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.
On Friday 3rd January 2014, Britain prepared for severe flooding caused by strong winds. It's the third extreme storm that the UK has faced in less than a month. Last year at this time, the UK was battling freezing temperatures. Both weather events are extreme and abnormal.
It was the year of twerking and selfies, of Royal babies and Wimbledon wins, but befitting its numerals, 2013 also had more than its fair share of tragedy and mourning. As we look towards 2014, with a sense of optimism and hope, cast your mind back to the events and people that defined the passing year... We said goodbye this year to Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher, as well as Lou Reed and Iain Banks, but hello to Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge and the future face of the British monarchy. Happy 2014 all; let's hope it's a positive one.
The generosity of millions of people has helped make our efforts possible and has brought hope to children who have had to face unimaginable suffering and hardship. We couldn't do it without you. As the card I was given as I left the Philippnes said - thank you to all those who have helped.
On about day 10 the mayor appeared and took charge of distributing relief goods. This involved men with automatic rifles, light and heavy machine guns, grenade launchers etc., protecting the relief boxes until the Mayor had shifted "the good stuff" into his newly commandeered storage buildings.
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.
With storms like Typhoon Haiyan becoming a scarily more frequent occurrence, we need a truly global movement of people from all backgrounds and walks of life who are wide awake to the reality of climate change. Mosques in the UK and further afield in Europe are getting ready to Green Up! and do their bit to reduce their carbon footprints.
Our new research revealed that a higher proportion of the UK give money to charity than in any other country in the developed world. The World Giving Index ranks 135 countries on their generosity and allows us to compare the giving environments of nations across the world.
The magnitude of lost life is hard to comprehend. For most of the world's population, these tragedies - and others - are easy to forget when they are so far removed and life continues as normal. But what happens when tragedy hits close to home?
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.
Driving out of Tacloban Airport is easier than in the early days of Typhoon Haiyan's aftermath, but the scenes on either side of the road still assault the senses. The occasional lorry loads up corpses still being discovered in shattered houses. Everywhere, there is debris...
When we drank our first San Miguel Light on Siargao Island to toast our small victory against the travel overlords, the sense of relief among our group was muted. We'd just reached the Philippines for a two-week beach, spa and city break, just a week after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the centre of the country, 70 kilometres north of our first stop.
While the terrible devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan focused the minds of many delegates attending the United Nations climate change summit, which ended at the weekend in Warsaw, Poland, it also exposed the unscientific and inhumane ideology of many 'sceptics'.