Standing ovation for PH envoy at climate meet

Reuters

Posted at Nov 12 2013 12:41 AM | Updated as of Nov 13 2013 12:00 AM

WARSAW - Philippine delegate Yeb Sano received a standing ovation after delivering a passionate address to the United Nations climate conference in Warsaw on Monday.

"Today I say we care. We can fix this. We can stop this madness right now, right here in the middle of this football field and start moving the goal posts. Mr President, your excellencies, honourable ministers. My delegation calls on you respectfully to lead us and let Poland and Warsaw be remembered forever as the place were we truly cared to stop this madness," he said.

Delegates gave him a standing ovation as Sano wiped away his tears.

In the Philippine town of Tacloban, dazed survivors begged for help and scavenged for food, water and medicine, as relief workers struggled to reach victims of super typhoon Haiyan that killed an estimated 10,000 people in the central Philippines.

As President Benigno Aquino deployed hundreds of soldiers in the coastal city of Tacloban to quell looting, the huge scale of death and destruction become clearer as reports emerged of thousands of people missing and images showed apocalyptic scenes in one town that has not been reached by rescue workers.

"My country is just reeling from another category five typhoon and what we are counting are the dead, they are being buried, washed away by this abomination that is not our doing. so what more can we ask from this conference but to move those talks and those commitments into action. We are ready to engage. We are ready. All our systems are now ready to take on the resiliency path but we need all your commitments and therefore I ask our world leaders to deliver something in Warsaw. To deliver action and not just commitments and words," another member of the Philippine delegation, Alicia Ilaga, told a news conference.

Tasneem Essop from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said the disaster in the Philippines was a wake-up call.

"We have a nation in mourning with the loss of over 10,000 people and massive destruction as we've heard. With that in mind, we need to remind out negotiators that we can often feel secure in the confines of these air-conditioned rooms in these negotiations but that none of us will be untouched by what climate, the impacts of climate means for all of us. So we believe that negotiators need to have a wake-up call. How much more of the signs and how much more of the evidence is needed to get our leaders to wake up?," she said.

The outline of a deal, to be discussed by negotiators in Warsaw from November 11-22, is emerging that will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years.

Environmentalists warned about the dangers of delaying action to avert more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

They point to Haiyan as a reminder of the risks of extreme weather.