The series of typhoons that hit the Philippines from September to December 2006 produced wide-scale destruction and devastation in the lives of over 500,000 persons in the north eastern provinces. In all affected provinces, the majority of the displaced families have already returned to their villages and started re-piecing their livelihoods. Albay which is the worst affected province continues to host 3,097 families displaced in 23 evacuation centers and 2 transitional sites in Legaspi City, Daraga, Guinobatan and Camalig. Most of these families cannot return to their villages which are not safe for habitation and are waiting for government options to be permanently relocated. While the updated information concerning "danger areas" is being finalised by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and PAGASA (Philippines Astronomical, Geophysical and Seismological Agency), 11 possible relocation sites have been identified by the government and negotiations for their acquisition in on-going. Some families continue to be displaced with host relatives and neighbours as they are too vulnerable to rebuild their lives, and will require some livelihood support.
WASH: From the total of 23 evacuation centers and 2 transitional sites, 76% meet safe water standards, 52% meet latrine standards, and 92% meet solid waste disposal standards. Out of the 432 schools which have been used as evacuation centers, 40% (138 schools) have no WASH facilities.
Health: There were no reported outbreaks of communicable diseases in the evacuation and transit centers for the past week. However the risk remains due to the inadequacy of some of the water and waste disposal facilities in some of these centers with Diarrhea as the 4th highest health complaint after ARI, Wounds and Fever.
Camp Management: IOM in collaboration with Ayuda Albay procured plywood to upgrade temporary shelter units in the Taysan relocation site. The distribution will be done with the CSWDO, the City Planning Office and community leaders in Taysan.
Camp Management: IOM & UN-Habitat is currently assessing all evacuation and transitional sites. Findings are expected to be available by the first week of February.
Health: A total of 22 hospitals sustained varying degrees of damage while some suffered extensive damage in critical sections such as the operating and delivery room and the emergency department. Rural health units (RHUs) and Barangay Health Stations (BHS) in Bicol province suffered the most with 88% of these infrastructures impaired in Albay and 19% in Camarines Sur.
Education: The total estimated damage in the educational infrastructures, services and materials reached P3.1billion with 5,685 affected schools. The Philippine government has released P407million for the utilization of the Department of Education (DepED). International donors have provided support for the rehabilitation of schools, provision of educational supplies, teaching and learning materials.
IFRC and the PNRC met to review details for their implementation plan covering 10,000-15,000 shelter kits (60% replacement, 40% roofing/repairs) plus toolkits. Shelter numbers needs further verification.
The DSWD has reconfirmed the government's announced input of USD 20 million (PHP 1bn) to cover 12,000 units of permanent housing in Bicol.
Shortages of essential health products including vitamin A capsules and iron supplements were noted in isolated areas.
Participation and active involvement of the evacuees themselves must be generated in the the whole relocation process.
There are reports that some people are being sent away to their original homes in highly unsafe zones which is causing conflicts and tensions among the evacuees.
On 29, January the UN Cluster leads met with the NDCC to further explain the cluster response and enhance the coordination with government counterparts. The meeting which was chaired by General Glenn Rabonza (Administrator OCD, NDCC Executive Officer) concluded with the nomination of government counterparts to co-lead all clusters with UN/IFRC leads.
This situation report, together with additional information on the current crisis is also available on http://www.reliefweb.int. As your tool for timely information sharing, please encourage submissions of documents and maps by email to email@example.com. REF: OCHA/GVA-20007/0010
HUMANITARAIN SITUATION AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
This report is organized by clusters (indicating the agency that is on the lead in the Philippines) and provides general information for each sector and the needs and gaps, the response and planned actions, and the challenges and problems.
SHELTER (Led by IFRC)
The shelter response to the Philippines Typhoons can be split into five categories: evacuation centres, transit camps, relocation sites (all above only in Albay province), plus transitional shelter and permanent housing in the villages. The major concern at this stage remains the very limited number of active players involved with confirmed and funded plans to address the overall needs. Though identified as 222,603 totally damaged and 301,729 partially damaged houses across the country, the government confirms that 30% of those will not require assistance thus totalling the need at 144,692 complete shelters and repair materials for 196,124. While confirmation and verification of available data remains a priority, the description below gives further detail by category.
Needs & Gaps:
On permanent housing, the Government programme in Bicol is planning to build 12,000 units (USD 20 million). However these plans are pending the release of funds which will be handled by government agencies. Others projects supporting permanent housing are also being implemented by some church groups and other local initiatives, but the numbers are extremely small in comparison to the overall need.
Transitional housing on the other hand is being supported by the national Red Cross through their shelter project which has a 3-5 years lifespan and covers all the affected areas. The plan will support 10,000-15,000 units (USD 8 million) and the procurement process has started with material deliveries expected in late February.
