On May 23, 2014, a report meeting entitled “Natural disaster and children’s challenges (Our forests protected our villages – Typhoon Heiyan Disaster in the Philippines and disaster mitigation effect of global tree planting activities” was held at the GEOC (Global Environment Outreach Centre) of the United Nations University in Tokyo. On this occasion, a group of Indian and Filipino children participating in the Children’s Forest Program (CFP) visited Japan for making presentations on their activities as CFP Goodwill Ambassadors.
The Filippino children came from the area devastated by the large-scale typhoon Heiyan in November 2013. They reported on the disaster situation and told that the damage was mitigated by the mangroves planted under the CFP and the trees raised under the CFP were utilized as timber for disaster recovery. They appealed for the importance of protecting and nurturing forests.
Also, Mr. Keisuke Katori, a journalist of Japan’s daily newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun, who had conducted a field survey of the Typhoon Heiyan jointly with OISCA, was invited as guest speaker. He reported on the disaster situations in the various areas and explained about the scale of the damage inflicted on the local residents.
On their part, the Indian children reported about the various environmental problems facing India, presented photos on the successful greening of wastelands though the CFP efforts and emphasized the importance of tree planting.
The meeting was attended by people from various walks of life ranging from students to office workers. They enjoyed the event held in a cozy atmosphere and tasted rare confections brought from India and the Philippines. At the end of the program, the Indian and Filipino children wearing their national costumes presented traditional dances of the respective countries.
From the audience, there were strong voices in support of the children’s messages to plant and nurture trees for the future of their villages and to protect the green earth. We would like to closely pay attention to the children’s activities after going back home.