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: 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 – 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.

After the Flood (2)

This is a 360° panorama taken during the UNEP PCDMB mission to Japan at Soma beach, some 35 km north of the Fukushima nuclear reactors. The trip took place in March 2012, about one year after the earthquake and tsunami. The 8 m concrete tsunami wall was just shattered by the waves. More than one year after the tsunami most of the tsunami waste has been cleared away. The complete absence of houses, crops in the fields, trees, etc. gives an eerie touch to the scenery.
Use the controls on the left hand side to navigate in the panorama (the top button jumps to full screen, +/- is in and out, etc.).

After the Flood (1)

Child in front of flooded area at Laguna del Rincon, Dominican Republic, 2008

Kid exploring flooded area after the 2007 storms Noel and Olga (photo taken 2008).

Before the Flood (1)

Example of people living in flood prone areas

This is an excellent example of how disasters are made, shot in the city centre of Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

As the safe areas in the cities are occupied and owned by the wealthier part of the population, the only uninhabited areas are those the locals know are flood prone. People moving into these areas are usually from the countryside hoping to make a living in the bigger cities. They are usually moving to areas that are flooded every now and again (disaster risk factor). Often on the bottom of the income scale, they cannot afford to buy property high enough above flood level, and they cannot afford to build with robust construction materials, thus increasing their own vulnerability. Some  of the buildings above are built from plywood, cardboard, corrugated iron, even palm leaves.

No, the houses are not connected to any sewage system, it all runs into the stream. And yes, the white lump in the river on the right is a pig feeding on something unidentifiable. And: yes, the water level of the stream rises by 2-3 m during rainy season every year.

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