Philippines

Situation Report

Highlights (14 hours ago)

  • Three simultaneous law enforcement operations of the Philippine army against non-state armed groups are reported as underway in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Sulu
  • El Niño brings drought and dry spells, with Mindanao as the most affected region
  • Children in the Philippines are at serious risk from a nationwide outbreak of measles, a highly-contagious disease which has already claimed the lives of over 300 people
El Niño brings drought and dry spells, with Mindanao as the most affected region
Credit: FAO

URL:

Date:

Philippines

Situation Report

Key Figures

66K
persons displaced (Marawi)

URL:

Date:

Philippines

Situation Report

Funding

$61M
Requirements
$14.7M
Funding
24%
Progress
FTS

URL:

Date:

Contacts

Mark Bidder

Head of Office


Gina Maramag

Public Information Officer


Philippines

Situation Report
Feature (13 hours ago)
Mindanao humanitarian situation
Tubaran, Lanao del Sur (24 March 2019) - OCHA field staff interview displaced people in an evacuation centre in Barangay Dinaigan. Credit: OCHA/S. Taulani

Mindanao humanitarian situation

Situation Overview 

Three simultaneous law enforcement operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against non-state armed groups are reported as underway in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Sulu in the newly formed political entity Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) since the first half of March 2019.  Renewed armed conflict erupted between the AFP and a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on 9 March in four areas in Maguindanao: Salbu, Pagatin, Mamasapano, and Shariff Aguak, causing the cumulative displacement of more than 35,200 people, of which over 27,900 are inside 19 evacuation centres or staying with host families. In Shariff Aguak, some classes are suspended while others continue while the school is simultaneously being used as an evacuation centre. The conditions of displaced farmers and fisherfolk are further aggravated by drought conditions, where central Mindanao is the most affected region. While the military is not allowing the displaced to return home due to the operations, some IDPs have been able to check on their crops and farm animals. 

In Lanao del Sur, armed encounters south of Lake Lanao, particularly in the municipalities of Tuburan and Pagayawan were reported between the AFP and the remnants of the Maute armed group on 11 and 14 March which caused the displacement of more than 8,900 people from two municipalities. Displaced people in Lanao del Sur are sheltered in schools, madrasahs or are staying with host families. 

In the island provinces of Mindanao, the AFP continues to engage the Abu Sayaff Group in Sulu following the bombing of Jolo cathedral in January 2019. A spike of encounters in February led to displacements of more than 5,000 people in the municipalities of Patikul, Tongkil, Jolo, Indanan and Maimbung. Cumulatively, there are 49,300 people displaced in BARMM as of 21 March (BARMM Ministry of Social Services). Displacement data are expected to change once assessment results are finalized.    

Government response and humanitarian coordination 

Local and provincial authorities are leading the response, assisted by the Philippine Red Cross and humanitarian organizations in distributing food, relief items and medical assistance. UNHCR working with local NGOs has distributed kitchen sets, mats and tarpaulins, while UNICEF is supporting local health units with emergency health kits.

The BARMM government’s humanitarian response team, BARMM-HEART, called for a joint meeting with the Mindanao Humanitarian Team (MHT), composed of Mindanao-based UN agencies and international and local NGOs on 21 March to launch a joint assessment in the affected areas. Government authorities, with support from the Philippine Red Cross and the MHT are leading the response and have traveled to three affected provinces on 25 March. Participating MHT agencies and humanitarian partners include Action Against Hunger, ACTED, CFSI, FAO, IOM, Islamic Relief Worldwide, MMI, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tyakap Kalilintad, UNFPA, UNHCR, UnyPhil, and WFP. Additionally, Al-Mujadilah Foundation, CARE Philippines, Nonviolent Peaceforce, and OCHA joined the team in the Lanao del Sur assessment. The results of the assessment are expected to be presented to the MHT and new BARMM Government on 28 March. The Provincial Government of Maguindanao is coordinating with MHT members to monitor the situation and assess priority needs of the affected population.

