Tag Archives: Disaster

[Press Release] Save the Children calls for Protection of children in emergencies at Global Disaster Risk Reduction Conference in Sendai, Japan

Save the Children calls for Protection of children in emergencies at Global Disaster Risk Reduction Conference in Sendai, Japan

Over 100 million children worldwide are affected by disasters yearly and, as a result, many face reduced educational opportunities.

This challenge is particularly evident in the Philippines, where recent disasters destroyed entire schools, ruined classroom supplies and damaged equipment. Schools are routinely used as evacuation centers. Classes are interrupted and children miss out on their education. More than half a year after Typhoon Yolanda, some schools were still used as evacuation centers.

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As the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction opens in Sendai (Japan) on 14 March, Save the Children renews its call for Congress and the Administration to pass the “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act”, a bill that calls for a comprehensive plan that will protect the rights of children during disasters and emergencies. The Philippines will be sending high-level Cabinet officials and Congressional leaders to the conference.

The impact of disasters on children’s education goes beyond physical damage and interrupted school attendance, children often experience psychological distress following disasters, affecting their ability to learn.

Country Director of Save the Children in the Philippines Ned Olney said, “Disasters have a huge impact on education. However, it does not have to be that way. Proper planning can help us to mitigate the impact of disasters on education. This is why Save the Children asks for the immediate passage of the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act to ensure that education is prioritized in national disaster policies and plans. The Act is asking for investments to make school facilities safer, setting limits on the use of classrooms as displacement centers and in preparing children and teachers for disasters”.

In January 2015, the bill was approved on 3rd reading by the Congress.

PRESS RELEASE:
For more information, photographs and spokespersons, please contact Save the Children Philippines Media Manager April Sumaylo at April.Sumaylo@savethechildren.org or on 09173011240

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[Press Release] World-renowned Filmmaker Lav Diaz Dedicates His Latest Masterpiece, Storm Children, to Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan and to the Advocacy for Climate Revolution -DAKILA

World-renowned Filmmaker Lav Diaz Dedicates His Latest Masterpiece, Storm Children,
to Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan and to the Advocacy for Climate Revolution

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The Philippine premiere of the latest masterpiece of world-renowned filmmaker, Lav Diaz, was held last November 4, 2014, Tuesday, 7pm at the Cinema 6 of Ayala Trinoma Mall. The Philippine premiere was presented by Dakila – Philippine Collective for Modern Heroism, an artist group inspiring social consciousness formation, in partnership with the Embassy of Canada, Voyage Studios and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

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Mga Anak ng Unos (Storm Children) tackles how children deal with devastations after the storm. The compelling photography of Lav Diaz beautifully weaves the story of three children and how they cope with disasters. The special screening is for the benefit of DAKILA’s climate revolution campaign, which initiated the Climate Walk from Manila to Tacloban and for the trust fund of the children featured in the film.

The Philippine premiere of “Mga Anak ng Unos (Storm Children)” coincides with the anniversary week of the landfall of Typhon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Tacloban and the culmination of the Climate Walk for Climate Justice, a 1,000 kilometer and 40-day journey from Kilometer 0 Luneta to Ground Zero Tacloban, participated by DAKILA’s core members musician Nityalila Saulo, visual artist AG Sano, filmmaker Charley Sta. Maria, advertising professional Christine Orias and development activist Steph Tan and led by Philippine Chief Negotiator and representative to the UN Climate negotiations, Commissioner Yeb Sano of the Climate Change Commission.

According to DAKILA Vice President and musician-activist, Noel Cabangon, “As changing weather patterns bring about strong typhoons like Yolanda, climate change has already become an issue of human survival. With the worsening impacts of climate change being most felt in developing countries like the Philippines, the issue of climate change is now more real than ever.”

The Philippine premiere of Storm Children is held in partnership with the Embassy of Canada. The Government of Canada is one of the countries that have taken decisive action to provide assistance to the people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. According to Canadian Embassy Political Counsellor, Elizabeth Baldwin-Jones, who graced the screening of Storm Children, in behalf of Ambassador Neil Reeder, “The Embassy of Canada is pleased to be a partner of the Philippine premiere of this important documentary from an acclaimed filmmaker. We at the embassy would like to see our engagement in this initiative in two lenses: first is a tribute to an outstanding Filipino director – Lav Diaz, who, with his recent feature film ‘Norte, End of History,’ wowed audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. And the second is a constant reminder of the need to prepare responsibly for disasters and natural calamities.”

