Asia Pacific Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Myanmar: UN Country Taskforce on Grave Violations against Children expresses grave concern over circumstances of two children killed in Buthidaung, Rakhine State
  • Vietnam: 5 million people affected by floods and landslides
  • Afghanistan: More than 200,000 people newly displaced by conflict and floods in 2020.
  • International donor conference on 22 October 2020 to call for urgent humanitarian support for Rohingya refugees.
BGD 20200717 WFP-Sayed Asif Mahmud DJI 0114
(as of 18 Oct 2020)

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Key Figures

9.8M
Total COVID19 Cases in Asia Pacific
$123M
Required for Philippines COVID-19 Response
209,000
Displaced by Afghanistan conflict(in 2020)
$1.1B
Humanitarian Requirements in Afghanistan
5M
People Affected by Floods in Vietnam

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Contacts

Pierre Peron

Regional Public Information Officer, OCHA ROAP

Michel Saad

Deputy Head of Office, OCHA ROAP

Asia Pacific Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Philippines — Media
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Photo: UNICEF/Larry Piojo ©2020

Philippines: Humanitarians mobilize support as millions of people caught in the path of super typhoon.

Press Release by Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator

Manila, November 1, 2020 – The United Nations (UN) and humanitarian partners in the Philippines are mobilizing to support the national response to assist communities affected by super typhoon Goni (Rolly) as it sweeps through the country today.

The Philippines weather bureau, PAGASA, warns that catastrophically violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall will be felt in areas within a 230-kilometer diameter of the typhoon.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 19 to 31 million people could be affected in areas along the typhoon’s track, 2.4 million of whom are considered most vulnerable.

On behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez, confirmed to the Government of the Philippines the readiness of the humanitarian community to support national efforts.

“We have not waited for the landfall of this typhoon to mobilize our humanitarian teams and take action,” said Mr Gonzalez. “UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs are already working with relevant Government departments and offices, Philippine Red Cross, and with private sector groups to coordinate our efforts to support the conduct of rapid needs assessments and swiftly assist the most vulnerable people caught in the typhoon’s destructive path.”

Humanitarian agencies with staff and local partners on the ground in affected areas mobilized to commence the conduct of assessments of the humanitarian impact of the typhoon, including in the most hard-hit areas, in coordination with the Government and while observing all movement restrictions and safety protocols in place due to COVID-19. Philippine Red Cross emergency response teams are supporting the authorities in search and rescue efforts and in providing immediate relief to hard-hit communities as the disaster unfolds.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is coordinating humanitarian sectors and is mapping humanitarian and development partners in affected areas to support impact assessments. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is providing support to the authorities in the management of evacuation centers. The World Food Programme has received a request for logistical support to food distributions.

“The people of the Philippines are incredibly resilient, but this is a very dangerous typhoon and I call on everyone to follow the guidance being given by the authorities,” said Mr Gonzalez. “We must prepare for the worst and be ready to save lives, while putting trust in the effectiveness of years of close collaboration and experience in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction efforts such as the timely evacuation of people in low lying areas. In the next hours and days we must do everything in our power to save lives and ensure that no-one is left behind.”

Country-based UN and non-governmental organizations as well as Philippine Red Cross and the private sector coordinate their humanitarian activities in the Philippines through the Humanitarian Country Team, which, under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator, acts in support of national and local authorities to alleviate human suffering and protect the lives, livelihoods and dignity of people in need.

www.philippines.un.org/en/about/about-the-resident-coordinator-office

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Lower Mekong Region: Storms and Floods Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 20 October 2020)

Lower Mekong Region: Storms and Floods Humanitarian Snapshot (As of 20 October 2020)

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Afghanistan: Snapshot of Population Movements (January to September 2020)

Afghanistan Displacement Snapshot

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Feature
IMG 5715 (2)
Children in a camp in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar. (OCHA/Pierre Peron)

International donor conference to call for urgent humanitarian support for Rohingya refugees

US, UK, EU and the UN Refugee Agency will co-host a donor conference on 22 October to promote support for Rohingya refugees and host countries.

  • There is a significant funding gap in the international response to the crisis this year, with contributions to date covering less than half of what is needed.

  • The co-hosts will call on the international community to provide much needed funding to assist Rohingya refugees, host communities, and internally displaced people in Myanmar.

The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will bring the international community together this month to address the Rohingya crisis. At a virtual conference, they will urge countries to increase assistance for Rohingya refugees, host communities, and internally displaced people in Myanmar, more than three years since the latest phase of the crisis began in August 2017.

The UN has appealed for more than $1 billion in aid to meet the humanitarian needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year, but so far less than half has been contributed. This leaves a significant funding gap, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference, which will take place on 22 October, aims to raise urgently needed funds to help vulnerable displaced Rohingya living in and outside of their native Myanmar. The funds raised are also expected to support critical services in host communities throughout South and Southeast Asia.

The conference will be an opportunity for the co-hosts to reiterate that any sustainable solution to this crisis must include the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and other displaced people to their homes or to a place of their choosing. In this respect, the co-hosts will repeat the Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire and the cessation of fighting to enable safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all communities in need of assistance.

Stephen E. Biegun, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, said:

“The United States is proud to stand with the UK, the EU, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as partners in leading this call to sustain the international crisis response to assist Rohingya refugees and other displaced people, as well as strengthen investment in affected host communities.  As the world’s most generous donor, we are a catalyst for the international humanitarian response and call on others to contribute to this cause – both longstanding partners as well as new and aspiring donors.”

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:

“The Rohingya people have faced horrific brutality and were forced to flee their homes in the worst circumstances imaginable.  We have taken action against the architects of this systemic violence, including through sanctions and we will continue to hold those responsible to account.

“The UK has also been a leading donor since 2017 to alleviate humanitarian suffering of the Rohingya. The world must wake up to the severity of their plight and come together now to save lives.” 

Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, said:

“The Rohingya refugees have the continued full support from the EU at this critical time. Humanitarian partner organisations on the ground and host communities have responded with true solidarity to the plight of the Rohingya refugees. We are committed to step up our support to pledge further humanitarian, development and stabilisation assistance. The international community must strengthen its shared efforts towards reaching a sustainable solution – one that cultivates conditions for voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees.”

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said:

“Solidarity with the Rohingya people means more than just meeting their basic needs. Refugees, like everyone else, have a right to a life of dignity and the chance to build a safe and stable future.”

Since the latest displacement of Rohingya during the exodus from Myanmar in August 2017, the overwhelming majority have been hosted in camps in Bangladesh. There are currently 860,000 Rohingya in camps in Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, while other countries in the region host up to an additional 150,000 Rohingya refugees.  An estimated 600,000 live in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Across South and Southeast Asia, many displaced Rohingya continue to live a life on the margins with no access to basic healthcare, clean drinking water, a reliable food supply, or meaningful work and educational opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened living conditions, made access to services even more challenging, increased the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, and exacerbated the risk of infectious diseases for displaced Rohingya living in crowded camps, such as those in Cox’s Bazar and in Rakhine State.

Notes to editors

  • The conference will run from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Washington; 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Geneva; and 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Bangkok on 22 October 2020 and will be live-streamed on https://rohingyaconference.org/

  • Funds raised at the conference will go to international organisations and non-governmental organisations working to alleviate the crisis on the ground in Myanmar, throughout the region, and as specified by the UN-led Joint Response Plan (JRP) in Bangladesh.

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Situation Report
Viet Nam — Emergency Response
Vietnam Flooding

Viet Nam: Floods, Landslides and Storms - Flash Update No. 2 (As of 18 October 2020)

  • 5M Affected people

  • 64 People dead

  • 135.7K Affected households

  • 362 Schools flooded

  • 112.8K Ha of land damaged or destroyed

  • 462K Livestock killed

This update is issued on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period up to 18 October 2020.

• From 6 October, the Central region of Viet Nam has experienced prolonged, heavy rains that have caused severe and widespread flooding and landslides.

• Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh Provinces have been impacted by significant flooding. The Hieu river (Quang Tri) and Bo river (Hue) have reached historically high levels.

• As of 18 October, VNDMA has recorded 64 casualties, with five people still missing. 136,000 houses have been flooded, 66,500 people evacuated and five million people have been affected.

• In response, the Government: i) conducted daily meetings of the Central Steering Committee of Natural Disaster Prevention and Control (CCNDPC); ii) sent missions to the affected provinces to provide concrete guidance, support and coordination; iii) released a call for emergency relief and support on 13 October 2020; iv) is planning to hold a meeting convening the Disaster Risk Reduction Partnership on 19 October 2020 to discuss and coordinate international support.

• Storm No. 8 (also called INVEST 94W) made landfall on Central Viet Nam between 16 and 17 October bringing with it further heavy rain to the already flooded areas. Further rain is forecast for the coming days.

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Cambodia Floods: Situation Report by the Humanitarian Response Forum

Floods in Cambodia: Situation Report No. 3 – Humanitarian Response Forum, As of 16 October 2020

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Myanmar — Media

UN Country Taskforce on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Violations against Children in Myanmar expresses grave concern over circumstances of two children killed in fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army in Buthidaung, Rakhine State

YANGON 14 October 2020 – “On 5 October, two boys were killed in Buthidaung Township, Rakhine State, in crossfire between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army. This occurred after the children, as part of a group of 15 local farmers, were alleged to all have been forced to walk in front of a Tatmadaw unit to ensure the path towards a military camp was clear of landmines and to protect the soldiers from potential enemy fire. On the way, fighting broke out between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army, after which the two boys were found dead with gunshot wounds. 

