Philippines

Situation Report

Highlights (6 days ago)

  • Since a national epidemic was declared on 6 August, dengue cases continue to surge.
  • Three successive earthquakes occurred in the remote northern Batanes islands of the Philippines on 27 July, displacing nearly 3,000 people.
  • Members of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team in Iligan conducted a needs assessment of Marawi continuing humanitarian needs.
Philippine Red Cross provides hot meals in Itbayat, Batanes
(29 July 2019) Itbayat, Batanes: Philippine Red Cross provides hot meals to displaced people seeking shelter at the Itbayat town plaza. Photo credit: Philippine Red Cross

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Philippines

Situation Report

Key Figures

66K
persons displaced (Marawi)
3K
persons displaced (Batanes earthquakes)

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Philippines

Situation Report

Funding

$718,000
Funding for Marawi (2019)

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Contacts

Mark Bidder

Head of Office

Gina Maramag

Public Information Officer

Philippines

Situation Report
Feature (6 days ago)
Philippine Red Cross dengue community campaign in Camarines Sur credit Philippine Red Cross
(16 July 2019) Camarines Sur, Bicol - Staff and volunteers from the Philippine Red Cross conduct dengue awareness and prevention sessions to the Camarines Sur barangays, facilitated by community health volunteers. Credit: Philippine Red Cross

Government declares national epidemic as dengue cases continue to surge

Dengue cases continue to surge in the Philippines, with over 167,607 dengue cases and more than 720 deaths reported by the Department of Health (DOH) from 1 January to 27 July 2019. On 6 August, the DOH declared a national dengue epidemic, urging its regional offices to step up surveillance, case management and outbreak response. Health officials warn the current number of dengue cases might double by October.

Reported dengue cases are the highest incidence over the past five years, and the deaths mostly children from five to nine years old. Because children do not have immunity to dengue yet and are more prone to infection, they are the most affected by the disease and there is no antiviral treatment available beyond supportive care. In 2017, the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspended the license of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in 2017 following a controversy regarding a DOH school-based dengue vaccination campaign. With the rapid rise in dengue cases, there are calls from some health professionals to lift the ban. The health department is considering a ruling on the ban, saying that the vaccine will not stop the ongoing epidemic as it will need to undergo an approval process which may take months.

According to a WHO Philippines situation report, the case fatality rate of 0.43 per cent is significantly higher than the regional average of 0.22 per cent in the Western Pacific, and has placed the risk assessment as high at national level, and low at regional and global level.

Ten regions in the Philippines are at epidemic levels of dengue

As of 13 August, the Department of Health reports that three more regions, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), have reached the dengue epidemic threshold, bringing the total to ten regions. Case fatality rates are highest in the Bicol, Davao, BARMM regions, while case incidence is highest in Western Visayas, Calabarzon, Caraga, Zamboanga and Northern Mindanao regions.

Urbanization, climate change contributing to the spread of dengue 

Several Asian countries are experiencing unusually high numbers of dengue cases for this time of year. According to the World Health Organization, of out of an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk for dengue globally, about 70 per cent live in Asia Pacific countries. Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Viet Nam have observed early increases in the number of dengue cases reported so far this year. In the Asia Pacific, climate conditions, unclean environments, unplanned urban settlements and rapid urbanization can lead to increased mosquito breeding in communities.

According to Dr. Gawrie Loku Galappaththy, Medical Officer for Malaria and other Vector-borne and Parasitic Diseases of WHO Philippines, a variety of factors can contribute to the increasing dengue cases in the Philippines. “The onset of El Niño has led to drought and water shortages in some provinces in the Philippines. Due to water shortages, people collect water in containers for general use, increasing the likelihood of dengue mosquito breeding places,” said Dr. Galappaththy. “The increased awareness on dengue, and the general population is seeking health care promptly, therefore the reporting has increased,” she said. “Dengue is also a cyclical disease, which means there is an expected increase of cases every three years.”

Multi-sectoral response needed to fight the rise of dengue

According to WHO, one of the most effective measures to prevent dengue is by reducing mosquito breeding sites at the community level. Dengue mosquitoes like to breed in containers that collect water such as tires, bottles, and coconut shells. Communities can clean their surroundings, empty and wash water containers and dispose unused containers that may accumulate water. 