Initial assessments show that there is a need for sustained food assistance, potable water, and relief items such as soap, sleeping mats and mosquito nets. With continued insecurity and the uncertainty when the law enforcement operations will end, it remains difficult for IDPs to continue their education, farming, and livelihood. According to military authorities, operations will continue as long as the threat remains, and the armed groups remain active in the target areas.

URL:

Date:

Philippines

Situation Report
Interactive (1 day ago)

Mindanao Humanitarian Situation

URL:

Date:

Philippines

Situation Report
Feature (20 hours ago)
El Niño brings drought and dry spells - Mindanao most affected
Lanao del Sur (March 2018) - El Niño, a period of prolonged drought, adversely affects the agriculture sector and can cause significant issues for food security and nutrition. Credit: FAO/N. Celis

El Niño brings drought and dry spells - Mindanao most affected

Drought conditions are being reported in the MIMAROPA Region, Region IX, and Region XII, BARMM and Metro Manila, where ten provinces have declared a State of Calamity according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). While the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) declared a weak El Niño lasting until June, agricultural regions are suffering from its worsening effects, with the Department of Agriculture (DA) reporting damage to over 13,600 ha of agricultural crops, mostly rice (81 per cent) and corn (19 per cent). Agricultural losses are estimated at PhP1.33 billion (US$25.6 million) but could run higher as the DA verifies reports from regional offices. Over 16,000 farmers and fisherfolk are affected, and some local media are reporting that the drought conditions are also starting to affect livestock, with some farm animals dying due to the lack of grass or hay for foraging.

Mindanao farmers and fisherfolk most affected

Mindanao is the most affected region, a major food producer where poverty levels are the highest in the country and farmers and fisherfolk are already vulnerable due to repeated armed conflict and natural hazards such as heavy rain and flooding. Since January, the NDRRMC reports that the central and western Mindanao provinces are experiencing below normal rainfall conditions which is predicted to continue. Close to 72,000 families (360,000 people) are affected in the five municipalities in North Cotabato alone, sixty per cent of which are located in Pikit. With the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, local authorities of North Cotabato have declared a State of Calamity.

  Early action planning for farming communities vulnerable to drought

Farming communities in the municipalities of Pigkawayan in North Cotabato and Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao started early action planning to prepare for El Niño. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized planning workshops in January on Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) for drought with local government representatives and agriculture officers.  When affected by El Niño, the Philippines alternates climatically between intense droughts and strong typhoons. As the climate changes, the Southern Oscillation increases in frequency and severity, and in turn increasing the intensity of natural hazards. “Such changes are testing the traditional resilience methods of the country and being able to protect the population, especially their livelihoods, from these shocks is becoming increasingly challenging,” FAO Representative in the Philippines Jose Luis Fernandez said. Disasters and climate change impacts, including shifts in weather patterns and extreme weather-related events disrupt economic activities and livelihoods, and ultimately threaten food security. Increasing the resilience of agricultural communities to these threats and crises is a priority area of work for FAO and its partners in the Philippines. The EWEA project, implemented by FAO in partnership with DA and PAGASA and with funding support from the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium, aims to safeguard the livelihood of rice farmers in selected areas in Mindanao that have high vulnerability rates and high exposure to drought.  The project will help protect rice production by providing irrigation systems and climate-resilient inputs, and increase resilience by promoting diversification of livelihoods.

URL:

Date:

Philippines

Situation Report
Feature (14 hours ago)
Measles outbreak looms over the Philippines
Tondo, Metro Manila (16 February 2019) - Raihana with her two children at the Philippine Red Cross’ measles vaccination programme in the Baseco community. Credit: Philippine Red Cross

Measles outbreak looms over the Philippines

Children in the Philippines are at serious risk from a nationwide outbreak of measles, a highly-contagious disease which has already claimed the lives of over 300 people, mostly unvaccinated children under the age of five.  According to the latest data from the Department of Health’s (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau, over 22,900 cases were officially reported from 01 January to 19 March, an increase of 380 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. The number of deaths from measles this year has already surpassed the total number of recorded deaths in 2018, with figures expected to rise further as the outbreak progresses. 

