In November of 2013, the Philippines were shook by the catastrophic effects of Typhoon Haiyan. One of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, Haiyan left over 4,000 people dead or missing. It damaged or completely destroyed more than 1.1 million homes and injured over 27,000 people. All that remained after the disaster was a mass of debris. The city of Tacloban was devastated entirely, with its buildings reduced to rubble.
A year after the storm, thousands of people were still living in temporary shelters with 4 million still displaced from their homes.
5 years after Haiyan, life is slowly returning back to normal for the Filipino people. Cooperation has been essential, and supporting one another in an uplifting way is the key to complete restoration according to the people of Tacloban.
Though things are improving, the country continues to face immense challenges such as rising sea levels and more extreme storm patterns attributed to global warming. The Philippines is now one of the most risk-prone countries on our planet according to the Asian Development Bank and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
In the aftermath of the storm, as much as $818 billion in foreign aid has been poured into the country, though slow reimbursement funds inhibited quick recovery for many affected citizens. On top of that, in November 2015, it was said that more than $7.1 million in foreign donations (that was meant to aid Haiyan-affected communities), was sitting unused in the bank account of the agency in charge of the funds.
A few things have been done to attempt to compensate for this type of disaster and prevent future damage. In 2015, the Paris agreement was signed by 195 countries. This agreement is a climate accord which pushes to keep global temperatures far below two degrees Celsius. It also includes a provision for ‘loss and damage’, which enhances action and support such as financing, that addresses damage associated with the negative effects of climate change.
In addition, The executive director of Greenpeace Philippines is calling for negotiations to guide the world away from it’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Though strides have been made since Typhoon Haiyan first touched down, there is much more work to be done. This is why we believe our mission at Wisconsin Microfinance is important. The loans we give to people affected by Haiyan help them get back on their feet, find a new beginning, and see hope after the most devastating event of their lives. We hope with these small donations, we can help individuals one by one, and eventually see the Philippines fully recovered.