“Dengue control is not just up to the health sector. It can only be successful if different sectors work together,” says Dr. Galappaththy. “The local government is extremely crucial in pushing for vector control at the community level, while the education sector can assist in health promotion and vector control at school settings.” 

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Philippines

Situation Report
Interactive (6 days ago)

Philippines Dengue Cases (1 January - 27 July)

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Philippines

Situation Report
Visual (22 days ago)

Humanitarian Snapshot: Batanes Earthquakes (29 July 2019)

Humanitarian Snapshot: Batanes Earthquakes (27 July 2019)

Situation Overview

Three successive earthquakes occurred in the remote northern Batanes islands of the Philippines on 27 July, each followed by smaller magnitude earthquakes. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the first was a magnitude-5.4 earthquake that occurred at 4:16 a.m. with an epicentre at 21 km north of Itbayat, Batanes with a depth of 7 km. It was felt strongly in Itbayat, Batanes, and moderately strong in Basco and Sabtang, Batanes.  The second was a larger magnitude-5.9 earthquake at 7:30 a.m. with an epicentre at 21 km north of Itbayat, Batanes with a depth of 11 km. and was felt at a destructive level in Itbayat, Batanes, strongly in Basco, Ivana, Mahatao in Batanes, and moderately strong in Sabtang and Uyugan in Batanes. The first two earthquakes caused casualties as homes, schools and infrastructures collapsed. A third earthquake with magnitude-5.8 occurred at 9:24 a.m. with an epicentre at 11 km north of Itbayat, Batanes and a depth of 11 km.  The early hour of the earthquakes meant villagers were unable to quickly evacuate their homes. According to PHIVOLCS, multiple moderate-sized earthquakes ranging from magnitude-4.2 to 4.8 occurring in the area from 22 to 26 July may have weakened structures and caused greater damage than expected. A majority of the casualties and damage are near the epicentre of the three earthquakes in Itbayat island. As of 29 July, eight deaths, and over 60 people are reportedly injured, while 15 homes are damaged. Two hospitals in Itbayat sustained major damage and no longer function. As of 29 July, nearly 3,000 persons, the entire population of Itbayat, are displaced and seeking shelter in tents at the town plaza waiting for local authorities to declare it safe to return to their homes. 

Government and humanitarian response

The national government is leading the response, assisted by the Philippine Red Cross and humanitarian partners. With the remote location of Itbayat, the Office of Civil Defense is coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Health to send medical and rescue teams. The Philippine Air Force transported relief items and rescue teams on 27 July. The Philippine Red Cross is citing the challenge of assisting a remote island, which takes  three hours via only small boats to reach, and is working together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to distribute hot meals, radio equipment, satellite phones, water purification tablets, and psychosocial support. On 28 July, President Rodrigo Duterte conducted an aerial assessment and was briefed by local authorities in Batanes, and he pledged Php40 million (US$780,000) in assistance towards those affected by the earthquake and a temporary clinic to treat the injured while the two provincial health facilities are being repaired.

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Situation Report
Feature (54 days ago)
Coordinated needs assessment of Marawi evacuation centres and temporary shelters
(10 June 2019) Marawi City, Lanao del Sur - A focus group discussion of displaced women from the Sarimanok evacuation centre. Credit: OCHA/G. Maramag

Humanitarian partners assess Marawi continuing humanitarian needs

In a tent draped with brightly printed fabric and strewn with rugs, over a dozen women are huddled together sharing their stories. They tell of their struggles of living in tents for the past two years, of their children’s schooling interrupted, and the sacrifices they’ve made as mothers of families caught in conflict. They also ask difficult questions that demand answers: “How long until we can go home?” and “How can they say we are in recovery when we are still in tents?”

Over two years since the beginning of the Marawi conflict, more than 66,000 people remain displaced, with a majority staying with host families, while over twenty per cent are still in evacuation centres and temporary shelters, waiting to return home. The remaining displaced are from barangays (neighbourhoods) in Marawi City that were destroyed in the fighting, some still littered with unexploded ordnance rendering them uninhabitable. As the Government focuses on clearing the debris and on rehabilitation of these areas, those unable to go home will continue to require humanitarian assistance.

