New film tracks city's recovery from deadly typhoon

The documentary "Lessons from a storm" follows Tacloban City's recovery after Typhoon Haiyan.

News, 07 July 2016

The video "Lessons from a Storm" - please note that this video contains images of the typhoon's aftermath which some viewers may find disturbing

A new film tells the story of how the Philippines municipality of Tacloban city recovered from Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon ever to make landfall.

The film describes the experiences, challenges, successes, and lessons of the Tacloban City Government as the city moved from humanitarian response to the recovery and development phases after the disaster.

Typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban City when it hit on 8 November, 2013. The human cost of the typhoon in Tacloban City was staggering, with 2,669 people dead and 701 missing. The typhoon also damaged 40,192 houses. 

Tacloban City sustained the worst damage in the Philippines, estimated at P7 billion with P2.5 billion on infrastructure, P726 million within the productive sectors and P3.4 billion within the social sector (Office of Civil Defense, Post Disaster Needs Assessment, April 2014).

Despite being crippled by the typhoon, the local government strove to coordinate recovery efforts towards a better, more resilient Tacloban.

This film shows interviews with local government officials and humanitarian agency representatives about the challenges faced and lessons learnt in the immediate response and longer term recovery and reconstruction in Tacloban. As stated by an official, "This is a good laboratory where the world could learn from."

The 12-minute documentary was produced by Gerald Paragas and Amillah Rodil, in partnership with UN-Habitat and the City Government of Tacloban. It describes the institutional mechanisms and processes that the Tacloban City government set up to coordinate early recovery and longer term development.

In particular, it focuses on the processes of relocation of highly exposed populations living along the coast, and the challenges this presents, and the challenges this presents, in terms of ensuring relocation meets the needs of the affected households.

The film highlights the lessons learnt by the city's government through the process of recovery and reconstruction – lessons which could be applicable to other cities around the world.

The film's producers have also worked on a soon-to-be-published research paper entitled 'Tacloban after Haiyan: working together towards recovery'. 

This work has been funded by the Urban Crises Learning Fund, a three-year project looking at how the humanitarian sector can most effectively operate in urban contexts. With funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), the fund will work to fill evidence gaps by facilitating primary research, reflecting on past humanitarian responses, developing new tools, and learning from experiences in other fields. 

IIED recently issued a call for proposals for the third round of funding under the project. Researchers have until 21 July, 2016 to submit proposals for research projects that can contribute to the goal of improving humanitarian response in urban contexts.