The Business of Recovery

The Business of Recovery When Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines in 2013, the result was massive devastation, with at least 6,300 people killed, and billions in damages. While the government did what it could to respond to the damage left behind, the sheer scale was overwhelming, and limited resources prevented simultaneous action in all the affected areas. With gaps in the government response, the way was opened for increased private sector involvement in the disaster recovery. One of the organizations that stepped in to help fill this gap was the Philippines Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), a coalition of companies operating within the Philippines. Companies "are able to help across political lines: they didn't care if a town was opposition controlled, and helped rebuild schools, houses, clinics," says president of the PDRF Rene 'Butch' Meily of the response. This allows more direct action, rather than facing delays as requests work their way through more formal bureaucratic structures, and allows for direct donation and provision of goods, rather than relying on delayed donations of money. This support extended to the assembly of an Emergency Operations Centre, leveraging products of PDRF companies to create an ops room integrating location software, weather information, and data sources.

While neither the private sector is not necessarily capable of filling all needs of the populace in the wake of disasters, the PDRF response does offer some insights into how the private sector can assist in wide-scale disaster recovery.