Photo: A woman from Pune, Timor-Leste, collects water for her home | Photo Credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret
On March 28, over 6,000 agricultural workers and indigenous peoples gathered to blockade a highway in the Philippine state of Cotabato.
For last three months, these men and women had been unable to farm as a result of a protracted drought brought on by an unprecedented El Niño in the region. Their water reservoirs had long since gone dry and many of them were beginning to starve.
To make matters worse, their pleas for assistance from their government had been falling on deaf ears—a federal relief subsidy existed for just this scenario, but the subsidy, for reasons that remain unclear, was not being distributed.