“We are saddened and shocked by this incident and our sincere condolences go to the families of the two boys. “We are concerned that this reported incident occurred within the 12 months of the delisting of the Tatmadaw for underage recruitment and use in the UN Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) of 2020, and in Buthidaung Township, which has been a hotspot for the use of children by the Tatmadaw for non-combat purposes since mid-2019 according to verified reports.  We call for a full, transparent, and expedited  investigation of the incident and for anyone responsible for the use and for the killing of the children to be held accountable.” “The use of children for non-combat purposes by armed forces and groups should not be considered as a separate and lesser violation than the formal recruitment of children, and is criminalized in the Myanmar Child Rights Law. This egregious incident serves as a stark reminder that children are put at risk of being killed or injured whenever they are associated with armed forces and groups in any capacity or function, regardless of the duration of their association.” “We are also deeply concerned about the alarming increase of reports of killings and injuries of children in Myanmar. More than 100 children were killed or maimed in conflict during the first three months of 2020, amounting to more than half of the total number in 2019, and significantly surpassing the total number of child casualties in 2018.”

“As Myanmar tackles the resurgence of COVID-19, we urge all parties to the conflict to intensify efforts to ensure children are protected from all grave violations, to ensure access to humanitarian assistance and services, and to exercise maximum restraint in the use of force where civilians are present.”  

ABOUT THE UN COUNTRY TASKFORCE ON MONITORING AND REPORTING (CTFMR) ON GRAVE VIOLATIONS AGAINST CHILDREN 

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1612 mandates the UN to establish UN-led CTFMRs in countries where there is verified evidence that Grave Violations against children are being committed by parties to a conflict, either by armed forces and/or by armed groups. The CTFMR is tasked with establishing a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) which documents, verifies and reports to the UNSC on Grave Violations against children.  The six Grave Violations that are monitored and reported are:

  • killing or maiming of children 

  • recruitment and use of children in armed forces and armed groups 

  • attacks against schools or hospitals 

  • rape or other grave sexual violence 

  • abduction of children 

  • denial of humanitarian access for children

The CTFMR is also mandated to provide a coordinated response to such grave violations. The CTFMR was established in Myanmar in 2007 and is co-chaired by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ola Almgren, and the UNICEF Representative to Myanmar, June Kunugi. The CTFMR in Myanmar includes relevant UN agencies (the UN RCO, UNICEF, ILO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UN OCHA, and WFP), Save the Children and World Vision.

 

Media Contacts

Najwa MekkiUNICEF New YorkTel: +1 917 209 1804Email: nmekki@unicef.org

Aye WinNational Information OfficerUNIC MyanmarTel: +95 9 421060343Email: wina@un.orgView all contacts

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Philippines: COVID-19 Response Who-What-Where (3W) Snapshot

201014 COVID19 3W Snapshot A3

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Myanmar - Displacement due to Myanmar Armed Forces & Arakan Army conflict in Rakhine and Chin States (As of 4 October 2020)

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Situation Report
Analysis
c19 rcce

COVID-19: Community Insights from the Asia Pacific Region - Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Pakistan (September 2020)

Introduction

Communities are key in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Only by understanding how people communicate, what they know, their needs, and gaps in understanding about COVID-19, can humanitarian organizations achieve a community-driven response that will reduce the spread of the virus. Pillars of the humanitarian field have repeatedly emphasized the need to ensure that humanitarian organizations listen to and address the feedback they receive from communities, but they must also look for and support community-driven solutions (Core Humanitarian Standards, The Grand Bargain).

Collecting perception data through surveys is just one of many ways of understanding how communities are thinking, feeling, and behaving around COVID-19. These surveys should be seen as a first step towards understanding community needs better and should be followed up with continuous engagement that actively reaches out to the most vulnerable. Data presented in this report was collected through the Asia Pacific Risk Com­munication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Working Group’s community perception surveys in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. This report aims to present a short synthesis of the results to better understand community needs around COVID-19 and therefore design appropriate communi­ty-based responses.

Data from the community perception surveys are automatically uploaded into an online inter-agency dashboard, which is pub­licly available here. Organizations and stake-holders wanting to get involved with future rounds of the community perception survey should get in touch with any of the co-chairs listed on the last page of this report. Based on the collected data, the following key actions are rec­ommended. Interpretations of findings and recommendations must be contextualized and triangulated.

Recommendations

  • Stigma is a key challenge in all four countries. Almost half of all respondents in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar believed that a specific group is at fault for the spread of COVID-19. Those perceived to be at fault differs by country.

    • Findings suggest that more work on addressing stigma is essential to foster community cohesion and address discrimination, particularly against vulnerable groups such as migrants. Continuing to listen and analyse whom individuals held responsible for the spread of COVID-19 is key to making people feel heard, while also clarifying misconceptions about groups perceived to be responsible for spreading the virus.

  • Awareness of COVID-19 is universal in Myanmar, Indonesia, and Malaysia. However, in Pakistan, nearly 10% of respondents were not aware of COVID-19.

    • Findings suggest that in Pakistan more information on COVID-19 through multiple channels needs to be pro-vided, with a focus on reaching people relying on traditional media and face-to-face communication.

  • Washing hands, wearing masks, and staying at home are the top COVID-19 prevention measures across the four countries.

    • Overall, participants are clear on COVID-19 preventative measures. Instead of blanket messaging that may contribute to ‘messaging fatigue,’ communicators should find out which questions remain unanswered in local contexts and seek to answer these.

  • Information most sought by surveyed communities includes treatment options and what to do if a family member is sick. Additional research and literature emphasises that individuals are more likely to follow instructions to keep others safe rather than themselves.

    • Findings suggest that people are interested to hear about what is being done to find treatments and vaccines against COVID-19. Moreover, the findings suggest that content should give practical tips on how to keep family members and others vulnerable to the disease safe.

  • More than half of all participants shared that they have worries and fears related to COVID-19. The main worries for respondents were around losing a loved one and getting sick (which 73% of respondents frequently worry about). Respondents also reported that they are frequently worried about the health system being overloaded (72%). This shows a significant emotional and mental stress that individuals are facing in addition to other challenges (e.g. economical) and highlights the importance of a response that acknowledges and addresses psycho-social needs.

    • Accessible and localised mental health and psycho-social support are key. Engagement should focus on actionable advice on how to keep family members safe and care for them.

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Interactive

Humanitarian Data Portal for COVID-19 in Asia Pacific

This humanitarian data portal developed by OCHA puts together regional-level information on the COVID-19 Crisis in Asia and the Pacific: all in one place, interactive, and searchable.

It presents data on the impact of COVID-19 on people and humanitarian operations, as well as providing insight on how the international community is working collectively to respond to the crisis. It includes an overview of the various health and multi-sector response plans, with funds required and people targeted by each plan.

The portal also has baseline data and indicators that are useful for understanding potential and underlying vulnerabilities.

Click here or on the image below to access the COVID-19 Humanitarian Data Portal. For further information or questions, please send an email to: Pierre Peron, peronp@un.org.

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Situation Report
Papua New Guinea — Coordination
PNG MSRP C19 Card 1

WASH, protection and food security are in critical need of international assistance: Joint plan lays path to addressing COVID-19 secondary impacts

Though a significant amount of money has been spent on COVID-19 preparation and response across Papua New Guinea, there remains a critical need to address the gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The PNG Disaster Management Team just released a revised version of its multi-sector response plan that addresses these gaps, targeting 2.3 million people nationwide.

Sister Maryanne Konkule manages Tarakbits Sub- Health Centre, a clinic that serves remote communities along Ok Ao river near Papua New Guinea’s border with Indonesia. She just finished a week of training on maternal and antenatal health care at Rumginae Rural Hospital. Sister Maryanne knew then that the request from health care workers from across North Fly District was clear: more assistance is needed. “I look forward to further support on antenatal and newborn care,” she said.

The training was delivered by the United Nations and National Department of Health with support from funds that are part of a response plan by the Disaster Management Team (DMT). The DMT, comprises UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations and international donor partners and is co-chaired by the Government and the United Nations Resident Coordinator. The DMT supports the Government’s response to COVID-19 in the country.

Rumginae’s lead physician Dr Kevin Pondikou said, “This support will ensure that services to women and newborn babies will continue despite the global pandemic putting additional stress on an already strained and over-burdened health system in North Fly.”

Though a significant amount of money has been spent on COVID-19 preparation and response across Papua New Guinea, there remains a critical need to address the gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The DMT has just released a revised version of its multi-sector response plan that addresses these gaps, targeting 2.3 million people nationwide.

Mr David Manning, National Pandemic Controller, welcomes the revision to the plan and expressed his appreciation for continued support from the international community.

 “COVID-19 it not only a health response; it has also affected us in other ways that require our collective attention. We hope this revised plan, which highlights the funding gaps remaining in non-health areas, will draw the attention of our international partners to continue providing support that will help us respond to and live with COVID,” Mr Manning said.

The US$112.8 million plan engages Government departments, non-governmental and faith-based organisations, and UN agencies to deliver informed, national solutions to the evolving COVID-19 situation. It takes a holistic look at both primary and secondary impacts from the virus, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), protection, food security, education, and nutrition.

The DMT plan sees these institutions working collaboratively in delivering sustainable solutions to the most vulnerable across multiple sectors. However, it highlights the areas of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Protection, and Food Security as most in need of funding.

“WASH, Protection and Food Security are in critical need of international assistance,” said UN Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla. “This support can help the country respond to and live with this virus.”

The new DMT Plan seeks to build on the impact of the WASH cluster to deliver permanent solutions for accessible water and sanitation, which are essential to preventing and controlling the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. Permanent solutions will help communities achieve improved health and wellbeing and build resilience to future crises.

World Vision PNG National Director Ms Heather MacLeod said, "WASH Cluster members led by World Vision have been providing much needed training for frontline health care workers in the area of WASH and identified community motivators to speak to the WASH principles of a healthy community. We believe that messaging and awareness raising in a country with low mass media penetration is key to managing a pandemic of this scale. Since March, the WASH Cluster has been reaching out to ‘unreached’ communities with the ‘COVID-19 awareness messages."

