French President Francois Hollande on Friday visited an eastern Philippine town devastated by one of the world’s strongest typhoons to highlight the consequences of global warning ahead of a climate change summit in Paris.
Hollande toured the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province, 649 kilometres south-east of Manila, with French actress and environmental advocate Marion Cotillard on the last day of his two-day visit to the Philippines.
He met local fishermen who lost their homes and livelihood, and spoke at a school still missing a roof more than one year after super typhoon Haiyan hit in November 2013.
“I’m here with you, in Guiuan, to show the entire world the devastation from the typhoon you have suffered,” he said.
“My visit is not only as president of the Republic of France, but also as a member of the international community which is mobilising to succeed at the Paris summit,” he added.
Hollande, the first French president to visit the Philippines, is pushing for a legally binding agreement for countries to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions during the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris in December.
He stressed that rich countries that have contributed much to global warning should commit more financial resources to help poorer countries that suffer the most from climate change but are least responsible for it.
The fishing town of Guiuan was the first to be struck by Haiyan on November 8, 2013, packing winds of more than 300 kilometres per hour.
It then swept through the central Philippines, killing more than 6,300 people. More than 4 million people were displaced and many are still living in temporary houses.