FIL-AM ORGANIZATION RAISES CONCERNS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, THREE YEARS AFTER SUPER TYPHOON HAIYAN
SAN JOSE, CA — It’s been three years since the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan impacted the Philippines.
Despite the international support and promises of rebuilding by the government, some Filipino-Americans traveled to the affected areas this past summer to see the efforts first-hand, and what else needs to be done in the area.
The Disaster Support Network for the Philippines sent Fil-Ams over to the eastern Visayas, who are reporting back to the Bay Area community about what they saw.
“We’re looking at the more rural communities, a lot of the farming communities, the fishing communities; they’re the ones that have been most affected,” says Julian Jaravata, from the Disaster Support Network for the Philippines. “They continue to struggle to maintain their livelihood because their crops — like the coconut trees — were devastated by the typhoon.”
“A couple of the fisher folk communities that I stayed at they still lived in temporary shelters, temporary housing, many of which were built by international organizations,” said Christian Ollano, from KBKN. “Meanwhile if you go inland, government is building some of these cement subsidized housing — but they are not completed even more than three years after [the typhoon].”
These young Fil-Ams self-funded their trip to the Philippines, while also raising $2800 to be given to the Leyte Center for Development.
“We were able to give a rice mill and a carabao to a community in Marabut, in Samar,” says Javarta. “That’s toward helping them with their livelihood, and establishing food security.”
The issue of climate change and how it applies to those in the US was stressed in the group presentation.
“We’re in the most polluting country in the world, so I think that when being informed why climate change is important to us here,” says Jaclyn Joanino. “Being able to advocate for lifestyle change amongst ourselves, but also for policies which do not expand the use for fossil fuels and true accountability, in terms of pollution — those are things we can do here.”
The Disaster Support Network for the Philippines says they are waiting to mobilize for the next typhoon.
They are currently preparing communities abroad with supplies in anticipation for the next calamity, while also educating them about the possible risks, and working with the government to put measures in place to protect them.
We’re proud of and grateful for the handwork of our DSNP members Michelle Amores and Kim Nguyen who have been active in supporting victims of the Coyote Creek Flood. They have provided vital translation services, helped victims recover property from their affected homes, helped run a donation drive on March 12 for the affected families, and continue to work at the Seven Trees Community Center emergency shelter. THANK YOU for your service.
By DSNP member Julian Jaravata
In August 2016, two members of the Disaster Support Network for the Philippines (DSNP), myself and Jaki Joanino, participated in a week long program integrating with communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. This trip was hosted by the Leyte Center for Development (LCDe), one of the organizations that NAFCON supported during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan through the Consortium for People’s Development. Based in the South San Francisco Bay Area of California, DSNP is the last standing formation of Taskforce Haiyan, an initiative that NAFCON helped to establish in response to the massive devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. We transitioned from being South Bay Taskforce Haiyan to DSNP in recognition of the impacted communities’ long-term path to recovery and our group’s commitment to providing support in this path.
To inform DSNP’s continuing work, we coordinated with LCDe to facilitate a program that would provide important context for addressing the persisting needs of those affected by Haiyan and subsequent disasters. LCDe commands important leadership in the Eastern Visayas region with respect to community-based disaster risk management (CBDM) work and we were fortunate to witness this work throughout our trip. LCDe prioritizes working with communities in far-flung areas reach and have higher incidences of poverty. These communities were dramatically impacted by Typhoon Haiyan and suffer damages that continue to this day. A majority relies on farming and fishing for their livelihood, but due to extreme weather events brought on by climate change, struggles to produce an income from these industries that can sustain their communities. When we visited farmers discussed how they noticed extreme weather patterns that affected the growing of food that they would be able to sell for income as well as feed to their families. At the time, they were experiencing a drought that lasted the duration of our stay. Moreover, coconut trees, which played an important role in the region’s economy, were decimated by Haiyan. It will take ten years for new trees to grow and reach the same level of production that farmers had seen before the storm. That is, given other disasters do not damage the ones that are currently growing. The Eastern Visayas region as a whole is now the poorest in the Philippines.
Following the CBDM model, LCDe strives to work with communities to build infrastructure which will better support themselves, emphasizing the need for communities to build people’s organizations that can manage the resources provided to them. As part of our itinerary, we had the opportunity to observe a two-day disaster risk reduction training facilitated by LCDe staff to community members in Barangay Rubas of Jaro, Leyte. During the training, participants identified potential hazards that their community was vulnerable to, including typhoons, floods, landslides, sickness, and even armed conflict, and assessed their possible impacts. The following day, based on the prior day’s discussion, community members evaluated their capacity to prepare themselves as well as respond should a disaster occur. Topics discussed ranged from possible evacuation routes to creating a calendar that could anticipate when disasters would happen. At the conclusion of the training, community members reported back on their discussions which would then form the backbone of a disaster risk reduction plan. As next steps, LCDe will work with the residents of Rubas to host a community drill and establish a Disaster Preparedness Committee. These steps will pave the way for the people of Rubas to build their leadership in a way that will bring them closer to how they hope their community to be in spite of disasters.
In light of the work DSNP hopes to further build, it was critical for us to see what it means to provide people-to-people support on the ground in areas that are vulnerable to disasters of an increasingly larger scale. Communities such as those we visited face the brunt of consequences brought on by environmental degradation and exploitation which is often compounded by government neglect and corruption rampant in the Philippines. LCDe’s work addresses this further marginalization of these communities and continues to build upon the support that many of us contributed when Haiyan initially hit. They work not only to be the first responders when disasters strike, but also increasing the capacity of communities themselves to be resilient in the face of what disasters and environmental injustice may bring.
Reflections on Climate Justice from my time in the Philippines
Christian Ollano, KBKN 2016 Participant, DSNP Member
Exciting news everyone! We are having our reportback on Sun., Feb. 12, to share our experiences from last summer in Eastern Samar with the Leyte Center for Development (LCDE). Come to Tully Library to learn more about the struggle for environmental justice in the Philippines, to hear an update on community rebuilding efforts after Typhoon Haiyan, and to connect with new community members in the climate justice movement here in the Bay Area and Filipino communities! We’ll also talk about how you can help victims of the recent Typhoon Nina, which hit the Philippines in late December.
We’re less than a month away from DSNP’s first mission trip to the Philippines! Julian and Jaki would really like to see their friends before they go, but this is NOT an exclusive event, anyone and everyone is welcome. 🙂
We are also currently fundraising for the 2016 typhoon season. The folks at Haberdasher are kindly creating a special cocktail to help us out. 25% of sales of our custom drink will go to typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines. By the way, did you know their drinks are really delicious?
Our 3rd mission participant Jessica Amores will have to miss this party, but she’ll toast with us in spirit!
Long term support is needed for the region to recover. After 3 years of fundraising post-Typhoon Haiyan, DSNP made 2016 a year of organizational building. DSNP has decided to partner with the Leyte Center for Development (LCDE) as a sponsor of their Disaster Risk Reduction through Preparedness and Emergency Response Project. The project benefits 715 peasant families in 7 communities in Basey, Samar and Palapag, and Northern Samar in Eastern Visayas. Mission participants are self-sponsored, any and all donations will benefit LCDE. To read more about LCDE and our mission trip and/or donate, check out www.youcaring.com/2016dsnp