Here are some details / background of the said project taken from the "Appraisal Report and Framework for Disaster Risk Management in Urban Areas in Region VII", a material provided by Mr. Mollen:
In July 2009, GTZ was commissioned by BMZ to review the develpment-oriented emergency and transitional aid project Disaster Risk Management in cities, Philippines. The appraisers were in the Philippines from 20 June to 31 July 2009 to analyse the situation and to conduct talks with representatives from institutions, organizations and potential target groups at national level and in Region VII (Eastern Visayas).
The Philippine Archipelago is regularly ravaged by extreme natural events, with earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruption being the most frequent. Year after year, the resultant floods, landslides and mudslides destroy valuable agricultural land and settlements, besides claiming human lives. In 2008 alone, over five million Filipinos were affected by typhoons, 644 people lost their lives, and economic losses exceeded US$ 400 million. Most of the damage was caused on 21 June 2008 by the sever typhoon "Frank", which devastated large parts of the country and rendered several hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
The devastation is explained not only by the fact that the country is prone to natural disasters, but also by the extreme vulnerablilty of Philippine society. Fuelled by the growth in population, the number of people in absoute terms rose by four million between 1985 and 2000. Increased environmental degradation, reflected in a dramatic decline in forest cover, heavy erosion and in the destruction of coral reefs and mangrove forests (and therefore also in declining agricultural yields), combined with inadequate capacities to deal with disaster risk management (DRM), mean that disaster-induced economic losses are increasing in the country.
Region VIII is particularly hard hit by natural disasters. For example in1991, a flash flood laid waste to large parts of the city of Ormoc, claiming 5,956 lives. Three years ago (17 February 2006), 1,126 people were burried under a landslide in Southern Leyte. Several smaller-scale disasters, particularly floods, also occur year after year, and while they do not feature in the international media, the cumulative damage and loss of life are enormous impediments to develoment n the region. On the other hand, the disasters of Region VIII are due to the area's exposure to natural hazards such as typhoons, floods, erosion, landslides, earthquakes, droughts and tsunamis. On the other hand, disaster risk also has much to do with the fact that people in Region VIII are particularly vulnerable to disasters. Poverty indicators substantiate the reality of development disparities in comparison to other parts of the country (HDI in Region VII is 0.55, as against the countrywide average of 0.76).
Further attempts to define the problem on regional level reveal that Samar is poorer than Leyte, a factor that is also reflected in the situations of the three cities that were analysed in depth in the course of the review mission (In Calbayog, the statistical annual average income was Php 78,000 (2000), Php 93,000 in Ormoc, and in Tacloban even Php 212,000 could be generated. Other data is also similar: employment in agriculture refelcted as a percentage of overall employment (45/24/1.3); literacy (14/9/3). It is also obvious that rural areas are, relatively speaking, poorer than urban areas. However, when expressed in absolute figures, substantially more poor people live in the cities.
Yet urban poverty and vulnerability to disasters are closely related to rural poverty, and have an impact on each other (functional dependencies), as will be described below. Possible solutions to minimize disaster risk in cities must therefore be sought in both areas.
Disaster risk in the cities can be outlined as follows: Deforestation in the upper water catchment areas contributing to flooding. The entry of high levels of fertilizer and faecal matter into the floodwaters compounds the problem, which then develops into a health hazard in the coastal cities. The tremendous influx of rural migrants and the absence of land use planning mean that cities are not in a position to identify adequate settlement areas. Consequently, many people live in a city’s marginalized and risk-prone locations; for example, in the flood plains of a river. Not only is direct living environment under threat, but agricultural land also lies in flood-prone areas. Traditional coping strategies are hardly to be found nowadays in cities. A pronounced trend towards individualization is clearly replacing once strong family ties, which is why, for instance, examples of people helping each other at times of disasters are rare. Moreover, traditional knowledge of minimizing risk (e.g. multiple cropping or crop diversification) and of risk prevention (stilt houses, adapted agricultural usage) is being increasing lost. Livelihood (above all, housing, health and food) is therefore at direct risk.
At present, action is taken primarily in the aftermath of disasters, and involves the deployment of recovery teams, assessment of damage, provision of support for the injured, and rehabilitation of destroyed public infrastructure. This is because DRM in the Philippines has been extremely reactive to date (tackling the damage caused by disasters, rescuing and providing disaster victims, etc.). While attempts are already under way to shift to a holistic understanding of DRM, these have been unsuccessful for several reasons, DRM is still usually thought as an environmental issue. Moreover, disaster protection is poorly organized. There are seldom any emergency plans; rescue services are poorly equipped and poorly organized, and financial resources are not available. The question of which state institution should be responsible for this issue is also obstructing the successful shift to prevention. Apart from the vested interests of political players, reorganization is additionally hampered by the limited planning and human resource capacities of local governments and by weak communication and coordination between the different sectors.
