This post comes from Zeph Danieles from the Philippines, one of the new 350 East Asia coordinating team members…

“EVACUATE! EVACUATE!” … repeatedly uttered when Typhoon Bopha neared. “EVACUATE…NOW!” … not good news — but seemed to be the only chance of survival.

Typhoon Bopha came with a roaring sound of the wind attacking the walls and scraping the roof. Many cried in fear. Outside was a strong wind and heavy rains. Trees and electric posts fell and knocked down concrete structures nearby. Power was cut-off and radio lines were silenced by the ravaging storm. In regions with open pit mining, particularly in Compostella Valley (one of the hardest hit areas), mudslides washed out houses and lives.

Our ability to adapt to the negative impacts of climate change cannot add up if we continue on our current path of extraction and demolition of our natural resources. Despite being frequently visited by typhoons — now stronger than ever — we are opening our country to foreign mining companies and commercialized logging amplifying the already vulnerable communities to the impacts of climate change. Moreover, we keep increasing our coal dependency through expanding and constructing more coal-fired power plant projects in the country despite the passage of the Renewable Energy Law.
According to the situation report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council on the effects of typhoon Bopha, cost of damages reached a total of Php4,001,924,688.02 (roughly 97,727,000.88 USD). While currently the cost of assistance coming from the Government and NGOs is only Php9,632,017.18 (roughly 235,213.86 USD). Our dead bodies reached 418 with 383 missing people (and numbers rising). And even with the sun shining today, typhoon Bapho had left us with sadness as rescuers continue to search for missing people and retrieve dead bodies. Some families would still be in evacuating sites on Christmas Day.
Climate change is not the reality we wish to be living. But it is taking over our lives and taking away our dreams. Sadly, while death toll is rising in my country, world leaders in Doha had consumed the time negotiating without clear commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
At the COP18, the Philippines through the Climate Change Commissioner, Naderev Sano appealed “…no more delays, please, no more excuses.” We appeal the same to our national government. You have stood up and showed courage to the whole world. We urge you to divest from coal and find ways to produce accessible, renewable and sustainable energy sources to ensure all communities the right to develop a clean and secure environment. It is high time to review and repeal laws that aggravate the impacts of climate change in our country. We need a comprehensive and scientific solution to make our country climate resilient. Allow the Filipinos to have a place called home and not climate-forced-evacuees. And please…
Here are bank transfer details to donate to relief efforts led by the Kalikasan Peope’s Network for the Environment:
Bank: Philippine National Bank (PNB)
US Dollar Account Number: 399073400014
Peso Account Number: 399073400022
Branch: QC Circle
Branch Code: 1262
For more information about relief needs click here to download a PDF with more details.

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