Oxfam International Blogs - typhoon Haiyan http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/tags/typhoon-haiyan es Yolanda on My Mind: The Odyssey of a Humanitarian Worker http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81774 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Humanitarian workers are regularly confronted by difficult choices.</strong></p><p>What humanitarian worker hasn't been stuck in a situation where good intentions are not enough, in the face of bad or worse options? As a frontline emergency responder for almost ten years, I have been in situations where every decision or step I made had no easy answers.</p><p>With Yolanda, globally known as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Haiyan" rel="nofollow">Super Typhoon Haiyan</a>, we had to make the choice of trailing the powerful storm with the belief that people will need life-saving support. In so doing, staff were necessarily thrown in a vast sea of uncertainty. In the affected areas, we had to veritably knock on doors, asking who could offer us a place to stay or lend us vehicles, so that we could reach the hardest hit areas quickly. We had to step forward, then pivot when needed, and then step sideways - always having to trust that doing something is better than doing nothing.</p><h3>Yolanda’s staggering destruction</h3><p>Yolanda swept through eastern provinces of 591 towns and 57 cities in 44 of the country’s 80 provinces. The massive rainfall lasted until the midnight of Friday, and by the following day we flew in three rapid assessment teams to badly hit areas of Eastern Samar, Tacloban City, and, Northern Cebu.</p><p>My team in Davao spent our weekend in the office to monitor the development.&nbsp; Still vexed with what was going on, I came to an international conference in Davao where I was scheduled to deliver a talk.&nbsp;</p><p>Close to about 9 AM, I received a call from the Manila to pick up my plane ticket which would fly me to Cebu around 12 noon, where we established our base of operation, even as we struggled to connect with our assessment teams.</p><p><img alt="Typhoon Haiyan in numbers" title="Typhoon Haiyan in numbers" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="2" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/haiyan-in-numbers_final.jpg" /></p><p><strong>By Wednesday our response was rolling</strong> in Northern Cebu and Tacloban, but the situation in Eastern Samar was still largely unknown. By the following Saturday, I was asked to fly in to Borongan with a couple of staff of Morong Volunteers Emergency Response Team to scope the impact areas.</p><p>The destruction wrought by the strongest typhoon ever recorded in modern Philippine history has been staggering. In its wake, Yolanda had left at least 6,200 dead, 28,600 injured, 550,900 houses destroyed and 589,400 more were damaged.</p><p>The full monetary value of the impact of Yolanda range from USD13 to 14.5 billion. The estimated damage to agriculture was at $225 million.</p><p>From my perspective, this figure appears to be a small fraction of the actual losses but what was clear was that poorest villages bore the heaviest brunt.</p><p>Within the next three weeks, our global humanitarian team were fully set up.&nbsp; I went back to my post in Davao with all the harrowing experiences of the dead and missing, of devastated lives and livelihoods which will haunt me for years.</p><p><img alt="Oxfam response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)" title="Oxfam response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="1" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/oxfam-response-1200x1200.jpg" /></p><h3>Transitioning from emergency- to long-term recovery responses</h3><p>About a year and a half after Yolanda hit, I was asked to manage the transition of our emergency response to long term recovery. At that time, only a tiny fraction of displaced families has been relocated to permanent shelters on safer grounds.&nbsp;</p><p>Minimum liveability standards – e.g., safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, affordable electricity services, proximity to health and education services and livelihood opportunities – still seemed to be beyond reach.</p><p>Displaced families were still uncertain over when and where they would be moved, as they have lived the lives of beneficiaries rather than stakeholders in finding lasting solutions.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Their perspectives were not represented</strong> in decision making processes that affected their lives in a profound sense. This, while they endured individual and community living which was marked by increasing insecurity and instability, with less access to income-generating opportunities, disrupted schooling and mobility, minimal protection from the elements, and minimal privacy and practical necessities for one’s bodily integrity, including sexual and reproductive health and well-being.</p><p>Indeed, the sheer scale of devastation brought about by Yolanda would challenge any government. With its complexities, Yolanda also forced aid agencies like Oxfam to confront the question that has animated the aid sector for a long time, which is, whether or not there is such a thing as ‘natural’ disasters.&nbsp; For sure there are unnatural events which could greatly challenge the ability of even some of the strongest countries.&nbsp;</p><p>What is clear is that disasters become inevitable if preparedness is lacking.</p><p><img alt="Typhoon Haiyan - rebulding homes" title="Typhoon Haiyan - rebulding homes" height="1084" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="3" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/sharequote-1-final.jpg" /></p><h3>Building local leadership and capabilities</h3><p>The list of things to do on preparedness, which Oxfam has now been investing in heavily, include building local capabilities – of local governments and local NGOS – to mount a speedy and sizeable response.</p><p>Fully capable local humanitarian actors will ensure that the emergency response will be ‘as local as possible and only as international as necessary’.</p><p>It will also help keep international organisations like Oxfam stay focused on reinforcing and not replacing local systems, where we can deploy our expertise on compliance to humanitarian standards.</p><p><strong>Yolanda also forced us to <a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2013/12/after-haiyan-crucial-steps-in-the-path-to-recovery" rel="nofollow">re-think</a></strong><a href="https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2013/12/after-haiyan-crucial-steps-in-the-path-to-recovery" rel="nofollow"> some of our strategies</a> on development programming which could potentially shrink our humanitarian footprint.</p><p>Top of this is a rational land use planning system which will move vital infrastructures, economic investments, and vulnerable communities away from geo-hazard areas.</p><p>To this I add that investing in sophisticated early warning system which could stretch the lead time for civil and military apparatuses to be able to kick off their contingency plans.</p><p><img alt="Typhoon Haiyan - preserving people&#039;s dignity" title="Typhoon Haiyan - preserving people&#039;s dignity" height="1093" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/sharequote-2-final.jpg" /></p><h3>The role of the private sector</h3><p>Incentivising the entry of private sector into insurance markets should a matter of public policy priority so that losses could be mitigated when a discrete event like Yolanda becomes inevitable.&nbsp;</p><p>An increase on insurance coverage/penetration is inversely correlated with public spending for rehabilitation and recovery or reduces the tax burden on the people.</p><p>Damage to school buildings, public market, rural health clinics, bus terminals and similar infrastructural investments meant that recovering losses require painful tradeoffs in terms of what other basic services would have to be foregone such as primary health, education, and similar investments in development.</p><p>For private sector in particular, business continuity planning needs to be part of its operations to minimise disruptions which discrete events invariably entail which oftentimes reverberate into the rural economies.</p><h3>Are we ready for the next one?</h3><p>Steps such as land use planning, early warning system, risk transfers, and business continuity planning are what falls into the cracks between the highly compartmentalised zones of humanitarian and development discourses, where you have emergency preparedness and response on one hand and macroeconomics (e.g., fiscal stability, employment, and, inflation) on the other.