The core problem is therefore that the municipalities are not well prepared for eventual disasters in terms of organization, structure and finances, nor are they in a position to prevent disaster risks. During the First National Conference on Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction (NCDRR) in March 2008, the local authorities together with the ministries responsible for disaster management and planning processes therefore stressed the need to support cities and communities in strengthening their preventive capacities.
A result of the review was the suggestion to implement a German-Philippine cooperative project in Region VIII. The following three cities were prioritized as pilot locations: Ormoc, Tacloban (both in the province of Leyte) and Calbayog (in Western Samar). Given their vulnerable location and large populations, they are at serious risk, but DRM has been initiated. Furthermore, in two of three cities one can fall back on existing GTZ structures or can build on them. The municipalities and the target groups believe that the highest priority should be accorded to activities that strengthen preparedness structures and safeguard livelihoods.
a) Strengthen preparedness structures by
- offering basic and further training, also recovery teams
- setting up and equipping evacuation centers
- setting up early warning systems
- developing disaster protection plans.
b) Safeguard livelihoods by
- making agriculture less disaster-prone
- improving health (hygienic) conditions during disasters, with special reference to drinking water and sanitation
- making houses more disaster-resilient
The target group comprises poor, disadvantaged and disaster-affected population groups in selected cities in Region VIII. The target group in the three prioritized cities covers up to 17,000 households or families (approximately 85,000 persons). Special attention is given to the following groups: women in general and women-headed households; (unemployed) youth; and migrants from marginalized areas.
The overall objective of the project is: Selected municipalities in particularly affected cities are better equipped to handle DRM and can therefore mitigate the damage and losses caused by natural disasters. The following key indicators have been identified for assessing the achievement of this objective:
- On the basis of risk analyses, the selected cities have identified appropriate risk-reduction measures that have been operationalized in DRM action plans.
- In at least two cities, the investments stipulated in the annual investment plan (AIP) for disaster prevention and preparedness measures, distilled from the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), have doubled.’
- At least X% of the target group in each city uses at least one of the preventive measures promoted by the project (values will be allocated to the indicators in the first project year).
- More than 60% of the target groups in each city confirm that they feel better prepared for dealing with disasters (opinion survey).
- At least one additional city outside Region VIII (preferably in Caraga) has adopted the project method for integrating DRM into its CLUP.
In addition to reducing the existing disaster risks to livelihoods and preventing the emergence of new risks by promoting disaster-sensitive development and land use planning, the methodological approach pursued by the project aims to improve management of the accepted residual risk by ensuring that the people are better prepared for disasters. This comprehensive DRM concept supports the efforts of government bodies to shift from disaster management to disaster risk management. Particular importance is given to community-based preventive and preparatory approaches and therefore to capacitating municipalities as important intermediaries of the project. The self-help and self-organizational ability of people particular threatened by disasters (target group) is promoted, whereby a contribution is made to structural stability. Special emphasis is laid on the integration of disadvantaged population groups.
The key outputs are support for the (re-) construction of infrastructure, the promotion of disaster-resistant and disaster-reduction technologies, the setting up and equipping of early warning systems, rescue teams and centers, the promotion of risk analyses and planning processes, and support for upgrading (organization, training) the municipalities and government planning authorities (intermediaries). Knowledge transfer processes and the integration of local experiences into national political processes are also supported. Use of outputs by the intermediaries and target groups is reflected in the utilization of the infrastructure developed, the adoption of disaster-resistant and disaster-reduction technologies, and the implementation of preventive planning procedure in budget planning that takes account of DRM, and in the replication of DRM measures by cities and government authorities. The direct-benefit lies in mainstreaming DRM in planning processes and budgeting, strengthening disaster-resistant means of existence, ensuring that cities are better prepared for disasters, and implementing DRM on a broad scale. In addition to reducing the losses and damage caused by disasters, this leads to more disaster-resistant economic and social development (indirect benefit), which is ultimately a basis for poverty reduction and sustainable development (highly aggregated results).
The lead executing agency is the Department for the Interior and Local Government (DILG). It supports the project at national level (Manila) in the effort to incorporate project experiences into the design of the national policy process. At regional level, DILG is represented in the Development and Planning Councils; it advises cities on integrating DRM into planning processes and plans and, together with the respective city, partners the project in planning and implementing certain infrastructure measures.
The German contribution involves the assignment of one long-term expert (50%) for three years. Philippine experts and auxiliary staff will also be paid from the project budget. In addition, the following contributions will be made within the framework of the German assistance: advisory services, training measures within the country and abroad, equipment and materials, and local subsidies. The contract value for the three-year project term is EUR 950,000.
Relative to this project, a Partner Workshop will be held today in Tacloban. On October 21, 2009, a pre-Planning Workshop was held in Calbayog. Here some pictures from that activity:
Mayor Mel Sarmiento delivering his message
Mr. Mario Donga, DRM HQ Project consultant
Mr. Olaf Neussner, DRM Consultant with Mr. Mario Donga.