Typhoon Haiyan - Portraits of resilience

Typhoon Haiyan - Portraits of resilience
Dec 2015

When Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) swept through the central Philippines on 8 November 2013, the storm affected some 14.1 million people and caused more than USD 700 million in damage to the agriculture sector, severely threatening the country’s food security.

The typhoon’s record intensity destroyed crop fields, orchards, fishing boats and gears—virtually all productive assets that rural and coastal families base their livelihoods upon. With one-third of the country’s population relying on the agriculture sector for their livelihood, it was crucial to get people back on their feet as quickly as possible and assist them in rebuilding their lives.

Supporting government-led efforts

Building more resilient livelihoods was a key focus of FAO’s Typhoon Haiyan Strategic Response Plan. In the immediate aftermath of Haiyan, FAO complemented Government efforts to restore the livelihoods of farmers in time for the imminent planting season, while enhancing local and national capacity to avoid or reduce the adverse effects of future hazards.

During the recovery and rehabilitation process, FAO worked closely with the Philippines Department of Agriculture and related government agencies at all levels, as well as local governments units, in addressing priorities identified in the Government’s Damage and Loss Assessment and Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda Plan.

FAO’s overall Haiyan response

FAO’s overall Typhoon Haiyan response comprised 22 projects benefitting more than 230 000 households (some 1.1 million people) of the most vulnerable agricultural and fisheries communities. Thanks to donor support of nearly USD 40 million, FAO provided assistance in four critical areas of intervention:

  • rice and corn farming;
  • coconut-based farming systems;
  • fisheries and coastal communities; and
  • coastal/mangrove forest rehabilitation (this cross-cutting component was integrated in various coconut-based farming systems and fisheries projects).

FAO placed Accountability to Affected Populations at the core of its emergency and rehabilitation programme cycle. In line with this, the views of communities were taken into account, so that both the process and what was being delivered addressed their needs, especially for the most vulnerable.

Two years after the typhoon ravaged coastal and farmland communities, the people who survived the storm—the farmers and fishers—are well on the road to recovery. This book is a tribute to their resilience and our work together to build back better their agricultural livelihoods after suffering such devastating losses.