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Veejay Villafranca

LEYTE, PHILIPPINES – Children stare at the sky during a torrential downpour in Tacloban, February 12, 2014. DISPLACED EARTH/SIGNOS SERIES 2009 – 2015 Photograph by Veejay Villafranca

Philippines   www.veejayvillafranca.com

The Philippines, being in the tropics, gets bombarded with over a dozen typhoons each year. But 2013 was the year when certain truths were immortalised and a new norm was born. With a sustained (1-minute) wind speed of 195mph, Typhoon Haiyan or locally known as Yolanda left over 6,000 people dead and over a thousand more missing. It was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded.

The wrath of Typhoon Haiyan left 1.9 million Filipinos homeless and over 6 million people displaced in the whole Visayas region on top of the billions of pesos of damage in infrastructure and livelihood. These numerical jargons goes on and on but the facts remains that the response of the Philippine government has been slow despite the tremendous outpour of international and non-governmental aid.

Displacement due to a natural catastrophe poses even more dangers than the naked eye can see. Issues such as mental health and the continuous psychological suffering of those who have lost their families, the security of the orphans and their vulnerability to human trafficking syndicates, and the growing pains that they face in their relocation sites.