She further added, “The Government of Canada has contributed Cad$ 85 million in humanitarian assistance to Yolanda-affected communities in the Philippines. This matches the Cad$ 85 million raised by private companies, organizations, and ordinary, civic-minded Canadians, bringing the total of our assistance to Cad$ 170 million (approx. PhP 6.8 billion). We are committed to support the long-term rehabilitation plans of the Philippines in rebuilding the communities devastated by Yolanda. Complementing that support is our advocacy to promote disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Following on the Philippines’ ‘Build back better’ vision, we’d like as well to see communities and cities taking disaster risk reduction and preparedness seriously and consistently.”

In 2013, the Philippines suffered the tremendous impact of Typhoon Haiyan, taking almost 10,000 lives and destroying farmlands, fisheries, and livelihoods of people. Months after, Southern Luzon and Northern Visayas were again hit by Typhoon Rammasun (Glenda), which damaged billions-worth of infrastructures and livelihood. Recently, Typhoon Mario (Fung-Wong) flooded the streets of Metro Manila, paralyzing the country’s capital and causing about PhP 1.14B crop damage.

DAKILA, the group that presented the film screening, has been in the forefront of campaigning for climate action. Advocates taking part in the Climate Walk encouraged local government units along the route to commit to taking action against the climate crisis by committing to draft their own Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAP) and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plans (DRRM). The Climate Walk for Climate Justice calls on world leaders to arrive at arrive at a fair and binding deal and take concrete actions on climate change.

Dakila Executive Director, Leni Velasco, in her statement said, “The Philippine premiere of Lav Diaz’ Storm Children comes in a very relevant time when our nation needs to focus on the impacts of climate change and disasters to our people’s lives, especially to our children who are most vulnerable and at risk. Every day we confront the reality of climate change – uncertainties over food security, water and the vulnerability to diseases and natural disasters. And for a developing nation like the Philippines, this reality is far worse. A year after Yolanda, the nation is still in shambles – with many of our country men still displaced, with no secure jobs or livelihood and still vulnerable when the next disaster strikes.”

In his director’s statement, Lav Diaz likened the storm to the system that continues to wreck havoc in the lives of the Filipino. He said, “And if I may dwell on the figurative side of storms battering the Filipino, the psyche comes into the fore. The worst storms, man-made storms, become evil batterers of the Malay soul–think of the long years of Spanish and American colonization, the Japanese Occupation of World War II and the brutal Martial Law years of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Institutionalized corruption in our system and culture bleeds the Malay Filipino. This is the most relentless storm.”

Ending her statement during the screening, Velasco said, “Dakila presented this important film because we believe in the vision of Lav Diaz. Our film program, the Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival, believes in the power of cinema to project truth, truth that scares us, truth that shocks us, truth that moves us to action. The truth is climate change is real. The truth is that climate change is an issue of the survival of the human race. Let us refuse to succumb to a future that sows fear to our people every time a typhoon hits our land. Let us refuse to accept that suffering from devastation is a fact of life. Let us refuse to surrender the dignity of life of our people. Let us refuse to yield powerless against climate change.”

“We can no longer wait for another Haiyan. We need to fundamentally change the way we live, and the way things work in our planet. It is time we take part in this climate revolution.” Velasco ended.

Environment advocates, civil society organizations, the art and film community came in full force for the screening of Storm Children. Prior to the screening, an exhibit on the climate walk was unveiled to the public. Storm Children will compete at the Copenhagen International Film Festival 2014. Lav Diaz’ other films, Norte, the End of History was screened in Un certain Regard of Cannes 2013 (France) and his latest film, From What is Before (Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon) won the Golden Leopard at the 2014 Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland). Lav Diaz’ films has also won in several other festivals including the Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. His films include West Side Kid, Evolution of a Filipino Family, Heremias, Death in the Land of Encantos, Florentina Hubaldo, Century of Birthing and Melancholia.

