This November 8 will mark the one-year anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, the devastating storm that claimed at least 6,300 lives and displaced millions more. In Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit areas southeast of Manila, the destruction is still evident: A cement house lies partially submerged in the ocean. Large ships are grounded right next to the main street. Debris fills abandoned shops that have not yet reopened. Permanent housing and general reconstruction are a work in progress, with a long way to go.
The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), a Great Energy Challenge grantee, has worked for years to bring sustainable transportation via electric “jeepneys” to the Philippines. The goal has new relevance in the wake of Yolanda, also called Haiyan: Aside from cutting down on pollution and fuel costs, it could be an emergency lifeline that can operate without fuel shipments or even a functioning grid.