We just commemorated the first anniversary of the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) disaster last month, and unfortunately another – Super Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) – is headed to the Philippines this weekend.
Our design fellow, Heidrun Milan, in Tacloban reported last night that hundreds of people living along the coast have already evacuated to higher ground. Since the typhoon was first reported earlier this week, people started to line up at grocery stores to stock up water and food. Cars queued up at gas stations. Building materials to protect homes were selling like hotcakes. Heidrun said that people are more aware of what to do to prepare for a super typhoon after Yolanda. This is not a drill. This is a true test of their preparedness.
Architecture for Humanity has been working with local design and construction professionals, as well as residents, to build a more resilient community in the Visayas since Eric Cesal, our Executive Director, visited the affected areas earlier this year.
Thousands of people still live, work and study in sub-standard structures like this. We must fight against poor building practices in order to create a safer, and more resilient future to withstand Mother Nature. We hope Typhoon Hagupit will not cause as much destruction as Yolanda brought to Filipino communities. Friends in the Philippines, please be safe.
Hiromi Tabei joined Architecture for Humanity in June 2011. She manages the Tohoku Rebuilding Program, and co-manages the Typhoon Haiyan Recovery Program and the One Burrows Pocket Park project. Originally from Japan, Hiromi came stateside to study geography at the University of Oregon and after graduating, got a job as a cartographer with a U.S. company. Her work stirred a curiosity in the human scale and architecture. Hiromi acquired a Masters degree at the Boston Architectural College, and followed that up with several years of experience at design firms in Boston.