One Year Later: The Road to Resilience After Typhoon Haiyan

Posted by Nancy Lindborg

USAID Provides Humanitarian Aid to Help the People of the Philippines in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

This week a year ago, I was in the Philippines, flying with the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team in a C-130 to Tacloban in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda). The strongest storm in recorded history, Haiyan hit on November 8, 2013, killing more than 6,000 people, displacing 4.1 million, and affecting 16 million in total -- about 14 percent of the country’s total population. Flying into Tacloban, I saw a flattened landscape littered with what looked like matchsticks -- the splintered remains of homes, businesses and millions of coconut trees. The damage was immense.

The Philippine Government estimates the typhoon caused $12.7 billion in losses. More than a million homes were damaged or destroyed, and 33 million coconut trees, a source of income for many Filipinos, were wiped out. As the average growth span of a coconut tree is 12 years, the storm essentially wiped out a decade of livelihoods for many Filipino families.

While we have seen enormous progress by the Philippines to build back better, including plans to move 1 million people away from the coast, many of the 4 million people displaced by the storm are still living in temporary shelters. The Philippines continues to lose up to $5 billion, or 2 percent of its gross domestic product, each year to recurring natural disasters.

The Philippines’ steady but tough recovery one year after Haiyan underscores the importance of investing in resilience -- of helping people, communities, countries and systems survive and recover from acute shocks and stresses.

Far from being an isolated incident, Haiyan is part of a litany of natural disasters that are coming faster and harder each year thanks to climate change. Research suggests that, as our oceans become warmer, the severity of storms will inevitably increase. The number of reported disasters has already nearly tripled since 1980, and the cost of those disasters is up 300 percent, to $200 billion every year.

As Haiyan illustrates, when disaster strikes, the most vulnerable populations are the hardest hit, often without a chance to recover before the next shock hits them. Many of the communities affected by Haiyan already had poor infrastructure, which was devastated by the storm.

We know that droughts, typhoons, and other disasters will continue to happen. By investing in resilience, USAID has pledged to help the world’s most vulnerable get ahead of these recurring shocks. We have changed the way we do business to help communities adapt, mitigate and manage the risks that will inevitably come. These efforts include bringing our humanitarian and development teams together to integrate, layer and sequence our relief and development resources around the shared aim of reducing persistent emergencies by addressing underlying vulnerabilities.

Climate change adaptation is critical to mitigating the impact of disasters like Haiyan, and USAID is investing in these efforts. We are part of the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, a $140 million partnership with the Department for International Development and the Rockefeller Foundation targeting infrastructure projects in Asian cities. We also launched the Pacific American Climate Fund, a $24 million program that provides grants to help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.

In the aftermath of Haiyan, our humanitarian assistance of over $90 million helped the Philippines not only bounce back, but rebuild livelihoods and build up stronger systems to weather future shocks. Our Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance deployed people before the storm hit so we were prepared to provide immediate assistance to help save lives. We quickly turned our cash assistance programs into cash-for-work and cash-for-training activities, including emergency employment programs that engaged 118,000 people in essential reconstruction efforts to clear debris, repair more than 1,500 kilometers of roads, and restore services in 560 schools, 220 rural health care centers and more than 30 hospitals.

We also provided skills training and micro-enterprise and small business support to the most vulnerable populations, particularly small-scale coconut farmers. USAID joined together with Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola to help revive economic activity and livelihoods in Leyte, the province worst hit by the typhoon. These efforts helped restore damaged or destroyed sari-sari stores (small community stores) in public markets, and jump-start business by providing store owners access to micro-financing loans.

And we continue to seek the best ideas for building resilience in advance of a crisis. USAID joined forces with the Rockefeller Foundation and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency earlier this fall to launch the Global Resilience Partnership, which aims to catalyze innovation and scale what is already working in resilience efforts by bringing in new actors, including the private sector and academia. With an initial investment of $150 million from the three partners, the Partnership will help to drive evidence-based investments that enable cities, communities and households to better manage and adapt to inevitable shocks.

The Partnership’s first activity is the Global Resilience Challenge, a call for the creation of teams from all sectors to come together to produce locally driven, high-impact solutions to resilience challenges (application deadline: November 30). Our focus will be in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and South and Southeast Asia -- areas with high resilience needs.

Through the Partnership, we seek to create a community of practice to strengthen resilience globally. In the face of shocks and stresses caused by epidemics, fragility and our planet’s changing climate, we need all-in ideas and solutions. The Partnership is an important effort to learn from disasters like Haiyan, build preparedness for the future, and help the world’s most vulnerable get on a solid path toward development.

About the Author: Nancy Lindborg serves as the USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.

Editor's Note: This entry originally appeared on the USAID Impact Blog

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Typhoon Haiyan Anniversary Event


In memory of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, FYP-DC and KAYA DC are co-sponsoring an anniversary fundraising event at Parlay DC. A year has passed since the catastrophic typhoon hit the Philippines and there is still much work to be done with many Filipinos who still remain displaced.

Please join us in commemorating those we were lost and all those who remain affected.

Please RSVP today by going to our Facebook page: Don't forget to like us too!

Donations accepted.

21+ event.

