It is hard to rise up from the ruins of what was once your home and your livelihood. People from the Philippines have the momentary spotlight in that regard, as they struggle to build their lives up from square one.
Nature was particularly cruel to this island nation; after the "usual" barrage of typhoons and consequential floods throughout most of the year, it was punctuated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the central Visayas region, and a week after, super-typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the most powerful storm system that touched down on land. It was declared as the most powerful cyclone to form on our planet's surface for 2013.
How does one pick up the pieces? Well, to be brutally honest, one piece at a time. Even with all the financial and material aid being graciously donated by nations and organizations throughout the world, the struggle to get back on one's own feet has barely begun for the people of Samar, Leyte, North Cebu, and other localities affected by this storm.
One important aspect is livelihood. The aid and support will eventually dry up or be redirected at more recent disasters and needier people, so it is no small matter to get people to be able to support themselves once more. Employment is one avenue, but for those with higher ambitions and a desire to be able to provide employment to others, the answer definitely lies in entrepreneurship.
So, what would be a lucrative enterprise for places that have recently been adversely affected by a calamity (or two)?
One of the more obvious, albeit capital-intensive paths to take, there will surely be an increased demand for contractors that will take on the job of literally rebuilding the houses, buildings, and other structures that have been brought down or damaged by the recent calamity.
To mitigate the significant costs of setting a construction company up from scratch, it would be prudent to acquire your set of heavy equipment and machines from from surplus or second-hand retailers. There are a good number of online auction and marketplace sites to browse from.
Many business establishments have probably been affected by the recent natural catastrophe, and depending on the situation, it might be time to come out with your own retail business for general goods such as groceries, hardware, and other sundries.
Focus on the things that have been rendered scarce, and stock those items generously. As with any endeavor mentioned here, try not to be the bad businessman and do not take advantage of the scarcity by artificially inflating prices. That's just the wrong thing to do, and people will remember you in a bad way for that.
Maintenance and Cleaning Services
It's a great likelihood that the calamity left the place a big, debris-strewn mess. Even with the more dangerous obstructions cleaned out, there is still plenty of house and building cleaning and maintenance to do. Anything from cleaning roofs, draining septic tanks, washing carpets, and other labor-intensive tasks, some of these won't be easy to do by citizens without the proper equipment.
Like construction, this will generate a good amount of employment as you will need plenty of crew to get these tasks done.
Cautionary: Don't Be A Profiteering Jerk
Whatever line of business you might want to get into in this post-calamity community, do the right thing and not take undue advantage of the people's loss. You are still here to make a profit, but at the least, you should do it with honor and decency.
People will remember you fondly if you are honest and fair to them, and in rebuilding the community from the ruins, you will grow to become a trusted and reliable cornerstone that will take full advantage of the resurgence of commerce in the area.