haiyan

Zlatan does not know who I am. There is no reason why he should. But then, without Football, the world would not know who Zlatan is. Football, genius and valour have granted him an opportunity to catalyse a movement bigger than the game. Bigger than the UN. Bigger than Zlatan.
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.
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.
Working under this kind of pressure also requires that we overcome hurdles together and that we celebrate successes, big or small. It's amazing to see the group spontaneously applaud their colleague for getting a record number of concept notes in, for getting those airplanes to deliver the food to the far flung areas or for winning a big grant from an institutional donor...
The corporate sector must play a lead role in helping to change priorities, to save our planet and create more hope. But this can only be accomplished if individuals within the corporate sector, and for that matter the government sector, are willing to change their attitudes, not be overly greedy and consider what might be best for those most impacted, those living in poverty and asking "them", and civil society, what they want.
The team in charge of installing the inflatable hospital is arriving. It's with real joy that I meet up with old friends. Eric, my firm friend from Quebec with whom I already shared adventures in Burundi and Haiti. I had bumped into Daniel the mechanic in Nigeria, Damien the Aussie in Niger, Aurélie the electrician last summer when we were carrying on a vaccination campaign in a refugee camp in South Sudan.
The devastation is total, although fortunately there are some villages where the material damage is enormous but the death toll is not too high. We now have an army of technical specialists from our international office here in Manila, in many cases also acting as technical experts and guides for experts and assessment teams sent to the Philippines by other donors, because Plan International has been working in the affected region for decades.
It didn't take long to drive from perfect normality to total devastation. Heading north from our base in Cebu city, we passed through areas completely untouched by Typhoon Haiyan. But after a few hours we started seeing trees blown down - then, suddenly, we were in the disaster zone.
In this year of multiple megadisasters, will the world scale up its humanitarian aid to respond to the Philippines, Syria, Congo and the countless other different crises? Or will it in 2013 fail the test it passed three years ago?
As the UK government belatedly announced the deployment of HMS Illustrious to bring emergency relief to the dying typhoon victims of Tacloban, Philippines Climate Chief, Yeb Sano ,addressed the urgency of climate change and the need for global cooperation in order to lessen the frequency of such devastating natural disasters.