In June , 2000 torrential rains struck Manila and caused disastrous landslides at the Payatas dump, home to more than 3,500 families. Some 1,000 per sons disappeared beneath the debris and the dump was closed until further notice. Kami no ko tachi begins with the harsh reality of the drama and the extraction of corpses from the insidious b lack sludge; the film then explores the consequences of the closing of the site to those who made their homes in shacks at the foot of the great garbage mountain. For five long months men, women and children who once earned meager livings gather ing recyclable trash were left without any source of income . Hiroshi Shinomiya shows the cruelty of their misfor tune in a story based on four families forced to cope with malnutrition, escalating debts and infant mor tality. Six months after the landslides , the first trucks were given authorization to return to the dump. Life , as it were , would begin anew, yet the "normalcy" of thousands of people eking survival out of an immense garbage dump remains highly dubious.