In addition to improving facilities, the plan will help connect Papua New Guinea’s most vulnerable to support services and centres. 1.75 million Papua New Guineans – parents, caregivers, children, victims of gender-based violence, displaced persons, migrants and disabled persons – need help services. The revised DMT Plan will strengthen national institutions and referral pathways for these people and rehabilitate shelters to create safer spaces for persons in need.

The Director of the National Disaster Centre, Col Carl Wrakonei, who co-chairs the DMT, noted that in addition to COVID-19 parts of the country are also responding to African Swine Fever and Fall Armyworm infestation. “We are dealing with concurrent emergencies, which are underfunded as we focus our resources on COVID-19 measures,” Col Wrakonei said. “We must also remember that we are about to enter a La Niña, which will bring greater-than-normal rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures to most of the country, and will certainly bring more flooding and landslides and increase the likelihood of food insecurity, water-borne diseases and socio-economic impacts for vulnerable communities.”

In the Highlands, African Swine Fever and Fall Army Worm continue to threaten livestock and communities need assistance to maintain safe and secure access to food. An estimated 400,000 people across the country face potential food shortages. With the revised plan, the UN and other partners will support NAQIA activities that equip local farmers and families with technology and resources for sustainable consumption. 

Importantly, this plan is designed to build on the valuable work already delivered by government, civil society and UN organizations in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Rampolla said the updated plan “focuses on gaps, meeting the needs of the most vulnerable people, and, jointly with Government partners, attempts to address the most critical primary and secondary impacts of this public health emergency.”

For more information about the Disaster Management Team’s revised multi-sector response plan, contact Richard Higgins at richard.higgins@undp.org.

The plan may be accessed online at https://reliefweb.int/report/papua-new-guinea/covid-19-multi-sector-response-plan-papua-new-guinea-disaster-management-0

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Situation Report
Nepal — Emergency Response
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Nepal – Landslides and Floods Displacement – Baseline Assessment Report (September 2020)

Situation Overview

Heavy rainfall in July 2020 triggered large-scale flooding and landslides in several districts across Nepal. From the onset of monsoon on 12 June until 1 September 2020, the number of deaths due to landslides, floods and lightning is 282. 266 persons were injured and 70 persons are missing across the country (NDRRMA, Daily Bulletin 2 September).

 

Out of 65 sites identified during the baseline assessment, only 29 active sites were found hosting 5 households or more and the remaining 32 sites were found closed or below 5 households or less with an exception of 1 site hosting 2 households with vulnerable population. The remaining 4 sites in Raghugangaa Rural Municipality and Melamchi Municipality were not considered for the site assessment as highlighted in the methodology section.

 

For all five assessed districts, Gulmi, Jajarkot, Myadgi, Sankhuwasabha and Sindhupalchowk, the displaced population were from the same districts. No intermunicipality movement was observed among the displaced population.

 

The five assessed districts faced floods and landslides on different dates (Gulmi - 2 July, Jajarkot - 10 July, Myagdi - 10 July, Sindhupalchowk - 9-18 July and Sankhuwasabha - 12 July). The floods and landslides resulted in the displacement of numerous households, however, limited intermunicipality movement has been observed as both the Local Government Operations Act 2017 and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2017 have identified comprehensive roles and responsibilities of the rural and urban municipalities pertaining to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Tasks such as the implementation of the preparedness programs, response and recovery, reconstruction fall into the roles and responsibilities of the local levels.

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(Photo: UNHCR Indonesia)

UNHCR welcomes the life-saving disembarkation of 300 Rohingya refugees in Indonesia

News Comment by UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte

07 September 2020  

BANGKOK, Thailand – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the life-saving disembarkation of approximately 300 Rohingya refugees on the northern coast of Aceh, Indonesia early this morning. Having survived some seven months at sea in desperate conditions, an unknown number are in need of medical attention. Among the group, two of three are women and children. Over 30 are estimated to have died en route.

Approximately 330 Rohingya refugees are understood to have embarked on the journey in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in February. Their hazardous ordeal has been prolonged by the collective unwillingness of states to act for more than six months. Equally, the Bali Process, as the only existing regional coordination mechanism able to convene states on such maritime movements, has failed to deliver comprehensive, regional action to predictably save lives through rescue and disembarkation.

The group had repeatedly tried to disembark over the course of more than 200 days at sea, to no avail. Refugees have reported that dozens passed away throughout the journey. UNHCR and others have repeatedly warned of dire consequences if refugees at sea are not permitted to land in a safe and expedient manner. Ultimately, inaction over the past six months has been fatal.

UNHCR staff in Aceh are supporting local authorities to assess the needs of the refugees. The immediate priority is providing first aid and medical care as required. All will be tested for COVID-19 in accordance with standard health measures in Indonesia for all arrivals.

At the time of the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal crisis five years ago, Bali Process states acknowledged the need for a reliable and collective response to this genuinely regional challenge. Having created a mechanism to convene governments from across the region for precisely this purpose, the promise of that commitment remains unfulfilled. A comprehensive and fair response necessarily requires responsibility-sharing and concrete efforts across South East Asia, so that those who permit disembarkation and bring those in distress ashore do not carry a disproportionate burden.

For further information, please contact:

  • In Bangkok, Catherine Stubberfield, +66 659 298 062

  • In Jakarta, Mitra Suryono, +62 818 157 982

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Situation Report
Afghanistan — Emergency Response
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Conflict displacement in Kunduz, Afghanistan - Flash Update No. 2, 27 August 2020

Key Highlights

• Approximately 9,150 households (approx. 64,050 people) have been displaced in Kunduz city and villages across Khanabad and Imam Sahib districts due to ongoing fighting. According to assessments, 27,000 people are confirmed to need immediate humanitarian assistance.

• 2,500 households are dispersed in remote villages of Khanabad, 1,500 in Imam Sahib, 580 in Aqtash district, and 6,670 in Kunduz city.

• Clashes between a Non-State Armed Group (NSAG) and Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) continue in Khanabad and Imam Shaib districts, further displacement is likely.

• 1,909 households have been assessed so far, in both government and NSAG controlled areas; humanitarians are dispatching assistance and mobilising further resources to expedite the response to urgent needs.

Situation Overview:

Since 16 August 2020, ongoing conflict between an NSAG and the ANSF in several villages of Khanabad district and in Imam Sahib District has displaced approximately 9,150 households or 64,050 people. Many families have been affected by multiple conflict events and reportedly show little inclination to return to their areas of origin, even if relative improvements in the security situation were to take place. Those families who have decided to return to their areas of origin are exposed to high risks due to IEDs and mines planted along the roads.

Humanitarian Impact:

The majority of IDPs are sheltering with relatives or in rental accommodation, but others are staying in makeshift shelters or open spaces throughout Kunduz city. The IDPs’ living conditions are dire. The most urgent needs are food, shelter and safe drinking water.

The displacement is happening in a context where COVID-19 continues to spread. Compliance with COVID-19 preventative measures is not possible for the majority of displaced families, exposing vulnerable people and hosting communities to heightened risks. WASH facilities are currently limited and social distancing is not possible for many IDPs. Camp-like settlements further compound the risk of COVID-19 transmission and are not advised in this response.

The humanitarian response will be concurrent with ongoing COVID-19 response activities, straining limited resources. Additional assessment teams and resources to provide emergency shelter and handwashing facilities to IDPs staying in open spaces are urgently needed.

Coordination:

Humanitarian partners are working with Provincial authorities to mobilise and expedite humanitarian assistance. Needs assessments are currently underway. Since the beginning of the displacement crisis, 1,909 households have been assessed by joint teams, in both government and NSAG held areas. Humanitarian organisations have deployed 21 joint assessment teams in Kunduz. ERM partners have also agreed to modify assessment and selection methodologies to facilitate rapid, large-scale beneficiary identification and registration.

Following the regional inter-cluster coordination meeting held on 26 August, the ES/NFI Cluster signaled capacity to immediately assist 1,000 families, with intent to scale up support to 2,500 families shortly. The Health Cluster will provide mobile health teams to deliver critical on-site services. Other humanitarian partners (UNICEF, SCI, ACTED, DACAAR) are mobilising resources to support in the areas of multi-purpose cash, food, NFI and hygiene assistance. WFP has stated its intent to dispatch food for 500 families, with additional stocks ready to be dispatched based on assessed needs. The Nutrition Cluster has confirmed enough stock of nutritional supplements and medications in BPHS facilities in case MAM or SAM cases are detected.

The World Bank has also engaged with humanitarian partners to ensure coordination of any response on their side.

Further updates will be released as required.

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Afghanistan: Population affected by floods according to Multi-Sectoral Rapid Assessment Form (MSRAF)

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Philippines: Snapshot of Humanitarian Situation in Mindanao

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Myanmar — Media
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Statement on the COVID-19 outbreak in Rakhine State

Yangon- 26 August 2020: The United Nations and international humanitarian organizations are following the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Rakhine State with concern and reaffirm their continued commitment to support the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in meeting the humanitarian challenges in Rakhine State, including in response to COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late March in Myanmar, the Ministry of Health and Sports has confirmed 96 cases in Rakhine State, 80 of which between 16 and 25 August 2020, with 82 cases that have been transmitted locally.

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners have carried out COVID-19 preparedness activities in camps and sites for internally displaced people in Rakhine State and elsewhere, raising awareness about the risks posed by the virus and promoting preventive measures and distributing essential hygiene and personal protective equipment.

With the support of donors and in collaboration with the Government, the United Nations, and national and international humanitarian organizations have also ensured the continuation of life-saving assistance to people in need, including the provision of water and sanitation, shelter and other basic non-food items, food and nutrition support, access to education, healthcare and protection services for close to 670,000 people across Rakhine.

Among those who have recently been confirmed COVID-19-positive in Rakhine, personnel of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and of international non-governmental organizations have also tested positive and are currently under hospital treatment. Primary and secondary contacts are under quarantine, as per the regulations put in place by the Union Government and the Rakhine State authorities.

