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.
So, do we write off countries like the Philippines as simply 'disaster-prone', and ready our emergency relief teams for the next Haiyan? Absolutely not. We must act now on the knowledge that climate change is driving an increase in extreme weather, and provide better protection against the impact of climate-related disasters.
The tragedy and loss brought on by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has triggered an overflow of generosity from the British public along with acres of media coverage. However quietly fading away from the daily headlines, Syria is also watching its children's futures cruelly slip away from them.
For the two weeks since the typhoon, these bodies have been laying face up - staring into the alternating blazing sun and pouring rain. The smell of decomposition was overbearing, but I couldn't look away from the little girl in the white dress. It seemed so wrong for her to be left to the elements like that, and stared at by anyone passing by.