EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC Philippines
© UNICEF Philippines/2011/Santos
A boy tends his baby brother in a school being used as a temporary shelter for families displaced by flooding in Central Luzon. Cyclones and ongoing conflict have disrupted schooling and left children at greater risk of disease.
Mid-Year Review of Humanitarian Action Plan for Philippines (Mindanao), August 2012
Children and Women in Crisis
The Philippines is a country affected by natural hazards and armed conflict. In 2011, erratic weather and tropical cyclones caused heavy floods in nearly every region of the country, including Eastern Visayas, Central Mindanao and Central Luzon. Millions of women and children suffered because their homes and communities were submerged in floodwater when storms struck throughout the year. A lack of preparedness and ability to respond to these disasters by local government authorities left the most vulnerable of this already fragile population exposed to a host of negative consequences, including contaminated water sources and waterborne diseases, loss of food and livelihood and a prolonged disruption of schooling. Despite the resumption of the formal peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the major non-state armed groups, the rido – clan wars – infighting within the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and military operations against other rebel groups persisted, with at least 375,000 displaced, returned, resettled and home-based people in Mindanao affected by armed conflicts and flooding and requiring humanitarian assistance in 2011.1 A lack of formal protections plague the hazard-prone and politically unstable communities, causing grave child rights violations and increasing risks of abuse and exploitation for women.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
In 2012, UNICEF, together with the Government of the Philippines, other UN agencies and NGOs, will continue to provide leadership to emergency clusters on WASH, nutrition, education and child protection, and will work to promote improved and child-centred disaster risk reduction efforts.2 UNICEF will specifically target the needs of approximately 200,000 children and 50,000 women in disaster-stricken and conflict-affected areas.
- Community-based management of acute malnutrition will be expanded in order to mitigate the chronic prevalence of severe acute malnutrition in the areas struck by both conflict and natural hazards. Micronutrient supplementation will be provided to some 20,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women and 100,000 children under 5 will be screened for acute malnutrition.
- WASH services will be provided to at least 38,000 families in areas affected by typhoons, floods and conflict. Interventions will include monitoring water quality in flood-prone areas and ensuring comprehensive WASH services for highly vulnerable communities, with special attention given to WASH in schools and health facilities. Construction/rehabilitation of water supply systems, toilets and bathing spaces and improving hygiene practices will be essential in preventing morbidity and death, as well as in building resilience.
- UNICEF will target the quick restoration of health services and deployment of emergency mobile health teams in areas affected by disasters. Health kits containing essential medicines and basic medical equipment will be provided to damaged health units. A total of 150,000 doses of measles vaccines and immunization supplies will be pre-positioned to ensure children in vulnerable areas are fully vaccinated.
- Young and school-aged children in conflict- and disaster-affected areas will be supported through alternative and formal education in safe and secure environments. UNICEF will advocate for disaster risk reduction and capacity-building initiatives to benefit 100,000 children in affected areas, particularly the more vulnerable young children and adolescents.
- Some 135,000 at-risk children will be provided with protection and psychosocial services through child-friendly spaces, youth clubs and capacity building of public social welfare offices.
- UNICEF will provide approximately 8,000 children, young people and pregnant women with HIV awareness interventions, including informative games and educational materials, as well as referrals, should an emergency hit the higher-HIV burden metropolitan areas.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
UNICEF requested US$15,107,400 to fund its work in the Philippines in 2011. As of end October 2011, US$2,767,790 (18 per cent) had been received. Complemented by carry-over emergency contributions, UNICEF was able to mobilize early recovery efforts for rebuilding basic social services in the conflict-affected communities in Central Mindanao and swift emergency response in the flood-affected regions. At least 54,000 families – more than the 14,000 planned for the year – were provided with WASH services, including access to safe water and sanitary facilities, hygiene promotion and distribution of kits. Some 64,000 children under 5 – more than the programmatic goal of 37,500 – from more than 20 target municipalities employing the community-based management of acute malnutrition programme were screened and provided with micronutrient supplementation. Of those screened, more than 600 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition were treated and nearly 80 per cent cured. More than 360,000 children (out of a programmatic goal of 136,000 children) and 14,000 families affected by armed conflict and flooding participated in psychosocial services. More than 22,000 children were provided access to quality early and basic education.
Funding Requirements for 2012
UNICEF is requesting US$19,356,000 to continue its ongoing humanitarian activities in Mindanao and other flood- and conflict-affected parts in the Philippines, as well as to prepare for and respond to new emergencies that may occur elsewhere in the country.
1 Philippines (Mindanao) Humanitarian Action Plan, forthcoming.
2 Cluster coordination is done both at the national and sub-national levels. In most instances, clusters are also formed at the sub-national level, such as in Mindanao. It would also include promotion of child-centred disaster risk reduction among the clusters and national government agencies.