Climate activists seek justice for typhoon victims

December 19, 2021

Residents of Surigao City are still reeling from the destruction in their communities following Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai). The city was one of the first and worst hit by the typhoon, which made its landfall in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte on Thursday. Photo by Erwin Mascarinas/Greenpeace

Climate activists called on the government to hold major carbon producers accountable for the loss of lives and livelihood following the onslaught of a super typhoon last week. 

Super typhoon Rai (local name: Odette) left 33 dead and more than 300,000 people displaced after it wreaked havoc in the southern and central regions of the country. 

Marinel Ubaldo, lead convenor of the 2021 Local Conference of Youth, said the Global North and big corporations that are “fueling climate change must be held liable for the loss and damages” in the country. 

“Nations and capitalists that are most responsible for the climate crisis must rectify their years of inaction. Our government must demand reparations and climate justice,” she said.  

Ubaldo, who is also a super typhoon Haiyan survivor, said vulnerable communities to the impacts of devastating climate change must be given access to resources they need to rebuild their lives.” 

Super Typhoon Rai made nine landfalls destroying everything in its path in areas including Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu Negros Oriental, and Palawan.

Naderev “Yeb” Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, urged the Philippine government to declare a nationwide climate emergency, as many Filipinos suffer the harsh impacts of the climate crisis.

“These typhoons will get worse, more unpredictable, and more destructive should [our institutions] remain merely reactionary to the climate crisis,” he said. 

Saño said typhoon Rai “brought up our collective trauma from previous typhoons, adding that it “reminded us that these extreme weather events are now a norm as the climate crisis worsens every year.” 

Residents of Surigao City are still reeling from the destruction in their communities following Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai). The city was one of the first and worst hit by the typhoon, which made its landfall in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte on Thursday. Photo by Erwin Mascarinas/Greenpeace

Faith-based group Living Laudato Si Philippines said acts of justice “such as those that lead to climate justice are part” of the Christian faith. 

“Let us not forget that our worst imagined climate emergency is already a constant reality for many of our fellow Filipinos,” said Rodne Galicha, executive director of the group. 

“As we observe the Advent season… We appeal to everyone to open their homes, share their spare, and lend a hand to those who have been affected by the typhoon,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the social action arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has deployed rapid assessment teams in four major regions to assess the extent of the damage. 

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, head of Caritas Philippines, called on social action centers in dioceses not affected by the typhoon to send aid to those in need of assistance.

The prelate said teams are already coordinating with all the dioceses that suffered the devastation of the typhoon for the delivery of relief aid and rehabilitation plans. 

“We launched a nationwide solidarity appeal for the affected families and communities of the super typhoon. We encouraged the public to once again help our brothers and sisters get back to their feet,” said the prelate. 

Caritas Philippines will be launching a National Day of Prayer on December 26 for the victims of the strongest typhoon recorded in the country this year.

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