After the Flood

After the Flood

Philippines: Panorama of Santo Niño waste dumpsite

Panorama of the Santo Niño waste dumpsite of Tacloban City, Philippines. Approximately 500 000 m³ of disaster debris were brought here during 100 days after super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The dumpsite needed to be re-shaped, as steep slopes of up to 80° were failing. Dumpsite management was modified to allow for controlled dumping, improve compacting and introduce daily covering of the waste. Four weeks after the start of the works with three excavators and two bulldozers, it i staking shape. Yet to be done: covering of the slopes with clay and construction works at the foot of the slope to use the wetland for leachate treatment.

I am aware that this does by no means comply with highest international standards, but given the limitations in technology, budget and available materials, we managed to reduce the environmental footprint and the impact on the surrounding environment.

Philippines: washed into the sea

Small truck washed into the sea

This is another disaster for Basey, a small town on Samar island. The storm surge of super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) washed this waste collection truck into Basey’s harbour, leaving Basey without household waste collection. The waste piled up in the streets, and Basey is relying on the United Nations for waste collection until today, more than 100 days after Yolanda.

Philippines – stranded ships after Yolanda (Haiyan)

stranded ship Ligaya V

This ship had slaughterhouse waste on board, which annoyed the neighbours quite a bit. In tropical temperatures rotting meat in these quantities constitutes a massive health problem. Actually it is not the meat itself, but rats and flies that feed and breed on it. I wonder if it was an angry neighbour who set the bridge on fire?

Philippines – stranded ships after Yolanda (Haiyan)

Stranded ship in Tacloban

This is one of the twelve ships stranded in Tacloban City.

It was washed ashore by super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Anibong, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Tacloban. Built by the waterfront, Anibong was totally destroyed when a total of eight freighter ships tore through it and ran aground.

We managed to coordinate and clarify the procedures with the local authorities, to avoid conditions as in the notorious shipbreaking beaches in Bangladesh or India. Shipbreaking sets free a mixture of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, PCBs, PAHs, lead, and many others.

According to the authorities, the ships will be towed back to sea, to be repaired in Philippine ship yards. As I will stay here long enough, I will post updates of the efforts.

Philippines – coping with disaster waste

Excavators on temporary disaster waste dumpsite in Tacloban, Philippines, after the super-typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan

Immediately after super-typhoon Yolanda (or, internationally: Haiyan) had hit the Philippines, a mixture of mud, wood, cars, waste and other unpleasant stuff filled the streets of Tacloban. It took a fleet of hundreds of trucks several weeks to clear the streets. It was brought to an old bus station inside Tacloban, the Abucay terminal. From there it was transported to the official dumpsite north of Tacloban. By now the bus terminal area has been cleared, another step forward to normal life.

Blue Men (Two’s Not A Group)

International experts inspecting a hazardous waste storage site in Ishinomaki, Japan, during a UNEP mission after the 2011 tsunami. Shot taken with Canon EOS 500D, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, focal length 18 mm @ f 4.0 and 1/4000s.