PHILIPPINES: School suspended after powerful storm wreaks havoc with warnings over disease

Source: Save The Children

MANILA, 25 July 2024 – Classes across the Philippines were suspended on Thursday[1], following a powerful typhoon that swept across the country and has made its way to Taiwan, Save the Children said.
Footage shared by news outlets[2] and on social media showed people in the capital Manila wading chest-deep in water while rescue teams used boats to carry people to safety. Some took with them whatever precious possessions they could, including family pets.
At least 45 schools in the Philippines located across 40% of the country* sustained damage from the storm and the country’s Department of Education said schools in several regions, including Manila, would close on Thursday following the destruction.
The Philippines is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and increased frequency of typhoons and extreme weather events has led to floods, landslides and land erosion that pollute water resources, damage infrastructure, destroy crops, and lead to loss of lives and livelihoods. In 2022, the World Risk Index ranked the Philippines as the country with the highest disaster risk.[3]
Schools across the Philippines have already faced closures this year because of extreme heat and now rain and floods. In a study released last month, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said that 53 out of 180 teaching days, or more than one month of school, were lost last year due to “extreme heat and calamities”.[4]
Carla, 15, a member of Save the Children Philippines’ National Children’s Advisory Team, said she’s worried about flooding at her family home.
There are holes in our roof and the leak in my room is severe. My school card got wet, making it difficult for me to apply for a scholarship. I’m also scared that our house might collapse soon.” 
At least 13 people were killed in the Philippines following the strong winds and heavy rains brought on by Typhoon Carina, also known as Gaemi, which also led to deadly landslides. In Taiwan, more than 220 people have been injured, and thousands of households have been left without power.[5]
Faisah Ali, Humanitarian Manager for Save the Children Philippines, said:
“In times of crisis, such as Typhoon Carina, our priority must be to reach the most vulnerable children. Responding swiftly and effectively to their needs is not just an act of compassion, it is our fundamental responsibility. By ensuring their basic needs like food, shelter, and health, and providing essential education support, we not only aid their immediate survival but also lay the foundation for their future. Every child deserves the chance to learn and thrive, even amidst adversity.”
The storm is expected to reach the eastern coast of China within Thursday, according to the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.[6]
Save the Children Philippines is at the forefront the humanitarian response and is  identifying the immediate needs of affected children and their communities. Save the Children is calling on the country’s Department of Education and concerned government agencies to ensure that children like Carla can safely return to school.
The country’s Department of Health raised a nationwide “Code White Alert” and asked medical personnel and health services to be ready to respond against the threat of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease infection spread in the urine of infected animals.
Save the Children Philippines’ Health Adviser, Dr. Amado Parawan, said:
Flood waters may be contaminated with urine from rats carrying the bacteria. Thus, we encourage everyone to exercise precaution, especially for children, and seek immediate medication at the nearest health facility, if infected.”
Save the Children has been working in the Philippines since 1981 with programmes in humanitarian response, health and nutrition, education, and children’s rights and protection.
*45 schools were damaged in eight out of Philippines’ 18 regions, or about 40% of the country.
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Te iwi Māori will not stand for another Foreshore and Seabed

Source: Te Pati Maori

In 2004 te iwi Māori rallied against the Crown’s attempt to confiscate our coastlines and moana with the Foreshore and Seabed Act. This led to the largest hīkoi of a generation and the birth of Te Pāti Māori.

20 years later, history is repeating itself.

Today the government has announced they will be amending the Marine and Coastal Area Act to make it almost impossible for iwi to claim ownership of their foreshore and seabed.

In order to claim customary title, the Marine and Coastal Area Act required iwi to prove continuous, undisturbed use of their land since 1840.

Even this threshold was too generous for the government.

They are planning to raise the bar even higher to extinguish any hope that our rights will be recognised.

The Crown have run out of land to steal, so they are coming for the land under our moana.

Moana Jackson said: “The forces of colonisation demanded that there only be one site of power, that there only be one supreme sovereign.”

It is time for us to step into our tino rangatiratanga and break the Crown’s colonial monopoly on power.

Tangata whenua have always had undisturbed ownership and rights over our whenua, our resources, and our taonga. The burden rests on the Crown to prove their rights.

Governments come and go, but our mana motuhake will remain.

Te iwi Māori will not allow this all-out assault on our whakapapa to continue.

The activations across the motu were only the beginning.

E te iwi Māori, kia mataara, kia rite tonu mai, kia tū tahi tātou!

