The Legacy of Typhoon Haiyan

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Last weeks program on NOVA, it provided us a different perspective on how a typhoon is formed and why Haiyan became the perfect storm. This week our feature blog could not have been more fitting. We tried to answer the questions brought to us by an enquiring student. This email comes to us from a young student name Jesus Pacheco, of Catalonia, Spain. Here at AFTHV we always encourage our youths to be part of a very important discussions, not just knowing the event, but understanding the impact it has on the people affected by the typhoon and what we can learn from the calamity.

These were the four questions that were brought up;

1. What news were in the city when they heard there would be a strong typhoon?

The bigger cities had warnings to heed the upcoming storm. Weather reports from local radios and televisions provided informations and social media also kept up with the people of the Philippines updated. However the smaller barrangays did not understand the degree of what was about to come. Filipinos, in general, are used to typhoon in the area. This was just beyond what they had expected.

2. What happened after this typhoon?
Were there a lot of help from other countries to rebuild what was broken, to help people who had lost their homes, etc?

The Majority of Northern leyte was wiped out. Tacloban City became ground zero because it also got hit with a huge storm surge. When the local meteorologist announced the arrival of the typhoon, they did not take it into consideration of the storm surge. It was barely mentioned. If the surge was factored in to the warning, it could’ve saved more lives in the area. Evacuation could have been implemented ahead of time. The storm surge was so strong, it even lifted a cargo ship on to the mainland.
Help did not arrived until five days later, as there were lack of organization and poor management on the government’s part.

3. How is the city now?

Currently the major cities are getting the basic humanitarian aid and rebuilding of the infrastructure, however the smaller villages, like the ones we have been campaigning, are left unattended or are last to be served. What could’ve have been done, with all the donated funds to the country, is to establish a rehabilitation program. If the funds were used properly, local civic government could’ve provided seasonal contract employment to the local people to help the clean up, and not just rebuilding of the infrastructure, but also provide incentives to private sectors that will drive the unemployment rate low. When you offer work, people will spend money, when you spend money, there will be demand for other goods to be sold, thus creating local economy which leads to taxes back to civic funds. It can only be done if the local representatives understands the repercussions of what can happen when you work for the people.

4. What do you think they should have done to the country to avoid this catastrophe?

Local government needs to implement emergency respond programs and slush funds to make sure the next disaster recovery is more organized. Unfortunately, the present government administration has failed to provide even the basic need to aid the victims from the calamity. Non-governmental aid has far exceeded the help to re-establish the populated areas. Foreign aid and NGO’s have come together in support of helping the victims of Haiyan. Don’t you think it’s time to act what Leyte deserves from the current administration?

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