Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan
Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) activities in the Philippines are currently in transition and services are being handed over.
In the six months since Typhoon Haiyan devastated much of the Visayas region of the Philippines, the ETC has been providing vital emergency telecommunications services to the humanitarian community responding to the crisis.
At the height of the response, the ETC was providing internet services in 33 locations across 11 towns and cities.
Over 6,500 humanitarian workers registered to use ETC wireless networks, the highest number ever recorded.
The ETC is responsible for providing emergency telecommunications services to the relief community only where there are gaps in local capacity. Now that commercial providers in all locations have recovered from the crisis and resumed operations, the ETC has migrated humanitarian workers from short-term emergency internet infrastructure to locally provided services.
Radio infrastructure has been handed over to the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) to ensure continued provision of essential security communications services.
Emergency operations on the ground may have come to a close, but the ETC will continue to contribute to the preparedness capacity of the Filipino government. Telecommunications and data connectivity equipment has been handed over to the World Food Programme (WFP), as local lead of the ETC in the Philippines, to assist with emergency training and will be prepositioned in three locations to facilitate a rapid response to future crises. Equipment includes IT and Telecommunications Fly-Away Kits which allow immediate deployment of internet and radio networks to enable coordination in the vital early stages of an emergency.
Key to the success of the cluster in the Philippines was the collaboration and contribution of its members, and a network of humanitarian, private sector, government and Stand-by Partners. The ETC thanks all its members and partners, including emergency.lu, Ericsson Response, Save the Children, NetHope and their partner BT, Irish Aid, Plan International and Télécoms Sans Frontières for their invaluable support in the response to Typhoon Haiyan. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) also deserves a special ‘thank you'. In an excellent example of humanitarian-private sector cooperation, PLDT in Tacloban provided the ETC with access to their fibre optics network providing high-speed internet connectivity for free. As the local distribution network had been destroyed, the ETC extended this to humanitarian organizations operating in the city. This assistance was instrumental to response operations in Tacloban.
For more information on the Philippines, see the country page.