Tacloban

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.

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 ended up near oil tanks

This ship nearly caused another disaster in the barangay of Anibong in Tacloban, as it was nearly washed into a huge tank farm. The brown tarpaulin on the right covers a section where the ship ran into the berm and damaged it heavily.

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 – 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.