Resilience with Solar: Lessons Learned from Typhoon Yolanda

Resilience with Solar: Lessons Learned from Typhoon Yolanda

What lessons have we learned from Typhoon Yolanda?

  1. Basic necessities will not always be available.
  2. Disaster preparedness programs must be recalibrated.
  3. Investing in renewables will help prevent future disasters.


You’re probably wondering how solar power and solar systems from the Philippines fit in with disasters and resilience and we understand the confusion. We’ll get there, though, so just stay with us.

The Filipino people have always been known for their resilience. We’ve been hit by disaster after disaster – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons – and at some point, we’ve learned to cope. We smile and laugh in the face of devastation. We exhibit kindness to our fellowmen.  We become united to help our country stand back up.

The way we brush off terrible situations and constantly look at the bright side is nothing short of admirable but also equally troubling. In our attempt to power through, we fail to analyze our situation and find out why these disasters are happening. As a result, we move on without ever learning anything valuable.

On November 2018, it will have been 5 years since the Philippines was hit by one of the strongest and most devastating typhoons to ever make landfall – Typhoon Yolanda. As destructive and traumatizing as it was, Yolanda snapped us out of our delusion. We couldn’t just brush it off like any other disaster. We had to know why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Finally, we learned.

Dozens of lessons were gotten from this devastating attack and the most important ones are listed below.

Basic Necessities Will Not Always Be Available

Basic Necessities Will Not Always Be Available

In the event of a natural disaster, it is always safe to assume that a total systems breakdown will occur. Communication towers, power grids, and water pipelines may be destroyed while supermarkets, gas stations, and other establishments will be closed. Supply of the most basic human necessities such as electricity, food, water, fuel, and telecommunications will be cut off and each family or person will be left to fend for themselves.

Knowing all this and when the disaster will hit – assuming also that you listen to news and weather forecasts – you should be prepared to stock up on said items. As for the counter to the loss of power, solar and hand-cranked gadgets should be enough to get you through. Sometimes a disaster hits without warning, so it’s best to be prepared even in good weather.


Disaster Preparedness Programs Must Be Recalibrated

In years prior to typhoon Yolanda, access to energy has always been a constant oversight. Many failed to notice that communities suffered mostly due to the lack of access to electricity. Even those who resorted to kerosene lamps eventually ran out of fuel. After the events of Yolanda, however, disaster preparedness programs have been recalibrated to better cater to the needs of the affected.

Coordinators have proposed for portable and solar-powered electricity to be an integral part of disaster-preparedness programs. One device that caught the attention of many is the Solaric Lite, which is a self-contained solar kit that could power 3 light bulbs and charge cell phones.

In an emergency event such as a super typhoon, making sure you have phone batteries could save a life.

Investing in Renewables Will Help Prevent Future Disasters

Investing in Renewables Will Help Prevent Future Disasters

The importance of energy and access to a better source is perhaps the most important lesson we have learned from Yolanda.

Storms and typhoons are continuously being made; it’s a natural process that cannot be prevented. But there are ways to weaken it and its effects. Global warming is the main reason these typhoons are so destructive. It is believed that a warmer Pacific is able to create stronger storms and Yolanda is an example of that.

So instead of focusing on disaster response and preparedness, why don’t we put our efforts in disaster risk reduction. We can do this by investing in renewable energy sources such as solar power. Doing this will reduce negative impacts of fossil fuels, which is one of our main energy sources.


Key Takeaway

It’s unfortunate that it took such a destructive and devastating typhoon for us to learn our lessons, but by now it’s way too late for regrets. Yolanda has already taken millions of lives, so hopefully, the lessons we learned from it can help us save just as much and more.

Communities should be able to realize the true worth of renewable energy. The possible effects it can have on our environment and the ways it can help those that have been struck by disaster. Solar energy, in particular, has been proved useful in such instances, which is why people have started to invest more in it.

There are many organizations and humanitarian actors that are ready to help those interested in solar power and solar systems in the Philippines. They are always ready to inform the public about solar panels and energy. Families can easily seek them out in order to become more equipped to face and survive disasters.


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