crisis in the coming months.

An emergency response by ACTED team on the ground

ACTED is the only NGO intervening in these municipalities, and our teams were on the ground just a few days after Melor struck. During the assessment of needs, relief items were distributed to those in need: 1,200 water purification kits on the 25th of December. ACTED has also been distrusting hygiene kits and 400 shelter repair kits with the support of ShelterBox. Aid operations by ACTED have been further supported through a partnership agreement with UNICEF to increase the provision of latrines repair kits, additional shelter repair kits and tarpaulins. ACTED team in the Philippines is currently discussing with partners on the field to plan a potential response for the houses that have been totally destroyed and need to be rebuilt.

A catastrophe reminding previous typhoons

The country has suffered several disasters, as Melor is the 18th typhoon of the annual typhoon season. The infrastructures destruction exacerbates an already difficult situation in a previouslyafflicted area. The damages in terms of shelter are even bigger than after last super typhoon Koppu (locally known as Lando), which killed 48 people in October 2015. Also, prior to Melor, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities were already damaged in coastal located houses. Samar region was also one of the most devastated areas after super typhoon Haiyan (also called Yolanda), which struck the country in 2013 with devastating impacts, causing unprecedented damages, human and material losses. At the time, 550.000 houses were destroyed and almost 600.000 houses damaged.

ACTED has a presence in the Philippines since 2013 when typhoon Bopha struck the country. Our teams act for the mitigation of climate change effects, specifically since super typhoon Haiyan, and is planning on leading other projects in the country.

World: Slum socio-ecology: an exploratory characterisation of vulnerability to climate-change related disasters in the urban context

12 January 2016 - 10:55pm
Source: Harvard University Country: Philippines, World

Published: Jan 2016

As cities, especially coastal megacities, continue to grow often through rapid unplanned urbanization, populations are increasingly concentrated in climate change-affected hazard-prone spaces. How these populations interact with their environments will ultimately influence their vulnerability to climate-related disaster. Yet the interdependence between human and environmental systems, especially in the urban slum context, is under-researched and represents an important gap in our understanding. Using a socio-ecological system approach provides a holistic framework to understand vulnerability.