All United Nations, and national and international organizations’ humanitarian and COVID-19 risk communication and preparedness activities in Rakhine and elsewhere have been and continue to be carried out in compliance with Government and WHO COVID-19 prevention measures, including by ensuring physical distancing, personal hygiene and protection.

The United Nations and its partners express their solidarity with the people of Rakhine, and everyone affected by COVID-19, a common enemy that does not distinguish between ethnicity or religion.

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Media contacts:

Valijon Ranoev

OCHA, ranoev@un.org*, +959797007815

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Indonesia: COVID-19 Response Update (3W)

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Philippines: Snapshot of the 6.6-Magnitude Masbate Earthquake

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Pandemic Response in South-East Asia Must Address Rising Inequalities, Says New UN Report

30 July 2020 - The United Nations has commended governments in South-East Asia for acting swiftly to stem the most serious health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Robust regional cooperation, coordinated by ASEAN, has also resulted in South-East Asia reporting significantly lower confirmed COVID-19 cases and related deaths compared to most other global regions.

The UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on South-East Asia issued today however warns that these early successes must be translated into addressing the serious socio-economic setbacks which threaten to further deepen inequalities across the region.  

“As in other parts of the world, the health, economic and political impact of COVID-19 has been significant across South-East Asia — hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. The pandemic has highlighted deep inequalities, shortfalls in governance and the imperative for a sustainable development pathway. And it has revealed new challenges, including to peace and security,” shared UN Secretary General António Guterres, adding that while the region has much work to do, it also has formidable capacities at its disposal.

The new UN report examines how COVID-19 has affected eleven countries in South-East Asia and proposes action-oriented recommendations on mitigating immediate impacts and planning pathways out of the crisis.

“The Brief highlights the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups, particularly workers in the informal economy. The crisis is threatening to push them back into poverty and unemployment. Responding to the pandemic and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals are closely interlinked. We need a future that is more equitable, sustainable and resilient,” noted United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

Moving forward, four areas will be critical in the region’s plans for recovery: tackling inequality, bridging the digital divide, greening the economy, and upholding human rights and good governance.

The uneven landscape of social protection systems has placed tackling inequality at the centre of both short and long-term recovery efforts, according to the report. Increased investments to strengthen health systems and accelerate progress towards universal health care will be critical to support those excluded from formal policy and social protection measures.

Digital technology has also proved to be a critical tool in response to the pandemic. However, the benefits it offers are beyond the reach of the 55 per cent of South-East Asia’s population who remain offline. A regionally coordinated and scaled up effort is needed to put in place next-generation infrastructure networks and ensure universal digital connectivity, highlights the Brief.

The crisis presents an opportunity for countries to re-orient their development towards sustainability particularly through green recovery packages. Stimulus packages should be directed to industries that are low-carbon, resource efficient and aligned with environmental and climate objectives. By phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, countries could finance most or all of their current stimulus packages. Such measures would create massive fiscal space and greatly boost low carbon alternatives such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Brief further underscores that countries in South-East Asia and their leaders can play an important role in upholding human rights and good governance practices in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders can leverage community-based organizations, promote inclusion, participation and unity; and speak out against discrimination.

The report is part of a series of policy briefs issued by the United Nations that examine the sectoral and geographical dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.

The full policy brief can be accessed at: https://bit.ly/SEAPolicyBrief

A recording of the media briefing by the ESCAP Executive Secretary can be viewed at: https://bit.ly/ESBriefing

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Pakistan — Feature
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Screening activity with the District Health Team in Kotkai Village in the Laddah subdivision, Pakistan. Credit: EHSAR

Pakistan: Fighting COVID-19 and other health emergencies

Since the beginning of the year, the Education Health Social Awareness Rehabilitation Foundation (EHSAR) has been supporting the outpatient departments of three health facilities in Pakistan’s South Waziristan District. With funding from the Pakistan Humanitarian Pooled Fund, the foundation carried out free medical consultations and provided much-needed medication to hundreds of patients every day.

When Pakistan declared a health state of emergency and lockdown due to COVID-19 in March, local health authorities imposed the close-down of all outpatient departments across the district.

EHSAR was quick to adapt and re-programme its efforts, thanks to flexible arrangements that have been put in place by the Pakistan Humanitarian Pooled Fund (PHPF) and other Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) that are responding to COVID-19. 

Some reprogramming allowed ESHAR to engage in immediate tangible support through public information campaigns and the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), soap, masks, sanitizer and gloves, in close liaison with relevant local health departments.

In agreement with the health local authorities, EHSAR was also able to support the three health facilities’ readiness and response capacities and distribution of medical supplies and clinical equipment. Through reshuffling its team from general outpatient care to emergency cover for the newly established quarantine and isolation wards, EHSAR was able to respond to the increasing needs.

The team was fully equipped with PPE and available 24/7 to deal with any emerging situation relating to COVID-19 and any other critical emergency. This also included two well-equipped ambulances for free referral.

Later in March, at the request of the health department, EHSAR also carried out screening of an Islamic missionary group staying in a mosque in the Laddah subdivision of South Waziristan. The Deputy Commissioner South Waziristan and Additional District Health Officer appreciated EHSAR’s active response to COVID-19 on their official pages and conveyed their messages to continue the efforts in light of health department instruction and the greater interest of targeted poor and marginalized people.

The Pakistan Humanitarian Pooled Fund is one of OCHA’s 18 Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs). For OCHA’s CBPFs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local partners are key in the COVID-19 response and reaching people in need. Many of the 18 funds have long-standing partnerships with national and international NGOs, which has made it easy to come together and prioritize funding.

CBFPs have been critical instruments in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and channelling resources to where they are most needed. So far, US$161 million has been allocated to support efforts, with more than half of that amount going directly to NGOs. Additional countries are being identified under the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

The latest information on funding and allocations is available in real time via https://pfbi.unocha.org/COVID19.

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Media

A new approach to saving lives: CERF in Bangladesh

In an innovative approach to dealing with the effects of severe flooding in Bangladesh, the United Nations is using the latest in data and predictive analytics to forecast the next major monsoon floods, gauge likely impacts – and take action – before possible disaster hits. On 4 July a high probability of severe flooding was forecast for mid-July along the Jamuna River in Bangladesh, with one-third of the area’s total population likely to be affected. That warning was the trigger for the UN to immediately release $5.2 million from CERF to help communities urgently prepare and protect themselves. The money went to three participating agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to enable them to prepare to distribute cash, livestock feed, storage drums, and hygiene, dignity and health kits.

Read more here.

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Philippines: COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Plan (August 2020 Revision)

UN, humanitarian partners launch largest COVID-19 response plan to aid 5.4M poorest Filipinos

On the 4 August, the United Nations (UN) and humanitarian partners in the Philippines launched the largest international humanitarian response plan in the country since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

With financial requirements of about P6 billion, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) COVID-19 Response Plan is focused on providing critical health interventions and multi- sectoral humanitarian assistance to the 5.4 million poorest and most marginalized Filipinos living in poor, densely populated urban areas. It also prioritizes the safety and well-being of women and girls.

“The pandemic is challenging the capacity of response of any single country in the world. Our role is to make best use of our global knowledge and resources to join Government’s efforts to contribute to the safety and well-being of the Filipino people,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines.

The HCT response plan focuses on supporting the government in addressing the most immediate challenges relating to health, food security, water and sanitation, protection as well as risk communication, among others.

Some 50 country-based UN and non-governmental partners are contributing to the response, bringing together national and international NGOs and their networks, faith-based organizations as well as the private sector. Twenty-three (23) per cent of the response plan has been mobilized, so far.

The HCT response plan to COVID-19 spans until the end of the year, but it will be updated as needs resulting from the pandemic change.

The evolving nature of this document reflects the manner in which the humanitarian community in the Philippines rapidly mobilized and came together in a coordinated and inclusive way to support the government-led efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as help address socioeconomic needs emerging from contraction of the economy and unprecedented levels of unemployment. The plan is also a stepping stone to the mid and long term support of the UN to the COVID-19 recovery, to be developed in the upcoming UN Socioeconomic and Peacebuilding Framework.

“As we work together to support government efforts to contain the virus against the demand to restore the economy, the UN and humanitarian partners will continue to seize opportunities to build greater resiliency, equity and inclusivity, in short, to build forward better,” Gonzalez explained.

The Philippines has also been included in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, with a total of $10.3 billion, the largest in history, bringing together the response plans of 63 of the hardest hit and most vulnerable countries.

(Download Response Plan)

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Afghanistan — Coordination
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Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19: July Update for AFGHANISTAN

Impact of COVID-19

Immediate health impacts on people and systems

As of 30 June, some 31,359 people across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan were confirmed to have COVID-19 and 735 people have died. Almost five per cent of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases are among healthcare staff. Less than one per cent of the almost 38 million population has been tested. As of the end of June, case numbers were continuing to climb and the peak of the pandemic in the country had not yet passed. Without systemic tracking of mortality and a national death registry, the official death toll of the pandemic is believed to be an under-estimation.

To date, the Government with the support from WHO has established 11 laboratories across 7 provinces with the capacity to test 2,000 cases per day. Limited availability of fully trained medical professional and health workers has led to problems in laboratories which have forced temporary service outages due to contamination.

Accessing healthcare was already not easy for millions of people across the war-torn country and the overstretched health system is further exacerbated by targeted attacks. Between 11 and 23 May 2020, the UN documented 12 incidents in which parties to the conflict carried out deliberate acts of violence or interference with healthcare workers or facilities, affecting healthcare provision during the pandemic.

Indirect impacts on peoples and systems

As a result of the pandemic, a nation-wide polio vaccination programme, originally planned to reach 9.9 million children, has been suspended. This is particularly concerning as 11 cases of polio have been reported since the start of the year in new areas which had not reported cases for several years, primarily Non-State Armed Group-controlled areas where house-to-house vaccination campaigns have been banned since May 2018.