</p><p>Today, as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Yolanda, it is necessary to confront the difficult question: are we ready for the next one?</p><p><em>This entry posted on 8 November 2018, by Dante Dalabajan, Senior Manager of Oxfam in the Philippines where he manages a team of advisors and specialists on humanitarian and development programming, campaigning, and aid response.</em></p><p><em>Top photo: Scene from Oxfam Assessment Team while surveying the impact of Typhoon Haiyan, just days after it hit in Samar, Philippines. Credit: Jire Carreon/Oxfam</em></p><p><strong>Read more<br></strong></p><p><strong><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/tags/philippines">Blogs about Oxfam in the Philippines</a><br></strong></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies" rel="nofollow"><strong>More on Oxfam's humanitarian work</strong></a></p><p></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Yolanda on My Mind: The Odyssey of a Humanitarian Worker</h2></div> Thu, 08 Nov 2018 14:12:38 +0000 Guest Blogger 81774 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/81774#comments Vanuatu’s impassioned plea at Sendai – why the world needs to take bold action on disaster risk reduction http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/25794 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>This morning, the <a href="http://www.wcdrr.org/" rel="nofollow"><strong>World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction</strong></a> (DRR), the world’s biggest event in over a decade aimed at tackling the devastating impacts of hazard events on lives, livelihoods and economies, opened in Sendai, Japan.</p> <p>It was a star-studded event, attended by the Emperor of Japan and with statements from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. But even among such distinguished dignitaries, perhaps no speech was more anticipated than that of His Excellency Mr. <strong><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldwin_Lonsdale" rel="nofollow">Baldwin Lonsdale</a></strong>, the President of Vanuatu. Overnight, Vanuatu suffered the devastating impacts of <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-31883712" rel="nofollow"><strong>Tropical Cyclone Pam</strong></a>, a category 5 cyclone (the highest category on the <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php" rel="nofollow"><strong>tropical cyclone scale</strong></a>) that battered the archipelago with winds of up to 270km (160miles) per hour and gusts up to 340km per hour - similar wind speeds to those witnessed during <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/philippines/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-our-response" rel="nofollow"><strong>Super Typhoon Haiyan</strong></a> in the Philippines in 2013.</p> <p>President Lonsdale, visibly fighting back tears as he delivered his opening statement to the conference, came close to breaking down as he spoke of the tragedy that had stricken his small island nation.</p> <p>“I speak to you today with a heart that is so heavy… I do not know at this time what impact the cyclone has had on Vanuatu”, Mr. Lonsdale said. “I stand to ask you to give a lending hand to responding to this calamity that has struck us.”</p> <p><strong>President Lonsdale’s words are a wake-up call for the international community</strong> - the current status quo in disaster risk reduction efforts is failing the world’s most vulnerable nations and communities.</p> <p>Vanuatu has consistently been ranked by the World Risk Index as the country with the highest disaster risk since 2011, and despite significant investment in disaster risk reduction from government, civil society and communities in recent years, it’s clear that people in Vanuatu were unprepared to respond to a cyclone of this magnitude.</p> <p>While this was an unprecedented hazard event that would cause heavy damage no matter where it struck, the DRR and coordinated preparedness measures implemented prior to the crisis by the Oxfam supported Vanuatu Humanitarian Team – including the establishment and registration of evacuation centres - have clearly saved lives. Oxfam has also worked with the Vanuatu Rural Development and Training Centre Association (VRDTCA) to improve access to safe water and sanitation in rural communities while supporting the construction of cyclone evacuation shelters, efforts that will have proved crucial for local communities last night.</p> <p>However, with Cyclone Pam and Typhoon Haiyan scale-events likely to increase in severity, including due to the effects of climate change, current disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response capacities, from the local to the national and international levels will increasingly be pushed to breaking point in the future.</p> <p>That’s why delegations meeting in Sendai need to have President Lonsdale’s words ringing in their ears as they negotiate a new international framework on Disaster Risk Reduction – one that adequately prepares vulnerable nations and communities for the disasters they’re likely to face tomorrow, rather than simply rolling over existing practices which are already visibly falling behind the rising tide of disasters.</p> <p>Already, the negotiations in Sendai are calling into question the world’s resolve to take on disaster risk, as sections of the draft text such as strong, measurable targets, linkages to climate change and adaptation efforts, and commitments by developed countries to help finance the global effort are slowly being watered down.</p> <p>Organizations like Oxfam will be fighting hard over the coming days to ensure that the outcome of this conference keeps faith with the people of Vanuatu, and the hundreds of millions whose lives, livelihoods and health are threatened by disasters. Let us hope that in years to come, when the President of Vanuatu addresses the world, it will be with gratitude for its solidarity, rather than with further pleas for help.</p> <p><em>The entry by Ben Murphy, Humanitarian Advocacy Lead, Oxfam Australia,  on 14 March 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu, via 350 on Flickr <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/16184073404/">https://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/16184073404/</a></em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/cyclone-pam" rel="nofollow"><strong>Donate to Oxfam's Cyclone Pam response</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-03-13-cyclone-pam-world-looks-sendai-better-approach-disaster-risk-reduction"><strong>As Cyclone Pam strikes, the world looks to Sendai for a better approach to disaster risk</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-03-08-celebrating-female-climate-change-fighters"><strong>Celebrating female climate change fighters</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Vanuatu’s impassioned plea at Sendai – why the world needs to take bold action on disaster risk reduction</h2></div> Sat, 14 Mar 2015 12:25:38 +0000 Ben Murphy 25794 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/25794#comments One year after Haiyan hit the Philippines: #MaketheRightMove http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/23713 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>In the dark of night, the winds howled and the waves crashed. In the Philippines, they called it Yolanda, the super-typhoon that ripped through the central islands of the country before dawn on November 8, 2013.  Winds swirling at close to 200 mph dumped volumes of rain and whipped the sea, making it rise 25 feet high before coming down to pound houses to smithereens and snuffing out thousands of lives.</p> <p><strong>Daybreak revealed a broken country</strong>, and a people's fighting spirit. By noon that day, millions of people across nine regions of the Philippines had been thrown into chaos. I remember writing with dread that people would struggle with clean water, food, shelter, privacy, security and fear of the unknown.  Humanitarian actors tried mightily to help meet these needs but one month later, on December 2013, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Philippines reported that "food and other urgent support is not sufficiently reaching remote areas due to logistical challenges."</p> <p>I also remember that while my heart was with my fellow Filipinos, I had to watch Yolanda  as it tracked towards Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos.  I prayed that, as it had already taken too much from my country, that it would dissipate and disappear over the sea from where it came.