Earthquake and hurricane emergencies
The 7.1 earthquake in Mexico that downed many buildings and killed more than 250, plus Hurricane Maria that swept through a number of Caribbean nations, have kept emergency communications frequencies busy with coordination and traffic. Networks not in the affected areas, particularly the Colombia Amateur Radio League (LCRA), and in the USA, are seeking information about relatives in the Caribbean islands. Reports are continuing from Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, which hit Puerto Rico, Dominica and Turks and Caicos.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
LCRA is using 7.117 MHz for SSB and 7.085 MHz for digital modes, as well as EchoLinkCOL_LCRA conference. The Amateur Radio League of Cali's HK5VD is in support, under the guidance of Juan Manuel Yanguas HK5AKN, the LCRA Emergency Coordinator. The Columbian national VHF repeater system is also involved as the last delivery point trying to reunite families displaced by the hurricane and its aftermath.
The ARRL has suspended normal use of its Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW, to assist in handling outbound health-and-welfare traffic from Puerto Rico. The Salvation Army SATERN frequency of 14.265 MHz and similar activities are happening elsewhere as desperate people are trying all means to make contact with their loved ones.
Meanwhile Cesar Pio Santos HR2P, EMCOR IARU R2, has reported that radio amateurs are providing rescue groups and authorities with coordination help, and communications. In Mexico the station XE2A is in control sending some radio amateurs to Morelos to help there with a radio base station to be installed for emergency traffic and coordination. Typical of the volunteer work in Mexico is Jesus XE2JTC and Octavio XE2JUM, who have travelled with others in 4-wheel-drive vehicles carrying hydraulic equipment and units to support breathing.
Authorities in all affected places say the recovery work is continuing and will do so for a long time.
- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee
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