Afghanistan is home to 12.4 million acutely food insecure people (IPC 3 & 4), including almost 4 million at the emergency level, already making it one of the world’s largest hunger crises. Fear of COVID-19 contagion has also reduced access to essential nutrition services. Analysis from the Ministry of Public Health’s nutrition database showed a 46 per cent decrease in admissions for treatment of severe acute malnutrition within health centres – ‘inpatient’ treatment – and a 12 per cent decrease in ‘outpatient’ treatment in May 2020.

The Ministry of Education has extended the suspension of schools until the end of August 2020 resulting in more than 11 million children missing critical education opportunities. Assessment data indicates a surge in child labour with increases in sending children to work or to beg, while nearly half of the respondents reported an increase in violence against children. Exploitation through forced marriage is further reported with over 24 per cent of respondents fearing or reporting having experienced forced marriage, forced labour, trafficking and recruitment into armed groups as a result of COVID-19.

Response priorities and challenges

Priorities and early achievements

Through a revised Humanitarian Response Plan, 11.1 million people are targeted with immediate assistance, up from a planned 7.1 million people at the start of the year. Of the total, 5.4 million will receive COVID-19 related response packages, while a broader 6.8 million will continue to receive other multi-sector humanitarian assistance. Key response highlights include:

  • Some 34,000 polio surveillance volunteers are engaged in surveillance, case identification and contact tracing. A surveillance system traced more than 500,000 people and screened more than 400,000 people at points-of entry.

  • More than 4.1 million people have been reached with risk communication and awareness raising messages on COVID-19. Hygiene materials have been distributed to more than 1.9 million vulnerable people. Psychosocial support has reached more than 172,000 people while more than 1.2 million people have also received protection-focused COVID-19 messages. Close to 420,000 people have been reached with awareness raising sessions on prevention that were focused on shelter and household item use.

  • More than 4 million people have received emergency food assistance and nutrition treatment has been delivered to 126,102 children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition.

This work is being closely coordinated with wider efforts by development actors who have identified 35 million people living in poverty who they plan to reach with a social safety net response.

Challenges and impact to operations

With the suspension of some commercial flights impeding humanitarian movement, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service has stepped up to facilitate and maintain domestic and international flights for humanitarian personnel and goods through an airbridge connecting Kabul and Doha three times a week. Reducing the impact of COVID-19 on the population of Afghanistan and humanitarian personnel is essential to ensure the continuation of service delivery. In June, there has been a surge in suspected cases of COVID-19 among humanitarian personnel. The UN has started work to establish an intensive care unit to enable partners to stay and deliver. This work requires rapid funding and partners are actively seeking funding avenues.

(Download the full July Update of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19)

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Myanmar — Coordination
Myanmar HRP

Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19: July Update for MYANMAR

Impact of COVID-19

Immediate health impacts on people and systems

As of 6 July, 313 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Myanmar with six deaths. Imported cases make up the vast majority of confirmed cases since mid-May. The Government has maintained surveillance at international border crossings as well as at the community level. A number of hospitals have been designated for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and quarantine and contact tracing systems have been established. Laboratory capacity has been expanded significantly and the UN has continued to support the Government’s testing strategy, including through the provision of tens of thousands of test kits.

Despite these efforts, a large-scale outbreak would pose very serious challenges for the health system, particularly in humanitarian settings. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in overcrowded camps and non-displaced stateless persons in rural areas of Rakhine with limited access to healthcare, safe water and sanitation services will be particularly vulnerable in the event of local-level outbreaks. The confirmation of several COVID-19 cases in a refugee transit centre in northern Rakhine in early June was a stark reminder of the very serious risks that remain among the most vulnerable communities.

Indirect impacts on people and systems

Despite the relatively low number of confirmed cases, COVID-19 continues to severely impact the economy, with disruptions to supply chains, reduced export demand, a halving of tourism revenue and reduced foreign remittances all compounding growing unemployment and a broader economic slowdown. Economic growth predictions are, at best, half that of 2019.

The rapid return of tens of thousands of migrant workers from Thailand, China and elsewhere has generated additional urgent needs for basic assistance at points of entry and quarantine locations, placing further strain on already fragile health services and community resources, particularly in rural areas.

The pandemic has also disrupted food systems, limiting the availability of and access to nutritious food. Water scarcity and food shortages, combined with ongoing conflict, are expected to exacerbate nutrition-related vulnerabilities, especially among children and women. The long-term impact on nutrition could be severe.

Educational facilities and child-friendly spaces within displaced communities remain suspended, though schools are to reopen in July. These closures have increased child protection risks, learning loss and school dropout rates, with children in displaced and vulnerable communities less likely to return to school, and adolescent girls exposed to heightened protection risks, including gender-based violence (GBV). Schools have been widely used as quarantine facilities, creating further complications for the timely and safe resumption of education.

Response priorities and challenges

Priorities and early achievements

The Humanitarian Country Team has updated the COVID-19 Addendum to the 2020 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan, which now extends until the end of 2020. The update provides for support for an additional 10,000 returning migrants, with COVID-19-specific financial requirements having increased by US$13 million to $275.3 million.

Humanitarian organizations are continuing to scale up COVID-19 prevention and response preparedness in camps, displacement sites and conflict-affected areas, as well as supporting Government efforts to assist returning migrant workers in quarantine facilities. Activities include further strengthening surveillance systems, enhanced infection prevention and control measures in public places, quarantine and health facilities, case management and contact tracing.

Response activities include:

  • Education: Continuing remote support to children, teachers, and parents and caregivers; remote support to volunteer teachers and implementation of home-based learning packages.

  • Food Security: Adapted distribution arrangements to reduce the risk of transmission; expanded number of distribution points to further reduce risks.

  • Protection: Ongoing work to ensure protection considerations incorporated into COVID-19 preparedness, prevention and response activities with a focus on child protection, GBV and mental health and psychosocial support. GBV data collection to be increased concurrent with implementation of legal, policy and administrative tools, and capacity-building with government partners.

  • Shelter/NFIs/CCCM: Prepositioned ready-to-deploy shelter solutions in support of Government facility quarantine locations as well as other infrastructure to expand/enhance medical facilities and support the local production of PPE.

  • WASH: Expanded hygiene promotion and RCCE activities; increased supply of hand washing stations/materials and disinfection materials.

Challenges and impact to operations

The operating environment remains highly constrained and is becoming more challenging. Existing access restrictions – notably in non-government-controlled areas and conflict-affected parts of Rakhine and Chin states – will likely persist. The reach of health services into non-government-controlled areas remains limited, and the capacities of ethnic health organizations operating in these areas are severely stretched. For IDPs in camps, overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions and lack of space for self-monitoring and quarantine will exacerbate the virus risk and challenge the response.

Access constraints and a ban on mobile internet services in most conflict-affected townships in Rakhine continue to impede humanitarian assistance as well as communication of risk messages and referral instructions. The safe collection and transportation of specimen samples from conflict-affected areas and non-government-controlled areas also remains challenging.

International supply chain disruptions have restricted procurement of life-saving medical and other supplies. Enhanced disease surveillance and a clear understanding of patient referral pathways for camps is crucial, especially in non-government-controlled areas and areas of active armed conflict, particularly as the monsoon takes hold across much of Myanmar, bringing with it additional health risks and logistical challenges.

(Download the COVID-19 Addendum to the 2020 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan)

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Bangladesh — Coordination
Rohingya Crisis

Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19: July Update for ROHINGYA CRISIS

Impact of COVID-19

Immediate health impacts on people and systems

Some 860,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in 34 congested camps in Cox’s Bazar District. The District is one of the poorest in the country, home to 2.65 million Bangladeshis. Cox’s Bazar District is at extreme risk of severe impact from COVID-19, given the congested conditions in the refugee camps, high levels of vulnerabilities among the refugee and Bangladeshi populations, and the extremely limited public health capacity. People with chronic illnesses and older persons (approximately 4 per cent of the Rohingya population, or 31,500 individuals, are over age 59) are at particularly at high risk. The prevalence of respiratory illnesses combined with underlying factors such as malnutrition and other undiagnosed diseases could increase the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the camps. Planning is based on capacity, rather than on anticipated need; current modelling of the likely trajectory of the epidemic indicates that the requirement for beds will far exceed availability.

In close coordination with the Government of Bangladesh, humanitarian partners have been preparing for the outbreak since early in the year. Community transmission is now confirmed in the camps and wider District, with the number of cases increasing daily. To slow transmission of the virus, the Government has halted all but critical services in the camps; services such as health, nutrition, food and fuel distribution, hygiene, water and sanitation, construction of health facilities and additional WASH infrastructure, reception of new arrivals, quarantine and family tracing continue. Services that are temporarily closed include educational facilities, women and child friendly spaces, and markets.

Indirect impacts on people and systems

949,000 Bangladeshis in Cox’s Bazar are considered vulnerable to loss of livelihoods and income as a result of COVID-19. Loss of livelihoods coupled with rising prices on some basic food items is stretching the coping capacities of vulnerable Bangladeshis. In addition, the social impact of the outbreak is deepening inequalities. Emergency provisions enacted to curtail the spread of COVID-19 must conform to human rights standards, to avoid discrimination and the potential for conflict. Women and girls are being disproportionately impacted due to restrictive gender norms, with reports of increased domestic violence in camps and host communities.

Response priorities and challenges

Priorities and early achievements

Priorities include sustaining critical, life-saving services and assistance, with contextualized public health measures to minimize transmission, such as physical distancing and hygiene; scaling up Risk Communication and Community Engagement on health, and increasing availability of water, sanitation and hygiene services for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis; establishing the health response to COVID-19 for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis – a multi-sector effort; protecting older and vulnerable Rohingya refugees; augmenting Government social safety nets for vulnerable Bangladeshis whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic; and scaling up critical common services to enable the humanitarian operation.

