Tacloban, a sunny day on Santo Niño dumpsite

scavengers on a waste dumpsite

A sunny day on Santo Niño (Holy Child) dumpsite in Tacloban. How many people can you find in this photograph?

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 – Yolanda/Haiyan wind damage

Collapsed roof of Palo Convention Centre near Tacloban, Philippines

The force of the winds of super-typhoon Yolanda with top wind speeds of over 350 km/h were so strong that roofs were converted into wings and flew away. As a consequence, the supporting structure of roof of the Palo Convention Centre near Tacloban, Philippines came down, damaging the conrete massively. The building is structurally unsafe and earmarked for demolition.

Philippines – reducing the environmental footprint of super-typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan

Waste "cliff" on the Santo Niño waste dumpsite in Tacloban, Philippines

The City Administration of Tacloban, together with the United Nations, had approximately 300,000 m³ of disaster debris brought to the “Holy Child” dumpsite. As in many countries around the world, the waste is being pushed over the existing edge. This way, the waste  is not compacted, and the waste is growing into a mountain. From time to time the waste slope fails and collapses, as can be seen in the rear third of the slope. The height of the waste dump is > 20 m above ground.

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.