NetHope Situation Report 1 — 2013-11-08

Situation

Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda), one of the strongest typhoons this year, continues to maintain strength as it passes over the Philippines. It made initial landfall just before 5 a.m. local time on Friday in Guiuan town, Eastern Samar, about 650 kilometers (403 miles) southeast of Manila. Due to the geographical nature of the area, it has made numerous landfalls after that, not losing much of its strength.

It is estimated that at time of landfall sustained winds reached speeds of up to 315 kph (196 mph) and gusts blew as fast as 379 kph (236 mph), making it the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall.

Filipino residents sleep on the floor at a gymnasium turned into an evacuation center in Sorsogon City, Bicol region, Philippines, on Nov. 7. (Image courtesy of USA Today)

Before landfall, authorities had evacuated 151,910 families, or 748,572 persons. These people are staying in 664 evacuation centers across 31 provinces, 32 cities, and 181 municipalities. A total of 18 million people are estimated to be affected by the typhoon. A total of 3 deaths have been reported so far, mainly due to electrocution. But the death toll was expected to rise with authorities unable to immediately contact the worst affected areas.

People stand at the pier as Super Typhoon Haiyan smashes into the island of Bacalod (Image courtesy of AFP/Getty)

The typhoon was accompanied by torrential rainfall, violent winds and dangerous storm surges. Heavy rains of 20mm/hour extended out for an area 400 km wide, increasing fears of landslides and flash floods. A storm surge as high as 15 feet was recorded in Tacloban.

One particularly vulnerable area in Haiyan’s path is the central island of Bohol, the epicentre of a 7.1-magnitude earthquake last month that killed 222 people and where 350,000 people are still living in temporary shelters.

Access to the affected area is limited due to damaged roads and fallen trees. The main sea and airports remain closed. Humanitarian partners reported that the airport in Tacloban City suffered some damages.

The typhoon is expected to leave Philippines over the weekend, heading out towards the China Sea, where it may gain strength before reaching Vietnam.

Typhoon Haiyan as it passed over the Philippines — Image courtesy of NOAA

General Coordination

The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) together with the Asia-Pacific Humanitarian Partnership, Télécoms Sans Frontière and MapAction arrived in the Philippines to assist the government and the UN Humanitarian Country Team in establishing coordination hubs and performing initial assessments. Similarly, the ASEAN Emergency Rapid Assessment Team deployed its members to support coordination and emergency telecommunication.

A joint humanitarian assessment is being organized by UNDAC and teams will be deployed to the field over the weekend. Once the results of these joint rapid assessments come in, a better overview of the situation will be available.

To augment data from the joint rapid needs assessment, the Digital Humanitarian Network has been activated to support the humanitarian response. Triangulated results will be geo-tagged and shared to support the assessment.

Telecommunication Situation

The telecommunication provider Globe reports that 20% of their network in Visayas region has been disrupted, particularly in the provinces of Biliran, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, Western Samar and Iloilo. Around 6% of their network in Mindanao has been disrupted, particularly in the provinces of Camiguin, Dinagat Islands and Surigaodel Norte.

The telecommunication provider Smart reports disruption in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Leyte (with totall loss of service in Tacloban and Ormoc), and in parts of Northern Cebu. Latest reports indicate that service in Ormoc is being restored.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC)reports no cell phone signals in Regions VII & VIII and that communication is interrupted in 24 municipalities in Northern Cebu. Furthermore, they report power interruptions in the following provinces and municipalities in regions IV-B, V, VII, and VIII:

  • San Francisco, Camotes, Cebu
  • Toorijos and Buenavista, Mariduque
  • Naujan, Oriental Mindoro
  • Bicol Region — Intermittent power
  • Parts of Danao City, and Municipality of Tuburan, Cebu
  • Albay, Masbate, Cataduanes, parts of Camarines Sur & Sorsogon
  • Leyte, Easter Samar
  • Camiguin

The Global Emergency Telecommunication Cluster is preparing for a possible activation of the cluster following a request from the Government of Philippines to the UN Humanitarian Country Team to provide support in restoring communication services. An ETC Coordinator is being deployed to the Philippines on Saturday. The cluster is also looking at deploying telecommunication equipment if needed.

Télécoms Sans Frontiérs (TSF) deployed a team to the area before the storm. They will be working closely with UN OCHA and Smart to provide telecommunication services to response organizations and affected communities. In collaboration with Smart, they will also be leveraging the Vodafone Instant Network solution to help restore communication services in the worst affected areas.

NetHope Member Response

The following NetHope member organizations are currently responding or planning to respond:

NetHope is identifying the ICT needs of its members and their local implementation partners and coordinating with its member and partners to formulate response plans as the needs become more clear. NetHope is also coordinating with its private sector partners on potential in-kind support to those affected.

NetHope is reaching out to its supporters to mobilize the resources needed to support the emergency relief and recovery operations of our member organizations. Individuals are invited to support NetHope’s work by donating to our Emergency Response Fund. Corporations, foundations, and other organizations interested in supporting our efforts either financially or through in-kind donation, are asked to contact our emergency group directly at emergency @ NetHope dot org.

Other Useful Information Sources

About NetHope

NetHope’s mission is to act as a catalyst for collaboration, bringing together the knowledge and power of 41 leading international humanitarian organizations so that the best information communication technology and practices can be used to serve people in the developing world.

Find out more about our work at http://www.nethope.org

Published November 8th 2013 at Medium