As a third world archipelagic nation, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to to climate change. People in Need began its operations here in 2013 after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan struck and caused severe damage. It remains one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded--one which people are still recovering from to this day. In addition, Filipinos suffer from political as well as social conflicts and poverty which concerns as much as one-fifth of the population. The country is also currently under one of the longest and strictest lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Yolanda) ravaged Eastern Samar, one of the poorest provinces of the country. The instant and large-scale emergency response provided by international organizations helped provide solutions to short-term problems and attended to the immediate needs of those affected. Now, we are focusing on the long-term recovery of the Philippines. We help revive and improve local markets and ensure new, alternative sources of livelihood for people. For instance, we introduced growing cacao, and connected poor farmers with customers and suppliers, without the interference of third parties and middlemen.
The Philippines also faces political and social conflicts, including disputes over exclusive land ownership, forced displacements, and ineffective governance. Therefore, we support local communities and human rights organizations protecting people’s right to land. These organizations also monitor land grabbing, organize awareness campaigns and public debates with politicians, and provide legal advice.
In 2017, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes as a result of the Battle of Marawi, the longest urban war in the modern history of the Philippines. In cooperation with local partners, we helped young people affected by the conflict, distributed school uniforms, and provided legal advice and psychosocial support. We also provided sub-grants to local civil society organizations, and organized initiatives to empower the youth towards advocating for increased tolerance and respect for other religions and cultures.
Today, we are operating in some of the most impoverished and climate-vulnerable areas of the country such as Northern Samar, to provide access to renewable energy capable of powering both households and livelihoods. Through this, we aim to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities and their ability to cope with the consequences of future disasters. We are also taking strides to address the COVID-19 pandemic through engaging in information, education and communication campaigns that combat misinformation and prioritize public health and welfare.