A family sits outside the bunkhouse where they continue to live after being displaced by typhoon Haiyan. Many of those in bunkhouses are being targeted for permanent resettlement to safer land as part of recovery plans. Photo: Genevive Estacaan / Oxfam 2014

6 November 2014 (Oxfam) – There are 205,000 families living in ‘unsafe’ areas and only 1 percent of houses are built, said a new report published by Oxfam today called, In the Shadow of the Storm: Getting Recovery Right One Year After Typhoon Haiyan.

Oxfam said that significant progress had been made in the aftermath of the typhoon. However, the Philippine government now needs to show leadership in the relocation process for families.

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. It killed 6,000 people and made 4 million people homeless, with many unable to return to their houses. An estimated 1 million homes were destroyed or severely damaged. It was the strongest recorded storm to have made landfall. Almost a year after the storm families continue to struggle, with risks of deepening poverty.

Oxfam has helped 870,000 people since the typhoon struck. It has supplied water pumps, community latrines, cash vouchers for food, fishing boat replacement and repairs, clearing coconut tree debris, and setting up sawmills to convert the debris into lumber for shelters.

Oxfam Great Britain chief executive, Mark Goldring, said: “The Oxfam appeal for typhoon Haiyan raised £5 million – the British people were incredibly generous. We have seen the people of the Philippines start to get back on their feet and carry on. The government has also shown leadership in the transition from emergency to recovery efforts. But now it should show how to 'build back better.’”

“It has yet to prove that through its relocation efforts. Relocating families is not only about houses it’s also about jobs, safety, transport. People are still living in overcrowded bunkhouses and in lean-to homes – if nothing is done to these areas the families living there are at risk from another typhoon in this increasingly storm hit area.”

According to the report, 205,000 families are still waiting to be re-housed. The families live in poor, makeshift shelters in areas prone to being hit by typhoons. As of October, less than 1 percent of homes had been built due to difficulties in buying safe land in the right place. Local authorities are straining because they lack skilled people, resources and clear policies from the government.

In the Shadow of the Storm was published alongside, Can’t Afford to Wait, a broader report from Oxfam on how reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change across Asia needs to improve. This would help millions of poor people withstand climate related disasters, like typhoon Haiyan.

Goldring said: “If the risk of disasters is not adequately confronted, then the cards will continue to be stacked against poor people who bear the brunt of these catastrophes. Action in the Philippines must be backed up globally by actions to tackle these disasters.

“In Asia, it is often small food producers who often live in harm’s way. These families have no savings to tide them over after a disaster. It is they who will lose in the fight against climate change. Families are being forced to choose between safety and putting food on the table.”

A year after Haiyan, 1m Filipinos still live in dangerous conditions

Typhoon Haiyan survivors rest at a temporary shelter in Tanauan, Leyte, in central Philippines on 7 November 2014. Photo: Erik de Castro / Reuters

6 November 2014 (Christian Aid) – November 8 marks the first anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest tropical storm ever recorded making landfall, which devastated large parts of the Philippines, killing 6,300. The death toll also made it one of the deadliest typhoons in recorded history.

In the year since Haiyan struck, Christian Aid partner organisations in the Philippines have reached 290,000 people, helping them rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

The anniversary coincides with the publication of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which this week warned that climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly.

It is against the backdrop of that sobering warning that the annual UN summit on climate change will open in Lima, Peru on December 1.

Christian Aid’s Principle Climate Change Adviser, Dr Alison Doig, today urged governments at the summit to take heed of the IPCC’s warnings, saying Haiyan was a frightening example of what the world can expect if drastic action is not taken.

“The scientific consensus is that extreme weather events such as Typhoon Haiyan will become more frequent, and more intense, unless we act to stop the impacts of climate change already evident such as rising sea levels, and the warming of the oceans becoming worse,” she warned.

“It is now abundantly clear that all countries need to transition to a low-carbon energy future, while at the same time protecting vulnerable people from the impacts of climate disasters.

“The IPCC report is quite clear. The only way to avoid disasters like Haiyan becoming a frequent occurrence is to act now, adapt to the effects of a changing climate and cut emissions to prevent climate change getting worse.

“The global climate deal which will be worked on in Lima and hopefully signed in Paris in December 2015 must be fair and ambitious, with countries focussed on keeping the temperature rise to well below 2oC degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“This will require many countries setting aside their own short term interests for the common good.”

One year on global leaders must heed Haiyan warning



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