Life after recovery
Following the category 5 Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the Philippines has been in a state of repair. In the nearly two decades since the disaster, initiatives to rebuild the most seriously devastated areas, such as Tacloban, as well as to prepare the nation for future natural disasters have been fully implemented by both governmental and non-governmental entities. The result is the Philippines boasting newer, more modern and robust residences and infrastructure achieved through sustainable development upon which lies a society continually thriving due to strength in the agricultural industry. A birth limit implemented in recent years also means that there are less emissions, less mouths to feed, and ultimately, less people dependent on domestic and international support.
Typhoon Haiyan, which led to the evacuation of 750 000 residents, and damaged or destroyed approximately 1.1 million homes, heralded a strengthening of the country’s residential, commercial, and industrial structures. In response to global concern for the Philippines’ residents, thousands of whom lived for months in small white tents provided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the president of the country implemented a plan for the sustainable redevelopment of the shattered homes and workplaces of the population. The Philippines Climate Change Commissioner, Naderev Sano, was correct when he said that “It's really crucial that we design programs and funds so that those who have resources -- whether it's the public or private sector -- would have the motivation to pour investments and financing into what is really needed.” Organizations such as the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which helps “developing countries recover from climate-induced disasters while adopting ways to reduce emissions” have contributed – financially and otherwise - to the resilient, sustainable development of structures that have already proven to stand up against natural disasters. Typhoon Jacinto, which touched down only two years ago in August of 2028, was significantly less detrimental to the lives of those residing in the affected areas due to increased efforts in adapting to a typhoon and hurricane-prone region. Seeing as how “such storms act as part of a positive feedback cycle, in that climate change is causing more significant natural disasters, which in turn release more CO2 further contributing to increased climate change,” the development of more robust, eco-friendly houses and infrastructure is to thank for a death toll in the mere hundreds.
Fishing and Agriculture Industries
Another factor which contributed to rebuilding a once-shattered society was the effort and commitment to two of the Philippines’ leading industries: fishing and agriculture. The storm caused damage to an array of fishing boats, onshore facilities and other related assets. Additionally, “some 600 000 hectares of farmland were destroyed, leaving millions of people without a source of income and threatening food security.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, pledged to support the Philippine government’s reconstruction process of the industries. It called for $24 million in immediate interventions for fisheries and agriculture. After having mobilized all of this money by the year 2018, even further efforts spearheaded the growth of what is now a world leader in the export of various food products, including rice, coconut oil, and fish. In 2030, the ratio of total revenue to total cost topped 3.08, more than twice as high than the ratio of 1.31 a decade prior. This is due in part to the rehabilitation plan effectuated by the FAO, which provided the country with funds for fishing gear and boats, and the means to rebuild storage and irrigation facilities. Furthermore, they “provided 13 000 farm tools and over 4 500 tonnes of fertilizer to 80 000 affected families.” These same people were then able enough to found the Fishing and Agriculture Start-Up Center for those who wish to participate in a booming industry. Regulations such as the Philippine Fishing Stock and Gear Guidelines were also implemented in order to ensure that fishing was done responsibly, with non-destructive fishing gear and technical guidance in ethical fishing practices such as avoiding over-fishing. After 2028’s Typhoon Jacinto hit, the permanence of these industries as main sources of livelihood for the Philippines’ population remains evident, as only two years have passed and lasting damage seems never occurred.
On top of the development of infrastructure and housing and the subsidisation of the fishing and agriculture industries, a new policy to regulate the Philippines’ population has helped the country to sustain a degree of independence while reducing emissions and boosting the economy. Overpopulation is inherently detrimental to the environment, as it causes the need for more energy usage, and therefore increased emissions. Furthermore, dumping into water sources was a growing issue thanks to millions of squatter families who have few other options. A World Bank study suggested that “P47 billion in tourism revenue was lost due to water pollution and poor sanitation; P17 billion in lost fishing catch and P3 billion in unnecessary health costs – not to mention lost business productivity due to population-related illnesses.” The Philippine population at the end of 2013 was 97,484,000, with a density of 325 individuals per square kilometer. Since the introduction and implementation of the Reproduction Environmental Health Bill of 2018, which limits each set of parents to two children, this number has decreased to 275, and is still steadily declining. As a result, the Philippines has seen an increase in its GDP and overall quality of life. With fewer domestic individuals relying upon the products that are obtained through the industries mentioned earlier, the Philippines is able to sell more to other countries, thus bringing in more revenue and boosting the economy. This newfound profitability has seen to the creation of a new mass transit system alongside the country’s first subway, set for completion by 2035, which will stretch 900km with stations in most major cities.
The detriments of Typhoon Haiyan are blatantly obvious, but they have also undeniably been the cause for increased efforts in not only rebuilding a broken country, but also preparing it for future disasters through ameliorated infrastructure, the subsidisation of important industries, and the implementation of reproduction regulations to benefit public health. When a nation is met with disaster, its only option is to band together and collectively decide upon a course of action which will allow for recovery beyond the point that it was at prior to the event. This has undoubtedly been the case for the Philippines in the eighteen years since Typhoon Haiyan, and the events of Typhoon Jacinto in August 2028 have proven the resilience and dependability of the measures taken to live outside of the shadow of Mother Nature’s devastation. This allows for the continuous enjoyment of the (multiple) island paradise that is the Philippines.
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