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[Press Release] Groups launch 8 Days of Actions in time for Yolanda Disaster Commemoration -PMCJ

1 Year of Yolanda Disaster, Stormy Year of Injustices
Groups launch 8 Days of Actions in time for Yolanda Disaster Commemoration

Manila, Philippines – In the lead up to the first year commemoration of the Yolanda disaster, the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), with its members and allies, comes up with its assessment on government’s handling of the Yolanda disaster, from preparation, response and rehabilitation.

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“From the very start, the Aquino Administration has failed miserably! By saying that it is ‘under control’ which is contrary to its government’s level of preparedness was, in a way, already a death wish to all who perished when Yolanda struck Central Visayas. To sum up, the Aquino government was over-confidently, inappropriately prepared.” Gerry Arances, National Coordinator of PMCJ lamented.

The groups have lined up series of actions, highlighting the many injustices that the Yolanda victims and survivors have incurred, in the lead up to November 8, 2014 commemoration.

Arances further commented on the state of rehabilitation efforts that “After one
year, without a clear people-centered rehabilitation plan, tens of thousands still leaving in tents and bunkhouses, no substantial economic activities and sustainable jobs, among others, we can fairly say that what the government has done is that it has added more insult to injury to our kababayans who have suffered the wrath of Typhoon Yolanda and is still continuously suffering the ineptness of this government.”

According to the assessment of groups affiliated to PMCJ on the one year Yolanda response, there are eight (8) injustices that the people of Central Visayas and other Yolanda-affected areas had to bear for the past year.

The government is also accountable for not only neglecting the people and the rehabilitation efforts by passing its obligations so easily to the private sector but also for encouraging further the degradation of the environment in these affected areas. “One concrete example of government’s neglect is when it continued to push for extractive projects in the devastated areas instead of protecting the natural resources of the country and preventing the worsening of climate change impacts and disasters. Instead of making sure that rehabilitation efforts are on the way, the government agencies and local government units ensured that mining operations continues in mineral rich areas in Samar and Leyte.” asserted Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and a
member of the Coordinating Committee of PMCJ.

According to ATM, In Manicani Is., Eastern Samar, it was Sec. Panfilo Lacson of the Presidential Assistance for Recovery and Reconstruction (PARR) himself, through an official letter to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, gave a go signal to the continuation of mining operations in the Island in the guise of pursuing rehabilitation efforts.

Another major problem with the rehabilitation plans as planned by the government was its imposition of a blanket policy regarding the, “40-meter no build zone” in Yolanda-affected areas, including the coast of Tacloban City. “The government imposed the policy without coming up with a clear guidelines and thorough consultation with the communities. We understand the need to transfer them to safer sites, however, if there are no additional supports from government and provision oflivelihood, this policy will be rendered ineffective because it will endanger the people further. Also, reports have reached us that the government is saving those premium lands from the coast to big corporations for tourism and commercial purposes. If this is true, then it is a clear violation of the people’s right to decent housing and access to livelihood in case of our fisherfolk kababayans.” said Pascualito Ilagan, PMCJ Eastern Visayas and President of Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Samar-Leyte Chapter.

Indigenous Peoples communities are troubled as well. “The commitment of the government was building back better. a year after Yolanda, did Indigenous women’s access to basic services improved? No! They remained isolated and excluded and are even pushed to a much worst situation of struggling every single day to ensure that there is food on their tables.” said Cheryl Polutan, Campaigner of Purple Action for Indigenous Womens Rights (LILAK)

The one-year assessment of PMCJ has enumerated eight injustices: 1) lack of government accountability 2) corporate capture versus a people-centered rehabilitation; 3) ineffective policies and lack of implementation of climate change laws and mandates; 4) loan-driven rehabilitation effort; 5) prioritization of dirty and harmful energy; 6) massive dislocation policy – no build zone policy; 7) lack of incorporation of sustainable development principles and addressing inequality; 8) inadequacy of international response.

The injustices, as exposed by PMCJ and its members, also include the inadequacy of international response and the Aquino government’s failure to lead in this arena. PMCJ also points out in its assessment the message that the Aquino administration raised during his speech in United Nations Climate Summit in New York and the failure of developed countries’ response to the lessons of Yolanda disaster.

