Haiyan survivors: not asking for much

Jean-Luc Martinage,ILO Senior Communications Officer

It’s been three months since Typhoon Haiyan – also known as Yolanda – devastated parts of the central Philippines, killing thousands of people and leaving behind a trail of devastation.

One thing that struck me when I travelled to Tacloban was the size of the humanitarian contingent still on the ground. Their presence is crucial. Even though reconstruction is well under way, there’s still a lot of work ahead.  Continue reading

Coming together to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Director of the ILO Philippines Office

As you approach Tacloban from the air, you get a clear idea of the mammoth scale of the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

On the ground, you are confronted with apocalyptic scenes – houses destroyed, businesses reduced to rubble, fields turned to mud, and boats smashed to smithereens.

It’s just heart wrenching to think of the thousands of lives that were lost and the millions of livelihoods that were devastated. Many of these people were trying to build a life for themselves and their families, trying to get out of poverty. Then the storm came along and took everything away from them. Without social security nets, without decent work, many of these families run the risk of being thrust back into poverty and it could take generations to get out of it.

Continue reading

A big team with a clear goal

Information Officer, ILO Country Office for the Philipines.

The referee blows the whistle, indicating that the match is about to start. As I help my 10-year old son put his goalie gloves on, I recall the time he asked me about children working with dirty hands.

It was five years ago. I had just returned from a field visit to an ILO project in Camarines Norte, Philippines. As I was unpacking, he saw some pictures I had taken of children working in gold mines.

“Why are those children working with dirty hands, Mama? I have clean hands and a nice watch but they don’t. Why are they not in school?”  Continue reading