Philippines

Dumpsite kids: between the worst forms of child labour and child day care

IMG_1326_1
Worst form of child labour, neglect, or simply no alternative for day care?

This is on Tacloban City dumpsite, the photo taken end of March, and shows one of the problems we are facing in clearing up in the Philippines after Yolanda..The scavengers need the income they earn, and some of them also need their kids to work on the dumpsite, to be able to feed their families. Some families have to live from as little as 500 PHP (11 US$ or 8.50 Euros). Some of the kids are as young as four or five, and their parents seem to bring them to the dumpsite because they have no alternative for day care. Other kids will come to look for recyclables for an hour or two per day, they seem to earn their own pocket money to be able to buy themselves a soft drink.

Since this constitutes one of the worst forms of child labour, one of the objectives of the current UNDP project is to improve the working conditions of the adult scavengers, to enable them to work more efficiently and earn more money. At the same time, we are planning to set up a child friendly space outside the dumpsite before September 2014, where the kids will get the opportunity to go to school, play, eat under clean and hygienic conditions.

Philippines – building a dirt road

dirt road across a small valley

In order to provide access to a source for soil to cover a dumpsite, this road was built across a small valley. Unfortunately, the planner failed to notice a little stream at the bottom of the valley. After a few days of moderate rainfall (for the Philippines), the street had turned into a dam. The water level rose by approximately 3 m over the last weekend, now eroding the road.

A culvert made from a few metres of simple concrete pipe would have avoided this.

Philippines – Yolanda hiding cars

Even more than 100 days after Yolanda, many cars are still damaged and in the place they ended up in when the storm was over. Including several hundred cars that were washed into Tacloban’s harbour, together with their owners.

Philippines – coconut down

Philippines - damaged coconut trees

For the rural population relying on coconut farming, Yolanda was not only a disaster because it destroyed their homes. For the next eight to ten years, the time until the newly planted coconut trees will bear the same fruit as before Yolanda, they will be struggling.

Philippines – Yolanda took it away

Coconut trees and basketball court destroyed by super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

The sheer wind force of super-typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) destroyed more than 90% of the palm trees in its path. Coconut farmers will be devoid of their regular income during the next eight to ten years.

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?