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Typhoon toll rises as rescuers reach affected areas

Date : 10 / 11 / 2013
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The number killed by Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) has dramatically increased with the Red Cross now unofficially estimating 1,000 dead. The full damage of the monster typhoon, which hit the central Philippines on Friday, is not known as authorities are finding it hard to reach or report some places. Many houses and buildings have been destroyed, with four million
people affected.

Ramon Anquilan DU1UGZ, of the Philippines Amateur Radio Association (PARA), reports that the Ham Emergency Radio Operator (HERO) continues to help authorities and residents by handling relief messages. PARA had activated the HERO operators in advance of the typhoon hitting land and have been used throughout the country. The National Telecommunications Commission continues to monitor it. Ramon DU1UGZ said in one of the worst affected areas of Tacloban is Nathan Eamiguel DU5AOK with other RADNET members. He said, "They are acting as field liaisons to validate and secure requested information on the whereabouts and situation of Tacloban residents from relatives
from all over the country. "Our National Traffic System (NTS) Co-Chairman Jojo Vicencio DU1VHY, together with Max Santos 4F1BYN relocated to La Montana Estates in Antipolo - the QTH of Peter Schuemann DU1DL, to better copy transmissions from Tacloban
City."

The Tacloban station is now transmitting barefoot at 100 watts, passing health and welfare traffic. "The farthest that RADNET members have penetrated is Palo which is the nearest municipality to Tacloban City. There are still no cellular phone services or electricity in the area," Ramon DU1UGZ said. Among the other Ham Emergency Radio Operator activity is the Cebu Amateur Radio League (CARL) DX7CA which has been deployed to Bantayan Islands. He said, "Bantayan Islands is one of the hardest hit islands east of Cebu Province. The DX7CA team is composed of Sidney Tan DW7EEE, Dondon Medina 4F7FDM along with his wife Mylene DW7MYL and their son Miko DV7MYC, and DW7MMM. "Another DX7CA team is stationed at the Cebu Capitol Building composed of Steve Tan DW7MCC, Randy Benbaye DV7NGG, DW7EUR and Abel DU1CLZ," said Ramon DU1UGZ. "There has been no news emerging from the islands as the initial national government focus has been on Tacloban City and its neighbouring municipalities. "However the Governor Davide has already gone to the islands and convened a needs-assessment meeting with local officials," he said.

The government has set up command centres in both the Eastern and Western Visayas, and may use the HERO network, to better coordinate the recovery effort. It the path of the typhoon was the island of Bohol, the epicentre of a 7.1-magnitude
earthquake in October that killed 222 people and left 5,000 survivors in tents. Rescuers and relief supplies are reaching remote places for the first time, painting a gloomy picture indeed.

The Philippines had Typhoon Bopha in December 2012 that left about 2000 people dead or missing on the southern island of Mindanao. Typhoon Haiyan was a fast-moving Category 5 typhoon with winds gusting up to 379km/h affecting 36 provinces in the Philippines and is now headed for Vietnam where 300,000 people are in storm shelters.

- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.


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