The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster prone countries in the world, with significant risk of typhoons, floods, landslides, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. On 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda), one of the strongest storms ever to strike land, hit one of the poorest region in the Philippines. The scale of the destruction was staggering.
Although the Philippines made substantial economic progress and is rapidly urbanizing, one-fifth of the population still lives in severe poverty, mainly in the rural areas. Typhoon Haiyan’s widespread destruction across one of the country’s poorest provinces, Eastern Samar, only exacerbated the pre-Haiyan chronic poverty and vulnerability of the local communities. So for many who survived typhoon Haiyan’s brutal winds and deadly storm surge, their struggle still continues two years later.
While a large-scale emergency and early recovery response from the international community addressed the short-term income gap, a critical opportunity exists to ensure that these communities have a chance not only to rebuild their lives but to strengthen their resilience – to future disasters as well as to poverty. To seize this opportunity, People in Need continues working in Eastern Samar with long-term reconstruction and development programmes in the sectors of livelihoods & market development, agriculture, land issues and civil society development.
The Philippines also suffers from numerous political and social conflicts which many of them result from inequitable access to resources. Land disputes, forced evictions, monopolistic land ownership and poor governance all constitute a major obstacle to inclusive development. In close cooperation with national partners, PIN supports civil society groups active in defending land rights and addresses this issue at national level through advocacy campaigns, discussions with policymakers and awareness raising.