‘Super typhoon Haiyan is not a natural disaster’; it’s climate change


The strongest typhoon ever to make landfall in recorded human history – so strong that if there was a Category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box – is not a natural disaster. Instead, the Philippines’ lead negotiator to the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Yeb Sano, has firmly linked the devastation in his country to climate change.

So why aren’t more of the corporate media highlighting this crucial angle? Is it because the corporate sector is responsible for a lot of the greenhouse gas emissions?

In an impassioned address, Sano stressed:

We must stop calling events like these as natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate.

Disasters are never natural. They are the intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social, and environmental thresholds. Most of the time disasters are a result of inequity and the poorest people of the world are at greatest risk because of their vulnerability and decades of maldevelopment, which I must assert is connected to the kind of pursuit of economic growth that dominates the world; the same kind of pursuit of so-called economic growth and unsustainable consumption that has altered the climate system.

See the full text of his speech on the Aliran website.

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Pain full to see mankind altered the nature in the name of development but their greed for money destroying mother earth.

rajraman. A minutes of silent for Philippines people.


Whether the disaster was natural or otherwise is debatable but the fact is the society had tolerated mediocre governance and corruption far too long. The geography predicates that a responsible government would have made the necessary measures to mitigate such an eventuality. A responsible and effective government does not arise by chance but from the actions and sacrifices of a people who allow themselves to be governed as such. It is with regret that the people of the Philippines had brought this upon themselves by choosing to remain blind to the malaise surrounding their governance. Blaming the rest of the… Read more »

Boo Soon Yew

well said Robert Tan !!
we all know how Philippines are run especially in the islands where “warlords” rule !! dynasties are built and even paramilitary might..

so the incoherent Government response must have worsened the condition especially if many victims were actually unaware of the incoming typhoon due to the lack of communication efforts by the local authorities/governors,eg: in Tacloban

semuanya OK kot

We are also under warlords. When (not if) disaster comes here, will we get any meaningful help after the VIPs do their “turun padang” thing and leave? What will happen to the intricate infrastructure such as MRT and (future) nuclear plant?


Anil, Why always blame on human and not natural causes. Whatever causes it is natural as well as human albeit slower in the early years (that is millions of years). Ever since human step on this planet million or billion of year you should also blame blame them not just the current generation. Millions of years ago, they started the fire and that is the start of warming. Then they move on and cut down trees and create settlement, that also contribute to climate warming and it move on and on and the human are to be blamed not natural… Read more »

SH Tan

Sano delivered a very impassioned and emotional speech at the assembly. He openly wept and cried at the end when he talked about the calamity in his home country. He received a standing ovation from the assembly.


You sow the wind you get the whirlwind!

Boo Soon Yew

I really hope and pray that the person who was trapped on top of the car was saved eventually !! And credit to the brave man at the end of this video who dived in to reassure the person trapped. On a serious note, no.. I am sorry to say that linking a phenomenon like a typhoon (which happens EVERY YEAR) to “intersection of factors other than physical. They are the accumulation of the constant breach of economic, social, and environmental thresholds.” can be a simplistic way of blaming “others”.. Yes, the magnitude of the phenomenon/disaster is not natural.. because… Read more »


“In the hours before the typhoon hit land, the Philippines President appeared on television assuring the public his administration was making “war-like” preparations … cargo planes, helicopters, even 20 navy ships on standby. He had ordered officials, he said, to aim for zero casualties. It’s unlikely any preparation could have been sufficient to meet that goal. Nonetheless what is estimated as an enormous loss of life, the full extent of which is still unknown, will demand answers in due course. And when the time for such questions arrives, two political questions will no doubt loom large over this humanitarian crisis.… Read more »

Chef of End of the World

Recent times are showing the increasing forces of nature ‘retaliating’ like nobody’s business cos we are drinking, dining and merry-go-round.
It will be business as usual except for those victims in Fukusima, Phuket and Tacloban, Philippines.
Movies showing 50 ft waves soon will not be fiction of imagination after a binge of seafood down with Guiness Stout.

Boo Soon Yew

Precisely Dean !! I thought there was ample warning with the bulletins on CNN etc.. but looks like nobody imagined it would be that bad a magnitude !!

Surely the Philippines President has to take some measure of blame !!

Awang Selamat Ori

When men continue to pursue material greed, this is what you get. The Botak Hill in Penang, just watch this project, the hills are meant to protect Penangnites from strong winds, storms, heavy rainfalls and floodings. We have seen it, landsides, floodings all never before in new areas in Penang. If we allow Botak Hills to be developed, very soon, most hills in Penang will be gone, and there will be no protection for Penangnites. Whom shall we blame? UMNO baru or DAP/Lim Guan Eng? Lim Guan Eng must be held responsible if ever, such mishaps were to hit Penang.… Read more »


Merely a choice of words – natural disaster, climate change, environmental upheaval etc they are all the same!


Either we change our overdue consumption patterns, reform unsustainable economic / development policies, destructive competitions & corporate manipulated demand/supply/distribution circle, redress materialistic lifestyles & curb destruction of Nature & resources, or we are all doomed on planet earth. There is no feeble excuse of natural disasters happening ‘naturally’ at random, intensity or frequency-wise. We are forewarned to watch out & be prepared for the price of our choice of lifestyles. Unfortunately, many of us human species are ‘followers’ of trends, desires & ingrained social-economic expectations. We are not educated to think out of the box of what is presently acceptable… Read more »


End result same, sama-sama lah! Nowadays even humans want to be “guardian and protector” of GOD/ALLAH.


Human being should spend time and effort protecting the environment and our earth.
No need to protect God in his name.