TSF connects worst hit Philippine towns



Following the forecast of Super Typhoon Hagupit, TSF deployed a pre-positioned team which arrived Sunday 7th December to the capital of the Philippines, Manila from its ROAP (Regional Office for Asia/Pacific) and Headquarters in Europe.

With windspeeds of upto 190km/h, Hagupit (locally known as Ruby) is moving slowly across the country over a period of several days, leaving floods and landslides in its trail and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes leaving families uprooted in the provinces of Samar and Masbate.



Since its arrival, TSF has been working directly with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) on sharing and gathering as much information as possible on the affected zones. TSF is ready to provide satellite communications support to the UNDAC assessment teams in their field evaluations, allowing for better coordination and information flow between field teams, UN regional offices and UN agencies.


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Alongside numerous iNGOs, TSF is working with the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) for the Philippines to define the areas requiring humanitarian aid.


TSF is working in collaboration with the Vodafone Foundation and local operator SMART to explore the possibilities of deploying the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Mini in the field. Technical tests are currently underway and the deployment of the GSM solution will be confirmed within the coming days.


TSF and United Nations in crisis centre coordination meeting in Manila


TSF connects worst hit Philippine towns


TSF connects the towns of Borongan, Oras and Dolores

TSF’s ICT support teams have connected 3 of the worst-hit towns in the province of Eastern Samar, an area drastically weakened and vastly destroyed by the recent passage of Typhoon Hagupit.



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Following rigorous assessments of the towns spanning from Borongan to Artechi (Eastern Samar), TSF confirms that local network operators have mostly re-established mobile networks, however internet remains a great problem, the lack of which is preventing municipalities from coordinating their operations amongst the families in these isolated and impoverished communities.


TSF has positioned mobile satellite connections in the city hall and hospital of Dolores, and also in the municipal buildings of Oras and Borongan. Dolores and Oras were two of the towns through which Hagupit (meaning strike in Tagalog) first passed, affecting 46,000 and 38,130 people respectively in these two towns alone.


“Your vital connection allows us to send and receive damage assessment reports to and from other municipalities and NGOs such as yourself – this is so important so we know what the needs are and where they lie. Your big hearts and even bigger help mean that my town council can bring help to my people.” The Mayor of Dolores.


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These connections also serve the NGOs that use council buildings as field offices. Eighteen such entities are present in Dolores including World Vision, Save the Children and Islamic relief. The office serves as a telecom coordination centre for the zone, where organisations share reports and assessments between head offices, field teams and working groups.


Dedicated to assisting its fellow NGOs, TSF has put in place a fixed satellite connection in the office of PLAN Philippines. Since Yolanda last year, PLAN has a permanent centre in Borongan from which they work on rebuilding the lives of the victims of the frequent calamities that hit the region. Communications is the key to this.


The importance of maximised coordination in humanitarian disasters is paramount. In the coming days, TSF will continue to assess the needs in the towns of Eastern Samar, and contribute to an improved aid effort for the hundreds of thousands of people going through the ever too familiar process of rebuilding their livelihoods flattened by natural disaster.


Internet access for populations cut off


Since Hagupit, the townspeople of Dolores have not been able to access a means to get news of their friends and families in the towns spread across the region of Eastern Samar. TSF has continued to enhance its support to Dolores by providing free high-speed internet access with tablets to the population in its HICC (Humanitarian Internet Communications Centre), allowing them access to Facebook, emails, news sites and other platforms where they can get information about the aftermath of Hagupit.


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In some cases, this was the first time people had been able to contact their loved ones since Hagupit struck one week ago.