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Category: Philippines

Disaster, Resilience and the Importance of Community

Written by Pauline Eadie.

Super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Yolanda (international name Haiyan) devastated the Philippines. Over 6300 people were officially reported dead, although unofficially the death toll is estimated to be much higher. On 14 August 2015 the independent Filipino social research institution, Social Weather Stations (SWS), published a report entitled ‘Filipino Public Opinion on the Impact of Typhoon Yolanda: A Year After’. Statistical data in the report is drawn from surveys conducted shortly after the first anniversary of typhoon Yolanda. Survey questions were designed to gather the opinions of survivors on issues relating to both harm suffered and satisfaction with relief and rehabilitations efforts. Surveys were carried out in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. The hardest hit region was the Visayas, specifically the areas designated as ‘Region 8‘ in the report (Western Samar and Southern Leyte minus Tacloban City) and Tacloban City itself. 89% of families in Region 8 reported that they were ‘seriously harmed’ by Yolanda. The report details lost or damaged livelihoods, housing, household possessions, community resources and also the rate and source of post-disaster assistance.

Disaster, Development and Urban Risk: a comment on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Written by Pauline Eadie.

The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) was held in Sendai, Japan from 14-18 March 2015. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) organized the conference. The objective of the conference was to facilitate a post-2015 framework for disaster relief. The result of the WCDRR was the non-binding Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). ‘Post-2015’ is now embedded in the lexicon of development practitioners as a signifier of the post Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era.  2015 also heralds the end of the ten-year Hyogo Framework for Action: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster (HFA). The HFA listed five priorities for Action that involved scaling up institutional and cultural awareness of safety, risk and resilience ‘at all levels’. A key theme was preparedness, including early warning.

Typhoon Yolanda: One Year Later

By Pauline Eadie

Nearly a year ago, on 8 November 2013 super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayan region of the Philippines. Winds reached up to 200 mph with a ‘storm surge’ of over 17 feet. The storm surge was actually the height of a tsunami and the damage was catastrophic. The latest available official figures show that 6,293 individuals have been reported dead, 1,061 are missing and 28,689 are injured, vast areas of agricultural land were devastated and whole towns destroyed. The typhoon affected 591 municipalities and the total damage is estimated at US$904,680,000. The total number of people affected by this disaster in terms of livelihood, environmental and food security are approximately 16 million people. However on 6 November 2013, when the potential force of Yolanda was becoming clear, the President of the Philippines, Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino III, declared that government agencies were aiming for zero casualties.

Typhoon Aftermath will be Aquino’s Legacy

By Pauline Eadie

On 8 November 2013 super typhoon Yolanda (or Haiyan as it is known outside the Philippines) cut a swathe through the Visayan region. Yolanda was one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall and the damage left in her wake was catastrophic. At the time of writing more than 7000 are missing or dead, vast areas of agricultural land has been devastated and whole towns have been destroyed. International media reports have focused on the city of Tacloban, which was virtually demolished by the storm. Yolanda has been a public relations disaster for Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, this short article will examine why.

Typhoon in Philippines reveals underlying political failings

By Pauline Eadie

On Friday 8 November super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) traversed the Philippines leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The Philippines lies in the western Pacific and is the first major landfall above the equator before continental Asia. The Philippines is an archipelago comprising of thousands of islands. It is directly in the path regular typhoons that roll in from the Pacific. The capital Manila often bears the brunt of the typhoon season but this time the weather system struck land further south in the Visayan region. The storm came hot on the heels of a 7.2 earthquake in the same region in October. The earthquake demolished many historic buildings, left over 200 dead and many of the survivors were still living in tents when the typhoon hit.

The Eastern Visayan town of Tacloban has become the poster town for Yolanda in the international media. Over 10,000 are feared dead although there is no immediate prospect of an official death toll given the chaotic situation on the ground across a wide area. Despite the warnings many people in Tacloban were unable to find adequate shelter as the storm hit. People were advised to head for concrete structures. One of those chosen as a refuge, the airport, was completely destroyed by the strength of the storm. The images coming out of Tacloban are reminiscent of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The devastation to the city is near complete. Dead bodies litter the streets and virtually no structures are left standing.  A similar although less extreme picture is emerging from other areas in the region.