In recent years, the Philippines has experienced some of the strongest and most destructive typhoons in its history – Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009, Typhoon Sendong in 2011, Typhoon Pablo in 2012, Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, and Typhoon Ruby in 2014.
Typhoon Yolanda was unprecedented in Philippine history. It was the deadliest typhoon on record with more than 6,000 people killed, and the strongest storm recorded at landfall in terms of wind speed. Typhoon Yolanda caused catastrophic destruction, especially in Samar and Leyte, with about 11 million people affected and many left homeless.
The Philippines was also not spared from other forms of disasters (both natural and human-induced). Quite recently, it was struck by the Bohol Earthquake in October 2013, the Zamboanga Conflict in September 2013, and the numerous fires and demolitions in urban poor communities. Metro Manila is also bracing itself for the Big One, or the much-feared West Valley Fault earthquake, which scientists say is due anytime soon.
Disasters have continued to escalate unabated, posing a greater challenge for both government and non-government organizations alike. In 2014, the World Risk Index ranked the Philippines as the second country most at risk for its exposure to natural disasters. What contributed heavily to the Philippines’ overall ranking is its high vulnerability and lack of coping capacity.
With such a huge task ahead, different stakeholders deemed it necessary to work hand-in-hand in order to make significant and relevant change. NGOs like CDRC can no longer work on its own, or independently from other organizations. The situation clearly calls for a unified approach.
In 2014, right after Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Visayas, the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC), together with three other organizations – IBON International, Working for Empowerment and Good Governance Institute, Inc. (WeGovern Institute), and Management Advancement Systems Association, Inc. (MASAI) – formed a consortium that would help address the growing clamor for assistance. The combined expertise and network of these four organizations helped raise funds for Yolanda early recovery and rehabilitation projects in least-served, most vulnerable, and hard-to-reach disaster-stricken communities.
But because disasters continued to strike, and many other needs came up, the consortium did not only support Yolanda activities, but other projects as well. For instance, the consortium also raised funds for Typhoons Ruby and Seniang, for Typhoon Pablo-affected areas in Mindanao, and for climate change adaptation projects, among others.
Now, almost one year after coming together, the need for a concerted effort in disaster response remains relevant. The four organizations saw the need to continue what they have started, and to formally set up the network for continued cooperation. And so the Consortium for People’s Development – Disaster Response (CPD-DR) was born.
From a loose network of organizations who came together for Typhoon Yolanda, CPD-DR has already made significant contributions to disaster response in a span of just one year of existence. It has already initiated and implemented 10 emergency response projects, and early recovery and rehabilitation projects with different local and regional partners.
To date, the Consortium has already served approximately 7000 families in in hard-to-reach and least-served disaster-stricken communities in the Philippines: it continues to operate and implement projects through the support of its three main donors – National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), Climate Relief Fund, and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).
This year, and in the many years to come, CPD-DR looks forward to more collaborations and projects with more partners in the areas of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
Ms. Christie Suyin Jamoralin is a development professional with almost 17 years of relevent disaster risk reduction and response experience in the Philippines. She is currently the Chairperson of the Consortium for People’s Development and the Executive Director of the Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC).