Just over one year ago a storm of epic proportions devastated the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan, thought to be strongest storm to ever make landfall, took the lives of more than 6,200 people and affected over 14 million people across 44 provinces. This included some 5 million children, out of which 1.7 million were displaced. A matter of weeks after Haiyan had wreaked havoc across the country I went to visit the affected areas on behalf of Plan International. Driving out of Tacloban airport, the scenes left an indelible and vivid impression.
Hundreds of twinkling candles adorned fishing boats off the shore of Tacloban on Saturday evening (8 November) during a vigil to remember the 6,000 people killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago.
For the few that fight against another Haiyan happening, hope and current action is not enough. More than offering help to the people of the Philippines, thre is a need to call for justice. If we don't have the will to fight for justice, we must at least lend a voice to all those like Yeb Sano, who do fight. Because just like poverty, restoring hope to natural calamity victims cannot be an act of charity, it must be an act of justice.
A year ago, a storm of biblical proportions devastated the Philippines. In Tacloban, one of the worst hit cities, it shattered Bernadeth's house and brought havoc to her community. For months, the teenager and her family stayed in an evacuation centre.
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.
If this process is not done well - everyone loses. Families are being forced to choose between safety and putting food on the table. Yet jobs do not feature in the government's relocation plans. It is an omission they need to fix urgently.
"I'm not ashamed to call it humanitarian clowning. It involves knowing how to make children laugh, even those who have been through a very traumatic experience. It's about making mistakes. It's about exciting spectacles," says Samantha.
For the people of Dulag, like so many other people across the Philippines, there is still a long way to go before the life that they had before can be restored. With the support of locals, and those abroad, progress is being made and hope remains afloat.
As disasters continue to increase in lives lost and in damage costs it is time for the international community to look again at the fundamentals of disaster response and invest in training the real First Responders, the families and communities affected by these emergencies.
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.
The Philippine island of Bohol is recovering from a double whammy - a 7.2 earthquake in October and then Typhoon Hainan 3 weeks later, but now they're keen to welcome tourists.
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.
Today we learn of the incredible British generosity in the storm's wake. Following the DEC Philippines appeal last November, it is expected that around 90 million pounds has been donated by people in the UK. That's a truly phenomenal amount, a proud achievement for a country where austerity driven cuts have had most people tightening their financial belts.
There does seem to be some force behind the general conviction that donations should be made by those with a wage, not those with a student loan. Apart from in the case of students struggling to make ends meets, this reasoning appears disturbingly analogous with simply passing the buck.
Although the Philippine government is being criticized for not doing more, it is still difficult to find blame when it comes to natural disasters of this level. When it comes down to it, there is no one that can be directly blamed for this type of travesty, there is only so much anyone can do to prepare. The death tolls are nonetheless frightening and humbling.