Philippines: Averting the creeping disaster

Berlin / Mindanao, 13 October 2021

Logo Internationdal Day For Disaster Risk Reduction: two hands are holding a globe
13 October is International Disaster Risk Reduction Day.

In the Philippines, an association of nine local coastal communities is adapting to the slow changes caused by climate change. In future, development plans will take into account the results of climate risk analyses, because hardly any other country is more affected by the impacts of climate change and regular disasters.

The more abstract and temporally distant disaster scenarios are, the more difficult it is to take collective action. In the Philippines, there is limited research, analysis or understanding of so-called slow onset events, that means gradual changes with catastrophic impacts. The island nation is particularly affected by rising sea levels and increasing storms or droughts. Affectedness depends primarily on the vulnerability of people, families and entire communities. Poverty is a fundamental factor.

Since November 2019, Johanniter and its partner HIPPE have been supporting an alliance of coastal communities in Surigao del Norte province. The Hinatuan Passage Development Alliance (HIPADA) plans integrated climate protection measures based on existing knowledge and financial resources. Poor communities are empowered to manage climate, disaster and environmental risks and to embark on a sustainable development plan. This is because the impacts of poverty and climate risks have increasingly rendered traditional livelihoods obsolete. New and sustainable livelihood options are needed.

Today, around 1600 farming or fishing families are working on alternative and adaptable livelihoods. They use other plant species, use less water or completely switch to new and innovative sources of income. It was crucial beforehand that climate risk analyses were evaluated and understood so that the results could be incorporated into local development plans. This transforms abstract risks into concrete measures that endure over the project period.

Read here what income measures have been implemented by some municipalities:

Preventing suffering before it happens

Disaster risk reduction is an important part of our work.