Cebu City is uncharacteristic of the white sand and crystal clear waters experience that otherwise dominates one's idea of the Philippines. From the Cebu International Airport it sprawls, though relatively compact in size, as an urban metropolis that contrasts with the smaller more rural or seaside towns.
This is not just a humanitarian imperative; it is in all our interests to act. In the globalised 21st Century conflicts are not easily contained by borders. As the Stern Review made clear, tackling climate change will ultimately be cheaper than allowing it to proceed unchecked. But it is the human cost of these crises, the children of Gaza, the homeless Philippines and the South Sudanese families who do not know where their next meal is coming from that really demand our action. The UK public have shown they are up to the task; it is time for world leaders to do likewise.
This week, the British Red Cross is launching a long-term recovery programme in the Philippines as the disaster-prone country continues to recover from super-storm Haiyan and braces itself for the onslaught of this year's typhoon season. But as we mark six months since the typhoon hit, many organisations specialising in emergency response are leaving and the levels of support have dwindled, even though the needs remain immense.
Taking full advantage of the opportunity for peace in the Philippines will require a sustained effort on the part of central and local governments, by the rebel movements, as well as in civil society and the business community, over many years. Some of the factors they will need to take into account were identified at by our taxi driver last night.
Right this second all around the world, millions of children are in danger. Huge numbers of children are caught up in emergencies, like conflicts in Syria and South Sudan and natural disasters like Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In the Philippines 1.7million children were forced from their homes when the Typhoon swept through their communities. I saw myself how children's lives have been destroyed and how they are slowly recovering with the help of UNICEF. As a father, it was a moving experience and the memories of the children I met will stay with me for the rest of my life.
With typhoon Haiyan but a distant memory for most people outside the Philippines, reports emerged this week of a stand-off on one of the islands most seriously affected, which is keeping thousands from being re-housed. There are still 50,000 people in Tacloban whose homes were destroyed or are unsafe to live in. Despite a pledge from the mayor to re-house everyone by December, the necessary funds to make that happen have not been forthcoming from the Philippine government. Why? A decades-old feud between two political families
As a young woman living with a disability in a disaster-affected community Mavie faces even more challenges than most - Plan works hard to ensure that the rights and needs of children like Mavie are taken into account when planning for, and responding to, disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.As a young woman living with a disability in a disaster-affected community Mavie faces even more challenges than most - Plan works hard to ensure that the rights and needs of children like Mavie are taken into account when planning for, and responding to, disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.
While the world focused on the Geneva II Conference on Syria, worried about the apparent intractability of that conflict, a very different sort of development has taken place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On Saturday the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concluded sixteen years of negotiations seeking to putting an end to an armed conflict, which originated in 1968.