Online mapping emerges as key tool for the UN and Red Cross in getting aid to areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Hundreds of online map-makers around the world have pooled their talents to help relief agencies make critical decisions in the Typhoon Haiyan-stricken Philippines.
Thousands of social media images have been tagged, while citizen map-makers - dubbed “digital humanitarians” - have traced roads and rated typhoon damage for the UN and aid agencies.
Online mapping has become a key tool in Philippines relief efforts and disaster response drives around the world, with US space agency NASA issuing satellite maps showing typhoon damage in the Asia-Pacific region.
1) The Philippines has become increasingly vulnerable to typhoons for lots of reasons — and climate change is only one angle here.
Thanks to basic geography, the Philippines has long been one of the most storm-ravaged places on Earth, with about 8 to 9 typhoons making landfall each year, on average. The warm waters surrounding the island nation help fuel strong tropical cyclones, and there are few natural barriers to slow the storms down or break them up. … 2) Typhoons aren’t the only natural disaster the Philippines has to worry about. … But the precise risks are often difficult to pinpoint — and that makes preparation even harder. Many climate models still have trouble making predictions at a very fine-grained, regional level. And typhoons are especially difficult to forecast: While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks it’s “likely” that tropical cyclones will get stronger as the oceans warm, it’s less clear how the frequency of storms will change in the years ahead (they may even become less frequent).
3) Adaptation can help, but it’s not always enough. Many countries have managed to reduce their exposure to natural disasters over the years by implementing detailed adaptation plans. If climate change does increase the risk of natural disasters in the years ahead, then those plans will become increasingly important. …
Bangladesh, for instance, has steadily reduced the number of deaths from tropical cyclones since the 1970s through early-warning systems, shelters and evacuation plans, and building coastal embankments.
4) Where will the money come from for adaptation? There are two key questions that always come up at international climate talks like the one now going on in Warsaw. First, how will the world cut its carbon emissions to slow global warming? And second, where will the money come from to help poorer states prepare for its effects? The second question is likely to get more attention in the wake of Haiyan. …
"We have received no climate finance to adapt or to prepare ourselves for typhoons and other extreme weather we are now experiencing," Saño told the Guardian. “It cannot be a way of life that we end up running always from storms.”
What’s the connection between Super Typhoon Haiyan and climate change? Despite the conflicting headlines connecting climate change to massive storms, the science really is unclear. And this is a problem that science writers need to be clear about. Tom Yulsman of Discover Magazine rounds up some very controversial and frankly terribly dishonest headlines about climate change and typhoons. Check it out if you have a chance.
Adaptation planning in the Philippines, Vietnam and Nepal with funding provided by the Swedish Government:
Adaptation planning for climate change requires inputs from multiple levels of stakeholders and multiple layers of decision-making. New mechanisms may have to be developed within existing institutional arrangements to facilitate cross-level communication.
One of the biggest challenges is to determine who ‘owns’ the adaptation planning process. While by default, it will often be the national government, this is likely to limit the influence of local and marginalized voices, which are crucial to the process. External actors such as international NGOs, meanwhile, can be helpful, but can also take power away from local actors and create dependency.
Participatory processes need to include all voices to be effective. Power imbalances – based on socioeconomic status, ethnicity and cultural traditions – marginalize some groups and limit their capacity to reduce their exposure and sensitivity to climate and disaster risk. To reduce vulnerability, these imbalances must be recognized and addressed, and marginalized groups must be empowered and engaged.
Budgetary constraints matter. When funds are limited, smaller and less ambitious projects may be preferable to larger, more costly initiatives. However, in many places, transformational change is needed, and this will require large-scale funding.
Planning is often done based on previous years, but with climate change, historical patterns will increasingly not be reliable predictors of future patterns. Science-based projections will need to be considered as well.
Chinese ship runs into protected UNESCO reef in Philippines — while transporting 11 tons of illegal Pangolin meat
A Chinese vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside: more than 22,000 pounds of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater.
The steel-hulled vessel hit an atoll on April 8 at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site on Palawan island.
Coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said Monday that 400 boxes, each containing 25 to 30 kilograms of frozen pangolins, were discovered during a second inspection of the boat Saturday.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu could have been carrying up to 2,000 of the toothless, insect-eating animals rolled up in the boxes, with their scales already removed.
The boat’s 12 Chinese crewmen are being detained on charges of poaching and attempted bribery, said Adelina Villena, the marine park’s lawyer. She said more charges are being prepared against them, including damaging the corals and violating the country’s wildlife law for being found in possession of the pangolin meat.
EnviroPop is the first game application from WWF-Philippines. The app aims to educate people about sea creatures, and the need to address the marine pollutants that harm them.
EnviroPop is a puzzle game that allows users to clear marine threats such as PET plastic bottles, fish trawl nets, cyanide bottles, and oil drums.
The objective of the game is for players to eliminate these hazards and save the WWF marine characters like Clara the clownfish, Pattie the Green Sea Turtle, Bobby the whale shark, and Gary the grouper.
The app serves as one of WWF-Philippines’ alruist weapon to arm people with the knowledge of their marine programs and and their aim to fortify the marine biodiversity.
The full version of the app costs $0.99. For every download of the app, proceeds will go directly to WWF-Philippines’ marine conservation program.
As WWF-Philippines Individual Donor Program Officer Honey Carmona explains, Philippines is nestled at the apex of the Coral Triangle making the island the geographic point of marine life. This concludes the call to prioritize marine conservation as most Filipinos depend on the sea for sustenance and ecotourism.
I was lucky enough to work closely with the very talented Steve De Neef during my work with the whale sharks of Oslob last year. Steve is one of my favourite conservation documenters - he spends time getting to know the conservation issue at hand, speaking to all the stakeholders involved getting information from all sides, and then producing high quality articles and documentaries helping to spread awareness and inspiration.
This is a reel of some of the projects he was involved with last year and a short snippet of an interview with me.
Why aren’t you following mad-as-a-marine-biologist!!?? Samantha runs a great tumblr, and her work is incredibly important. Do check her out if you can.
BOAT-LOAD OF COFFINS HEADS FOR PHILIPPINES DISASTER ZONE
European Pressphoto Agency: Philippine Navy personnel load coffins on to the BRP Laguna, which is set to transport relief supplies to typhoon-affected areas, from a navy base in Cavite City, south of Manila, on Tuesday.The United Nations has appealed for $65 million in emergency aid for millions of victims of Typhoon Bopha in the southern Philippines, where at least 714 people were killed as muddy floodwaters washed out entire villages.