</p> <h3>Total devastation</h3> <p><img alt="Joy and her husband in front of what’s left of their home. Dec 2013. Photo: Lan Mercado/Oxfam" margin-right="5px" src="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/blogimages/joy-haiyan-320.jpg" height="320px" width="320px" align="left" /><strong>Looking back a year later,</strong> the statistics are no less heart wrenching: more than 6,000 people killed and 4.1 million displaced. To date, 475,000 people are still living in unsafe or inadequate shelters and nearly 25,000 people are still in evacuation centers. Joy, a village health worker from an interior barrio in northern Cebu, was one of those left homeless. I was doing Oxfam’s recovery assessment and Joy helped me talk to families whose houses had been destroyed and livelihoods ruined, who were poor before and even poorer after losing the assets they built up over many years during the storm. I asked Joy to show me her house and she brought me to a pile of sticks. Right before Yolanda hit, Joy had paid PhP15k of her savings from selling vegetables to have electricity installed in the house that she and her husband built, only to lose everything.</p> <p><strong>Yolanda will not be the last storm</strong> that will devastate the Philippines and other countries in Asia, the most disaster-prone region of the world, according to the United Nations Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Over the past 20 years, Asia has borne almost half of the estimated global economic cost of all disasters, amounting to almost $53 billion annually. Climate-related disasters are compounding the risks for people and will keep coming.</p> <h3>Opportunities for transformation</h3> <p><img alt="Bito, 7, playing on the beach in San Jose, Tacloban, Philippines. Photo: Simon Roberts/Oxfam" margin-left="5px" src="http://blogs.oxfam.org/sites/default/files/blogimages/bito-philippines-child-portrait-320x427.jpg" width="320px" align="right" /></p> <p><strong>A year ago, I saw opportunities for social transformation</strong> in Yolanda’s wake. Today, I do know that most governments in Asia have established policies around disaster and climate change preparedness. However, plans are being implemented with varying success. Oxfam’s latest reports, <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/asia-climate-change-cant-afford-wait"><em><strong>Can’t Afford to Wait</strong></em></a> and<em> <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/haiyan-shadow-storm"><strong>In the Shadow of the Storm</strong></a></em> confirm that greater political will, more resources and better coordination are required to protect vulnerable groups from the threats of disasters, including those caused by climate change.</p> <p>In the case of the Philippines, Oxfam found that while the Philippine government has shown leadership in the humanitarian response and rebuilding efforts, plans have not translated to real impact because of a lack of money and coordination in local communities. And, in order for the investments to work, they must include displaced people in decision making and take their needs into account. For example, new housing should not be built far from jobs like fishing and agriculture, or families will not be able to resume their work and self-sufficiency.</p> <h3>Meeting the climate challenge</h3> <p><strong>Yolanda and other large-scale disasters in Asia have taught us</strong> that we all must pitch in. Regional cooperation is crucial and we have the chance to ask our leaders to step up and address this critical issue. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can do a lot more to boost financing for national climate adaptation. As a community of nations, we ought to stand together and collectively secure the financial support we need from developed countries at the upcoming international climate meeting in Lima, Peru in December 2014.</p> <p>One year ago, <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-12-11-one-month-after-typhoon-haiyan-rebuilding-just-resilient-society"><strong>I wrote</strong></a> that we must make each life that was lost count. I had hoped that Yolanda would serve to transform us as individuals and as a country, or we are cursed to be haunted by ghosts. One year later, there are glimmers of change, but certainly not enough. Yet, we cannot give up. On the contrary, our continued efforts must be the force to steer international and regional institutions, national and local governments, and citizens to #maketherightmove towards climate justice and resilience.</p> <p><em>Lan Mercado is the Deputy Regional Director in Oxfam in Asia, a passionate campaigner and Filipina.</em></p> <p><em>Photos:<br />1. (Top) Oxfam water facility, after Typhoon Haiyan. Anibong district, Tacloban, Philippines. September 2014. Photo: Simon Roberts/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>2. Joy and her husband in front of what’s left of their home. Dec 2013. Photo: Lan Mercado/Oxfam</em></p> <p><em>3. (Bottom) Bito, 7, was part of a group of children playing on the beach in San Jose, Tacloban, wearing superhero costumes made from tarps, empty relief goods, and trash bags. Photo: Simon Roberts/Oxfam</em></p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p><strong>Watch and share: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/multimedia/video/2014-we-are-war-climate-change-and-hunger-yeb-sano">Yeb Saño, Climate Change Commissioner in the Philippines, makes an urgent plea: "We are at war with climate change and hunger"</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/philippines/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-our-response">More on Oxfam's response to Typhoon Haiyan</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Join: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/node/5266">the campaign to stop climate change making people hungry</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/1856">Follow the Oxfam team at the COP20 UN climate talks in Lima, Peru</a></strong></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>One year after Haiyan hit the Philippines: #MaketheRightMove</h2></div> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 11:12:50 +0000 Lan Mercado 23713 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/23713#comments Let the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan stir the world to high ambition on climate change http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/23732 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>It’s been one year since super-Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines, a disaster that devastated thousands of lives and left millions of people homeless</strong>. It was the strongest typhoon to make landfall since records began, causing a huge storm surge that ripped through coastal neighbourhoods and agricultural lands, damaging millions of coconut trees, thousands of fishing boats and destroying more than one million tonnes of crops.</p> <p>The immense devastation left in Haiyan’s path was a wake-up call to the world – yet another deadly warning of what we can expect unless we take the right action on climate change. The next two big international meetings on climate change - in Lima at the end of this year, and in Paris at the end of 2015 - must be a turning point in the level of ambition to fight the biggest crisis of our lifetime.</p> <p><strong>There are many issues to resolve</strong> in the year to come. One of them is money. This month, governments have an opportunity to face up to the real cost of climate change, by pledging generously to the <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/223702306466613078/" rel="nofollow"><strong>Green Climate Fund</strong></a> (GCF).  Discussions about paying the price for climate change have reached a stand-off, in which wealthy countries won't put money on the table until there are clear plans from developing countries for spending that money. With the right level of political will, with a clear understanding of the needs, and with enough money pledged, there is hope for a global climate deal that would ensure all countries take a fair share of the responsibility for climate change.</p> <p><strong>Nowhere is this more urgent than in Asia</strong> - the most disaster-prone region in the world, and home to two-thirds of the world’s most undernourished and food-insecure people. In 2013, <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2014-11-06/learning-typhoon-haiyan-asian-governments-failing-respond-climate" rel="nofollow"><strong>78 percent of people killed by disasters lived in Asia</strong></a> even though only 60 percent of global disasters occurred here. Over the past 20 years, Asia has borne almost half the estimated global economic cost of disasters triggered by natural phenomena, amounting to almost $67 billion USD annually. Harvest losses alone related to flooding in Southeast Asia have an estimated annual value of $1 billion USD. <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/asia-climate-change-cant-afford-wait" rel="nofollow">If no action is taken</a></strong>, four countries—Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam—could suffer a loss equivalent to 6.7 percent of GDP annually by 2100, more than double the global average loss, according to the Asian Development Bank. This is an abrupt reversal for many economies across Asia, which has seen an average GDP rate of 6 percent increases every year since 2012.