Helping Build Bancas for the Philippines: Preparing for the Rough Seas Ahead

On 8 November 2013, typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) made landfall in the Philippines, the strongest tropical cyclone in recorded history.  The super typhoon claimed thousands of lives and left dozens of towns and cities in the Visayas devastated.  About 150,000 fishermen, from Samar in the east to Palawan in the west, lost their boats, their only means of livelihood.  To help them get back on their feet, Bancas for the Philippines was launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines to help small-scale fishermen in selected Yolanda-affected areas.  ADB supported the project by providing materials for 566 boats, through its Poverty and Environment Fund, financed by the governments of Norway and Sweden.  The fishermen were trained to use fiberglass instead of plywood. Philippine forests are under tremendous pressure from logging and the damage caused by typhoons only increases the stress. By promoting fiberglass, the project hopes to reduce demand for plywood and give the fishermen a much stronger alternative.