The following has been received from Region3 with more information on the active involvement of Amateur Radio in the disaster response.
IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Co – Ordinator
Monster typhoon leaves huge losses
The extent of damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) that hit the central Philippines on Friday is still being assessed with the death toll upgraded to at least 100, many injured and half a million made homeless.
Sustained winds of 235 kph (147 mph) with gusts of 275 kph (170 mph) hit the central Philippines, sweeping away homes, buildings, blocking roads with fallen trees, and disrupting power and communications.
Ham Emergency Radio Operator (HERO) Thelma Pascua DU1IVT said emergency communications was still carrying essential traffic as the rescue and relief effort continues.
Thelma DU1VT said, “We have established a good HF communication link with Tacloban City. DX5RAN (RADNET or District 5 Radio Amateur Network) is operating at the Tacloban City Hall powered by a generator and using a wire antenna.
“Exchanges on air are for emergency, priority or welfare traffic to and from Leyte Province. This may take days while other means of communications are yet to be restored.”
Tacloban City is on one the hardest-hit Leyte Island. It was one of six islands that the typhoon slammed into on Friday. Survivors sheltering in damaged homes described how the noise sounded like a jumbo jet was flying over their roofs.
She said that the National Telecommunications Commission was monitoring the traffic on the HERO networks using the 40m and 2m bands.
Thelma DU1VT said, “Also, even without commercial power, an amateur club DX7BC in Bohol (recently devastated by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake)) is with us on 7.095 MHz, ready to relay in case propagation becomes poor between DU1 and DU5.
“Bohol is on the eastern side of Leyte. We admire these hams, with such a short break from their relief and humanitarian operations (caused by the earthquake)), here they are again ready to help out in communications. They are in the Governor’s place as the command centre.”
High ranking government officials are expected to use a HERO link manned by Nathan Eamiguel DU5AOK, to communicate with the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Council.
The Philippines Amateur Radio Association (PARA) had activated the HERO operators in advance of Typhoon Haiyan hitting land and have been in use ever since.
After leaving the Philippines the fast-moving typhoon is headed across the South China Sea and other countries, China and Vietnam.
– Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.