Filipino typhoon survivors demand climate action on Haiyan anniversary

Press release - November 7, 2017
Tacloban - With the UN climate talks underway in Bonn, and as the Philippines is preparing for the visit of President Trump for the upcoming ASEAN Summit, Filipinos are gathering to commemorate the fourth anniversary of super typhoon Haiyan, the most devastating storm to ever make landfall in history.

“This year’s spate of extreme weather events are a clear signal to governments and corporations that they must step up action on climate change,” said Yeb Saño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, whose family is from Eastern Visayas, the region hit hardest by Haiyan. “Fossil fuels must stay in the ground. Government delegations meeting in Bonn must stand up and propel climate action forward or be held accountable for their inaction.”

President Trump’s current tour of Asia, coincides both with the Haiyan anniversary and the COP 23 UN climate talks. President Trump will be in the Philippines 12-13 November

“While Trump seems to deny climate change and apparently defends fossil fuel interests, Filipinos have learned the hard way that climate change is real and happening now. Greenpeace stands with typhoon survivors and all those impacted by climate change, and especially with the brave activists fighting for climate justice through the courts," said Saño.

Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda in the Philippines), packed 300km/h winds and a 7.5m storm surge that locals say claimed many more lives than the official toll of 6,329 [1], and displaced millions of people who are still rebuilding their lives. The Haiyan commemoration honours those lost and celebrates the second lease on life that survivors feel they’ve been given, as well as the fighting spirit that the local Waray-Waray people are famous for.

In 2015, Filipino typhoon survivors, other communities suffering the impacts of climate change, and civil society organisations, including Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines), filed a petition with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Philippines to investigate the responsibility of big fossil fuel companies for climate-related human rights harms [2]. The Commission has called on 47 carbon producers, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, BHP Billiton, Suncor, and ConocoPhillips, to show up at the first meeting with the petitioners on 11 December, as part of its investigation.

As part of the Haiyan commemoration, over 500 students and local community members sent a strong visual message to Bonn, calling for climate justice in a world where those least responsible for climate change suffer the worst consequences. Commemoration activities also include art exhibits and storytelling events, culminating in a memorial walk and candlelight vigil on 8 November to mark the anniversary.

Yeb and his brother, AG Saño, a visual artist, activist, and Haiyan survivor, are among the CHR signatories.  AG is currently in Bonn to call for climate justice on behalf of the other petitioners.

On 6 November, AG Saño delivered a message during the COP23 opening plenary: “You might remember when an emotional Philippine negotiator spoke about Typhoon Haiyan at COP19 in Warsaw [3], and his despair for his own brother in the eye of the storm. I'm that brother. I speak on behalf of the people who have suffered, and will continue to suffer because of climate change. We will not be sacrificed to a warming climate and demand that those responsible for driving climate change are held responsible.”

Notes to editors:

[1] The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 2015.Final Report re Effects of Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan)

[2] The Climate Change and Human Rights Petition - see section V. Commission on Human Rights’ Notice for companies to attend preliminary conference of parties.

[3] Yeb So’s emotional speech at the UN climate talks in Warsaw (COP 19) on 11th November 2013.

Link to photos and video clips:

http://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJXXEQGR

Media contacts:

In Tacloban, Philippines:

JP Agcaoili, Communications and Digital Manager, Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines), email: ; tel. +639498891334

In Bonn, Germany:

Desiree Llanos Dee, Climate Justice Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines,email: ; +639985959732

Greenpeace International Press Desk, ; phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

Categories