Press Release: Bad Saint DC Popping Up in Columbia Heights

What: Bad Saint, the District’s only Filipino restaurant, is set to open in Columbia Heights this winter. The restaurant will be under the ownership and direction of Nick Pimentel of Room 11 and Genevieve Villamora. Chef Tom Cunanan (Ardeo/Bardeo, Tarsier Catering) will be heading up the kitchen. Curious diners won’t have to wait for winter to acquaint themselves with Bad Saint’s menu: The team will be bringing Filipino food’s greatest hits to Dolcezza in just a couple of weeks for a merienda pop-up: a snack-style meal served between lunch and dinner.

The merienda pop-up menu will feature items such as pancit sotanghon guisado – savory sautéed mung bean noodles; ukoy – sweet potato and shrimp fritters; and lumpiang shanghai – crispy spring rolls, also known as Filipino food’s gateway drug. Items will range from $5.00 to $8.00. During the pop-up, Dolcezza will be serving Filipino-inspired gelato and sorbetto behind the tasting room counter.

From the Bad Saint team:

Philippine cuisine is a crossroads cuisine. It layers Malay, Chinese, Spanish, Mexican and American influences. Bad Saint will pay homage to the deep roots of Filipino food using the bounty of the Mid-Atlantic.

Co-owners Genevieve Villamora and Nick Pimentel and Chef Tom Cunanan are the Filipino Americans behind Bad Saint. Together they bring over 25 years of local restaurant industry experience to the table, along with an evangelist’s zeal for Philippine cuisine.

When: Sunday, November 9 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Where: Dolcezza Gelato Factory & Coffee Lab, 550 Penn St. NE, Washington DC 20002

PRESS RELEASE: The Filipino Young Professionals of Washington, DC (FYP-DC) Elects New Executive Board for 2015


WASHINGTON, DC | OCTOBER 31, 2014 – The Filipino Young Professionals of Washington, DC (FYP-DC) is pleased to announce it has elected new officers for 2015. The incoming Executive Board officers include:

Each Officer’s term is for one year and a transition dinner will be held in November 2014 to formally swear these individuals into office.

Over the last two years, the leadership team has worked hard to position the organization as a central hub to the Filipino-American community in Metro DC by connecting college students with young professionals and young professionals with the greater community. There has been a conscious effort to balance both social activities and community building initiatives because the leadership team believes that is the best way to develop a strong, sustainable organization in FYP-DC.

In January 2013, the organization did not have any paid members. But, by the end of this year, paid membership has grown to approximately 120 paid members. This is the most members FYP-DC has had in its 14-year existence. “It has been a tremendous experience seeing the organization transform over the last couple of years. In the beginning, we had to work hard to reach out into the community. But, now, it seems the community knows FYP-DC and they actively come to us when they want to reach out to the next generation of leaders,” says current FYP-DC President, Randy Lizardo, M.D.

Those who were a part of the FYP-DC Executive team and committees have accomplished so much. In October 2013, FYP-DC organized the 1st Filipino-American Community Fair held at the Philippine Embassy. This event successfully connected college student leaders with community leaders in DC to show the diversity that exists within our own community. FYP-DC has been involved with FIND District 6 schools and the annual Merienda with the Ambassador which showcases local Filipino-American trailblazers.

And as part of a focused initiative on collaboration, the organization has worked with dozens of other organizations to share resources and create a bigger community impact. In November 2013, FYP-DC urgently spearheaded a fundraiser with community partners to raise over $4,000 to Feed the Hungry, a charitable organization doing rehabilitation work in typhoon-affected communities in the Philippines. “We have worked with the Philippine Embassy, the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition, US-Philippines Society, KAYA’s Leadership Program, Feed the Hungry, Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC), Philippine Arts & Media Council (PALM), Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, NAAAP-DC, The Esperanza Fund, AA LEAD and many more. It’s important to connect and showcase what others are doing in DC with the hope that it may inspire more Filipino-Americans to get involved with something meaningful,” says Lizardo.

“It’s exciting to see where this next leadership team takes the organization. Our hope is that they continue to create value for the community by engaging with FIND District 6 schools and the greater DC community,” says RJ Diokno, FYP-DC’s current Vice President. “We’re really calling on more Filipino-Americans of our generation and the next to be informed of what’s going on in the community and to contribute when they can,” adds FYP-DC’s Treasurer, Eliot Cashell.

2015 continues to look bright with this next batch of Filipino-American community leaders. Please get engaged with them early to identify potential collaborative projects in the coming year. "FYP-DC is, essentially, the embodiment of who I want to be. I am looking to expand my local network, get more in touch with my Filipino-American heritage and make a contribution to causes that relate to that heritage,” says President-Elect Abbie Elliott. "In order to accomplish my goals and those of FYP, I want to look to our members (and the local community) to drive what programs we should continue to or begin to participate in. Naturally, I believe that this outlook will help to drive FYP-DC membership. This will allow our members to benefit from an ever-expanding network of like-minded, philanthropic Filipino Americans."

The next step for the FYP-DC Executive Board-Elect, is to identify committees and committee chairs. If you or someone you know may be interested in being involved with FYP-DC, please forward this Press Release and kindly ask them to fill out this form:

For further inquiries, contact RJ Diokno at


New Filipino Restaurant in DC opening this winter

From co-owner Nick Pimentel:

Our name is a hat tip to the fishing village of Saint Malo, Louisiana. In the late-18th century, Filipino sailors deserted Spanish galleon ships plying the trade between Manila and Acapulco. They settled in Saint Malo, establishing the first permanent settlement of Filipinos in what is now the United States.

Bad Saint’s debut pop-up is in the works.

The restaurant will open on 3226 11th Street, NW in Columbia Heights this winter.

Visit them on Facebook at