“There is a need to push for all pending commitments based on responsibilities of the developed countries. We need to press for adequate climate finance under the Green Climate Fund with at least $100 Billion starting in 2020 and corresponding funds before 2020, as well as the long standing issue of radical and ambitious emissions reduction led by the developed countries that would limit the global emissions to 1 – 1.5 degrees Celsius.“ explained by Manjette Lopez, President of Sanlakas and head of Emissions Cuts Working Group of PMCJ.

PMCJ is asserting that one of the lessons of the Yolanda disaster is that we need to also address the loss and damages that countries like the Philippines are incurring due to the increasing impacts of climate change. Aside from Adaptation needs, or the measures to adopt to the changes brought about by climate change, a Loss and Damage international mechanism has to be set up immediately and that corresponding funds has to be put in place based on responsibilities of the developed countries.

Lopez added that “Pres. Nonoy, during his speech in the New York Summit, left these needs of the country unsaid and he lend the culprits of the climate crisis – the developed countries and their big corporations – not accountable and off the hook.”

Part of the eight days of action for the Yolanda disaster 1 year commemoration, a People’s Caravan for Climate Justice will be organized around the offices of the developed countries, including the US and EU offices, who are accountable for the climate crisis.

“In honoring our dead kababayans due to the Yolanda disaster, those that have been orphaned, as well as those who continuously suffer the ineptness of the Aquino Administration, we need not only learn from this, we also need to exact accountability. Let this 1 year commemoration of the Yolanda disaster be the start of a movement that will exact accountability to those that have neglected the need of our kababayans in the face of increasing wrath brought about by climate change.

Justice to all those devastated by Yolanda disaster and the ineptness the Aquino government! Climate Justice Now!“ Arances concluded.

Phone: +63.2.433.0954
Website: http://www.climatejustice.ph |Email Address: pmcj2012.sec@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE
OCTOBER 29, 2014

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[Statement] SONA 2014: More work needed in inclusive risk reduction -Oxfam

SONA 2014: More work needed in inclusive risk reduction

Following his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), we, a consortium of international aid agencies that has been working to realise inclusive, community-based disaster risk reduction (ICBDRR) in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, had hoped President Benigno Simeon Aquino III reported extensively on his administration’s state of risk reduction efforts both in terms of rehabilitation and recovery of Haiyan-affected areas and the broader disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies.

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Nine months since the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall hit the country, thousands are still living in tents in coastal areas. When Glenda hit the Visayas two weeks ago, more than 7,000 people in Haiyan-affected areas sought cover anew. Back in April 2014, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) already cited that only 53 out of 643 or 8 per cent of evacuation centres can be used in Eastern Samar.

These communities are being exposed to tremendous risk and uncertainty. They urgently need to know when permanent relocation will move forward, what other settlement options they have, and what the implications will be for their livelihoods. They must be consulted in ongoing and meaningful ways to ensure any settlement measures represent truly durable solutions.

In this respect, the SONA would have been an opportunity for the President to update the nation on its plans for recovery and the critical role that DRR will play in ensuring that we truly “build back better”. The Reconstruction Assistance for Yolanda (RAY) plan was released by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in December 2013 but is now woefully out of date as the transition from emergency relief to recovery and rehabilitation is underway. Further, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, which is key to strengthening transparency and accountability, has yet to be released. These documents are critical to better understand the substance of a few LGU’s “rehabilitation and recovery plans”, which the President said he recently approved.

With a clear trend of increasingly frequent and intense natural hazards, the government must lay out a strengthened commitment to enacting and implementing policies that increase our nation’s resilience to disasters. Renewed efforts and scaled-up resourcing are needed following the massive impact of typhoon Haiyan, which exposed weaknesses in existing prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts. In particular, it further highlighted the disproportionate impact such a disaster has on women, children, persons with disabilities and isolated communities. The Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility, led by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has previously observed the limited security, inadequate bathing and latrine facilities and lack of privacy in evacuation centres as well as the limited number of female police officers in hard-hit areas. A recent Oxfam paper also suggested the continuing vulnerability of women and children whose families are still struggling to find sources of livelihood.