Te Pāti Māori Acknowledge the Need for Fundamental Change in State Care

Source: Te Pati Maori

It has been five and a half years since the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care was established to investigate the abuse of children, young people, and vulnerable adults within state and faith-based institutions. Yesterday, the final report – Whanaketia through pain and trauma, from darkness to light – was presented to Parliament.  

“First and foremost, today is about acknowledging the nearly 3000 survivors who were brave enough to share their stories in the hope of making Aotearoa a safer place for our mokopuna.” Said Te Pāti Māori spokesperson for Oranga Tamariki, Mariameno Kapa-Kingi. 

“My hope is that we see the full whakapapa of this report, as opposed to just the letters and numbers on the paper. That we see the sickening irony of the phrase “abuse, in care”.

“These institutions were entrusted to care for our tamariki, rangatahi, and pakeke, yet they actively put our most vulnerable in harm’s way.”

“Māori survivors experienced harsher treatment because of overt racism. They were denied access to mātauranga, tikanga, reo Māori, and the ability to connect to their whakapapa, sometimes violently.”  

“The report notes that New Zealand’s care system is fundamentally broken beyond repair. Survivors want to see transformational change to ensure the end of state-sponsored abuse.”   

“The best chance we have of protecting our tamariki from state abuse is to keep them out in the first place. Our tamariki Māori currently make up 70% of those in state custody and further, they make up 80% of those currently abused by the state.”

“It is disgusting that this government is in the process of repealing section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act despite clear evidence that it was doing its job – keeping tamariki Māori out of state care.”  

“We must burn this rotten institution to the ground. Relevant communities, including iwi, hapū, and whānau must be resourced to shape the destinies of their own babies.

“For us, this looks like a Mokopuna Māori Authority, which will prioritise indigenous care models and empower communities.” Said Kapa-Kingi.

Fatal crash, State Highway 35, Gisborne

Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Attribute to Inspector Darren Paki, Tairawhiti Area Commander

Police can confirm one person has died following a crash on State Highway 35, Gisborne this afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the scene at 4pm, after a motorcycle collided with another vehicle.

Police had signalled for the rider to stop however they fled from Police.

Police discovered the motorcycle crashed and the rider deceased.

Enquiries are ongoing to determine the full circumstances of the crash.

State Highway 35 has since reopened, the Serious Crash Unit attended and completed a scene examination.


Issued by Police Media Centre

Auckland Council endorses ten-year plan for transport

Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee has today endorsed the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024-2034 – the region’s investment proposal for transport over the next 10 years.

The draft RLTP was put forward to Aucklanders to have their say from 17 May–17 June 2024. Feedback from this consultation has helped shape the final RLTP.

Councillor John Watson, Chair of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee says public feedback on the RLTP strongly supported public transport services, as well as maintenance and renewals of the transport network.

“The RLTP also reflects Aucklanders’ strong support for prioritising investment in new public transport infrastructure projects, and I look forward to NZTA taking this priority into account and seeing it reflected in funding decisions,” Cr Watson says.

The RLTP is a multi-agency plan by Auckland Transport (AT), the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) and KiwiRail. It sets out the region’s transport objectives and how proposed transport initiatives and activities in Auckland should be prioritised for funding.

Following today’s endorsement by the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, the RLTP will now go to the Auckland Transport Board for approval. It will then be formally submitted to NZTA, which will allocate funding from the National Land Transport Fund.

Over the next 10 years, the plan includes:

  • $28 billion for public transport services and infrastructure
  • $17 billion for state highway improvements
  • $13.3 billion for maintenance, operations and renewals, including $5.5 billion for the renewal of Auckland Transport’s local road network
  • $3.1 billion for local road improvement projects (generally multi-modal), growth and other improvements
  • $0.9 billion for walking and cycling
  • $0.7 billion for safety

Public feedback has helped shape the plan

13,108 pieces of feedback were received on the draft RLTP, more than twice as many as the previous draft RLTP in 2021.

“We were really pleased to see so many Aucklanders take an interest and tell us what’s most important to them when it comes to transport,” says Hamish Bunn, Auckland Transport’s GM Transport System Strategy.

“Public feedback told us that we mostly have it right in terms of what challenges are facing the transport system and what our priorities need to be.

“We heard loud and clear that Aucklanders want a greater emphasis on fast, connected and reliable public transport. They also want to see a bigger focus on local road maintenance and improvements.”

Feedback showed moderate support for state highway improvements and less support for walking, cycling, safety, and sustainability initiatives.

