People Surge: the Philippines’ Climate Survivors

Yesterday I had the great privilege of hosting Efleda Bautista from People Surge at Parliament. People Surge is a group of 2o,ooo people who are survivors or supporters of communities impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. For Efleda and her communities, climate change is a daily threat as the consequences of this devastating event continue to impact on them. Efleda described how the strategies of disaster capitalism are entrenching the loss of lives, home, jobs, crops and sometimes human rights.

Green MPs Catherine Delahunty and Denise Roche with People Surge’s Efleda Bautista

She said that the Government of the Philippines did not warn the coastal people they were facing a super typhoon and that they did not provide emergency shelters or immediate relief to the devastated communities. She also told me that since Typhoon Haiyan they have created “no build zones”, with no alternative sites for about a million people.

Efleda explained how the Government has built some bunkhouses for homeless families which have become permanent camps, where hope of rebuilding is fading if you don’t know the right people. Even worse, she says, the Philippines Government is using the disaster to bring military into damaged regions and are targeting supposed ‘communist insurgents’. She says People Surge has already had a member killed by the military.

Green MP Catherine Delahunty speaks with People Surge’s Efleda Bautista

MPs from the Greens, New Zealand First and the Labour Party asked Efleda what we can do in this country to help with this appalling situation.
Efleda asked for us to do our best to reduce carbon emissions so her country is not subjected to more extreme climate change-related events, and to ask the Government how our aid money to Philippines was spent.

The second anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan is the first week of November and we want to remind people that climate  change is an issue of justice. As it unfolds, those without political and economic power who – organise for their own survival – are at huge risk. We need to stand with them and show respect for indomitable organisers like Efleda and for organisations like People Surge.

Green MP Catherine Delahunty and People Surge’s Efleda Bautista

2 Comments Posted

  1. Elfreda explained the difference between the normal typhoons her country has always experienced and the super typhoons, there was another big one soon after Halyan, which she says was terrifying and destructive. The comments of climate campaigner Yeb Sano are also pertinent. We need to listen to these people rather tha deny the problem. Its all very well to have no build zones but Govts should provide alterantive areas to live and free up land, this is not happening. The wider issue is the gross inequality and political corruption which forces people to become migrant labourers elsewhere, but its hardly a sustainable political solution.

  2. Unfortunately for your narrative, typhoons have always been hitting the Philippines – long before AGW came along
    Has the frequency of the big ones hitting the islands increased? The IPCC thinks not ( AR5 TS2.7.1). Nor do they think it is going to get worse (TS5.4.4) So there seems no data to back up your assertions.
    The problem now is with increasing population, people are living in areas prone to severe damage from the wind and rain that is associated with them. That is why the government introduced no build zones. Stopping NZ climate emissions will do nothing to help them. However, the employment of workers on NZ dairy farms has led to large remittances that have enabled people to move to less precarious situations.

Comments are closed.