Dolores, Eastern Samar, Philippines, 9 December 2014 – Greenpeace has today made a visit of solidarity to Dolores in Eastern Samar where Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in the Philippines before weaving a destructive path across the country and displacing more than a million people.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo visited Dolores on Tuesday 9 December. Together with Philippine climate commissioner Naderev ‘Yeb’ M. Sano and Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez he met with local authorities, visited schools and talked with the public.
They had earlier visited the town of Laiya in Batangas province on Monday night local time, sheltering from the storm front in churches and schools with villagers as the storm front made a direct hit on the coastal community.
In Dolores, Naidoo was told 7,000 people of the population of 40,800, were still in evacuation centres, while one person was killed. Mayor Emiliana Villacarillo said 8 percent of homes were destroyed and much of the region’s farmland ruined.
“This is ground zero of the destruction caused by Typhoon Hagupit. It’s been an extremely humbling experience to spend time here and witness how the community has risen to address the devastation that they’ve faced. There’s a lot of pain and hardship. One life was lost, homes destroyed, infrastructure ruined and agricultural land damaged.
“I’ve been moved by the spirit of the mayor. She is strong and determined but she needs help. All of us need to mobilise to support her when she says she wants to build a more resilient community and to adapt to climate change. The people are resilient, their spirits are strong and the smiles are amazing to see through all this pain, but the truth is they need help. I call upon people all over the world to find ways in which they can support communities like this as we face more and more impacts of climate change.”
Greenpeace is calling on delegates at the UN climate talks in Lima to also stand with the people of the Philippines and deliver an ambitious climate solution and end the fossil fuel age.
Real action can also be taken by citizens around the world, by the CEOs of major energy companies and by governments to bring about a future based on 100% clean and renewable energy sources, to end tropical rainforest destruction and shift towards ecological agriculture. Every day lost will add to the burden of devastating climate change.
The links between extreme weather and pollution caused by the major coal, oil and gas companies are becoming stronger.Research released in 2013 also showed that 90 polluters are responsible for two-thirds of pollution in the industrial age.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez said:
“The major oil, coal and gas companies are to blame for the increased likelihood of more intense and destructive storms, and they should pay for the damage and help prevent causing further harm. Like Big Tobacco before them, the Big Polluters are going to have to face the survivors of disasters like those in Dolores who have had their homes destroyed, family and friends killed, and their livelihoods wiped out. Their product is the problem.”(Diah Abida)