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The following observations are drawn from the opening workshop of the ESRC/DFID funded project: ‘Poverty Alleviation in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda’. The workshop was held on 30 September 2015 at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Delegates at the workshop were drawn from academia, civil society, the business community and the military2. Around 50 delegates attended the workshop. All of the delegates involved in the workshop were experts or had experience in disaster relief either in the field or as a topic of academic and policy research. Experts were drawn from the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. In some cases workshop delegates were on the ground during Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) or the immediate aftermath. The workshop was composed of three panels entitled: ‘Poverty Alleviation in the Wake of Natural Disasters’, ‘Livelihood and Community’ and ‘Governance and Resilience’, and a closing round table discussion.