Home Contact Us  
   

Southeast Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4186, 21 November 2013
 
Philippines: Recovering from Typhoon Haiyan
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Research Officer, SEARP, IPCS
Email: aparupa@ipcs.org
 

On 7 November 2013, Philippines witnessed one of the biggest natural calamities caused due to the passage of Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda). At least 10,000 people were killed when the typhoon passed through the country. The coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar are reportedly the worst affected areas in the archipelago. The government has declared a ‘state of national calamity’, and mobilised thousands of troops to enable the recovery effort. Despite the initiation of relief and recovery operations, several people are reportedly still without basic amenities, including proper shelter, clean water, food and medicines, which have resulted in bouts of localised protests. However, one should note that prior to Haiyan’s landfall, proper disaster mitigation precautions such as weather updates by the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), as well as evacuation plans had been implemented by the government.

The larger issue is that of disaster management.  What caused such widespread damage in spite of the precautionary measures taken by the authorities? Can anyone be blamed for the massive destruction? Why is the recovery process slow?

Hurdles in the Path of Relief
Even after a week following the calamity, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) was not able to provide an accurate number of casualties. In response, the international community consisting of several countries and humanitarian organisations extended their support. However, the main challenge continued to be the allocation of relief aid to the affected people. Extensive damage to roads and communication networks delayed prompt response from relief workers.

Furthermore, heavy rainfall and widespread power outage across provinces exacerbated difficulties during rescue missions. Additionally, deterioration in the security environment was reported in the worst affected areas, particularly Tacloban City, where a night time curfew was imposed. Most crimes reported were attributed to looters - some of them armed - looking for subsistence materials. Some groups, attempting to ambush vehicles, were operating along highways that were being used to transport relief materials. The government deployed special forces personnel and armoured vehicles along the accessible paths of Leyte and Samar. The situation was tense and the security forces were unable to adequately maintain law and order in some areas. Moreover, there was a rising fear regarding an outbreak of an epidemic if the rescue work did not proceed swiftly.

Who should be Blamed?
Typhoon Haiyan, which is reportedly the strongest recorded tropical cyclone in the world, made its first landfall in Guiyan on Samar Island, followed by six other landfalls on other central islands. Considering the intensity of the typhoon, damage was inevitable even if the best of precautions were undertaken. However, the unprecedented loss of lives and destruction could have been avoided to some extent if more necessary measures had been implemented by the government and subsequently followed by the civilians. Philippines annually faces approximately twenty tropical storms, followed by other natural hazards. Thus, it is expected to be more prepared in dealing with such natural calamities. Unfortunately, the disaster management situation in the country is very poor. A majority of the houses in Philippines are modestly constructed which are incapable of sustaining any storm of massive intensity. Although many people were evacuated to storm-proof shelters, some of these succumbed to the strong winds. Moreover the government should have been prepared with essential commodities such as food, water and medicines, considering the prior weather-related warnings by PAGASA.

On the other hand, it is unwise to blame the government completely. Despite repeated warnings and orders for mandatory evacuation, many civilians in several islands refused to leave their property in order to safeguard them. For instance in Coron, which is a popular tourist destination in Palawan province, residents refused to follow the recommended steps as the city had never been affected by a typhoon. Another aspect that can be attributed for the widespread damage is the geographic location of the country. Most of the central Filipino towns were recovering from an earthquake that had struck the region a couple of weeks prior to the typhoon. In September 2013, Typhoon Usagi passed over Philippines, severely affecting life and property. Several critics have cited the examples of the evacuation processes that were implemented in Vietnam during the passage of Haiyan, and in India during Cyclone Phailin. However, one should also be reminded that both these countries are not archipelagos, and unlike Philippines, are blessed with suitable geographic landscapes which can be utilised to shift people during such natural disasters.
However, the above points cannot excuse the government for being unable to ensure a better disaster management system, which is extremely essential for Philippines. As of now, the situation demands swift action by the Filipino authorities.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
IPCS Forecast: Myanmar in 2015

Myanmar: Why the Islamic State Failed Here

Myanmar: Violence in Rakhine State and a Way Forward

Myanmar's Ashin Wirathu: Five Reasons for His Rise

Islamic State and Southeast Asia: Answering the Call for Jihad

Anti-Rohingya and Anti-Muslim Sentiments in Myanmar: Mutually Reinforcing?

India-ASEAN FTA: Gap Between Expectation and Reality

Myanmar: How Free is the Contemporary Media?

Myanmar’s National Census: Fuelling Ethnic Crises

Thailand: Why is History Repeating Itself?

Myanmar: Peace in Kachin State?

Indonesia: The 2014 Legislative Elections

China, Myanmar, and the Myitsone Dam: Uncertain Future

Thailand: Challenges to Democracy?

Philippines and Thailand: Need for Regional Peace Initiatives

Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia: A Crime Against Humanity

Myanmar: The New Tourism Brand

India and Thailand: Bilateral Trajectory after the Indian Prime Minister’s Visit

IPCS Discussion: Society, Politics, Governance & Security in Indonesia

Malaysia: A Race to the Finish Line

Thailand: The story after the Peace Deal

Laos: Liberalisation at the Crossroads

Thailand: A Peace Deal with Insurgents

Indonesia: “Unity in Diversity”?

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.