More about the disaster
The Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
More than 14 million people were affected by the devastation brought on by super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) in the Philippines.
The typhoon struck the Visayas region of the Central Philippines on 8 November 2013. The winds registered at over 300 km per hour – the strongest in history for the landfall of a cyclone. More than 6 200 people died and a further 4.1 million were displaced.
The devastation witnessed in nine regions of the country is reminiscent of the 2004 tsunami, with the added factor that this time, damages extended to inland areas as well as the coast.
Agriculture and rural livelihoods severely hit
Agriculture sustained heavy losses, with total needs for recovery and rehabilitation estimated at USD 724 million. The typhoon struck between two planting seasons – damaging crops that were ready to harvest, harvested and newly planted. Around 1.1 million tonnes of standing crops were destroyed, primarily coconut, rice and corn. Infrastructure and production equipment such as storage, irrigation systems, boats and roads also suffered extensive damage. Damage to fisheries spanned the entire value – from catch to market.
The race for rice
Farmers needed to clear and replant their fields by December/January to secure the first harvest of 2014. FAO made this a top priority and is reaching nearly 44 000 families with rice production packages (seed, fertilizer, irrigation pumps) in time. Every farmer supported with 1 hectare-worth of rice seed will be able to produce 2 tonnes – enough rice to feed a family of five for a year, generate vital income and save as seed for future planting. The total anticipated production is 87 154 tonnes of rice for consumption – enough to feed 800 000 people for 1 year.
Extensive, unmet needs
Much more support is needed to help rural families recover their livelihoods and prevent prolonged dependence on external assistance.
- Rice and corn farmers in rainfed areas need support to resume production by April 2014.
- Coconut farmers need urgent support to diversify their livelihoods as their trees, once replanted, will take six to eight years to reach full production.
- Upland farmers are highly vulnerable; their recovery depends greatly on the timely rehabilitation of agroforests (an important source of food, income and fuel), including the establishment of community-based tree nurseries.
- Fishers and coastal communities need urgent support to rebuild their livelihood base, with focus on boat safety and quality; distribution of selective, non-destructive and legal fishing gear; and natural-resource protection.
- Small-scale livestock keepers (especially women) struggle to restore backyard production – an important source of extra income, savings and food (meat, milk, eggs).
Supporting government-led efforts
FAO is working closely with the Philippines Department of Agriculture and related Government agencies at all levels, addressing priorities identified in the Government’s Damage and Loss Assessment and Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda Plan.