Tacloban: Exposing “middle-income” country realities

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CARE’s shelter team with local communities in rural Tacloban

I am on my way home from a visit to Tacloban, in the Philippines, one of the country’s most damaged districts following the carnage caused after Typhoon Yolanda swept through some of the nation’s poorest communities last November.

The Philippines has been classified by the World Bank as a “lower-middle income” economy. Middle-income economies are those with an annual GNI (gross national income) per capita of more than $1,045 but less than $12,74.

Other countries in Asia Pacific who share this classification with the Philippines include Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. “Upper-middle income” economies nearby can be found in China, Malaysia and Thailand, whilst the likes of Cambodia and Myanmar are “low income” status.

Meaning that, on the surface of things, the Philippines’ economic gains in recent years, and its growing numbers of new middle-class citizens, represent an optimistic narrative. Its capital city, Manila, stands as a beacon of commercial potential to the private sector, host to a recent World Economic Forum summit, home to some of the world’s most famous, and infamous, global retail brands. Busy, built up, urban Asia. Opportunistic, dynamic but, in fact, wholly deceiving.

Turn this promotional pamphlet over and what lies beneath is, at best, a flimsy and precarious reality… Continue reading “Tacloban: Exposing “middle-income” country realities”

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Yolanda

Survivors of the super Typhoon Haiyan, wait for a C-130 military plane at T
Image courtesy of Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty images

You don’t need me to point out where this photo was taken, nor what messages sit behind the faces within it.

I only have admiration for those people who are on hand in the Philippines at the moment, helping, and only great sadness and hope for those whose lives have been altered forever.

For any long standing visitors to my blogs, it will hopefully have been made obvious by now that I have involved my organisation, CARE International, and the developmental issues we address around the world mainly as a platform from which to couch ideas and thoughts – mainly, in other words, as a lens through which I can write.

The world has collectively reacted to the images created by the Haiyan (Yolanda) typhoon, and we have all shared our thoughts with loved ones, friends, colleagues, people sat next to us on the bus.

Pointless as it typically is to try and immediately draw any conclusions as to what events like these ‘mean’, or what they reinforce to us all as fellow citizens on the planet, the one thing that remains tangible and easy for many of us to do, is support the work of those agencies who are, today, right now, saving lives.

It is not my intention to use this space again to promote CARE or the work of the other DEC (Disaster Emergency Committee) members, but today, and right now, that is what I am doing.

Here is a link through which you can lend your support:

http://www.careinternational.org.uk/news-and-press/latest-news-features/2459-typhoon-haiyan-this-will-haunt-me-for-a-long-time-