Philippines: Revision of the Bohol Earthquake Action Plan - January 2014
- The priority remaining needs are shelter, early recovery and support to health services.
- This revised action plan seeks US$33.8 million over a six-month period from October 2013 to April 2014. The current funding gap is $19 million.
- WASH facilities are still needed in evacuation camps, schools and health facilities.
- Accurate information on IDPs to effectively allocate funds and develop a comprehensive resettlement strategy will soon be finalized.
- 13 new projects in the revised action plan that include local partners.
Three months after the earthquake struck Bohol, there are still major outstanding needs in shelter, early recovery and health. Most of the 367,760 people whose homes were damaged or destroyed are still living in their damaged houses, or in tents near their homes, with just 2,681 people remaining in evacuation centres. People move frequently between their damaged homes and tents, depending on aftershocks and weather conditions. As aftershocks are still common, support for durable shelter solutions is urgently needed to help people get out of these unsafe conditions. Many students are attending temporary learning centres in tents because the earthquake destroyed 1,134 classrooms. Patients are being treated in alternative sites or tents, because 17 health stations, one hospital and eight rural health units were destroyed.
The 7.2 magnitude earthquake on 15 October 2013 was the strongest to hit Bohol in nearly 25 years, and occurred on a previously unknown fault line. Municipalities in the northwest of Bohol were hardest hit. Following rapid joint assessments undertaken by the provincial government with local partners and UN agencies, humanitarian organizations developed a coordinated Bohol Earthquake Action Plan (BEAP) that was issued on 25 October.
The total number of affected people has since been adjusted to 1.3 million from an initial estimate of 3.2 million as 2 million people from Cebu were first included, but later assessments identified that the island was not affected by the earthquake. According to government assessments and figures from early January, the Bohol earthquake damaged in total 79,217 houses out of which 13,402 are totally destroyed and 65,815 partially damaged. Therefore 367,760 people are being targeted for shelter assistance. This is an increase of 7% compared to the original Action Plan, as at that time only the needs of the 17 most affected municipalities were assessed and included in the target.
The requested funding for the revised BEAP is $33.8 million compared to $46.8 million in the original BEAP, as the response has moved to the early recovery phase and the needs for emergency agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, health and livelihood support have been assessed and the request for funding reduced in line with the current outstanding needs.
Although Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) did not cause significant damage on Bohol, it had a strong impact on the response, as many government and international humanitarian resources were moved from Bohol to address needs caused by Haiyan. Power was also lost in all of Bohol for three weeks. After the typhoon, there was significantly less attention and funding available for the response in Bohol, and the national backstopping of some key government agencies, such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) decreased. The revised BEAP has considered these conditions, and focused on the core priorities of shelter and early recovery agreed by the provincial government.
Local and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are playing a key role in the response, and this is reflected in the revised BEAP, as eight new organizations - out of which two are national NGOs and five are local NGOs - have included projects, and a total of 13 new projects are included that all involve local partners. This reflects the strong advocacy and outreach efforts of cluster coordinators and partners, and the involvement of national and local organizations in programme planning, delivery and coordination. These new projects are all in the Shelter and Early Recovery/Livelihood clusters however the total funding request for these sectors has decreased, as the original requests from ILO and IOM have been reduced. These local NGOs have an established capacity in Bohol, and can implement projects quickly if funding can be secured.
The provincial authorities are leading the early recovery effort with effective and direct support from partners. Currently, damaged roads and bridges, power and water systems are being repaired and bridges are being re-enforced to support heavy trucks and machinery. DSWD in cooperation with local government units and the Food Security cluster is completing the third and final cycle of food pack distribution to reach all people in need. The Department of Health provided assorted drugs and medicines, and sent medical/surgical teams to the worst-affected municipalities. Classes resumed after the Christmas holiday season and all students are back in schools, including in temporary learning spaces provided by the Education cluster.
All major roads are clear of debris and there is full access to all affected municipalities; however, there is still debris throughout the communities that is being cleared by Early Recovery and Livelihood cluster members and partners, and recently heavy rains have caused landslides and obscured minor roads.
The Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster is supporting the government to develop a comprehensive strategy for resettlement. Tracking and comprehensive registration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in evacuation camps remains a challenge since people move frequently between their damaged houses and tents depending on aftershocks and weather events that affect their houses (i.e. landslides, aftershocks) and tents (i.e. flooding, rain). According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, as of 13 January 2014, 4,617 aftershocks were registered in Bohol with 127 strong enough to be felt. Along with the heavy rains and strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan, Bohol has also been affected by a number of low pressure systems, which have impeded access and slowed rebuilding.
The main challenge related to housing and resettlement has been to finalize and verify the extent of damage in all municipalities. The government has started to verify the detailed list of families with shelter needs and expects to complete the verification process early February. The Shelter cluster and the government have agreed to work with three universities to conduct structural damage assessments of all damaged homes. The other major challenge is ensuring suitable land is available for building shelter for people who were living in hazardous or no-build zones. The CCCM cluster is identifying suitable areas for limited transitional shelter solutions for families coming from hazardous areas and currently living in camps where permanent re-settlement will be delayed due to the lack of suitable relocation land. Damaged health facilities continue to provide services from alternative sites or tents and need repair or reconstruction.
Initially, the revision of the Bohol Earthquake Action Plan (BEAP) was envisioned for the end of November 2013. However, Typhoon Haiyan diverted attention and funds towards the typhoon-affected populations and their urgent emergency needs. In consultation with the provincial government, the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) decided to revise the BEAP in January to ensure a clear and evidenced based understanding of the ongoing needs of affected people and the capacities available to respond.
The current revision allows the provincial government, local and international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies to consider early recovery needs of the affected people and tailor their project activities accordingly. It is based on detailed joint, programme and project assessments as well as consultations with government and international cluster partners on sector needs. Targeted support of the Bohol humanitarian actors will complement the provincial government’s early recovery capacities.
On 10 January, a workshop was held in Tagbilaran City involving over 100 participants from these various partners. Each cluster presented an update on the achievements to date in the response, and the outstanding emergency needs to be addressed over the next three months.
The growing importance of local organizations and national NGOs is reflected in the revised BEAP. This reflects the strong advocacy and outreach efforts of cluster coordinators and partners to include national and local organizations in programme planning and delivery and coordination. Altogether 20 UN agencies, IOM and NGOs and local partners are seeking $33.8 million in the revised BEAP to implement 32 projects from across 11 sectors (including the coordination sector) for the next three months.