Among the achievements to date, twelve new Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centres (SARI ITCs) for COVID-19 are being established, three of which are already operational and receiving patients. Support to Government facilities is being provided across the District, with 10 new intensive care beds recently operational in the District Hospital. In the camps, the distribution of re-usable masks to everyone and installation of hand-washing stations outside all refugee shelters is underway. For Bangladeshis, food, cash or agricultural inputs are being provided to the most vulnerable. To support front-line humanitarians, a 50- bed facility is being established, which will be essential to the continuity of the operation.

Challenges and impact to operations

The refugee population remains entirely reliant on humanitarian assistance. The reduced footprint in the camps to deliver critical services only has made the role of refugee and Bangladeshi volunteers even more critically important and requires remote management. An increase in criminal and protection incidents has been observed since April. Shifting policies on movement restrictions call for constant negotiation to sustain access. Restrictions to supply chain, travel and entry of surge staff is presenting major challenges. Communication and trust between communities is fragile and maintaining privacy and data-sharing protocols is presenting challenges. The continued restriction on mobile data networks in the camp areas is a major impediment to the operation. The monsoon season has begun, with heavy rains and high winds in June causing flooding and damaging shelters and infrastructure, and the second cyclone season is approaching in October.

Coordination

The 2020 Joint Response Plan (JRP) remains the core strategy, planning and resource mobilization platform for the operation. Guided by the JRP 2020, and through the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), the humanitarian community works closely with the Government of Bangladesh and district health authorities. A total of 117 partners contribute to the JRP. The ISCG partners have developed a COVID-19 Response Plan as an addendum to the JRP 2020. The plan defines additional needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic totaling US$182 million. The addendum also identifies priority activities and funding gaps within the JRP 2020: US$389 million is required to sustain critical, life-saving activities within the JRP 2020 to the end of the year.

(Download the COVID-19 Response Plan addendum to the Joint Response Plan 2020)

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Relief distribution
Relief distribution in Cagayan Province. Photo credit: ACCORD

A series on localization: How the Philippines is quietly implementing a more localized COVID-19 humanitarian response (Part 4)

Locally led pooled fund shaping the future of funding support

Uncertainty will be part of the new normal, which also holds true in terms of additional or future funding for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Faith-Based Groups (FBGs) and People’s Organizations (POs) that are currently responding to COVID-19 response.

There are many organized and informal Filipino groups across the world that are engaged in providing support to the Philippines. While Filipino diaspora has itself been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense for the local civil society to reach out to these groups, also to mainstream and maximize local platforms for greater community impact and giving the opportunity to help each other.

With more than 1,600 members across the country, Caucus of Development Non-Government Organizations (CODE-NGO) is the biggest coalition of CSOs working on humanitarian and social development. Since 1990, it is one of the trusted national voices advancing the capacities of CSOs across the country to exercise transformative leadership. One of the local funding mechanisms that the CODE-NGO is encouraging for Filipino overseas to support is the Shared Aid Fund for Emergency Response (SAFER). Being considered as the first locally led joint fundraising initiative and a pooled fund in the country, SAFER raises funds for local organizations that provide immediate life-saving assistance to victims in times of crises.

CODE-NGO is also raising the profile of SAFER within its networks, which include various overseas Filipino groups to continuously support its platform considering the country is also facing threats from other compounding natural hazards. For example, while the country is still dealing with the pandemic, Typhoon Vongfong (local name Ambo), a first tropical cyclone in this year’s rainy season, left a trail of extensive damage to Eastern Visayas and Bicol Regions when it made series of landfalls on 14 May.

SAFER is also expecting another round of donation from the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC), an alliance of Filipino-American organizations in the Washington D.C. region. It is part of the bigger coalition of overseas Filipinos, the National Federation of the Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA). Created in 2013 as a response to the call of the then Philippine Ambassador in Washington for a united community effort to address urgent needs of people affected by the typhoon Haiyan, PHC has since then became provided support to various humanitarian response efforts in the Philippines and is one of SAFER’s biggest donors.

The role of faith-based organizations

The National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), has been working with the various levels of the government and providing support to affected communities in several humanitarian emergencies. NASSA is requesting its global supporters to directly send in-kind or cash assistance to local dioceses and amplify the universal call to inclusively support interfaith networks of Filipinos and consolidate various support for COVID-19 response. Being at the forefront in the promotion of the rights of most vulnerable and poorest of the underdeveloped sectors in the country, NASSA continues to advocate for support coming from Filipino overseas.

These challenging times may push the limits of many organizations supporting local governments and affected communities but in taking the long view, coming together and becoming more connected has never been as crucial as it is now in beating the new coronavirus and ensuring the full recovery of the affected areas, socially and economically. The silver lining is that there is an opportunity for a transformative shift in how most international organizations and donors engage and support local actors and community groups in the country, both in the ongoing COVID-19 response and future emergencies. It will be crucial to seize the moment to further strengthen the partnerships and systems that underpin localized humanitarian action in the Philippines.

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Philippines — Feature
AA
Soon after the series of powerful earthquakes jolted North Cotabato Province including the Tulunan town, UNFPA in the Philippines, with support from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), started working with Mindanao Organization for Social and Economic Progress Incorporated (MOSEP) and other local partners. Photo: A MOSEP staff on her way to visit a GBV survivor to provide cash support under the Cash for Protection program. @UNFPAPhilippines

Philippines: Single mother in Mindanao survives domestic abuse, earthquakes, and COVID-19

TULUNAN, NORTH COTABATO, The Philippines  --- The rainy season has come again, and for "Sarah" (not her real name), a single mother in her late 20s from Tulunan, it only brings back bitter memories.  Keeping an eye to her little store and her two young children, aged three and one, Sarah vividly remembers the pains that she went through because of her partner.  

“This rain reminds me of those years of verbal abuse from my partner and how he eventually left me and the two kids,” she said, holding back tears.

It was when she was filled with anxiety after being shaken by a series of earthquakes in October 2019, Sarah with her two sons in tow decided to visit her partner, who was working away from home as part of the citizen auxiliary force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  “The children were missing their father so much that I thought I would pay him a surprise visit.” Sarah was not at all prepared for his reaction when he said, “Leave now. I am now with another woman.” Sarah and the two boys left hurriedly, in disbelief. 

“I thought of taking my own life at that very moment,” Sarah recalled. “But I watched my children.  They are so young and innocent.  They would still need a mother around.”  

The idea of a failed relationship and uncertainty as to how to raise her little sons by herself alone, distressed Sarah giving her sleepless nights.  However, she did not file a complaint against her partner and instead settled for monthly financial assistance. Sarah and her young sons immediately moved to her mother’s house, and with a little capital that she had saved, Sarah opened a small business and put all her energies in it. “The income is however barely enough to put three meals on the table,” she recalled.

1 out of 4 Filipino ever-married women experience intimate partner violence

Sarah is one of those 26% of Filipino ever-married women aged 15-49, who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence committed by their husband or partner (the National Demographic and Health Survey, 2017). Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Center for Women’s Resources reported that more than 16 million Filipino women were ‘economically insecure’. The report also showed that those living in poverty were vulnerable to gender-based violence(GBV).  And now that the COVID-19 outbreak and associated community quarantine measures have resulted in forcing women to get stuck at home, there have been increasing reports warning of the rise in domestic violence.  

Soon after the series of powerful earthquakes jolted North Cotabato Province including the Tulunan town, UNFPA in the Philippines, with support from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), started working with Mindanao Organization for Social and Economic Progress Incorporated (MOSEP) and other local partners, to address the physical, emotional, and socio-economic consequences of GBV in evacuation centers established in the earthquake-affected communities. UNFPA’s support through MOSEP includes providing care for survivors, helping women to navigate the judicial system to report abuse, and raising awareness about the causes and consequences of GBV among young people and men, and the project has continued in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic and quarantines. 

MOSEP’s Executive Director, Ms. Mariam Ali, said “GBV can escalate among those couples whose homes are hit by an external crisis, such as earthquake or typhoon or armed conflict. If the abusers believe in violence as a solution, or mistakenly think that women are lesser than men, then the stress and uncertainty brought about by such an emergency can increase the risk of abuse.” 

“Cash for Protection,” Hope, and Freedom

Sarah was among the 49 women who benefited from UNFPA’s new initiative implemented with MOSEP entitled the “Cash for Protection”, to protect women from gender-based violence and provide a social safety net for the survivors.  Each target woman receives a cash aid worth PHP 10,000 (approximately USD 200) from the  “Cash for Protection” initiative.

“Many women in abusive relationships do not leave their violent partners, because of financial dependence. They are not confident if they can survive and support their children by themselves alone.  Because of natural disasters and now with COVID, these women are even more unsure of their potential to become independent. This is exactly why this cash-transfer assistance is so significant and meaningful for these vulnerable women because it helps them to break ties with their abusive partners, help them move on, give them a sense of empowerment, ownership, and resilience, standing on her own two feet,” Ms. Ali of MOSEP highlights.

Sarah was at a town hall where MOSEP supervised the distribution of ‘cash for protection’ to GBV survivors like her, as the government eased the two-month-long community quarantine against the coronavirus pandemic to allow some economic activities to resume in the communities.

Sarah was grateful for UNFPA’s ‘Cash for Protection’ support.  “I will use some of the money as additional capital for my small business,” she shared with a smile back on her face.  “It would be a lie if I say I don’t remember the painful memories.  But at least, the six years of an abusive relationship that I had to endure is gone, it’s over,” Sarah said.  “I will spend the remaining money for the needs of my sons, and also save a little for our future.”

