As an archipelago nation, the sea is an integral element of life in the Philippines and a source of livelihood for millions. Typhoon Haiyan, which struck and devastated much of the nation on 8 November 2013, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record. Over 6 200 lost their lives, millions were displaced from their homes, livelihoods were shattered, and entire communities were washed away.
In the year since the disaster, thousands of Filipinos, long accustomed to the sea as their means for prosperity, are regaining economic vitality and hope for the future thanks to programmes such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)'s reconstruction of infrastructure, boats and engines in the fishing community of Abuyog, Leyte, and the initiative of the Plan and Oxfam consortium to strengthen livelihoods through the restoration of hundreds of seaweed farms. Both projects have been made possible with funding from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).