Coordinated needs assessment of the UN, international and national NGOs

From 10-12 June, members of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team in Iligan set out to interview IDPs and conduct focused group discussions in locations where over 14,000 displaced people are temporarily staying. Over twenty humanitarian organizations visited five evacuation centres - Sarimanok 1, Sarimanok 2, Buadi Ittowa, Capitol, and Saguiaran - and eight temporary shelters - Sagonsongan, Angat Buhay, Boganga, Bahay Pag-asa 1 and 2, Bakwit Village, Pantaon, and Rorogagus. 

As humanitarian community faces dwindling resources for the Marawi response, local NGOs have often remained the only constant and have been instrumental in assisting the Government to address the immediate needs of IDPs. Some of the NGOs based in Marawi, such as MARADECA and CFSI, were displaced themselves during the conflict and kept operations running in Iligan City until their return in 2017.  

Initial results indicate worsening water, sanitation and shelter conditions

During the assessment, it was observed that most of the tents and WASH facilities in IDP camps were dilapidated. The IDPs reported that access to facilities at night time and during rain is challenging. Overcrowding in shelter units with minimal to no partitions has elevated the risk of sexual and gender-based violence. The majority of IDPs in the evacuation centres expressed a need for consultation before their transfer to transitory sites.

With the school year about to begin, access to education will be a continuing challenge for many children. Students are in need of support to cover for travel expenses from the IDP camps to schools. The assessment also identified the need for Camp Coordination and Camp Management structures in IDP camps to facilitate good management of camps and temporary sites. Updated information boards are needed to keep IDPs informed on government and NGO projects.

The Food, Agriculture and Livelihood cluster (FSAL) has flagged the lack of adequate food support in IDP camps and return areas. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has provided sharers and homeowners of the most affected areas with financial support intended for food and livelihoods, but the IDPs reported that the majority of the money is being used for the payment of debts and school fees.

The consolidated results of the joint assessment were shared with the Marawi City government officials and it was agreed that WASH concerns have to be addressed in order to prevent the outbreak of diseases in IDP camps.

Living in tents and temporary shelters, women and children remain the most vulnerable

Caironisa is 27 years old and has been living in newly built Boganga temporary shelter for the last two months. She has a three-year old son and together with her husband, manages a small sari-sari store in front of their shelter. Water is trucked in daily to the site by a programme of Action Against Hunger with the Marawi local authorities. She says that it is for domestic use. “We buy mineral water for drinking, which is stretching our earnings from the store. We don’t get a lot of foot traffic because the Boganga site is far from the market or city centre. The only people who will buy from the store are the other displaced families. CFSI’s livelihood programme provided them with equipment to start the store, which included a refrigerator. “We are thankful for the help to get us started with earning money, since the food assistance has stopped and we are not sure when will be able to go home. We had a small business before the conflict, my husband would buy and sell used trucks.” 

Humanitarian needs remain as early recovery continues

In seeking long term solutions for Marawi communities impacted by conflict, all levels of government, civil society, national NGOs, private sector, development partners and international organizations need to continue working together in close cooperation. The Humanitarian Country Team, composed of in-country UN agencies, international and national NGOs, and the private sector, are revising the 2019 Humanitarian Response and Resource Overview document for the Marawi conflict, to address the residual humanitarian and early recovery needs of about 300,000 beneficiaries in support of the Government-led efforts.

Investment in livelihood opportunities, education and long-term housing solutions for displaced people are underway, but in the meantime, humanitarian needs still need to be addressed not only in evacuation centres and temporary shelters, but also for those staying with host communities.

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Media (54 days ago)

Engaging potentially at-risk communities in preparation for a large-scale typhoon

A series of community consultations from were held in the Northern Luzon and Visayas Region from July to November 2018. The aim was to identify life-saving and evolving needs of a potentially at-risk population prior to a large-scale typhoon.

The pre-crisis information mapping and consultation are critical to the process of planning, allowing humanitarian actors to identify what minumum resources are necessary to augment or complement the capacities of the national government. Community engagement officers from OCHA, UNICEF, Care, Christian Aid, Humanity & Inclusion , NASSA/Caritas Philippines, with support from Cagayan Valley Disaster Response Centre, field volunteers and the local government in Cagayan, Kalinga and Negros Occidental facilitated the conduct of the pre-crisis activity.  A final report will be published shortly.