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Asia Pacific Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Indonesia — Emergency Response
Indonesia
Risk of COVID19 Spread per Province in Indonesia (Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Response)

Indonesia: COVID-19 Response Multi Sectoral Response Plan Report No. 01 (As of 08 July 2020)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Global COVID-19 cases passed the 12 million mark on 8 July 2020 – with the death toll surpassing 540,000 – as concerns mount over a dangerous resurgence of the disease in several countries.

  • As of 8 July, the Indonesian Government has reported 68,079 confirmed cases of COVID19, with 3,359 deaths across 34 provinces.

  • Since the beginning of March, partners have delivered WASH assistance to more than 500,000 people and reached 48,808 children with home-based learning materials across the country.

Situation Overview

BNPB data shows that as of 8 July, 68,079 people across all 34 provinces in Indonesia have tested positive for COVID-19. Some 31,585 people have recovered, and 3,359 people have died. 968,237 specimens have been tested since the first corona virus case was detected in the country, out of a population of over 270 million. The comparison of cases between women and men shows that the prevalence of the virus is quite balanced, although 60 percent of deaths are of men. All age groups are affected by the disease, with the number of deaths dominated by those aged 46 years and over. The corona virus has spread throughout 34 provinces and 456 out of 514 districts / cities in Indonesia. Most cases are in East Java, Jakarta, South Sulawesi, West Java, Central Java, and South Kalimantan.

In early June 2020, the Government of Indonesia begun the transition phase to “Adaptation to the New Behavior for productive and safe communities against COVID-19 disease”. A set of protocol has been enacted to enforce requirements regarding pre-conditions, timings, priorities, national-regional coordination as well as monitoring and evaluation. The re-opening of activities in the regions is being made in stages, starting with the ones categorized as green and yellow zones. The zoning is constantly monitored and updated weekly by the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Response, according to guidelines and parameters from WHO.

On mid-June, the Indonesian Ministry of Health (MoH) issued a set of health protocols governing activities in public places, including department stores, hotels, airports, restaurants, places of worship and tourist sites. The protocols contain essential measures that people need to implement while in public places. On the fourth week of June, the Government decided to reopen certain tourism sites.

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Myanmar: COVID-19 Situation Overview

MMR COVID Situation Report 19June2020

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Indonesia — Emergency Response
Indonesia 3 July

Indonesia: Situation Update on COVID-19 (23 June 2020)

As of 23 June, the Government of Indonesia has announced 47,896 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across all provinces of the country, with 2,535 deaths. The Government has also announced that 19,241 people have recovered from the illness, and over 666,000 specimens have been tested by using the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay and the Molecular Rapid Test for Tuberculosis methods.

This Update provides a summary of key achievements of each of the National Clusters in the response to COVID-19 within the last three months.

Health

Indonesia is one of the 30 Member States that support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, an initiative launched on 29 May for the global community to voluntarily collect knowledge, intellectual property, and data in response to COVID19, and to ensure accessibility to vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to all.

During May 2020, WHO supported the Government of Indonesia in the procurement and distribution of medical supplies for a total value of about $1.4 million. In June and July, cold chain and medical supplies were provided to 22 hospitals. UNDP, WHO, and IOM provide 33 ventilators through the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB).

An important part of the work of health cluster members is the advocacy for the sustainability of essential reproductive health services, including for the availability of safe blood products, services for high-risk pregnant women and childbirth, the availability of contraceptives, and the availability of antiretroviral treatments for those who need it. UNFPA distributed individual kits for pregnant women, birth mothers and newborns through 100 private clinic midwives.

In the area of nutrition, partners from the National Health Cluster support the development and dissemination of IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials to the general public as well as specific targeted population groups such as adolescents, pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and toddlers throughout all provinces of Indonesia. They also work to distribute nutrient-friendly food, oversee the distribution of formula milk, issued a joint statement on Infant and Child Feeding support in the first thousand days of life and provided online counseling.

Logistics

In coordination with health partners, the National Logistics Cluster coordinates the provision of customs clearance services at entry points as well as the transportation, storage, handling, and distribution services throughout Indonesia as needed, including by logistics partners including the Indonesian Logistics and Freight-forwarding Association, PT Pos and Indonesian Red Cross. The National Logistics Cluster documentation on COVID-19 pandemic response can be accessed here.

Displacement and Protection

Automatic conversation services through the WhatsApp application (SHIRIN) have been developed and maintained to facilitate access to information related to COVID-19. The National Cluster for Displacement and Protection is very active and has the following sub-clusters and working groups:

  • Shelter: Two sets of guidelines on the Provision of Community-Based Shelter for Quarantine and Isolation Facilities related to COVID-19 and Workers and Humanitarian Volunteers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic were developed and disseminated.

  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: The Hand Washing with Soap (CTPS) Guidance for various situations was developed with the Ministry of Health while the Guidance on CTPS Facility in Schools was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture.

  • Camp Coordination and Camp Management: Interim Guidelines for Improving Preparedness and the Operation of the COVID-19 Outbreak Response in Humanitarian Situations have been translated into Indonesian and disseminated by IOM, who also conducted a localization training/workshop on camp coordination and camp management.

  • Child Protection: Three cross-sectoral guidelines for children requiring special protection (data sharing procedures; temporary care for children / families; assimilation, reintegration and suspension of detention) were launched by the Task Force for the Acceleration of the COVID-19 response in May 2020. UNICEF, UNHCR and IOM are working together to support the State Ministry for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection in the drafting of inter-border refugee protocols and for children separated from their parents.

  • Protection of the Elderly, People with Disabilities and other Vulnerable Groups: The sub-cluster has developed an 'Inclusive Training Package' that is available to civil society groups, and the Ministry of Social Affairs-managed volunteers and social workers. Continuing partner activities include the preparation of protection assistance packages, provision of accessible hand washing facilities, capacity building, preparation and dissemination of IEC materials, and advocacy for inclusive service needs in the regions.

  • Protection and Management of Gender Based Violence and Women's Empowerment: The provision of support for assistance services for victims of gender based violence continues, using service protocols during the COVID19 pandemic in Jakarta. Protocols and guidelines that have been prepared are on:

    • Receiving complaints through hotline services

    • Receipt of complaints via email

    • Face to face meeting services

    • Outreach services

    • Client pick-up services

    • Assistance in the legal process (police, prosecutors, and trials)

    • Victims assistance services

    • Safe house referral and health services.

  • Cash and Voucher Assistance: The Working Group has a focus on increasing the capacity of various organizations to exercise the cash and voucher assistance through knowledge sessions.

  • Community Engagement: This Group has created Community Engagement Guidance, developed a feedback mechanism that is accessible to the community, and conducted outreach through different organizations or forum in Central Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, Yogyakarta and Bali. A training workshop to develop communication and outreach strategies for behavior change was conducted on 17 June. Good Practices of People Helping People are documented here.

Education

The National Cluster on Education has completed a home study guidance for children with disabilities, the development of an offline material storage platform at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the development of a Teacher Capacity Building Action Plan by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the creation of Frequently Ask Questions about the use of the School Operational Assistance funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food Security and Agriculture

The development of a roadmap for the 'Mitigation of the Impact of COVID-19 and Policy Measures in the Food Systems in Indonesia' is underway. Activities by partners from this sub-cluster include assistance to a family food garden, assistance to farmers, assistance in agricultural and fishery infrastructure facilities, food aid, and non-cash assistance, for a total of around 9 billion rupiah in funding.

Early Recovery

The National Cluster on Early Recovery works to:

  • adjust the SP4N-LAPOR! programme operation;

  • develop a framework for synergizing the reporting system between the Regional Government and the Central Government;

  • develop a mechanism for big data analysis;

  • implement advocacy and inclusion training activities;

  • implement innovative financing analysis; and

  • implement the development of a Village Fund monitoring instrument.

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UNI336034
Women in Gosaba (West Bengal, India) working to repair a broken embankment in the response to Cyclone Amphan (Photo: UNICEF)

UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocates five million US dollars to support the response to Cyclone Amphan

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS RESIDENT COORDINATOR IN BANGLADESH

Dhaka, 25 June 2020 – Last month, Cyclone Amphan caused large scale destruction of livelihoods in the South Western part of Bangladesh. The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated five million US dollars (US$ 5 million) to complement the Government’s response to the people in need.

The CERF allocation will provide high-impact life-saving assistance to a prioritized caseload of 250,000 persons in the districts of Khulna and Satkhira in Khulna Division and, in Barguna and Patuakhali districts in Barisal Division. The CERF funding is provided to five UN agencies: FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator. The targeted vulnerable population will benefit from emergency WASH, Shelter, Protection, Nutrition and Livelihood support as well as cash assistance.

On 20 May 2020, Cyclone Amphan made landfall near Jammu Island, West Bengal. Situation Analysis and Anticipatory Impacts Assessments were issued prior cyclone landfall. It activated the Humanitarian Preparedness and Response Plan (HPRP) in line with the contingency plan for climate-related disasters in time of COVID- 19 pandemic of the Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT). The Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG) co-led by the Department of Disaster Management and CARE completed the Joint Needs Assessment, UN Women coordinated a Rapid Gender Analysis and the HCTT Cyclone Amphan Response Plan was finalized with the support of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR). It integrates some components of the IFRC’s appeal launched on 28 May 2020. The plan seeks US$ 25 million to assist 700,000 people in Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola and Jashore.

"Once again, the Sundarbans played a critical role in lessening the impact of the cyclone in Bangladesh. The protection of natural treasures must be an integral part of Disaster Risk Reduction strategies to complement man-made flood defense systems. The CERF-funded projects have a strong focus on women, children and persons with disabilities and will be delivered in line with COVID-19 mitigation measures," said the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Ms. Mia Seppo.

Red Cross Red Crescent Movement organizations, national and international NGOs including members of the Start Fund Bangladesh are supporting the national response (see detailed in updates and monitoring reports). The UN notes the importance of the contributions from partners to complement the government’s response and to facilitate a quick and smooth recovery process for all persons affected by the cyclone.

