We held a vigil on 21st November in Huddersfield to remember the victims and survivors of Typhoon Haiyan and to call for climate action that will honour their memory.
The vigil which was one of dozens of candlelit vigils that will take place across the world was proposed by the organisation 350.org.
It was held in St George’s Square from 5.00pm to 6.30pm.
Over three thousand people are believed to have been killed after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 7th. Four million people have been displaced and two and half million are in need of food and water.
Many people are suggesting that this disaster is linked to man- made climate change.
Last week, Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations described Typhoon Haiyan as a wake up call for the international community to speed up efforts to fight climate change.
Yesterday, Prince Charles spoke of the ‘direct link’ between climate change and extreme weather such as Typhoon Haiyan.
Last week the agencies the Disasters Emergency Committee – a coalition of 17 aid agencies who are co-ordinating fund raising and relief for the Philippines- called Typhoon Haiyan as a glimpse of the future for the millions who will be at risk from extreme weather.
Meanwhile, the head of the World Meteorological Organisation, Michel Jarraud stated that 2013 is likely to be one of the ten warmest years on record. He stated that the frequency of extreme rain is rising and warned that tropical cyclones will become more intense.
Jerry Velasquez from the UN office for disaster risk reduction claimed that once-in-a-lifetime typhoons are now occurring once a year.
Tim Padmore from Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change says, “We link Typhoon Haiyan to climate change in two specific ways. Firstly, there is mounting scientific evidence that climate change may not result in more frequent tropical hurricanes but will make those that do occur more intense. Secondly, climate change has resulted in sea level rises of over eight inches since 1900. This made the people of Tacloban far more vulnerable to the fifteen feet sea surge that occurred and which killed many more people than the winds themselves.”
One of our number was completing 48 hour fast before and during the vigil. Christian Aid organised a 24 hour fast for Wednesday 20th November.
The vigil took place as the United Nations COP-19 climate talks continue in Warsaw. Around the world campaigners and aid agencies have said that the talks must rapidly deliver a mechanism to compensate poor nations for loss and damage caused by climate change and must drastically cut global emissions of carbon dioxide.
We handed out fliers that included part of the speech of Yeb Sano, the Philippines’ chief negotiator at the Warsaw climate talks. Yeb Sano received a standing ovation for his speech in which he called for action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. “What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.”
We asked the public to support Yeb Sano’s petition to the countries at the Warsaw talks to take major steps in cutting emissions and providing finance for the world’s poor nations.
Notes / References
Stand in Solidarity with the Phillipines vigils: http://act.350.org/event/vigils/search/
Ban Ki Moon on Typhoon Haiyan: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46520&Cr=haiyan#.UotPzdKzKuI
Prince Charles: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/prince-charles-warns-extreme-weather-such-as-typhoon-haiyan-in-philippines-are-increasing-as-direct-result-of-manmade-climate-change-8952291.html
Disasters Emergency Committee: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24975106
World Meteorological Organisation: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-14/climate-change-making-super-typhoons-worse/5090724
Links to support Tim Padmore’s statement: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/18/typhoon-haiyan-spur-climate-change-action AND http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/10452258/The-truth-behind-Typhoon-Haiyan.html Christian Aid – fast in solidarity with the Philippines: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/november-2013/christian-aid-invites-britons-to-fast-in-solidarity-with-people-of-the-philippines.aspx
Yeb Sano’s speech: http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/11/its-time-to-stop-this-madness-philippines-plea-at-un-climate-talks/#sthash.B2wWLaWG.dpuf
Yeb Sano’s petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stand_with_the_Philippines/
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