The Philippines is struggling to recover from last month’s massive Typhoon Rai which caused losses worth Php 11.1 billion ($ 215 million) to crop and farmland and $ 17.5 billion. Php ($ 330 million) of damage to houses, roads, electricity and water pipes.
Over 420,000 hectares of land have been lost to flooding and up to 925,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Major staple crops like rice, coconuts and sugar cane have been wiped out in some parts of the country. The Philippine fishing industry has lost more than Php three billion ($ 58 million) in fishing boats, gear and stocks.
Oxfam Philippines Country Director Lot Felizco said: “Our staff reported finding people begging for leftover food in Bontoc, Padre Burgos, Tomas Oppus and Malitbog, the worst affected towns in southern Leyte “.
“As the rest of the world begins a new year with hope, nearly 7 million people – more than the entire population of Denmark – find it difficult to accept that their homes are damaged or destroyed and that their main income is gone. . Nearly 390,000 farmers and fishermen have seen their crops razed, fishing boats broken, or livestock killed or lost. They were left with nothing, ”said Lot Felizco, national director of Oxfam Pilipinas.
Petronilo Bohol, a fisherman from the village of Malitbog, in southern Leyte, which had been hit by two other storms before Rai, said: “We live here because our only livelihood is from the sea. all the boats for safety, but the waves still hit them and hit the roads. Typhoon Rai was bigger and stronger than the previous two. It made our mountains bald. ”
Ramon Cabarrubias, a welder from the village of Malitbog, in south Leyte, told Oxfam: “[During the storm] we piled into our bathroom thinking that would be our end. The next day, we came out of nothing. My mechanic’s tools are gone. Even my boat has disappeared.
The Rai typoon was the last – and by far the strongest – of the fifteen typhoons to hit the Philippines in 2021.
Extreme weather events like Typhoon Rai are a harbinger of the worst to come. Scientists have long warned that rising global temperatures, induced by a man-made climate crisis, are making typhoons more intense and more frequent.
Oxfam has sharply criticized the latest climate talks at COP26 for showing “appalling disregard” for the financial plan needed to compensate countries, like the Philippines, for loss and damage. He urged rich polluting countries to honor their pledges not only to cut carbon emissions to avoid a catastrophic rise in global temperature above 1.5 ° C, but also to increase funding for mitigation and adaptation – and loss and damage – to the poorest countries.
Climate-related extreme weather events, compounded by the economic fallout from COVID-19 and existing inequalities, have pushed millions of vulnerable people in the Philippines to the brink of hunger and poverty. By 2021, more than 26 million people – nearly a quarter of the population – were already living below the poverty line, where families of five earn less than Phs 12,082 per month ($ 230 per month).
A recent survey from 2021 showed that 2.5 million Filipinos experienced unintentional hunger at least once in the three months (July-September 2021).
In the Philippines now – as local people struggle to clean up and reclaim their homes and livelihoods – urgent humanitarian funding is needed to provide vital food and water, and to help people rebuild their homes, their cultures and businesses. Oxfam is launching an urgent appeal for € 4 million to support its part of the collective humanitarian response in the country.
Notes to Editors
- Loss and damage figures according to the Ministry of Agriculture – DRRM Operations Center. As of January 3, 2022
- The figures on loss and damage to infrastructure are from the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC).
- According to 2015-2020 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification data, approximately 54.9 million or 64% of Filipinos are chronically food insecure (IPC-Chronic level 2 and above). There are 14.5 million at level 3; and 7.1 million at level 4, for a total of 21.6 million in CPI3 and above.
- Typhoon Rai has already killed more than 400 people, damaged nearly 830,000 homes, displaced more than half a million of their homes and left 6.8 million people in desperate humanitarian need.
- Oxfam and eight local partners have already reached more than 38,000 people in the most affected communities of southern Leyte, Leyte province and the Siargao Islands, with food packages, shelter repair materials, emergency kits. hygiene, sleeping kits, water kits, solar lamps and solar packs. They also provided pre-disaster financial assistance to 2,650 families in Eastern Samar to help them prepare for the typhoon.
- Social Weather Survey (SWS) hunger data reported as of Q3 2021. http://www.sws.org.ph/swsmain/artcldisppage/?artcsyscode=ART-20211206105401
- Data on losses in agriculture and fishing sectors are from the Philippines Department of Agriculture as of January 6, 2022
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