Emergencies

The Philippines ranks third in the 2016 World Risk Index of most disaster-prone countries in the world. Every year, it experiences almost all forms of natural and human-induced calamities, such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, fires and armed conflict.

The Philippines ranks third in the 2016 World Risk Index of most disaster-prone countries in the world. Every year, it experiences almost all forms of natural and human-induced calamities, such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, fires and armed conflict.

From 1900 to 2012, the country was hit by 531 disasters, affecting more than 160 million people and causing USD10.5 billion worth of damage to the economy. In 2013 alone, 16 disasters struck the country, the most destructive of which was Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which affected 26 million people and claimed at least 8,000 lives.

During emergencies, reproductive health becomes even more significant. Global estimates indicate that around 4% of the population affected by an emergency are pregnant mothers, around 3.5% are lactating women and around 30% are young people. Around 15% of pregnancies may end up in complications while 5 to 15% will require a Caesarian section. Premature delivery among pregnant women may occur during times of displacement.  Furthermore, the disruption of access to reproductive health care, information, and services deprives pregnant and lactating women and their newborns as well as young people of essential health care services.

Chapter 10 of the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action which states that “all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons should receive basic education and health services” puts emphasis on the right of people, including those living in humanitarian settings, to reproductive health.

Due to the susceptibility of the country to disasters, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act. No. 10121 also known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010. The law mandated the creation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the institutionalization of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (NDRRMP).

The government’s National Disaster Response Plan (NDRP) adopts the global humanitarian cluster approach which designates cluster leads for all the main sectors or areas of activity. Under the NDRP, there are currently eleven clusters: Food and Non-Food Items (FNI); Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM); Health; Education; Protection; Search, Rescue and Retrieval (SRR); Management of the Dead and Missing (MDM); Logistics; Emergency Telecommunications (ETC); Law and Order (LAO); and International Humanitarian Relations (IHR). Each of the clusters has a designated Government agency cluster lead and a UN agency or international humanitarian partner co-lead.

The Department of Health (DOH) leads the Health Cluster with UNFPA as its Co-lead for the Reproductive Health Subcluster. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) leads the Protection Cluster with UNFPA as the Co-lead for the Gender-Based Violence Sub-cluster (GBVSC).