As Typhoon Ruby makes landfall, a year since Haiyan has made a world of difference
UNDP’s has been working for several years with all levels of government and the people of the Philippines in preparing for disasters like Typhoon Hagupit which made landfall on 6th December, to reduce the risks from disaster and to save lives. It is evident that the work put in by the people and the government and the measures in place to deal with disasters are now paying off.
In the aftermath of Yolanda, UNDP, with support from the European Union, supplied and encouraged the use of coco-lumber (from coconut trees which fell during Yolanda, leading to clearing of lands for replanting and inter-cropping) for the construction of transition housing for families living in tents.
These homes were designed to be resistant to a strong disaster and we have witnessed that these have withstood the brunt of Ruby. UNDP will now see how this coco-lumber-for-housing can be fast tracked to also contribute to rapidly repairing homes damaged by Ruby.
- More than half a million people have been moved to safety and are in shelters with adequate food and water.
- The evacuation routes, shelters and early warning systems are some of the key areas that UNDP has worked on developing with national and local governments.
- Since the India Ocean Tsunami of 2004 to Typhoon Yolanda a little over a year ago, UNDP has promoted many types of disaster risk management policies and practices in the Philippines and across the Asia-Pacific region.
Our objective even before Yolanda and now Ruby has been to support national and local governments in vulnerable regions develop stronger protection systems so that they can, together with communities, take responsibility for protecting peoples’ lives and livelihoods, and to reduce the damage from disasters.
Our experience in dealing with disasters and the robust evidence we have gathered from how to deal with disasters such as Typhoon Yolanda that struck over a year ago, has allowed UNDP to invest heavily in developing and sharing innovative solutions to reduce risk and help local and national governments create and implement the best disaster management policies, that are proving useful now.
UNDP, along with other UN agencies, has supported the local situation assessments leading to early evacuations, particularly in the Eastern Visayas Region. Along with the rest of Typhoon-affected communities, more than half a million people have been moved to safety and are in shelters with adequate food and water.
The evacuation routes, shelters and early warning systems are some of the key areas that show the collective efforts of the national and local government and its development partners, including UNDP.
Understanding hazard maps is also a critical area of work as it allows residents to understand the hazards and risk that affect their homes, livelihoods and lives. The fact that majority of affected areas had zero casualty is a testament to the work that has been done so far.
Since the India Ocean Tsunami of 2004 to Typhoon Yolanda a little over a year ago, UNDP has promoted many types of disaster risk management policies and practices in the Philippines and across the Asia-Pacific region.
Working with local government units and the national government, UNDP has contributed to improving knowledge about disaster risk and awareness, and have helped develop a more proactive and risk management oriented approach on prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and rehabilitation/recovery. These measures have helped create definitive instructions on developing national and local disaster plans, including standard operating procedures now used for a region-wide early warning system.
At UNDP we know that challenges remain to improving protection from disaster, innovating on early warning systems, refining evacuation procedures, and ensuring people regain sustainable livelihoods that are environmentally friendly -- but you can see that the investments made by countries such as the Philippines are paying off.
Over a year ago, Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation in the Philippines taught us that the quest to save lives and build resilience is an ongoing process and that process has undoubtedly helped in dealing with Typhoon Hagupit, and will continue.