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In Manila, Mercy Relief supports the city’s most vulnerable population – the urban poor – with a project to restore a mangrove and develop eco-friendly artisan skills. The scheme shows how environmental action can also protect human populations from natural disasters and develop the local economy.
At the heart of the port of Manila, at the mouth of the Pasig River – notorious for its high pollution levels – the restoration of a mangrove has supported economic growth and the development of artisan skills. Combining emergency action to tackle natural disasters with support for sustainable development, the NGO Mercy Relief is working with poor and vulnerable communities in the city’s Baseco neighbourhood, an area badly affected by the tropical storms that frequently strike this exposed region. ‘A Resilient Baseco’ is an eco-project designed to fight natural catastrophes and the growing pauperisation of local populations.
The initiative focuses on the restoration of a mangrove. For the past five years, Mercy Relief has led a campaign to plant fresh mangroves in zones cleared by the port. The majority of the plants have survived the annual typhoons and proliferated, created a protected haven in which the mangroves can develop, and lessen the impact of tropical storms. The area is planned for public access, raising awareness of the mangrove’s vital ecological role.
The project also involves the collection of water hyacinth, which flourishes along the Pasig river. Mercy Relief supports a Baseco community enterprise dedicated to the production of bags and footwear using the plant’s fibres. Mastering and managing this fragile ecosystem has supported the transmission of basket-weaving skills, boosting the economy and creating jobs for local people. The project is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart - Head - Hand).