Hence, the administration must iterate its policy direction on DRR, ensuring that the sunset review of Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010 truly strengthens the impact of this law at regional, provincial and local levels, among others. We urge the President to lay down his commitment to ICBDRR, including the strategies and mechanisms that will ensure the meaningful participation, protection, and much-needed livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and families.

PRESS STATEMENT
29 July 2014 For immediate release
Contact persons:
Rhea Catada, +63 9173654649 , RCatada@oxfam.org.uk
Nina Somera, +63 9177014286, MSomera@oxfam.org.uk
For interviews with Justin Morgan, country director of Oxfam, project lead of SURGE and/ or Jenny Lyn Hernandez, project manager of SURGE

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[Appeal] An urgent demand from a Filipina especially in the light of the recent devastation caused by Yolanda

An urgent demand from a Filipina especially in the light of the recent devastation caused by Yolanda.

An Open Letter to the US and the EU Countries on Climate Justice and the Need for Drastic Emissions Cut:

June 2013

In my country, the Philippines,December marks the onset of rainy season—a welcome departure from the torrid tropical heat of summer and high time for crop production, colder breezes during morning commutes, and indulgent frolics under the rain. That was not the case four years ago as this season unexpectedly brought about the tropical cyclone Ketsana, which devastated my country to an unprecedented state of calamity. This incident took 500 lives, displaced thousands from their homes, submerged upscale and poor communities in mud, and endangered the health of tens of thousands.

The following years were far less promising as the country was successively distraught with uncommonly powerful and destructive typhoons such as Typhoon Bopha in 2010, Tropical Storm Washi in 2011, and the seasonal southwest monsoon (locally known as Habagat) in August 2012. For the past four years, every rainy season produced stronger calamities, which consequently led to weeklong suspension of classes, slippery and damaged roads, and greater exposure to health risks. Not surprisingly, in 2013, the GermanWatch Climate Risk Index identified the Philippines as the fourth most vulnerable country to the damaging effects of climate change.

I am Alenz Avril De Torres and I am a Filipino student. I am writing because it is yet again June and I am haunted with the realization that this year and for the coming years, every rainy season will no longer be a pleasant favorite but rather a potentially irreversible nightmare.

The root of climate change and the solution to it is right in front of our faces that it baffles me why you remain unfazed with the adverse consequences of unabated emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). It has been scientifically proven that industrialized countries, comprising mostly of your countries, are the main source GHG over the last century yet poor and developing countries like my country absorb the backlash of your emissions. This unusual accumulation of emissions in the atmosphere has produced global increase in temperature, resulting in erratic and abnormal weather that occurs frequently in third world countries such as the Philippines, which contribute less than 1% to global GHG emission. The obvious and logical solution is to radically cut down GHG emissions and repair countries damaged, and continuously damaged, by the accelerating changes in climate. Simply put, cut and be just.

Just last month, scientific agencies revealed that the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have already reached 400 parts per million (ppm), the highest level in human history and 50 ppm higher than the amount our atmosphere can safely absorb. If this will be the state of affairs in the next decade, then humanity is bound to perish. Thus, we call on you to be responsible and accountable for your historical contribution to Earth’s damage. A first, albeit huge, step that you should take is to ratify and adhere to the second commitment period for 2013 to 2020 of the Kyoto Protocol and to divest from band-aid and gibberish solutions such as Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) and Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradations (REDDs). If we are to stabilize the Earth’s temperature to a threshold of until 1.5 degrees Celsius, a goal set by climate scientists and supported by 112 countries, then there should be no space for your “flexibility” mechanism mumbo jumbos, where carbon credits are traded and bought. Each and every country must play their role for the reversal of climate change and to make the Earth a livable place for all, and your role is to cut GHG emissions.

Most of all, we call on you to be just. We are undoubtedly prejudiced by the socio-political and economic adjustments demanded of us to be able to adapt to climate changes given the minute amount of GHG emissions we have contributed. I think that it is cogent for us to demand that you, wealthy countries, pay your climate debt, and pay reparation to poor countries. As nationals from the Global South, we demand that you no longer put off owning up to your responsibility to take lead in solving the climate problem. We cannot, and most importantly, should not bear the brunt of climate change alone; reduced to being dispensable and second-class citizens of the Earth.