Changes to the draft RLTP based on Aucklanders’ feedback were approved by the Regional Transport Committee (RTC), which must be satisfied that the final RLTP is consistent with the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS).

These changes include:

  • Bringing forward funding for unsealed road improvements and bus optimisation programmes, with the deferral of some funding for ferry decarbonisation.
  • Raising the priority of the state highway improvement projects.
  • Allocation of an additional $600m (budget which was approved through Auckland Council’s Long-Term Plan 2024-2034) to make public transport faster, more reliable and easier to use, and to optimise the transport network, as follows:
    • $503m to support the removal of the Takaanini rail level crossings.
    • $92m to the park and ride programme.

The Regional Land Transport Plan will go to the Auckland Transport Board for approval on 30 July 2024. Following this, it will be submitted to NZTA, which will allocate funding from the National Land Transport Fund.

National disgrace for children in poverty

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Shifting the goalposts on child poverty is a new low for the National-led government.

“New Zealand’s suspicions were raised when the Government failed to show any real interest in solving the issue of child poverty, and had zero plans to achieve the targets,” Labour spokesperson for social development Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Now we find out they’ve secretly changed the targets Labour set and made them easier for their own Government to achieve.

“They have already made a conscious decision to increase the number of children in poverty by changing the way benefits increase to pay for tax cuts, we knew that they were plotting something callous.

“Officials warned the Government the number of children living in poverty would likely increase by 7,000 in four years as a result of these benefit indexing changes. One estimate predicted that as many as 13,000 extra children would be in poverty by 2028.

“Make no mistake, the Minister for Social Development Louise Upston is well aware of these figures but continues to press on regardless. This underhanded behaviour is what this Government is well known for.

“In Budget 2024 the Government made tax changes knowing that 9,000 beneficiaries would be worse off, did nothing to ease cost-of-living pressure and is letting unemployment continue to rise.

“Increasing wages and benefits are key to lifting children out of poverty. Labour lifted 77,000 children out of poverty between Budgets 2018 and 2023. 

“Lifting children out of poverty is the moral obligation of any good government. This one clearly doesn’t have any,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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Stretch of SH35 at Okitu closed following serious crash

Source: New Zealand Transport Agency


A serious crash around 4pm has closed State Highway 35 near Douglas Street at Okitu, just north of Gisborne.

Emergency services are currently at the scene.

The road is expected to be closed until later this evening so please delay your journey or avoid the area if possible.

Please keep up to date on the NZTA Journey Planner.

Journey Planner(external link)

NZTA wants to thanks all road users and communities along this section of SH35 for their patience.


Government Cuts – Sad day for Environment – more than a quarter of workforce to be cut – PSA

Source: PSA

New Zealand’s challenges of safeguarding our environment and combatting climate change will get harder with the Ministry for the Environment confirming plans to cut its workforce by over a quarter in coming years.
Final decisions were announced to staff today in response to the Government spending cuts. It plans to reduce its current full-time workforce of 988 roles to 707.5 by January 2026. This includes voluntary redundancies and the ending of fixed-term roles.
“This is just another sad indictment of the Government’s ability to front up to the serious and complex challenges we face as a country,” said Kerry Davies, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
May’s Budget slashed the Ministry’s funding by $316 million, impacting programmes across climate change, freshwater protection, waste minimisation, biodiversity, environmental reporting, funding for the Climate Change Commission and support for groups taking legal action on environmental issues.
“As we have said all along, how can $14 billion of tax cuts make sense when this country grapples with so many big challenges?
“It’s simply irresponsible that just days after global temperatures hit their highest level in recorded history, the Government is content to sit by and allow the knee capping of one of the key agencies helping us adapt to climate change.”
“The Government continues to bury its head in the sand on these issues, ignoring its own officials who warned it the environment was under severe pressure.”
The PSA is pleased that the Ministry’s leadership has been constructive and reduced proposed job losses in response to feedback from PSA members who mobilised to push back on initial proposals – particularly ensuring that te ao Māori capability and capacity is retained.
“The Government’s priorities are all wrong. While the Ministry for the Environment is doing the best it can, this is still not the time for any job losses.
“Our heart goes out to all impacted workers at this Ministry whose vital work in gathering the evidence the Government needs to make good decisions is no longer valued.”

Strengthening partnership with Ngāti Maniapoto

Source: New Zealand Government

He aha te kai a te rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero.

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the aspirations of Ngāti Maniapoto, Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka says.

