Its proximity to the sea makes The Philippines extremely susceptible to natural hazards. On average, eight or nine tropical storms make landfall each year, posing significant risk to the national economy and to the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations. In 2013, for example, Typhoon Haiyan decimated 1.1 million tons of crops, including 33 million coconut trees, and wiped out the productive assets of coastal families that depend on agriculture, including coconut farmers.
Bent over a wood-fired oven, drying the fish her husband caught yesterday, 29-year-old Leticia Sam blinks the smoke from her eyes, one hand stoking the fire, the other holding her swollen belly. Expecting her fourth baby, Leticia lives atop an old graveyard piled with trash, strewn with crumbling cinderblock homes.