Surge in measles cases in 2019

Measles cases in the country have been mounting since late 2017 when the outbreak started in Mindanao. According to the Department of Health, there were 4,586 measles cases reported in 2017, and 21,812 cases in 2018 which accounted for 39 and 202 deaths respectively. To contain transmission and prevent further cases and deaths, the DOH implemented an outbreak response in targeted regions during the fourth quarter of 2017 and in 2018. A nationwide Measles-Rubella supplemental immunization was also conducted in between April and September 2018 but this was not deemed a success due to low coverage. 

Global spike in measles cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that multiple countries are presently experiencing severe and protracted outbreaks of measles due to complacency about the disease, collapsing health systems in developing countries, and decreasing vaccination coverage fueled by misinformation on the supposedly negative side effects of vaccinations.  In the Philippines, WHO noted a decline in immunization in the past decade – from above 80 per cent in 2008 to below 70 per cent in 2018 – resulting in the increased susceptibility to the disease of an estimated 3.7 million children under five years of age.  Among the factors cited for low immunization coverage is the inadequate service delivery of primary care level, vaccination hesitancy, and accessibility issues in remote areas. During monitoring visits, it was observed that storage equipment for vaccines in some areas are in need of replacement. 

Government response to the outbreak

A nationwide immunization drive is being implemented by the DOH which aims to track and cover 3.7 million children aged six to 59 months, 7 million children aged five to 12 years, and 2.6 million adults. The Government continues to ramp up its public information and advocacy campaign to mitigate misinformation and improve public understanding of the critical importance and safety of vaccines.  In prioritizing infants and toddlers who remain the most vulnerable group, the health department reports that it has so far vaccinated 54 per cent of those below five years of age, while the seven million school-aged children are targeted to be immunized before the end of the current school year in early April.  Overall, the DOH aims to achieve a desired 95 per cent coverage for all sub-groups, which according to WHO is the critical immunity threshold to be fully protected against measles.

Response efforts from the humanitarian community

The DOH, supported by the Philippine Red Cross and humanitarian partners, is leading the response to contain the measles outbreak. WHO and UNICEF are providing technical and some funding support in the planning, implementation and monitoring of measles outbreak response activities. UNICEF facilitated the procurement of one million measles vaccines to supplement the existing stockpiles which arrived in early March, with another five million set to arrive in April, and provided tents for use in hospitals to manage the surge in measles cases. Both agencies mobilized their NGO networks to monitor the immunization programme at the local level.  The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has mobilized its local chapters to provide vaccination and raise awareness. The Red Cross is operating measles care units – tents equipped with beds, emergency room, and admission area – in five hospitals in and around national capital to help with the clinical management and medical care of patients. IFRC has launched an emergency appeal of CHF2 million (US$1.99 million) on 6 March which will enable PRC to vaccinate 260,000 people and provide clinical support for overcrowded hospitals. As of March 14, the PRC has immunized over 15,500 children in the country, with volunteers conducting house-to-house vaccinations and station-based vaccination. Raihana Guiamlod brought her two children, Saleha and King, aged 4- and 2-years old to a vaccination drive in the Baseco community in Tondo, Manila on 16 February. She believes that vaccination will protect her children and spare her from medical expenses.  “Para naman ‘to sa kapakanan ng mga anak natin,” Guiamlod said. “Sinamantala na namin ang pagkakaton na andito ang Red Cross para tumulong.” (This is for the good of our children. We took advantage of the time that the Red Cross is here to help us.)  Volunteers composed of 250 doctors, nurses visited Baseco from 16-17 February as part of PRC’s community-based measles control programme.

Preparedness for pandemics

As part of the Philippines Humanitarian Country Team’s 2019 work plan, WHO with the support of the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG), will lead the drafting of a contingency plan to support the Philippines government in the event of a pandemic. The DOH has an existing pandemic preparedness plan for influenza in place since 2010, which will be updated and expanded into an inter-agency/inter-cluster plan that will define the large role to be played by humanitarian partners in public information dissemination, health and hygiene promotion, among others.

URL:

Date: