In February 2014 I travelled to the Philippines intending to do one month’s volunteer work rebuilding a school after Typhoon Yolanda. I never expected that approaching three years later I would still be here.
I’d like to share some facts about this country which might help you understand why I stayed as well as outline some of the humanitarian projects supported by my friends and family. It is a way of saying thank you and hopefully give you a sense of involvement.
Poverty in the Philippines
MORE THAN 26 MILLION FILIPINOS LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE which includes more than 12 million people who live at subsistence levels or extreme poverty. What this really means is that:-
- 26 million Filipinos live on less than $235 USD per month
- 12 million Filipinos earn less than $165 USD per month and don’t have enough money for basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI)
Natural Disasters in the Philippines
In addition to extreme poverty, the people of the Philippines live every day at a high risk of becoming victims of a natural disaster. The latest World Risk Report (WRR 2014) ranks the Philippines # 2 out of 171 countries.
The 2014 World Risk Report indexes countries according to these four indicators:-
- exposure towards natural hazards such as earthquakes, cyclones, flooding, drought and sea level rise,
- susceptibility depending on infrastructure, food, housing and economic framework conditions,
- coping capacities depending on governance, risk reduction, early warning, healthcare, social and material coverage and
- adaptive capacities related to future natural hazards and the impacts of climate change.
The World Risk Report is published by United Nations University and the Alliance Development Works.