For further information please contact:

Kazi Shahidur Rahman, Humanitarian Affairs Specialist, Resident Coordinator’s Office : shahidur.rahman@one.un.org

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Afghanistan: Snapshot of Population Movements

afg population movement snapshot 20200617

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Situation Report
Bangladesh — Emergency Response
Cyclone Amphan in Bangladesh
A man affected by Cyclone Amphan in Satkhira District, Bangladesh. (Photo: Care Bangladesh)

Bangladesh: Cyclone Amphan Response Plan Calls for US$ 24.6 Million to Assist 700,000 People

On 20 May 2020, Cyclone Amphan made landfall near Jammu Island, West Bengal at 5.00 pm BST with 130-140 km/h wind speed. It is estimated that 26 people lost their lives and 7 people were injured due to falling of trees, boat capsizes, wall collapses and drowning. The cyclone affected 10 million vulnerable people in 19 districts.

The Humanitarian Coordination Task Team (HCTT) co-led by the Ministry of Disaster Managment and Relief (MoDMR) and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office met on 20 May 2020 to be ready to complement Government-led response efforts. The Needs Assessment Working Group (NAWG) led by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and CARE coordinated a rapid joint assessment of the situation in collaboration with national authorities and partners with presence in the most impacted areas. COVID-19-sensitive community engagement materials for cyclone Amphan (including post-cyclone) were already made available here. Situation Analysis and Anticipatory Impacts Assessments were issued in the day’s prior cyclone landfall. It activated the Humanitarian Preparedness and Response Plan (HPRP) in line with the HCTT contingency plan for climate-related disasters in time of COVID-19 pandemic. On the 31 May, the HCCT Response Plan for Cyclone Amphan was finalized and published.

Strategic Objectives

  • SO1: Ensure an effective, principled and equitable humanitarian response which does no harm and abides by the duty of care;

  • SO2: Support national authorities and CSOs in delivering assistance to most vulnerable communities capitalizing on comparative advantages (expertise, field presence);

  • SO3: Reduce vulnerabilities and restore the safety, dignity and resilience of the most vulnerable populations.

Humanitarian Needs Analysis

The response plan covers the following sectors: Child Protection, Gender-based Violence with Sexual and Reproductive Health, Food Security, Nutrition, Shelter and WASH. A section on Coordination complements the sectoral plans. The decision of the inter cluster coordination team was to focus the response in 7 of the 9 most affected districts: Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola and Jashore.

The Joint Needs Assessment coordinated by the NAWG informs that:

  • The internal displaced population needs immediate food, water and emergency shelter support.

  • Urgent house repair, housing support to the extreme people with damaged house. Protection systems for women, girls and children must be urgently re-established/reinforced.

  • Emergency livelihood support is required for those who lost their income-generating activities.

  • Immediate desalinization of open water sources and emergency repair/replacement of latrines and tube-wells.

  • Children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition must receive urgent nutrition assistance.

Budget Required

The overall budgetary requirement for the 4-month response is US$ 24,634,700. The budgetary requirements consider other existing and upcoming plans in the country i.e. those related to COVID-19 such as the Health Response and the upcoming Socio-Economic Recovery to ensure that there is no duplication and that the immediate life-saving assistance is sustained in the medium/long-term.

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Situation Report
Indonesia — Coordination
Indonesia COVID

Indonesia Multi-Sectoral Response Plan to COVID-19

Given the magnitude of the emergency, this COVID-19 Response Plan is a joint commitment by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to support the Government of Indonesia, and covers a range of issues through a comprehensive multi-sectoral approach which, during the first six months of the emergency focuses on life-saving and early recovery activities.

The multi-sectoral response plan is aligned with the WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, and the UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-economic Response to COVID-19. The plan will need regular updating to match the unique and evolving nature of this emergency with the most effective and appropriate activities.

In line with the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, the main goal of this HCT/UNCT Multisectoral Response Plan to COVID-19 is to support the Government of Indonesia’s efforts in preparing and responding to the pandemic, and will be guided by three objectives:

  1. Containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and decreasing morbidity and mortality.

  2. Decreasing the deterioration of human assets and rights, social cohesion and livelihoods.

  3. Protecting, assisting and advocating for particularly vulnerable groups, such as refugees, pregnant woman, people with disabilities, elderly, internally displaced people, migrants and host communities.

The estimated financial requirements for the implementation of the plan until the end of 2020 amounts to over $US 113 million (see plan for breakdown by sector).

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Pakistan — Emergency Response
Pakistan COVID 19 Humanitarian Response Plan

Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan For COVID-19 Pandemic 2020

Immediate health impacts on people and systems

The Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan For COVID-19 Pandemic 2020 was finalized on 22 May 2020. The biggest humanitarian need is the protection of health workers to ensure they can combat the pandemic and continue to provide essential health care services. The closure of all hospitals and health facilities, except for emergency services, has hampered the continuation of immunizations, preventive health care, pre- and post-natal care and care for other co-morbidities.

Nutrition programmes have suffered due to the outbreak, leaving over 200,000 pregnant and lactating women and 400,000 children among the most vulnerable in need of regular nutrition support in drought affected areas.

Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world with 220 million people and the seventh most affected on the list of countries impacted by climate change. The most vulnerable populations expected to be disproportionally affected by the health and non-health impacts of COVID-19 total 6.65 million people which include Afghan refugees, IDPs and returnees, undocumented Afghans and people affected by natural disasters. The pre-existing vulnerabilities of such groups are further aggravated by related stressors, including family anxieties and the disruption of income generation due to physical distancing.

Indirect impacts on people and systems

Containment measures and movement restrictions are devastating the economy. Estimates indicates that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will drop by 4.64 per cent, followed by a subsequent increase in the number people living below the poverty from 50-60 million to 125 million.

A quarter of the population, some 53 million people, lives below the national poverty line and 84 million people are multi-dimensionally poor. An estimated 40-62 million people are persistently and chronically vulnerable to food insecurity while also being exposed to natural hazards. These populations are at risk of falling into increased food insecurity requiring a scaled-up response by humanitarian partners through both in-kind and cash modalities.

Women and children from the disadvantaged households, homebased workers, domestic workers, daily wage earners (small shops, self-employed persons and families) and especially pregnant women, are among the most impacted during this pandemic. All educational facilities will remain closed until at least the end of May 2020, resulting in major disruptions to learning.

Response priorities and challenges

Priorities and early achievements

Through COVID-19 National Action Plan, the Government is taking a two-pronged strategy: prioritizing efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus and address the secondary humanitarian and socio-economic impacts, which is linked to the HCT’s integrated Humanitarian Response Plan to address the humanitarian impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable. The plan aims to target 5.6 million people through to the end of the year.

The UN health response has been aligned with the pillars of the WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Examples of activities include:

  • Developed and shared information, education and communication material (IEC) material on physical distancing and orientation guidelines for frontline workers in local languages in all provinces.

  • Collaborating with the Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) to use thousands of polio health workers to maintain and strengthen routine immunization.

  • Advocating for specific quarantine arrangements and services for women and girls and inclusion of refugees in social protection programs.

  • Development of an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) strategy that includes the training of over 10,000 health workers, provision of materials and other supplies and conducting IPC assessments at over 200 health facilities and quarantine sites.

Challenges and impact to operations

Nationally led health responses have suffered from several challenges: isolation and quarantine facilities are inadequate in number and they lack human resources, technical expertise, supplies and equipment.

The disease surveillance system is weak; e.g. the Severe Acute Respiratory Illness/ Influenza Like Illness (SARI/ILI) sentinel surveillance, which could be used in this pandemic, is not fully functional. Sexual and reproductive health service delivery is expected to be severely impacted, contributing to a rise in maternal and newborn mortality.

From a humanitarian standpoint, the COVID-19 response is taking place in the context of climate vulnerabilities and a refugee response: a series of climatic shocks combined to make those already facing social exclusion and vulnerability due to poverty and displacement, more acutely vulnerable to the virus and its impacts.

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Highlights from the Archive

Asia Pacific: Human Rights Dimensions of the COVID-19 Pandemic (22 June 2020)

Asia Pacific: FAO warns multiple impact of viruses, plagues and economic damage will fuel hunger (1 June 2020)

Asia Pacific: FAO announces new agreement to protect vulnerable family farmers and their farm animals from volcanic eruptions takes shape in the Asia-Pacific region (18 June 2020)

Asia Pacific: COVID-19 Risk Communications and Community Engagement 4W Dashboard (4 May 2020)

Asia Pacific: Combating the dual challenges of climate-related disasters and COVID-19 (4 May 2020)

Afghanistan: COVID-19 Access Impediment Report (29 April 2020)

Afghanistan: A young doctor’s fight to stem the spread of COVID-19 (4 May 2020)

Afghanistan: A safe space for children and families returning from Iran (15 May 2020)

Myanmar: "Stop the fighting, combine forces against a common enemy: COVID-19" -Humanitarian Coordinator (4 May 2020)

Myanmar: UN Launches European Union/Switzerland-Funded Humanitarian Flights (11 May 2020)

Myanmar: Humanitarians maintain life-saving support to internally displaced people as COVID-19 outbreak evolves (6 May 2020)

Nepal: COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan Calls for US$108 Million (1 June 2020)

Pakistan: Humanitarian Response Plan For COVID-19 Pandemic 2020 (1 June 2020)

Papu New Guinea: Revised COVID-19 Multi-Sector Response Plan Call for US$ 105 Million (1 June 2020)

Philippines: Engaging Vulnerable People and Communities in the COVID-19 Pandemic Response (12 May 2020)

Philippines: How the Philippines is quietly implementing a more localized COVID-19 humanitarian response (Part1) (Part 2)

Pacific: UN and Partners Launch the Pacific Humanitarian Team COVID-19 Response Plan (7 May 2020)

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