</p> <p>It’s true that both in the Philippines and across Asia, most governments have policies to reduce the risk of disasters and help people adapt to life in an unsafe climate.  But the <strong>implementation of those policies is still being hampered</strong> by a range of challenges including lack of money, lack of political will and a lack of accurate data on actual risks and vulnerabilities. Without greater investment in climate and disaster-resilient development, the impact of disasters on the scale of Typhoon Haiyan-scale disaster could fast become the norm, not the exception in the region.</p> <p><strong>Governments and regional institutions in Asia must show leadership</strong> in <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/asia-climate-change-cant-afford-wait" rel="nofollow"><strong>stepping up to the challenge</strong></a> of rising disaster and climate risk.  This means increasing political commitment and investing adequate resources - funds, human resources, and program support - in improving local and national capacity to protect communities from the impacts of climate change and disasters. And the international community must dig much deeper to find the necessary funds to mitigate and help countries adapt to climate change.</p> <p>When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last November, the global response was immense and rapid. Thanks to the efforts of the Philippine Government and local and international humanitarian agencies, millions of affected people were reached with life-saving support. Assisted by generous donations from supporters like you, <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/philippines/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-our-response" rel="nofollow"><strong>Oxfam’s own response</strong></a> was able to reach almost 900,000 people, by providing clean water and sanitation, addressing immediate shelter needs, and supporting communities to help recover their livelihoods.</p> <p><strong>The world will always help people</strong> pick up the pieces of their ruined lives when disasters have struck. But imagine what we could achieve if we put the same energy and sense of urgency into building peoples' resilience to climate disasters before they happen.</p> <p>There is no doubt about the scale of the challenge. <strong>But we must remain resolute and hopeful.</strong> To quote the Philippines ambassador to the UN, Yeb Sano: “Can humanity rise to the occasion? I still believe we can.” Governments meeting in Berlin at the pledging conference for the <a href="http://unfccc.int/cooperation_and_support/financial_mechanism/green_climate_fund/items/5869.php" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Green Climate Fund</strong></a> on November 20th should have his words ringing in their ears.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p><strong>Watch and share: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/multimedia/video/2014-we-are-war-climate-change-and-hunger-yeb-sano" rel="nofollow">Yeb Saño, Climate Change Commissioner in the Philippines, makes an urgent plea: "We are at war with climate change and hunger"</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/philippines/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-our-response" rel="nofollow">More on Oxfam's response to Typhoon Haiyan</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Join: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/node/5266" rel="nofollow">the campaign to stop climate change making people hungry</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Let the anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan stir the world to high ambition on climate change</h2></div> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:21:25 +0000 Winnie Byanyima 23732 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/23732#comments After Haiyan – moving in the right direction? http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10655 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>When typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines last November, killing more than 6,000 people and destroying millions of people’s houses and livelihoods, people like fisherman Lionel Advincula, from Barangay Bislig in Tanauan municipality, Leyte province, found themselves having to make some tough choices.</p> <p>One of the most pressing priorities for the father-of-nine was to find shelter and to rebuild his damaged house.  It stood just 20 metres from the coast and was totally destroyed.</p> <h3>Moving away from seashore to be safe </h3> <p>“When we returned to our house, there was nothing left.  It was like a desert.  Everything had been washed away.  Our boat was smashed to bits”, he recalled.  But with no other land or options, Lionel was forced to fashion a temporary shelter, using corrugated iron, plastic tarpaulin and whatever else he could find.  But several weeks afterwards, he and others in his village learnt that they would have to move once again because the government had announced a 40 metre “no-build” zone policy.</p> <p></p> <p>The idea is to move tens of thousands of people further away from the seashore to safer areas.  </p> <p>On paper, it makes good sense in a country which receives around 20 typhoons every year.  In reality, a blanket 40 metre “no-build” zone is impractical and unrealistic. </p> <p>In March the government back-tracked and announced it would instead do local hazard mapping and analysis to identify communities that will need to be relocated from areas deemed to be unsafe. Under the new guidelines, an estimated 200,000 people are now at risk of resettlement.  </p> <p>However, the practicality of giving people alternative land and housing, and ensuring people are properly consulted in the changes that will profoundly affect their lives, is still fraught with difficulties.</p> <h3>Life before the typhoon was already a struggle</h3> <p>Before the typhoon, life for Lionel was already a struggle.   He used to fish with five others in a boat that is now completely destroyed.  On a good day, he could earn around 500 pesos [about $11/£6].  On bad days, he’d come back empty handed.</p> <p>Lionel, like many other people Oxfam interviewed in a survey of 453 individuals in three typhoon-hit provinces in Eastern Samar, Leyte and North Cebu, doesn’t object to moving – but only if he receives support from the government. </p> <p>“If the government will provide us with more assistance or help us with some business support, I’ll agree to relocate because where we are living is dangerous and we are scared of living so close to the shoreline”, he said.  “I saw the big waves during the typhoon and that terrified us.”</p> <p>“My biggest fear is another typhoon.  I’m afraid there will be another typhoon.  And because we have not been <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/right-move?utm_source=oxf.am&amp;utm_medium=cUm&amp;utm_content=redirect" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">relocated and properly re-housed</a></strong>, I feel very unsafe.  The children cry when it rains and when storms come.  They hide.”</p> <p>But Lionel, like thousands of other people who may be resettled , has only heard rumours and small snippets of information about what relocation might involve.  </p> <p></p> <p>And while he would like to live somewhere safer he also worries about where he might be re-housed, how far it will be located from the coast – and how that will affect his ability to return to fishing.</p> <p>“I worry we will sink into poverty because our livelihoods haven’t been restored”, Lionel told me at a community meeting organized by Oxfam. “I have no work right now.  I’m very worried, especially for my children because I don’t know how we’ll eat.”</p> <h3>Feeling confused and concerned about the relocation process</h3> <p>Many local government units are just as concerned about the relocation process.  Limited budgets mean it’s hard for them to make the large-scale land purchases necessary to create permanent relocation sites.   