On ‘Yolanda’ anniv, calls for climate justice, mourning for lost loved ones flood social media

November 8, 2021 - 7:26 PM
A 2017 photo of a man standing amid the ruins of his house in Alangalang, Leyte, in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda (Interaksyon/file photo)

Environmental advocates called on climate action as the Philippines commemorated the 8th year anniversary of the devastation of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (International name: Haiyan) in the country.

On this day in 2013, Yolanda made landfall and caused widespread destruction and deaths on the island of Leyte and nearby provinces.

It is considered as one of the world’s strongest cyclones in terms of wind speed at landfall recorded in history.

READ: Philippines bore the brunt of history’s 3 most powerful tropical cyclones at landfall

According to officials, Yolanda made landfall six times. During the first one, it already carried 315 kilometers per hour maximum sustained winds and gusts of up to 380 kph.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council later reported that the super typhoon affected over 3.4 million families or more than 16 million individuals in the country.

In 2017, the Task Force Yolanda or the Inter-Agency Task Force-Yolanda was created to serve as the central coordination committee in the recovery and rehabilitation of Yolanda-affected areas.

It was supposed to cease operations on August 12, 2020.

However, in September of the same year, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a directive to extend the task force’s term until its housing projects in super typhoon-hit areas have been completed.

The construction and turnover of housing units to Yolanda’s victims are still ongoing.

READ: Political campaign? Reddit users report circulating text message about ‘Yolanda’ funds 

How people mark ‘Yolanda 8’

Greenpeace Philippines demanded climate justice from global polluters that contributed to the devastating impact of strong tropical cyclones such as Yolanda.

“8 years is long enough. As we remember Haiyan’s destruction and stories of recovery, we demand climate justice for the thousands of lives affected and lost in this tragedy,” the organization said.

It also attached a link to its petition to hold large corporations legally accountable for the world’s pollution.

Rey Valmores-Salinas of organization Bahaghari, also a Yolanda survivor, mourned the death of her loved ones.

She also called for climate action.

“8 years ago, Typhoon Yolanda (#Haiyan) struck my hometown. Today, I mourn my friends and classmates who passed away. While leaders are making motherhood statements about preventing the climate crisis at #COP26 (earth emoji), we’ve already faced it. No more false promises! #ClimateActionNow!” Salinas said.

Others, meanwhile, remembered the tragedy through hashtags #Yolanda8, #Yolanda and #Haiyan8 recalling stories of what they went through when the typhoon struck.

“8 years ago today, I saw how Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) took the rights of the people to a safe home, education, and to live. This year, at this time, world leaders in Glasgow pays no attention to the injustice that their actions has brought to our country. #Yolanda8,” one user said.

Reporters Jeff Canoy, Barnaby Lo and Tristan Nodalo shared photos and a video of their coverage of Yolanda’s wrath back then.

Vice President Leni Robredo, also a presidential aspirant, joined others in the call to resolve climate change in her message to Yolanda’s victims.

“8 years na since Yolanda. Ginugunita natin ang mga pumanaw, at nakikiisa tayo sa paghanap ng pangmatagalang solusyon at mas institusyonal na tugon sa mga sakuna at sa peligro ng climate change. Panata natin ito,” Robredo said.

Another presidential aspirant, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., visited Tacloban City in Leyte to attend the Yolanda anniversary activities.