“My thanks to Te Nehenehenui Trust – Ngāti Maniapoto for bringing their important kōrero to a ministerial forum held at Parliament today.

“Our kōrero focused on the Waiwaiā Accord, which provides a framework for the post-settlement relationship between Te Nehenehenui Trust and the Crown, and what our future relationship might look like,” Minister Potaka said.

“Developing an enhanced and effective mahitahi (working together) between Te Nehenehenui Trust and relevant Crown agencies can hold great potential for supporting the aspirations of Ngāti Maniapoto.

“Today’s meeting with Te Nehenehenui Trust was an opportunity to come together as leaders of iwi and government to seek opportunities, align priorities, and strengthen the Iwi-Crown relationship,” says Minister Potaka.

“I am looking forward to working with my Ministerial colleagues and officials to expand on the topics discussed at the forum, and to identify how we can collaboratively contribute meaningfully to the aspirations of Te Nehenehenui Trust – Ngāti Maniapoto.

“The government is committed to delivering on Treaty commitments to Iwi and hapū.

“Sustaining strong partnerships with Iwi and hapū is essential to the prosperity of all New Zealanders.”

Te whakapakari i te pātuinga ki a Ngāti Maniapoto

He aha te kai a te rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero

Kua whakaūhia anōtia e tēnei kāwanatanga tōna ngākau nui ki te tautoko i ngā moemoeā, oti rā, ngā whakangākau o Ngāti Maniapoto, te kī a Te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, a Tama Pōtaka.

“Me aku mihi nui ki Te Nehenehenui Trust – Ngāti Maniapoto, nā rātou i mau mai ā rātou kōrero whakahirahira ki te hui minita i tū ki te Whare Pāremata i te rangi nei.

“E aro ana ā mātou kōrero ki te Whakataunga Waiwaiā, he mea whakatakoto i te pou tarāwaho e whakarite ana i te hononga i waenga i ngā Kaitiaki o Te Nehenehenui me te Karauna mō muri i te whakataunga, ka mutu, he pēhea hoki te āhua o taua hononga ānamata “te kōrero a Minita Potaka.

“Ko te whakawhanake i tētahi hononga mahitahi he mea whakarei, he mea whai hua hoki i waenga i Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Nehenehenui me ngā Hinonga Karauna whaitake ka mutu, kei reira pea te pitomata nui mō te tautoko i ngā moemoeā o Ngāti Maniapoto.

“He tino ara te hui i te rangi nei me Te Nehenehenui Trust kia whakakotahi mai i ngā rangatira o ngā iwi, o te kāwanatanga hoki hei rapu huarahi, hei whakahāngai tahi i ngā paearu, me te whakapakari i te hononga i waenga i te Iwi me te Karauna,” te kī a Minita Potaka.  

“Harikoa katoa te ngākau kia mahitahi mātou ko ōku hoa Minita me ngā āpiha ki te whakawhānui ake i ngā kōrero e pā ana ki ngā kaupapa i kōrerotia i te hui, me te kimi huarahi e taea ai e mātou te mahi ngātahi i runga i te ngākau nui ki te whakatutuki i ngā moemoeā o Te Nehenehenui Trust – Ngāti Maniapoto.

“E ngākau nui ana te kāwanatanga ki te whakatutuki i ngā herenga Tiriti ki ngā Iwi me ngā hapū.

“He mea nui te whakapūmautanga o ngā mahitahi pakari ki ngā Iwi me ngā hapū ki te tōnuitanga o Ngāi Aotearoa.”

Hoax mayday call wastes resources in Northland

Source: New Zealand Police (National News)

Police are frustrated after a fictitious mayday call from a vessel off Whangārei Heads tied up emergency services resources for three hours today.

Senior Sergeant Clifford Metcalfe, from Northland Police, says the call made at around 10.44am, could have put lives in danger.

“We had multiple resources deployed from Police and Coastguard looking for this vessel, including search and rescue boats and a fixed wing aircraft,” he says.

“Not only were these assets tied up, but staff and volunteers were called out.”

If there had been a real emergency during the time, some emergency services resources may have been tied up and unable to assist.

“When Coastguard respond alongside us, it’s important to remember that their volunteers often have to leave their work and study to respond,” Senior Sergeant Metcalfe says.

“It is incredibly frustrating for our staff who are there to help.

“People need to respect the safety of others, and the people and services that are entrusted to keep them safe.”

Senior Sergeant Metcalfe says enquiries are being made into the source of the hoax calls.


Tony Wright/NZ Police