Some aren’t willing to hold consultation meetings with communities at an early stage, saying they are not fully aware of what their roles and responsibilities will be and that they don’t want to communicate incorrect information.</p> <p>But that’s also leading to a lot of confusion and concern among populations who are likely to be affected by the policy.  </p> <p>81 per cent of people interviewed by Oxfam stated they are not aware of their rights regarding permanent relocation. Very few had received information about relocation, and only seven per cent of individuals interviewed said they have been consulted by a government official – at the government, municipal or barangay level - regarding the relocation process.  </p> <p>The worry is that not only does this deny people’s rights to basic information, it could also lead to <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2014-04-29/philippines%E2%80%99-plan-relocate-thousands-haiyan-survivors-will-fail-un?utm_source=oxf.am&amp;utm_medium=cUP&amp;utm_content=redirect" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">failed relocations</a></strong> because communities have not been consulted and local authorities have not taken steps to understand and meet their expectations.</p> <p></p> <p>In the future, it could mean that the risks facing vulnerable populations might actually increase, rather than decrease, because of lack of political will, resources and planning.  Rather than strengthening communities’ resilience to disasters, failing to take into account their concerns, including providing security of tenure and adequate livelihood opportunities, could actually make them more at-risk.</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Download the report <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/right-move?utm_source=oxf.am&amp;utm_medium=cUm&amp;utm_content=redirect" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">The Right Move? Ensuring durable relocation after typhoon Haiyan</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read the press release </strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressrelease/2014-04-29/philippines%E2%80%99-plan-relocate-thousands-haiyan-survivors-will-fail-un?utm_source=oxf.am&amp;utm_medium=cUP&amp;utm_content=redirect" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Philippines’ plan to relocate thousands of Haiyan survivors will fail unless government focuses on jobs too</a></p> <p>See what Oxfam is doing in The Philipines to <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/philippines-typhoon-haiyan" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan</a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>After Haiyan – moving in the right direction?</h2></div> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 07:47:19 +0000 Caroline Gluck 10655 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10655#comments I’ve seen how climate change makes people hungry - We must act now http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10638 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Typhoon Haiyan, the biggest storm to ever make landfall, devastated my homeland. Three days later I attended the opening of the <strong><a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-11-12-climate-talks-philippines-rep-announces-fast-people-affected-typhoon-haiyan">UN climate change talks in Poland</a></strong>. With a deep sense of anxiety about the fate of my family and friends, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SSXLIZkM3E" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>I pleaded</strong></a> with delegates to recognize that vulnerable countries, such as the Philippines, cannot cope with the overwhelming impacts of climate change alone.</p> <p>One of the most serious risks we face is escalating hunger. No civilization can flourish without food – many have perished with the crash of food and water systems.</p> <h3>Climate change means hunger</h3> <p>Climate change is already making people hungry. It will change what we all eat. Extreme weather events such as <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/haiyan" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Typhoon Haiyan</strong></a>, unpredictable seasons, increasing temperatures, and rising sea levels are already causing chaos for farmers and fisherfolk. Food prices are going up. Food quality is going down. By 2050, 50 million more people – equivalent to the population of <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/pin/223702306465330382/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Spain</strong></a> – will be at risk of going hungry because of climate change.   </p> <p>Typhoon Haiyan devastated my country. Thousands of people perished and millions more lost their homes and livelihoods. My own family witnessed the storm up close. Today, millions of my people live in damaged homes and continue to rely on emergency relief to survive. The overall losses in the agriculture sector could come close to $1 billion. </p> <p>But the story doesn’t end there. The prospect of a serious global food crisis looms because of climate change. And it’s the world’s poorest and most food insecure countries that are least prepared and most at risk. </p> <h3>So what can we do?</h3> <p>We need urgent support to adapt to stop millions more people from going hungry in the next two decades as a result of climate change. This need not break the bank. Poor countries’ adaptation needs are estimated to be around $100 billion a year - equivalent to just 5% of the wealth of the 100 richest people in the world. </p> <p>We also need urgent and ambitious emissions reductions to avoid a runaway global food crisis that could have grave repercussions for our children. Our gluttony for dirty energy stands in the way of a global solution to the problem of climate change and food. We must end this fossil-fuels gluttony.</p> <p>Worldwide, people are already fighting climate change. But too few governments and big businesses are taking the threat seriously enough. We must act together to pressure them, and make changes in our own lives, to <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/food-climate-justice/stop-climate-change-making-people-hungry" rel="nofollow">stop climate change making people hungry</a></strong>. </p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Oxfam's Report, Hot and Hungry - <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/es/grow/node/36350" rel="nofollow">How to stop climate change derailing the fight against hunger</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Together, we can win the fight against hunger -<a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/food-climate-justice/stop-climate-change-making-people-hungry" rel="nofollow"> Join us</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Photo gallery -</strong> <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/adapting-climate-impact-food" rel="nofollow">How communities adapt to climate impacts on food </a></strong></p> <p><strong>Read the blog -</strong> <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/14-03-25-why-system-for-managing-worlds-food-climate-needs-to-be-more-like-my-car"><strong>Why the system for managing the world’s food and climate needs to be more like my car</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>I’ve seen how climate change makes people hungry - We must act now</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/14-03-26-he-visto-como-el-cambio-climatico-deja-la-gente-hambrienta-debemos-actuar-ya" title="Estamos en guerra con el cambio climático y el hambre. Una guerra que no nos podemos permitir perder." class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/14-03-26-jai-vu-comment-le-changement-climatique-rend-les-gens-affames-nous-devons-agir-mainte" title="J&#039;ai vu que le changement climatique rend les personnes souffrant de la faim - nous devons agir maintenant" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:00:01 +0000 Yeb Sano 10638 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10638#comments The art of saying "Thank you" http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10590 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>We might feel aggrieved when we’ve gone out of our way to do something for someone and receive no word of thanks afterwards. I’m sure most of us have felt that way and have been equally guilty of failing to say ‘thank you’ at some time. But working as part of Oxfam’s emergency response team my colleagues and I don’t expect to receive any thanks from the people we work with. It’s our job and it’s their right to receive help during the worst of times - when a disaster has devastated their lives, families, homes, communities, countries. </p> <p>However, in the Philippines, post <strong><a href="http://oxf.am/wZR" rel="nofollow">Typhoon Haiyan</a></strong>, people and communities have turned saying thank you into a whole art form. Soon after aid agencies responded to the crisis we started to see signs by the roadside, often these were signs saying ‘Please help with food and water’ but these were soon followed by signs saying, <strong>‘Thank you for the food and water.’