The Philippines has a population of close to a 100 million. Decades of poor governance has denied the population access to basic amenities and corruption continues to be barrier to development that responds to the needs of all.
The country has vast mineral wealth, however, a 1995 mining bill opened the sector to foreign investment, which has caused the proliferation of open-pit mining to the detriment of the environment and with little benefit to local populations, including a large percentage of indigenous communities.
Despite the majority of the population living from subsistence farming, most land is concentrated in the hands of a few. There have been various attempts to reform this inequality, however, it has been a long process where small-scale farmers have not always received the support they need to gain access to land or make their crops profitable.
In addition to these multiple socio-economic challenges, the Philippines is prone to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons. The effects of these are exacerbated by poverty and environmental degradation. In recent years, the strength and frequency of these storms has augmented due to climate change.
On November 8, 2013, the Philippines was struck by the worst natural disaster in its history when Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) tore through the centre of the country. The storm reached wind speeds of up to 348 km per hour and made landfall six times, destroying nearly everything in its wake. According to the United Nations, 14 million people were affected by the disaster. The islands of Leyte and Samar were the hardest hit, and the whole region of the Visayas was severely damaged.