Today marks the ninth year since supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the Philippines. It killed at least 6300 people, many of whom remain unlocated to this day and costed the nation nearly PHP90 billion worth of damage to properties. It was the storm that finally placed the climate crisis as a reality in the minds of Filipinos that need to be urgently addressed.
The impacts of Haiyan were not only felt in the Philippines. The unprecedented degree of casualties and destruction it brought stunned the world, one of the most infamous cases of climate-related loss and damage. It changed the flow of the 2013 UN climate negotiations in Poland, leading to the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage.
Nine years later, global leaders are set to deliberate on the establishment of a loss and damage finance facility that would provide restitution and a degree of justice for the victims of climate-related events. This is one of the numerous issues that need to be settled at the 2022 UN climate negotiations in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, as the world races against time in preventing the increase of global temperatures and the burden and suffering it would inflict on communities and ecosystems alike.
In recognition of the importance of preventing another Haiyan from occurring, members of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas are in attendance at COP27 to represent high-risk peoples and ecosystems in the Philippines in lobbying for policies and recommendations aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. It is our hope that the Sharm El Sheikh climate summit will make decisions not to maintain the illusion of adequate progress, but to respond to the realities presented by the climate crisis and ensure that the intended benefits would be equitably and justly felt by developing nations and the most vulnerable peoples.
May we never forget the lives that were lost due to Haiyan and other climate-related disastees. May we never again take climate action and sustainable development for granted.
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