Philippines

Situation Report

Highlights (1 hour ago)

  • Dengue cases continue to surge in the Philippines as the Government declares national alert
  • An education grant from the EU aims to reach 13,000 children and youth affected by armed conflict in Mindanao
  • Members of the Mindanao Humanitarian Team in Iligan conducted a needs assessment of Marawi continuing humanitarian needs.
  • As the number of measles cases decline, the risks of a current outbreak is now set to moderate at the national level.
Humanitarian partners assess Marawi continuing humanitarian needs
Credit: OCHA/G. Maramag

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Philippines

Situation Report

Key Figures

66K
persons displaced (Marawi)
45K
person displaced (Maguindanao)

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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 (1 hour 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

Rapid rise of dengue cases in the Philippines as Government declares national alert

Dengue cases continue to surge in the Philippines, with over 100,000 dengue cases and more than 450 deaths reported by the Department of Health (DOH) from 1January to 29 June 2019. On 15 July, the DOH declared a National Dengue Alert, urging its regional offices to step up surveillance, case management and outbreak response.

Reported dengue cases are an 85 per cent increase from the same period last year, 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. In 2019, the FDA announced that it permanently revoked the license to import, sell, or distribute Dengvaxia in the Philippines. 

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.

Several regions in the Philippines are at epidemic levels of dengue

Regions which have exceeded the epidemic threshold, which is the critical number required for an epidemic to occur are MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Northern Mindanao. Other affected regions are the Cordillera Administrative Region, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Metro Manila. The provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan Antique and Guimaras in the Western Visayas region declared an outbreak, with many municipalities seeking to declare a state of calamity to access emergency funding to mobilise additional resources. Regional health authorities are identifying clustering of cases as a basis for declaring a localized epidemic at the barangay (village) level. 

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.”

Government action and humanitarian response

On 15 July, the Department of Health declared a National Dengue Alert, urging regional DOH offices to step up dengue surveillance, case management and outbreak response in health facilities and hospitals, as well community and school-based health education campaigns, clean-up drives, and logistics support for dengue control. In coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), a code blue alert was raised, activating the national Health Cluster led by DOH. 

WHO is supporting the DOH with epidemiological analysis and rapid risk assessments, preparing targeted risk communication messages for health workers and communities to ensure early detection, and DOH surveillance units at municipal, provincial and regional level are proactively looking for clusters of dengue cases to launch specific response activities. Rapid diagnostic tests are also being distributed to barangays (villages). WHO is also providing technical assistance to update the clinical management guidelines on dengue patients to reduce mortality, support risk communications, advice on dengue vector control, and orient provincial level staff on outbreak response for dengue.  The DOH is also undertaking a nationwide public information campaign to follow the ‘4-S method’ which stands for “Search and destroy” mosquito-breeding sites, employ “Self-protection measures” such as wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts, and daily use of mosquito repellent, “Seek early consultation”, and “Support fogging/spraying” in areas where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak. The Philippine Red Cross is also ramping up its information campaign on dengue, conducting house-to-house visits, health seminars, and facilitating blood donations in some provinces. 

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
Feature (10 hours ago)
ECHO grant launch – Save the Chlidren/OCHA
(11 July 2019) Iligan, Lanao del Sur – OCHA presenting at the launch of Reach 2 Teach, a project led by Save the Children and funded by ECHO to assist Mindanao children and youth gain access to education.

An education grant from the EU to aims to reach 13,000 children and youth affected by armed conflict in Mindanao

On 11 July in Iligan City, an initiative to help over 13,000 boys and girls affected by armed conflict in Mindanao was launched, bringing together the members of the Mindanao humanitarian community. Funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and led by Save the Children, the project not only gives children from 46 schools and nine displaced communities access to quality and culturally appropriate education, but will also train teachers, strengthen protection needs in schools, and repair over 20 schools damaged by armed conflict, set up temporary leaning spaces, and set up WASH facilities. 

Unique NGO-led grant with support from the UN and local partners

Save the Children will implement the grant together with CARE, ACCORD, OCHA, Nonviolent Peaceforce, and local partners such as Balay Mindanao and UNYPAD. The areas of implementation will be the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM) provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Sulu; Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur in the CARAGA region, and Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao. Area of interest include out-of-school children and youth especially in Madrasahs and schools for indigenous children in isolated and disadvantaged areas. 

OCHA’s work will maximize the coordination and response structures established with the BARMM government and Mindanao local authorities, with a particular focus on the over 300,000 people affected by the Marawi conflict. Information management and data analysis of priority needs, movement and return of IDPs, and who is doing what where (3W) data products will also help inform the project.

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Philippines

Situation Report
Feature (19 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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Philippines

Situation Report
Feature (19 days ago)
Measles immunization campaign
Credit: IOM/D. Empamano

Risk levels for measles cases in the Philippines lowered to moderate

UNICEF and WHO reported that 34,950 measles cases, including 477 deaths, were recorded by the Department of Health from 1 January to 11 May 2019, with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 1.37 per cent. In February, DoH declared measles outbreak in 5 regions, whereas cases were reported in all 17 regions. With a decreasing number of newly reported cases, the risk of the current outbreak has now been set at moderate at the national level. However, although significantly lower than at the beginning of the outbreak (1.63 per cent in February 2019), the current CFR remains high compared to the 0.87 per cent CFR in the same period in 2018. With a median age of 3 years old, 52 per cent of measles cases are under 5 years of age and 53 per cent of measles cases are male. With the effective implementation of the nationwide measles immunization prgramme, over 5.3 million individuals have been vaccinated against measles and rubella, with more than 3.4 million children aged 6-59 months. WHO, UNICEF and other humanitarian partners are supporting DoH by facilitating procurement of vaccines, carrying out vaccination campaigns, coordinating support to priority regions and identifying key gaps.

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Media (19 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.