Countless environmental disasters in the country have caused death, destruction and displacement. They have wiped out villages, altered landscapes and deprived communities of livelihoods. Long afterwards, the affected communities continued to experience untold misery, uncertainty, health problems and economic losses. Journalists know this only too well. Many have covered one disaster after another in a span of months, sometimes even weeks. These disasters are front-page stories or top items in television news programs when they happen and days immediately after. But slowly they become secondary news until they disappear from the news altogether.
More often than not, these disasters fade from the public’s memory, along with the lessons people ought to learn from them.
VERA Files, under a project with Internews, sought to revisit three “cold” environmental cases to see what changes have occurred over the years in places that took a hit from the disasters.
These are the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991, the massive flooding in Ormoc in November 1991 and the March 1996 mining spill in Marinduque province, a man-made disaster whose effects have remained in the ecosystem and in the veins of its residents till this day.
Stories written by journalists based on visits to these places were first published on the VERA Files website and are now compiled in this book.
This e-book documents the stories of people who survived the wrath of nature: men and women who fled flooded villages in the nick of time; families that lost homes, livelihoods and a part of their past, people who continue to suffer from various ailments caused by a toxic environment.