HERO net in Philippines storm disaster
No rest for the busy HERO (Ham Emergency Radio Operations) network which has again activated for the storm Jangmi (Seniang) that made landfall in Mindanao Island on December 29 and crossed central areas causing massive floods and landslides. At least 53 people had been killed and 121,700 affected by the bad weather system. This storm's death toll was nearly triple the deaths of Super Typhoon Hagupit in early December.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
Thelma Pascua DU1IVT, the Philippines Amateur Radio Society Chief Operating Officer, says: "With successive typhoons bringing rains, the soil got so saturated it caused landslides. "Regional HERO was in place in Mindanao and Visayas. It's now automatic for a lot of hams to coordinate with their local disaster risk reduction and management." Reports of HERO activity came from the affected areas with more than 80,000 taking shelter in evacuation centres. Among them is Catbalogan town in Samar province, where 19 people died in a landslide that left homes and vehicles buried under rocks and mud.
Thelma says: "Members from the Eastern Visayas area are embedded in the Office of Civil Defense and the Risk Reduction and Management Council. "Eastern Mindanao hams also have good coordination with Local Government and the National Telecommunications Commission. They were activated two days before the landfall." She said regular training outside the affected areas is now starting on emergency message handling while the regular net control stations step aside, in preparation for future emergencies hitting Metro Manila.
Thelma DU1IVT says PARA members have more awareness now on the frequencies used for such situations. They monitor our 40m working frequency and participate with check-ins for the 7am and 7pm daily nets.
- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.
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