</strong> </p> <p></p> <p>As the weeks have gone by more and more signs have appeared by the side of the road. Some are hand written, some are printed banners, some are written on boards, some are written on houses.</p> <p>Some list the agencies that have assisted that particular community or family but mostly they are thanking everyone who has come and offered assistance whether from other parts of the Philippines or other countries.</p> <p>The signs haven’t just appeared in one location but have sprung up all over the areas that were hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Some included Christmas and New Year greetings. Others include messages with <strong>Bangon</strong> (‘rise up’) and <strong>Tindog</strong> (‘stand up’) to encourage and boost the morale of families, friends and neighbours. A Filipino colleague explained, ‘The ‘thank you’s are not just about the material things people have received but more about the sense of solidarity they’ve felt with and from the national and international community. It’s really from the heart.’</p> <p>I’ve never been anywhere where this has been so spontaneous and widespread.  I didn’t think we needed to be thanked but seeing all those signs and being thanked by so many people we have come to know and often by complete strangers whilst waiting at the airport, in the supermarket, checking into the hotel, has been very special.</p> <p>To the people of Leyte, Samar and Cebu I would like to say ‘<strong>Maraming salamat po!</strong>’</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Oxfam's response: </strong><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/philippines-typhoon-haiyan" rel="nofollow">Philippines Typhoon Haiyan</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-11-19-learning-lessons-philippines">Learning the lessons of humanitarian response in the Philippines</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The art of saying &quot;Thank you&quot;</h2></div> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:24:47 +0000 Jane Beesley 10590 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10590#comments The simple saw helps the Philippines recover the ‘tree of life’ http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10566 <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Typhoon Haiyan caused widespread damage to livelihoods. Among the worst affected, was coconut farming with millions of trees being uprooted, damaged or destroyed.</p> <p>One coconut farmers association estimated the damage to be around 98%. Dubbed as the “tree of life”, it takes between five to seven years for a coconut tree to become productive so recovery will take a long time.</p> Coconut seeds starting to germinate. <p>The land needs to be cleared, as damaged coconut trees are prone to pest infestations, but access is not always easy. Because of the need for shelter materials the team decided that providing sawmills would be a relevant response.</p> <p>Working through existing local farming associations or cooperatives Oxfam is providing portable sawmills, chainsaws, protective clothing, a start up grant, insurance (for health and safety) and training in the management and operation of a lumber producing income generating project.</p> <p>This is not a ‘cash for work’ program but an entrepreneurial approach where we are helping to facilitate the establishment of community based businesses.</p> <p></p> <p>So far, six saw table saws have been purchased and four organizations have been identified. Two farming coorperatives have each now received a saw mill and three chainsaws and are expected to start tree clearance and lumber production soon. The Shelter Cluster in Leyte is very interested in this initiative for replication in other areas as well as being a source for building material.</p> <p>To sum up, Oxfam is running a simple and inexpensive (approximately $7-8,000 per association) project with multiple outcomes including clearing land, income generation for Yolanda survivors, and the production of shelter material.</p> <p>Given recent heavy rains in many Haiyan-affected areas across the Philippines, there is an urgent need to use the fallen trees before they become rotten. We are aiming to expand this project as quickly as possible.</p> <p></p> <p>Oxfam is initially hoping to reach 500,000 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Our priority is to reach the most vulnerable families with safe water and sanitation facilities to help protect people from public health risks.</p> <p>You can support <strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/haiyan-response" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's Haiyan relief and recovery efforts</a></strong> in the Philippines.</p> <p><em>All photos: Jane Beesley/Oxfam</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Video: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan/philippines-first-step-recovery-tanauan" rel="nofollow">The joy of Haiyan survivors as they receive Oxfam hygiene kits</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Photos: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan/rice-seed-distribution-tacloban" rel="nofollow">Oxfam's rice seed distribution</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>The simple saw helps the Philippines recover the ‘tree of life’</h2></div> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 13:24:16 +0000 Jane Beesley 10566 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10566#comments Philippines: Christmas after Typhoon Haiyan - rise up, stand up http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10562 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>On Bantayan Island, North Cebu, I find a home made ukulele.</strong> When I play it the crowd of people around me start singing ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’. I’m not sure who’s the most surprised. Christmas is big in the Philippines. In Cebu City there’s a sign ‘The twelve weeks of Christmas’. They’re not joking. Christmas is normally the biggest event of the year, but this is not a normal year.</p> <p><strong>In Santa Cruz, just south of Tacloban, few buildings remain.</strong> Coconut trees lay uprooted or snapped in half. When the typhoon and storm surge came, one hundred people crowded into the small upstairs room of a community building. Others survived because they’d already left the village or managed to cling to trees that withstood the onslaught. Their arms wrapped tightly around the trunks. As the storm surge rushed in they shouted to each other to climb further up the tree, to lock their hands together and not let go – I don’t know how any of them survived. At least 300 people lost their lives. Most people lost their home, their belongings and livelihood.</p> <p><strong>Now in tents, the few belongings most have are basic items from relief distributions</strong> – food, hygiene kits, mats, jerry cans, kitchen sets. Walking through what looks like a demolition site I was surprised to see a small makeshift stall with a large Santa, Christmas tree and festive decorations strung along the front. It looks like Santa’s grotto. ‘We found these Christmas decorations in the debris so we washed them and put them up,’ explains Rowen (25); ‘We wanted to celebrate Christmas in some way.’</p> <h3>A different Christmas</h3> <p>Rowen, like everyone I speak to says, ‘<strong>Christmas celebrations this year will be different from other years.</strong> We’re happy because we’ve survived but sad because others haven’t. We’ll celebrate Christmas but in a simple way this year.’ Most people are grateful for ‘the good fortune’ they’ve had. I frequently hear, ‘We’ll celebrate Christmas in a quiet way this year but we’ll share our good fortune with others.’ Normally there are a lot of parties, a lot of food eaten and a lot of money spent.</p> <p>One of Oxfam’s vehicle drivers tells me that many people across the Philippines have decided not to have parties, or to spend so much money; instead they will send what they have saved to support people who have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Another driver tells me, ‘Something like this really makes you appreciate what really matters in life. This is what I’ll be celebrating and giving thanks for this Christmas.’ Both men are from Tacloban.