THE CLIMATE CRISIS IS EXACERBATING THREATS TO HUMAN RIGHTS.
Postcards from Disasters (PFD) is a collaborative storytelling project among journalists, advocates, and climate-displaced Filipinos.
PFD has been conducting capacity-building workshops with a community of super-typhoon-displaced residents in the Philippines. PFD educates them on disaster management, human rights, and climate change and has equipped tech-savvy young people in the community with practical skills in photography, videography, and writing.
Since 2016, PFD has documented the community, highlighting (1) the vulnerability of climate-displaced persons to human rights abuses and further harm from extreme weather events and sea-level rise, and (2) the community's call to action to address corruption in disasters. PFD has staged exhibits of photos and virtual reality tours in the Philippines, China, and Australia.
A Danger Zone
PFD has focused its documentation on a coastal community that has been reeling from the impacts of climate change. When PFD began its work in 2015, the village of 68-Anibong in Tacloban City was home to over 2,000 residents who were all displaced by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Haiyan, considered one of the world’s most powerful storms on record, killed at least 6,000 when it ravaged the Philippines. It brought seven-meter-high storm surges that wiped out houses in 68-Anibong. Displaced residents temporarily lived in a nearby school; some in tent settlements. Immediately after the storm, residents started building back their homes from the debris. Within six months’ time, the community was filled with houses made of wood scraps and recycled tents and tarpaulin.
The coastal village was declared a danger zone for storm surges and tsunamis. However, since the government shelters at the relocation sites have been delayed due to corruption issues, many of the residents had to live in the community for over half a decade. As of early 2021, about 200 residents remain in the village.
Through community organizing, public exhibits and fora that drew massive attention from the press, and policy reform engagements with local and national government agencies, PFD has contributed to speeding up the relocation of displaced families and removing barriers to accessing urgent social and welfare services.
Most are teenagers and some are kids as young as six-years old when they started with PFD. Here are some of them.
JOHN REY DELA ROSA
He was 15 years old when he started with the project in 2016. Some of PFD's most compelling photos were captured by him. He is one of PFD's spokespersons who is regularly interviewed by the press.
Jaqueline was only 11 years old when began training with PFD. She took portraits of her family's struggles and simple joys. She has spoken about her family's condition in two of PFD's major events.
He was 15 years old when he joined PFD's second year in 2017. He focused on capturing the hazards his neighbors faced while living in houses on stilts on the coast.
PFD is working with a network of more than a hundred volunteers.
Julie documented Haiyan's aftermath as a segment producer for a now-defunct investigative program of ABS-CBN News. She is currently the Head of Archives and Business of Probe Productions Inc., an award-winning media production company in the Philippines. She leads PFD's multimedia productions and advocacy communications.
Makoi documented the aftermath of Haiyan as a segment producer for GMA News' flagship newscast. He later joined CNN Philippines as a correspondent and anchor. He was a human rights fellow of the National Endowment for Democracy in the US in 2015. At PFD, he leads advocacy programs and stakeholder engagement.