Philippines: Typhoon OCHA Situation Report No. 9

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 29 Jan 2007
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2007/0005

OCHA Situation Report No. 9
The Philippines - Typhoon 2006

HIGHLIGHTS

- Flash Appeal response continues to be poor at 7.1%

- In Albay out of a reported displaced 50,000 families last week, a total of 12,000 are with host families and another 3,000 in evacuation and transition centres. The large drop in the number of displaced families is attributed to spontaneous return of families to their lands to begin reconstruction of their houses and recovery of their livelihoods.  Those who remain behind are reported to be either families who are; 1) unable to return to their buried properties (by mudslides) or 2) have not been allowed to return to their unsafe areas or 3) are too poor to begin the recovery process in areas declared safe.

- The government has already identified 10 resettlement sites but negotiations for their use are still ongoing.  

- Preliminary shelter damage data indicates that that there is an overall baseline need for 144,692 complete shelters (for those with totally destroyed houses) and repair materials for 196,124 (for those with partially damaged houses).

- There has been no increase in number of cases of communicable diseases during the past week although the risk for outbreaks remains. There is rising concern about the mental health needs of the affected population.

- Food aid distributions by the government are ongoing in the evacuation and transitional centres in Albay, albeit in an ad hoc manner.  While WFP has provided food aid for emergency distribution in the centres, the Provincial Disaster Coordination Council (PDCC) has retained some of the bulk food provided for future recovery schemes. WFP has put on hold additional planned food allocations for the centres, while it works to resolve this issue and ensure that appropriate ration levels are maintained in the centres.  

- The Bicol area is traditionally one of the regions with highest malnutrition rates in the Philippines ( 2003: 32.8% underweight in children< 5 years old). The destruction caused by the typhoon, including the displacement of thousands of persons raises major concerns. A rapid post-disaster nutrition assessment in 5 affected provinces is being planned.

- The total damage to schools is estimated at P 3.1 Billion (approximately USD 63.5 million), affecting 5,685 schools. The Bicol Area (Region V) alone, which was the worst hit, accounts for 79% of the estimated cost of damage and involving over 357,400 affected children. Preliminary report from Legaspi City and Marinduque indicate that 99 day-care centres are damaged. Educational supplies, teaching and learning materials and furniture in schools and day care centres were washed out or heavily damaged

- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene has been stepped up in the newly established transition centres in Albay including the distribution of water purification tablets, water tanks, water containers and construction of latrines. Gaps and unmet needs remain in the affected areas namely in Carmines Sur and Catanduanes. Over 6,000 water containers have been sent to Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masgate for distribution to the affected communities in their villages.

- At the request of the government, IOM has established a relief database in Albay to maintain and upgrade the relief goods and beneficiaries on behalf of over 30 agencies.

- A UNDP led inter-agency assessment on Early Recovery requirements took place in Albay and Camarines Sur, including UNDP, BCPR, WFP, OCHA, UN-Habitat, WHO, FAO. The report is being compiled and will include additions from UNICEF and IOM. OCHA evaluated the residual humanitarian needs and the report sent to GVA.

- All clusters are fully functional between Manila and Legaspi.

HUMANITARAIN SITUATION AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE

This report is organised 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)

An ongoing need for emergency shelter relief continues with the current assessed needs for shelter significantly outweighing the current and planned capacities of the humanitarian community.  This has been confirmed in a UNDP-led multi agency rapid assessment for early recovery requirements where emergency shelter was identified as one of the top three priorities.  Quantification of needs is a challenge and the shortage of collated data that can be analysed has been reported in several other clusters as well.  With many affected households living with host families, in evacuation centres, or in transitional resettlement areas evidence suggests that there are few affected without any form of shelter at all, however it is the feeling of the humanitarian community that many are inappropriately sheltered.

Needs and Gaps

Data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) indicates a total of 222,603 totally damaged and 301,729 partially damaged houses. DSWD estimates that 35 percent of affected families have the ability to rebuild their homes without any assistance from either government or IO/NGOs.  Using available damage data this means that there is an overall baseline need for 144,692 complete shelters for those with totally destroyed houses and repair materials for 196,124 partially damaged houses.

A large number of the affected households are currently living with host families, evacuation centres, or transitional resettlement camps although precise data is not yet available.  It remains the view of the humanitarian community that many of these households are below Sphere standards and potentially at risk. Approximately 20,000 people (4000 households) have been allowed to leave evacuation centres to return to their area of origin.  There is concern that these households may be returning to damaged homes and may not have the capacity themselves to repair or rebuild to an appropriate standard.

Assuming Government of Philippines plans for funding Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) housing to 16,000+ households in Bicol Region, and DSWD proposal for funding to support 30% of affected families (66,780 households with totally damaged houses, 90,519 with partially damaged houses) are realized, there is still an outstanding need for 61,912 complete shelters and materials and tools for 105,605 partially damaged homes.  DSWD has indicated that it is looking to the humanitarian community to assist to fill this gap. The data being used to quantify needs requires verification and remains a high priority.  What is outlined above is using best available data and best guesses.

Most of the relief that has been provided to date has been targeted to the province of Albay and anecdotal evidence suggests that significantly less activity is occurring in other affected provinces.

Response and Planned Actions:

DSWD has submitted proposals to central government authorities outlining shelter assistance programs that would target 30%, 50% or 100% of affected families.  These programs are currently awaiting approval. DSWD also informed the NSWG that the President of the Philippines has announced a plan that would provide 1 Billion PHP ($20M USD) to be allocated specifically for shelter projects in Bicol Region.  Current DSWD plans to use these funds to build over 16,000 CSAP permanent shelters.

IFRC/PNRC is currently procuring for the emergency/temporary shelter program that will create 10,000 shelters in nine affected provinces.  The materials will be spilt with 60% used to obtain materials for transitional shelters and tools with a 5-year life span, and 40% on relief emergency shelter repair materials and tools.  Materials to support an additional 5,000 households will be procured in the future.

UNDP has secured $350,000 through CERF funding.  They estimate that of this they will spend $220-230,000 on emergency shelter programs and are currently looking for proposals.  IOM has expressed an interest in providing a proposal to benefit transitional settlement camps in Albay.

IOM (with facilitation from IFRC Coordination Team) and Ayuda Albay Secretariat are developing a multi-sectoral database and analysis tool for harmonizing and collating multiple sources of data required to verify current needs, determine current capacities of stakeholders to provide assistance, and outline more detailed information on how to target and prioritise.

Challenges and Problems:

- The primary challenge continues to be the lack of verified, collated and strategically analysable data that can be effectively used to inform and direct shelter related priorities and advocacy positions.  Damage figures are inconsistent from different sources and do not easily correlate with available demographic statistics.

- Hazard risk mapping is still required to inform strategies for relocation.  DSWD expects some output shortly.

- There are coordination challenges in engaging all humanitarian actors within the cluster process.  Contact still needs to be made with some agencies with shelter programs and expertise, especially at the national level.

- The breadth of the area and the large number of provincial jurisdictions complicate coordination activities and contribute to the lack of information available to plan or direct activities.

Internet connectivity with some agencies is limited, therefore email and web-based communication is somewhat less effective than anticipated.

Contact Details:

Desk Officers
(Geneva) Ms. Paola Emerson, Tel:  +41 22 917 1613
(New York) Mr. Wojtek Wilk, Tel:  +1 917 367 9748

Press contact
(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:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.