</p> <h3>Rise up, stand up</h3> <p><strong>Again and again I see two words</strong> written like graffiti on the remains of walls and buildings or purposely written on signs – ‘bangon’ and ‘tindog’ meaning ‘rise up’ and ‘stand up’. I think these two phrases sum up the spirit of the people. This Christmas across the Philippines, especially areas devastated by the typhoon, people will be rising and standing up determined to support their communities and each other to recover from one of the worst disasters to hit the Philippines. But the size of the devastation is so great. For long term recovery the individuals, the communities and the Philippines cannot stand alone.</p> <p>This Christmas many people in the Philippines will be spending it without their loved ones, without roofs, without their homes, without jobs, but they are not without hope.</p> <p>This year I will be spending Christmas in Tacloban but wherever you are I wish you a happy, peaceful and safe Christmas.</p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Oxfam's report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/typhoon-haiyan-one-month-lessons" rel="nofollow">Typhoon Haiyan: The response so far and vital lessons for the Philippines recovery</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Watch the video: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2013/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-oxfam-one-month-response" rel="nofollow">Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: Oxfam's take on the first month of response</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan" rel="nofollow">Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: Oxfam's response</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Philippines: Christmas after Typhoon Haiyan - rise up, stand up</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/13-12-23-navidades-en-filipinas-despues-del-typhoon-haiyan-levantarse-y-ponerse-de-pie" title="Navidades en Filipinas después del Typhoon Haiyan: levantarse y ponerse de pie" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> <li class="translation_fr last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/fr/blogs/13-12-23-apres-typhon-haiyan-philippines-noel-pas-comme-les-autres" title="Après le typhon Haiyan, aux Philippines : un Noël pas comme les autres" class="translation-link" xml:lang="fr">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 05:00:10 +0000 Jane Beesley 10562 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10562#comments One month after Typhoon Haiyan: Rebuilding a just and resilient society http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10555 <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>This post was written by Lan Mercado, Oxfam’s Deputy Regional Director in Asia. She served as Oxfam’s Country Director in the Philippines from 2001-2009. It was written with contributions from Shaheen Chugtai, Deputy Head of Oxfam’s Humanitarian and Security Issues Team, and research from Paht Tan-Attanawin, Oxfam Project Officer.</em></p> <p>Two women, hearts broken, hands bruised and bleeding, their faces smeared by tears that fall silently at every hint of memory and by the grime that rises from piled fragments of former homes: one, Marcelina Gallano, an overseas worker in Dubai, following the odor of rot and clawing through rubble to search for the body of her only daughter Girly so she can bury her along with Girly’s children; the other, Rhodora Tiongson, who started a life in Bantayan Island after she fled from Negros and a husband who battered her, hammering scraps of wood and tarp to build herself a shelter. These are the people whose lives Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed, but remain brave enough to hope for some kind of future. For them and four million others displaced by the disaster, each day spent on the struggle to survive is a day just that – a struggle.</p> <h3>One month on: a snapshot of the response</h3> <p>At around 4:30 on 8 Nov 2013, Tyhoon Haiyan (locally, Yolanda) ploughed central Philippines from east to west, 315km/hour swirling winds dumping volumes of rain and whipping the sea, which rose to as high as 7.5 meters and drowning places along its path, many of which are less than five meters above sea level. By noon, 11.2 million people across nine regions had been affected, thrown into chaos—that’s 13% of the Philippines’ total population. On month on, close to 2,000 are still missing, 5,670 are recorded dead and the number is rising.  The government pegged the total cost of damage at PhP34B, PhP17B ($790M) for damage on infrastructure and PhP17B for damage on agriculture. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) most recent estimate of the humanitarian action plan is $348M.</p> <p>One month on, an estimated three million people had received food assistance which includes rice, high energy biscuits and emergency food products. Over 11,300 households had received rice seeds, vegetable seeds, fertilizer and agricultural tools. More than 36,000 households have tarpaulin sheets or tents. Efforts to reach another 400,000 households are underway. About 80% of people still in Tacloban City now have access to clean water, while about 60,000 hygiene kits had been distributed altogether. These plus health care, protective services and cash transfers are helping to keep families alive, prevent outbreaks of disease, and rebuild livelihoods.</p> <p>But there remains a long way to go. Compared to urban areas, remote rural communities only have local charitable initiatives, individual benefactors, businesses and churches as lifelines—at least in the first three weeks. Aid is inadequate, and hunger and malnutrition are stalking survivors. Eastern Visayas has received the bulk of attention, followed by Central Visayas. Western Visayas has received very little.</p> <p>Yet, compared to other disasters, the world was very generous to this one. Within the first three weeks of the response, US$391 million in humanitarian assistance was delivered. According to Oxfam’s initial analysis, a large number of countries gave far more than their “fair share” of the total (relative to their Gross National Income): large donors such as the UK, the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but also smaller countries like Denmark, Luxembourg, and New Zealand. A number of Persian Gulf countries and multilateral organizations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Commission gave substantial amounts, and so did countless private individuals all over the world.</p> <p></p> <h3>ASEAN response</h3> <p>The regional disaster response mechanisms provided by the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) swung into motion. A team from the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) was on the ground on Day 2 to help the government assess the scale of the disaster and coordinate the regional response.</p> <p>Funds, search and rescue missions, military assets to support the response, drinking water and tons of rice, medicines, medical personnel, and field hospitals were deployed by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam also sent goods and medicines and pledged more funds for the response.</p> <p>Citizens from a number of ASEAN countries mobilised to collect donations in cash or in-kind, and found ways to send these to the Philippines either through individual Filipinos, NGOs or Philippine embassies.</p> <h3>To be poor is to be vulnerable</h3> <p>To struggle for dignity and decency is not new to the likes of Marcelina and Rhodora. Poverty has long been the story of the places that Haiyan pummelled. Eastern Visayas is the country’s third poorest region, and first on the list of areas with the highest income inequality. In 2012, 37% of its population or 1.7 million people were subsisting with less than P90 a day, the rough equivalent of the global $2/day poverty line.</p> <p>Farmers and fisherfolks are poor because agriculture suffers from chronic underinvestment. For example, the lack of roads constrains farmers and fisherfolks’ access to markets. The inadequacy of infrastructure and transport is an obstacle to inclusive economic growth, and a hindrance to disaster relief efforts that could not easily fan out to areas outside of urban areas. More importantly, agrarian reform is weakly implemented. Across all the provinces hit by Haiyan, hectares and hectares of farmland remain in the control of rich families, representing 12% of total lands waiting to be distributed. Lack of tenurial security also threatens fishing households who are evicted to give way to resorts and other private investments favoured by government in foreshore areas and coastal zones. Naturally, poor people search for better opportunities, often in cities, sometimes overseas. Many, however, still end up poor.