Evacuation centres have been reduced to 23 centres in Albay Province in school buildings. While most seem overcrowded, there is a need for upgrading some of them. The local government, Oxfam and IOM alongside other local groups and church organizations, supports the centres.
In Albay there are also two transit Camps which have been set up to decongest the schools and accommodate families still waiting for return or relocation. DSWD, Oxfam and IOM are working in these transit camps.
11 Relocation Sites have been identified and site planning is ongoing at two. The National Housing Authority, with support from UN Habitat, is taking the lead on this. Other sites have land tenure issues regarding compensation payments to the landowners. The provincial officials have asked the UN and INGOs to help with the negotiations and payments of compensation. Most agencies informed the local government that this would not be possible.
The Albay PDCC has requested assistance from the Federation, IOM and OCHA to build local capacity to take over the information management responsibilities. A concept paper is being developed by the Federation and OCHA to outline handover strategy and targeting circulation, by early February.
Further verification of damage and demographic data is ongoing through a variety of channels; obtaining accurate data remains an area of concern.
IOM repeated the offer to transport relief goods, including shelter materials, and assistance with transport for critical personnel movement.
Updated information concerning "danger areas" by PhilVolcs and MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) and PAGASA (Philippines Astronomical, Geophysical and Seismological Agency) is expected shortly. Some areas are unsuitable for resettlement due to potential hazards such as volcanic activity, mudflows, flooding etc.
Ongoing Activities and Planned Actions
A joint UN Cluster/NDCC meeting was held on Monday 29 January, chaired by General Glenn Rabonza (Administrator OCD, NDCC Executive Officer), when it was agreed that government counterparts would be identified for each cluster. As an outcome of the meeting, Mr Milo Cruz of the DSWD has been officially nominated as the counterpart of the Shelter Group. It was also decided that all cluster sector meeting minutes are to be shared with the NDCC for internal circulation; and an NDCC representative will attend the cluster leads meetings.
The DSWD has reconfirmed the government's announced input of USD 20m (PHP 1bn) to cover 12,000 units of permanent housing in Bicol. DSWD is currently in Bicol validating numbers and their plan of action with the local authorities. Plans will be implemented as soon as the budget is released and is expected to run through to June 2008.
Oxfam has constructed multi-family temporary housing units in Taysan (Albay Province). Oxfam indicated they would not be involved in any shelter provision outside of transit/relocation sites for those affected by the mudflows. SCF, CARE and ADRA are not involved in shelter of any kind and have no plans to become involved.
The Federation Delegation and the PNRC are discussing the implementation plan covering 10,000-15,000 shelter kits (60% replacement, 40% roofing/repairs) plus toolkits. The Red Cross FACT team-generated figures for required shelter numbers do not correlate with present PNRC-identified needs and needs further verification.
IOM has procured additional shelter materials for the relocation site of Taysan, and still intends to use the USD 220,000 from the CERF fund via UNDP for camp management and camp improvement throughout Albay province.
The PHP 1bn (USD 20m) allocated by the government for housing is for the DSWD Core Shelter Programme and is part of the PHP 10bn (USD 200m) recovery package announced by the President. DSWD has put together an "indicative plan" for January 2007 to June 2008, covering 12,000 houses plus cash for work and associated costs for all provinces of Bicol. The DSWD indicated that as soon as the budget is released they are ready for an immediate start-up, and the work will be handled exclusively by the relevant government departments without external partners.
UN Habitat are planning to field an engineering assessment team to link up with the provincial authorities in Albay to follow up concerns regarding improvement needed at the evacuation sites and to make recommendations on shelter (permanent housing) planning and sizes. Recommendations will be passed to the NHA, including suggestions on watsan and livelihoods issues.
Oxfam is continuing to build multi-family housing units in Taysan, near Legaspi City.
Response from the international Appeal launched by the Federation on behalf of the PNRC identified a total of 15,000 shelters to be constructed. At this time 10,000 have been committed to, and if further funds come in the remaining 5,000 will go ahead. Procurement for the construction materials has begun and the Red Cross is presently awaiting the return of tenders from suppliers. It is likely, therefore, that first deliveries cannot be realistically foreseen until late February at the earliest.
Plans, design sketches and component lists of all types of shelter units will be made available for a wider circulation.
Challenges and Concerns
It is unclear for how long IDPs will be in the evacuation sites, and how soon the populations requiring permanent relocation will be serviced. Furthermore, most of the displaced are concerned about the lack of information on permanent relocation options.
HEALTH (Led by WHO)
The overall living conditions of the people in evacuation centres at Albay, Bicol still need further improvement. Though there were no reported outbreaks of communicable diseases in the 23 evacuation camps and 2 transit centres for the past week, the risk still remains given the inadequate basic living necessities like water and waste disposal facilities in some of these areas. The extent of the damage in the health care infrastructures such as hospitals, rural health units (RHUs), and barangay health stations (BHS) has been considered significant by the respective provincial health offices in the affected areas and needs immediate repair in order to restore the capacity of local health units in the delivery of essential health cares services.