Amid the gloom from looming rain clouds, numerous climate justice campaigns will be launched this month in the Philippines. I hope that in these efforts to raise the issue of climate justice within the discourse of global democracy, you show cooperation and finally share the same activism with us. I invite you to completely leave self-serving interests and to join us in our defense of climate justice and promotion of a livable and sustainable Earth. I know that there are always reasons for hope and none for defeatism. I am optimistic that every June may still be the onset of a beautiful rainy season.

Always hopeful,

A young Filipina

by PMCJ https://www.facebook.com/ClimateJusticePH

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[In the news] Search for missing resumes in Comval mining site landslide – InterAksyon.com

Search for missing resumes in Comval mining site landslide
by Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com| News5
January 6, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines — The death toll from the landslide that struck a mining community in Pantukan, Compostela Valley on Thursday rose to 27 after authorities resumed search and rescue operations on Friday, News5’s Romel Lopez reported.

Earlier, authorities said only 22 bodies have been recovered. Sixteen persons were rescued with injuries while at least eight more remain missing, the military said.

This was a drastic reduction from the 150 reported missing immediately after the incident, although “unconfirmed reports” placed the missing tally at around 40.

Some of the fatalities were identified as Ivy Tolentino, 14; Bea Tolentino, 6; Sheena Mae Tolentino, 12; Susana Velasquez, 48; Ruel Zamora, 27; Arlene Senoron, 23; Romnick Diagdal, 22; Rodel Taping, 29; and Christopher Diami, 7.

Read full article @interaksyon.com

[In the news] EU: Poor hardest hit by floods in Mindanao – PhilStar.com

EU: Poor hardest hit by floods in Mindanao
By Pia Lee-Brago, The Philippine Star
January 05, 2012

 CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The poor that were severely affected by the flashfloods spawned by tropical storm “Sendong” here and in Iligan City and who could not leave their homes and settle in safer areas represent 80 percent of the displaced families, now totaling 641,000 people.

European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux yesterday said the figure given by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCA) highlighted the poverty level of the residents that have been affected by the floods.

He stressed the need to reduce the high casualty count by addressing the issue of poverty whenever disasters and calamities strike the Philippines.

“The Philippine government is well aware of this and is implementing various policies to promote economic growth and reduce poverty,” Ledoux said.

The EU, for its part, is also contributing to the poverty reduction effort, he said.

Last year, the EU disbursed funds in numerous development aid programs aimed at reducing poverty.

The EU, through its non-government organization partners, has mobilized many relief workers on the ground to provide immediate emergency assistance to 170,000 displaced families.

But beyond relief assistance, Ledoux said, is the continuing need to strengthen disaster preparedness mechanisms in the area. Although the EU has invested significantly in disaster preparedness in the Philippines in the last few years, Ledoux said more needs to be done.

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=764948&publicationSubCategoryId=63

[From the web] Philippines Flooding Endangers Thousands of Children – Save the Children Voices from the Field

Philippines Flooding Endangers Thousands of Children – Save the Children Voices from the Field.

by Anna Lindenfors, Philippines Country Director, Manila, Philippines- savethechildren.typepad.com

It must have been terrifying. Flash floods create a fast moving body of water, sweeping away everything in its path. Cars, trees, people.

Yesterday morning (night-time in the Philippines) very heavy rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks and flood the area – killing hundreds and leaving thousands more stranded, without food or shelter, in the middle of the night.

Save the Children’s team on the ground launched into action immediately – assessing the damage on the most vulnerable children and their families.

Travelling along the highway you can see bodies lined up – waiting to be identified. Of the hundreds of dead, there are only a few injured. This is not unusual in a flood. Very few people caught up in the path of a flash flood will survive. Most of the dead were children, again not a surprise. Children are smaller, lighter and less likely to know where to go in an emergency. Those that survived will be cold, exhausted and terrified. Some will have been separated from their parents in the chaos.

Several of Save the Children’s team are coping with personal tragedy while responding to the flooding. One tells me their family didn’t survive intact. The debris of a destroyed house fell on top of a relative, killing her. Another tells me that water levels are so high their home is completely uninhabitable. They are worried about electrocution, so can’t return home. Yet another reports that they have run out of coffins in the town, and he doesn’t know what will happen.

Read full article @ savethechildren.typepad.com