</p> <p>This is also a place where women face obstacles, despite the Philippines being ranked 5th in the world for narrowing the gender gap. Men dominate the workforce, with only 50% of women participating in it. In urban areas, women hold white-collar jobs, but many are in the informal sector where legal protection is absent. Gender inequalities in access to resources, entitlements, and the division of household labor make rural women the poorest of the poor in Eastern Visayas. Such poverty has made women and children vulnerable to human trafficking, and earned for Eastern Visayas the notoriety of a hotspot.</p> <p>The record-breaking strength of Typhoon Haiyan was a major factor in the devastation that happened, but poverty and inequality were the underlying causes of vulnerability for the majority of the displaced. When Typhoon Haiyan hit, one-third of Tacloban’s homes had wooden exterior walls, and one in seven homes had grass roofs. Even with a lesser storm, the level of damage to shoddy housing would have caused poor people to rebuild damaged or lost homes with money they didn’t have.</p> <p></p> <h3>Three Rs needed: Recovery, rehabilitation, risk-reduction</h3> <p>The humanitarian response is still gathering pace, but President Benigno Aquino has already approved a 3-phase plan for the recovery and rehabilitation of areas and communities ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. The move is a welcome one, especially as it signalled leadership. According to Malacañang, the plan’s phases include immediate assistance to affected areas, the expansion of initiatives and programs in the medium term, and full recovery and rehabilitation in the long term. It focuses on shelter and reconstruction, power restoration, livelihood and employment, environment and resettlement, psychosocial care, and resource generation and allocation.</p> <p>President Aquino appointed former Senator Panfilo Lacson to lead the rehabilitation. In interviews, Mr. Lacson said that he had discussed the rebuilding of land titles and records that were lost during the typhoon with the Land Registration Authority. He is concerned about land grabbers, new zoning codes, and the difficulty of restoring houses and government buildings without knowing the real owners.</p> <p>Rehabilitating the storm-ravaged areas presents a valuable opportunity for addressing the very conditions that make poor people vulnerable. Typhoon Haiyan ripped the structures off the land as if to symbolically give our country the chance to replace iniquitous old arrangements with new, just and risk-reducing social, cultural, economic and political institutions.</p> <p>This early, no-build zones along foreshore lands are being mentioned, and the relocation and resettlement of fisherfolk’ communities implied since municipal fishers usually establish their settlements here. But the enactment of the Philippine Fisheries Code in 1998 stipulates the zoning of fisherfolk settlements near fishing grounds, and protects their rights to settlements along areas where their livelihoods depend.</p> <p>Relocation and resettlement issues, especially for coastal communities must be consulted and agreed with fishing communities, for without access to the sea, they will wither and die. Municipal fishers contribute 36% to the P80M total value of fisheries production in 2011, compared to only 26% from commercial fisheries. Western Visayas’ produced 450,886 metric tons (MT); Eastern Visayas, nearly 210,000 MT; Central Visayas 240,073 MT. The Department of Agriculture placed the total number of affected farming and fishing households at 202,410, or a total of 865,305 individuals or 22% of those displaced.</p> <p>Fisherfolk settlement areas must be assigned as part of a comprehensive land use plan developed and agreed with them by the local government. This should likewise ensure security of tenure, as most foreshoreland where fisherfolk settle are public lands. Discussion of less risky settlement areas for fishing communities must be done not only in consideration of their marine-based livelihoods, but also of their role as stewards and resource managers.</p> <p>Strong ecosystems and improved natural resource management support livelihoods and biodiversity, and can reduce disaster risk by providing environmental buffers. In Philippine coastal areas, rural women manage mangrove forests and marine sanctuaries as part of broad adaptation interventions. These women-managed areas reflect the unique role and contribution of rural women in leading and managing natural resources upon which they depend for livelihoods. Communities should be supported to identify priority opportunities that improve the quality of coastal defenses, such as replanting mangrove forests where appropriate. Mangroves can reduce storm surge levels by up to half a meter for each kilometer of mangrove that the storm surge passes through, and reduce the height of wind and swell waves by 13- 66% within the first 100m of mangroves.</p> <p>A previous major disaster, Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy), pushed Congress to pass the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act and shifted the country’s disaster management paradigm from reactive to proactive. If Typhoon Haiyan can move the National Land Use Act (NLUA) from a proposed bill into law, it will do a lot to frontload risk reduction in development planning. NLUA prioritizes life and safety, and thus states that extremely hazardous and high risk zones must be cleared from all forms of human-made constructions, which means settlements and big private investments. Under it, land use and physical planning must identify, determine and evaluate appropriate land use and allocation patterns such that disaster risk reduction, climate-risk based planning, and the meaningful participation of the basic social sectors are promoted. People’s participation is crucial since NLUA also states that settlements within geohazard areas shall not be allowed. Where   geohazard zones have existing settlements, concerned government agencies shall assist local governments and settlers in “instituting safety and corrective measures to address the potential danger or risk.”</p> <p></p> <h3>Lessons from Typhoon Ondoy in 2009</h3> <p>Comparisons were being made between the Philippines and Haiti, Japan and Aceh in Indonesia where disasters also wrought destruction and despair. We don’t need to go outside the country for post-disaster lessons that led to better local governance.</p> <p>Aside from Albay, the country’s leading light on DRR, the municipal and provincial governments of Rizal and Laguna have effective local institutions that plan, spend and partner with communities and civil society in using hazard maps and early warning systems, building the capacity to respond, and understanding and implementing the PDDRM law. Many factors drove the change, but the political commitment of the government and the engagement and cooperation of people were the most crucial.</p> <p>Technical fixes are important but real rebuilding starts here, in improving the capacity of communities and local governments. In a region with major deficiencies in delivering public services and targeting poverty reduction programmes, national and local government must work shoulder-to-shoulder with a range of actors to pick up the pieces and rebuild a better, more resilient society.</p> <p><em>Lan Mercado is Oxfam’s Deputy Regional Director in Asia. She served as Oxfam’s Country Director in the Philippines from 2001-2009. This article was written with contributions from Shaheen Chugtai, Deputy Head of Oxfam’s Humanitarian and Security Issues Team, and research from Paht Tan-Attanawin, Oxfam Project Officer.</em></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Oxfam's report: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/typhoon-haiyan-one-month-lessons" rel="nofollow">Typhoon Haiyan: The response so far and vital lessons for the Philippines recovery</a></strong><em><a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/typhoon-haiyan-one-month-lessons" rel="nofollow"></a></em></p> <p><strong>Watch the video: <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/video/2013/philippines-typhoon-haiyan-oxfam-one-month-response" rel="nofollow">Philippines Typhoon Haiyan: Oxfam's take on the first month of response</a><em></em></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>One month after Typhoon Haiyan: Rebuilding a just and resilient society</h2></div> Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:32:50 +0000 Lan Mercado 10555 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/node/10555#comments