Needs and Gaps
Access to safe drinking water and latrine facilities remain deficient in several evacuation areas. It endangers the people living in these centres, who are at risk of contracting communicable diseases.
In Albay and Camarines Sur, a total of 22 hospitals sustained varying degrees of damage while some hospitals, such as the Josefina Duran Belmonte Memorial Hospital in Ligao City, Albay, suffered extensive damage in critical sections such as the operating and deliver room and the emergency department.
While provinces of Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and Masbate reported damages in their RHUs and BHS, the health care infrastructures in Bicol province suffered the most with 88% of the RHUs and BHS impaired in Albay and 19% in Camarines Sur.
Integration and standardization of the psychosocial intervention initiatives undertaken by different agencies in the affected areas must be done through the development of a comprehensive mental health program aimed at the mental rehabilitation of the affected population. The continuing efforts to address the mental health issues require the involvement of more trained response workers to cover the large number of affected individuals.
Responses and Planned Actions
The assessment missions of the technical team sent by WHO to evaluate the extent of damage and the exact requirements of the 12 hospitals in Albay and Camarines Sur are ongoing. The WHO will also be sending an expert in Geographic Information System (GIS) in the identified areas to integrate the information acquired from the assessment with the maps.
In the effort to rehabilitate the government hospitals in the affected areas, the Department of Health (DOH) has been given a budget amounting to P200M by the national government. The WHO will also be supporting the efforts of DOH to develop standard case management protocols to deal with common health problems faced during disasters.
The national Health Promotions Sub-Cluster led by UNFPA has completed the first draft of the Health Promotions Toolkit to be utilized by response workers and other agencies in encountering emergency situations. The toolkit will be refined and employed in Albay as the pilot area. Upon completion, the toolkit will be distributed with the concerned organizations and government agencies.
A "psychosocial cluster" has been formed to address the mental health needs of the people in Albay. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been providing support in transporting 5.55 metric tons of health-related relief and a 25-member medical team from Andurong Mayong to Camalig.
Inter-sectoral collaboration to improve the health situation in the affected areas has been ongoing with a considerable number of agencies remain to operate in the field including the UNICEF, IOM, Plan Philippines, Oxfam-UK, Save the Children, UNFPA, Handicap International, WHO, PNRC, World Vision, DSWD, Scientology Volunteer Ministers, Children International, Hope Worldwide, Operation Compassion, Daughters of Charity, COPE, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University.
Challenges and Problems
Close coordination, development of an efficient information exchange system and the integration of activities undertaken by the different health clusters at the national, regional and local levels are considered necessary in order to achieve improvement in health promotion, water and sanitation system, and nutrition and infrastructures.
Mobilization of resources beyond the CERF period remains to be an immense challenge in ensuring the continuity and sustainability of health programs and projects.
There is also a need to allocate resources for the strengthening of health information management and surveillance systems and also, for the implementation of activities relating to mental health programs.
WASH - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Led by UNICEF & Oxfam)
As of 25 January 2007, the provincial health office (PHO) reported that, in Albay, of the total of 23 evacuation centres and 2 transitional sites, 76% meet safe water standards, 52% meet latrine standards, and 92% meet solid waste disposal standards. Out of the 432 schools which have been used as evacuation centres, 40% or 138 schools have no WASH facilities. Access to clean and safe drinking water triggered 53 diarrhoeal cases of children under 5 years of age in Taysan. Construction of sufficient sanitation facilities such as bathhouses and latrines is still on going.
On the other hand, water supply has been restored in Sto. Domingo and Legaspi City and partially restored in Daraga and Camalig. While Guinobatan has only a temporary source of water through the portable water purifying equipment provided by the Spanish International Cooperation Agency and Agua Vida.
Needs and Gaps
Though the surveillance system implemented in Legaspi City is improving, there is still a difficulty in obtaining reliable and pertinent information in the other affected areas.
Permanent resettlement sites must also be immediately established in order to decongest evacuation centres. Notably, evacuation centres located in Tabon-tabon and Bagumbayan are still without WATSAN facilities. The cleanliness and quality of the supplied water, particularly in Taysan, has deteriorated causing 23 cases of diarrhoea. Water tanking in the area has stopped and the local government has yet to set up the water filtration system
(Geneva) Ms. Paola Emerson, Tel: +41 22 917 1613
(New York) Mr. Wojtek Wilk, Tel: +1 917 367 9748
(Geneva) Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, Tel: + 41 22 917 2653
(New York) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Tel: +1 917 367 5126
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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