Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines on 8 November, and is possibly the most powerful tropical cyclone on record. Beyond the immediate impact of the typhoon, the natural disaster is already proving to be a threat to national security, with reports surfacing of massive looting and military engagement following attacks on government relief convoys. As US and UK naval convoys head to support the situation, Andrew Holland discusses climate change’s impact as a threat multiplier and what plans militaries and governments must make to prevent the insecurity that will come with future disasters of this scale.
The Bay of Bengal is uniquely vulnerable to a changing climate because of a combination of rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and uncertain transboundary river flows. These problems combine with already existing social problems like religious strife, poverty, political uncertainty, high population density, and rapid urbanization to create a very dangerous cocktail of already security threats. Andrew Holland argues that foresight about its impacts can help the region’s leaders work together to solve a problem that knows no boundaries.