FAO Fact Finding Mission in the Philippines
Following the passage of super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, extensive damage to agriculture and rural livelihoods were reported. During the 16 and 17 November, an FAO Team was sent on a Fact Finding Mission in the Provinces of Iloilo and Capiz, in order to assess the impact of Typhoon Haiyan on the region.
The typhoon struck at a devastating time for farmers – shortly after harvest, as a new planting season was in course. Rice planting is from late October to late November/early December and much of the area that was already planted for this season is severely compromised. The affected regions are prime agricultural areas – where production must be restored with urgency. In some less affected rice fields, farmers have started replanting seedlings.
Agriculture products are either stored at home – where losses occurred due to the destruction of houses – or sometimes in community-based warehouses. There is concern that many storage facilities may have been destroyed along with their contents. Although a major portion of the harvest is sold immediately after the harvest (to cover debt and have cash at hand), a share is stored for households’ own food and seed needs.
Heavy damages and losses were reported in the fisheries subsector, mainly to boats and gear as well as to fishers’ houses. Some repair work has already begun on medium-size boats by their crew of fishers, with loans either from canning factories, fishery associations or their boat owners. The massive destruction of boats, fishing gear, fish ponds and related equipment will hit subsistence, artisanal fishers severely.
FAO has 3 key courses of action to support the government in helping severely affected farming and fishing families: the top, most time-critical priority is the rice planting season; help fishers replace their boats and fishing gear; and implement cash-for-work programmes with partners. USD 24 million in funding is urgently needed for FAO to carry out its response.