November 8, 2014

A year after Super Typhoon Haiyan, thousands march to demand climate justice

TACLOBAN, Philippines — Thousands joined a mass demonstration earlier today in Tacloban [1] marking the first anniversary since Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the Philippines. Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded [2]. The demonstrators stood in solidarity demanding justice and support to the victims as 15,000 people continue to live in tent cities. [3]
“Super Typhoon Haiyan reminds us that climate change is about far more than the environment. It’s about justice,” said Zeph Repollo, Southeast Asia Co-Coordinator, “the world’s most vulnerable people, the ones that did the least to cause climate change, are the ones that continue to feel its impacts first and worst.”
Internationally several groups mounted solidarity actions and joined the global online campaign (#RememberHaiyan) to support survivors in their fight for justice. Chapters of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle in the Philippines, Hong Kong, various states in the United States (US) and Europe also staged protests and other solidarity actions to mark the anniversary of Haiyan.
“Support from the international community continues to pour in, not just in the form of continuing aid, but also in waging political actions that expose and hold to account the criminal negligence of the Aquino government” said Dr. Efleda Bautista, People Surge Chairperson.
Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report serving as the clearest call yet for bold action to address the climate crisis. [4] The “synthesis report,” which summarises findings released in working group reports over the past year, underscores three major facts about climate change: it’s man-made and already having dangerous impacts across all continents and the ocean; global warming can still be kept below the politically agreed limit of 2 degrees Celsius averting the most dangerous impacts if we act now; the choice of securing a safe climate future is not only possible but also economically viable.
Moving forward, governments needing to protect the world’s most vulnerable from climate change, have a choice between continuing on a fossil-fuel dependent path, which would lead us further towards a collision course with nature at high economic cost; or keep remaining fossil fuels in the ground and build a future based on clean energy where economic growth can thrive in a stable environment where the conditions leading to natural disasters such as Super Typhoon Haiyan are averted.
Zeph Repollo, Southeast Asia Co-Coordinator,, +927 592 7752
Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager,, +201001840990
Dr. Efleda K. Bautista, Chairperson, People Surge – Alliance for Yolanda survivors – +9394781340
[1] Photos available here
[2] Super Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in world history. More than 4 million people were left displaced and the death toll surpassed 6000. There are several ways in which climate change can affect typhoons like Haiyan, and will continue to do so in the future, including: increasing sea surface temperatures, adding more energy to storms; increasing the amount of precipitation associated with tropical cyclones, because warm air holds more water than cold; and, causing sea level rise which increases the destructive power of storm surges.
[3] One year on, less than 1% of Haiyan’s survivors have been transferred to a permanent home. Thousands are still living in tent cities which leave them vulnerable to future storms.
[4] While no single weather event can be tied to global warming, climate change is loading the dice for extreme weather events like Haiyan. The storm’s strength and rapid development were aided by unusually warm ocean waters and warm, moist air (warm air holds more water vapor than cold). Global warming also causes sea level rise, increasing the risk of flooding from storm surges, especially in low-lying areas like much of the Philippines.