350 Pilipinas reports back from Haiyan impacted areas
Over the weekend, a team of 350 Pilipinas / Power Shift Pilipinas volunteers settled safely in Tacloban, in the wake of senseless destruction.
East Visayas Tacloban Landscape Post Yolanda
Meggie, who has just returned from Tacloban, reports that there is a need for more relief donations, as several communities have not received anything since the typhoon hit. As she put it, they may have survived the storm but not from hunger.
Donations from Kalikasan Youth Makati
Leon, who is in Manila adds:
The Brigada Kalikasan (BK) disaster response campaign network was launched on November 12 a day after news reports have finally started airing from ground zero in the communities most-affected by Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda). The organizations that make up BK are 350 PH [350 Pilipinas] volunteers, and we soon got in contact with Zeph [350.org Southeast Asia Co-Coordinator] for initial ideas for a long-term response. After our talks days later, the Citizens' Disaster Response Center (CDRC) agreed to support the campaign particularly in the long-term rehabilitation and recovery efforts.
After under a week in our donation drive, we have initially received small amounts of canned goods, clothing, and water. We were able to send in 200 bottles of water to the first relief mission mounted together with BALSA to least-served communities in the Western Visayas region - which, alongside Samar and some parts of South Luzon region, has been under the media radar.
Water Donations from Friends Colleagues
On November 13, various groups mounted an International Day of Solidarity for Typhoon Haiyan survivors which the BK organizing groups also joined. It was a night when two of the biggest issues the country is facing, consecutive disasters and the pork barrel system of political patronage funds, brought to fore a local flavor of climate justice: people were indignantly calling for the rechanneling of billions of pesos in public funds were being stolen or used for political interests through the unaccountable lump-sum pork barrel funds towards immediate disaster response and long-term climate resiliency. Here is further explanation on how the pork barrel system is hurting our nation's climate vulnerability.
350 Pilipinas at International Solidarity Day
We sent fellow campaigner Meggie to join a multi-sectoral assessment team organized by the Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan or BALSA, a national relief drive network with which Brigada Kalikasan (BK) is cooperating with. They left last November 14 to conduct a damage and needs assessment in the Leyte and Samar provinces. We expect the assessment's coverage to be a bit limited, given that our local partner groups were all affected by the Super Typhoon. They will be reporting back tomorrow afternoon.
Aidalyn Arabe, from Dumaguete, reports from Malapascua Island in Northern Cebu:
We have seen the wrath of Supertyphoon Yolanda through television news and print but seeing the devastation with our own eyes brings so much pain and sorrow for the people who have completely lost their homes and properties. People were thankful that there were no casualties in their island. Many have lost their means of livelihood because a lot of boats of the fishermen were destroyed. Resorts were not also spared and many have been leveled to the ground if not partly damaged. Fishing and resort jobs are their primary means livelihood. They have acknowledged the fact that our weather condition is not anymore the weather we regularly encounter before. A lot has changed and they are afraid for there will be more to come.
350 PH volunteer
We keep standing in solidarity with and appreciate the precious work of Meggie, Leon, Aidalyn and others, raising our money and raising our voices for those heavily impacted by Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda, and all others facing the damaging consequence of climate change fueled extreme weather events.