The "Helen Thompson" is our latest rescue boat
We’re delighted to announce that our latest flood rescue boat is complete!
Our new boat is now situated in the Banaba Extension area of Barangay Banaba, just outside of Manila. For a number of reasons Banaba Extension is incredibly vulnerable to the floods which regularly strike the community.
Firstly it’s nearly fully encircled by the Nangka river, which almost creates an island as it loops its way around the community.
The banks of the Nangka river are naturally steep, and this steepness has been made worse by the recent construction of concrete walls. The walls prevent riverbank erosion but their addition has turned the river into a very narrow and deep canal in places. In dry season you can stand on the Nangka’s edge and look almost vertically down onto the water twenty feet below.
But in rainy season the Nangka’s waters rise quickly and dramatically. Typhoons, tropical storms and even just heavy rain cause the river’s flow to rapidly increase. The river can’t drain quickly enough and the Nangka’s waters have nowhere to go but up and into Banaba Extension itself.
This would be dangerous enough but Banaba Extension is also densely populated and has very poor access.
Because of it’s geography the only people who live in Banaba Extension are poor, informal settlers. Many of the area's 2,500 residents were drawn here looking for work, and they can’t afford to live outside this dangerous area.
There are some concrete houses but many others are made of lightweight materials, like plywood, that are easily washed away during floods. There are also no roads within Banaba Extension. The only way in, or out, is through a maze of narrow alleyways. This makes escape slow and dangerous when the floods come.
For all these reasons Banaba Extension was in desperate need of a rescue boat. So, we were delighted to recently handover our latest rescue boat to the community.
Handover of the boat took place on April 12, 2015, and due to the narrow alleyways delivering the boat proved challenging at times. But residents were so happy to receive the boat that many joined in to help. By the end of the day the boat was in position and it’s now ready to respond and save lives as needed.
This was the seventh rescue boat we’ve provided in Barangay Banaba and this one was especially poignant for us. This is because this latest boat has been dedicated to the memory of Helen Thompson, a long time friend and supporter of IDV who died tragically in late 2013.
We hope that Helen would be pleased knowing that “The Helen Thompson” will be protecting Banaba’s most vulnerable residents for many years to come.
If you’d like to dedicate a flood rescue boat to a loved one, or more simply sponsor a boat through your company or school, then please don’t hesitate to email Andy@IDVolunteers.org. I would be delighted to hear from you.
Residents carry the boat through narrow alleyways
Kids lend a hand by carrying the boat seats