Disasters and human rights

1. “All people affected by disaster or conflict have a right to receive protection and assistance to ensure the basic conditions for life with dignity…” – The Sphere Handbook

2. “… The right to life with dignity is reflected… in the human rights measures concerning the right to life, to an adequate standard of living and to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment…” 

As soon as the flood subsided, they had to face harsher realities, including hunger and thirst. For the next few days, they relied on coconuts and root crops for food. They cooked rice even if it smelled rotten after being submerged in the flood. Help and relief only came in after a week

Interview of Toto Cajes, Yolanda survivor from Basey, Samar


3. “… The right to receive humanitarian assistance is a necessary element of the right to life with dignity. This encompasses the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, and the requirements of good health…” 

Thousands of families in Eastern Visayas have evacuated to schools and other evacuation centers the soonest they can, but not one of the evacuation centers we monitored during our information drive across Tacloban had food or water for the evacuees

– Efleda Bautista, Yolanda survivor during the height of #RubyPH. Heeding the lessons of last year’s super typhoon, more than a million people left their homes early… only to find that no food or water awaited them in the evacuation centers operated by the State.


4. “… Any such assistance must be provided according to the principle of impartiality, which requires that it be provided solely on the basis of need and in proportion to need… no one should be discriminated against on any ground or status, including… political or other opinion… “

You have to be careful because you are a Romualdez, and the President is an Aquino

– Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, right after Yolanda devastated Tacloban. Many interpret this allusion to the decades-old hatred between the Aquino and Romualdezes clan as a hint as to why Tacloban City was literally left by the national government (headed by Aquino) to fend for itself.

benny dablos

5. “… The right to protection and security is rooted… in the sovereign responsibility of states to protect all those within their jurisdiction…The safety and security of people in situations of disaster and conflict is of particular humanitarian concern…”

During Ruby they told us not to leave the bunkhouses since it was strong, and that if we left, we wouldn’t receive any relief goods. But I still decided to leave because staying there would kill me 

– Benny Dablo, Yolanda survivor in Tacloban City after #RubyPH. The bunkhouse he was staying in was built by the government. Just 13 months after he was left homeless by Yolanda, he is again without a roof over his head.

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