Where Do They Stand Now? An Updated Look at the Philippines DR Situation

The Philippines is still dealing with the effects of Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda, which hit the country on November 8, 2013. So how are they managing? What’s the latest news?

Upon hearing that Manila, the country’s capital, had been listed among the world’s least resilient cities, we decided to check in on the resiliency and disaster recovery situation in the rest of the country.

According to an article in The Philippine Star, Manila was given this label by the Grosvenor Group, a British research firm which conducted a resiliency study and released the results last week.

The article stated that Manila was “found in the bottom five of 50 of the world’s major metropolitan areas, ranked according to their resilience.”

In the Grosvenor Group’s report, resilience is defined as “the city’s adaptive capacity to bounce back from an adverse event.” Manila was found to be the least adaptive city after Cairo, Egypt and the fourth most vulnerable to climate change and influx of people and businesses, making it the fourth least resilient city overall.

According to the article, part of the findings also included the fact that physical events such as floods and typhoons could easily endanger Manila, partly because a large number of the city’s people are in risky locations. The city was also found to have a poor disaster management plan, including its emergency procedures and risk-based land use planning.

Not the best news for a city, but perhaps it will spark change. There are steps leaders can take to create a better emergency management plan.

In another part of the Philippines, a community-based initiative is taking those steps. The Noah’s Ark Project in Cebu is aiming to improve the province’s disaster management ability – and this is the first time something like this is being done on a province-wide scale there.

Back in November, Cebu was hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan, and it was one of the provinces included in the declaration of a State of National Calamity that was issued in the wake of the typhoon.

According to the Philippine Information Agency, the Noah’s Ark Project is an initiative of the Corporate Network for Disaster Response. Its goal is to improve the capacity of high-risk barangays and sitios (Filipino community divisions, like villages) to deal with disasters like floods in particular, and reduce their vulnerability.

Last week, 14 local government units of Cebu province attended the first training session of the project. The training sessions and workshops will last for at least six months. The Noah’s Ark Project is now also going to be established in the provinces General Santos and San Pedro.

Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people and injured more than 27,000 people, devastated homes and destroyed crops, is most definitely something to learn from. Perhaps initiatives like this one will make a difference in future natural disaster recovery plans.

And in other hopeful news, the farmers whose crops were affected by Typhoon Haiyan, are due to be reaping their first crop since the disaster this month. You can read more about that here.

 

For information on Manila’s listing as one of the world’s least resilient cities, click here: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/04/09/1310621/manila-among-worlds-least-resilient-cities
For information on the Noah’s Ark Project in Cebu, click here: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=1051397104187
For facts about Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, click here: http://www.gov.ph/crisis-response/updates-typhoon-yolanda/