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Recovering from storms Ketsana and Parma in the Philippines: the importance of people's voices in recovery and reconstruction

Dave Llorito's picture
A recently released Post-Disaster Needs Assessment tells of big numbers: total damage and losses following typhoons Ketsana and Parma was US$4.3 billion.  (Photo by Nonilon Reyes)

My mind raced back to the remote town of Balangiga in Eastern Samar, as the Philippines government, development partners and the private sector were discussing the findings of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) in a recent dialogue in Makati City.

The PDNA—prepared by a team of local and international experts from the government agencies, private sector, civil society and development partners—tells about big numbers: total damage and losses following two typhoons, Ketsana and Parma, was US$4.3 billion. And resources needed for the Philippines to pick up the pieces and eventually get back on its feet is equally big—more than US$4.4 billion (pdf). There were discussions about how the PDNA could serve as a framework for recovery and reconstruction, but my mind kept telling me that one of the key principles to effectively address floods and disasters in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon—on top of the required resources, processes, and governance reforms—lies in the experiences of residents of that remote town in the Visayas Islands.

Philippines: Surviving Tropical Storm Ondoy - Ketsana

Dave Llorito's picture
For 24 hours last Saturday, Typhoon Ondoy dumped 455 millimeters of rain on Luzon, causing massive floods and destroying lives and property in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy of IRRI Images under a Creative Commons license)

Muelmar Magallanes, an 18 year-old construction worker, had already saved 30 people from the raging floodwaters last Saturday. Shivering and exhausted, he dived back into the murky waters to save a mother and a baby girl who were bobbing up and down among the floating debris and brought them to safety. Then he was gone, swept away by the torrents. His body was found the following day.

Magallanes is one of the more than 240 casualties caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana). For 24 hours last Saturday, Typhoon Ondoy dumped 455 millimeters of rain (double the volume brought to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina) on Luzon, causing massive floods in Metro Manila and the adjoining regions, destroying lives and property, and creating anguish and devastation in the metropolis.

First comprehensive picture and analysis of the impact of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar

Claudia Gabarain's picture

The Government of Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations have released the first comprehensive report covering the impact of Cyclone Nargis on the people in the Ayeyarwady Delta and Yangon. Among the highlights:

After the Sichuan earthquake: Where will people live?

Mara Warwick's picture

Approaching the mountains from the Chengdu plain along the main road to Beichuan County, red banners with large white characters expressing support for the earthquake victims and thanks to the rescuers, are strung across the road, as if creating an arbor for all to pass through.  Driving up this road doesn’t feel safe, even now, six weeks after the quak

The World Bank will provide relief to victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar through ASEAN

Claudia Gabarain's picture

I had the chance today to attend a speech by ASEAN's (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretary General, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, right after he had met with the Bank's President Bob Zoellick. He told us they discussed ways to increase the cooperation between the two organizations, but the most interesting and pressing aspect of it all is that they talked about specific ways in which the Bank will be helping out the victims of Cyclone Nargis through ASEAN.