10th Anniversary Fundraiser:
At the Doha Climate Change Conference (COP18) in Doha, Naderev Saño, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation, spoke about the tragedy that's unfolding in the Philippines after typhoon Bopha hit the island of Mindanao. He sobbed as he pleaded with the assembled representatives to take action against climate change.
That was December 6, 2012.
Then on Friday, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall anywhere, devastated the central Philippines, killing more than 1,000 people in one city alone and 200 in another province, the Red Cross estimated on Saturday.
"The category 5 "super typhoon" weakened to a category 4 on Saturday, though forecasters said it could strengthen again over the South China Sea en route to Vietnam," reported Reuters.
The Associated Press now reports that the death toll could reach 10,000.
Here is the text of delegate Naderev Saño's emotional plea for action on climate change in 2012:
"As we sit here in these negotiations, even as we vacillate and procrastinate here, the death toll is rising. There is massive and widespread devastation. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered without homes. And the ordeal is far from over, as typhoon Bopha has regained some strength as it approaches another populated area in the western part of the Philippines.
"Madam chair, we have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which has wreaked havoc in a part of the country that has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And heartbreaking tragedies like this are not unique to the Philippines, because the whole world, especially developing countries struggling to address poverty and achieve social and human development, confront these same realities.
"Madam chair, I speak on behalf of 100 million Filipinos, a quarter of a million of whom are eeking out a living working here in Qatar [as migrant labourers]. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino …"
At this point he broke down.
"I appeal to the whole world, I appeal to leaders from all over the world, to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by 7 billion people.
"I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"
"Thank you madam chair."
Once again, "I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"