Philippines Amateurs activate for Storm Events

Ham Emergency Radio Operations have been in support of two weather events in the Philippines, Kai-Tak and Tembin, which brought significant damage and loss of life.

The first was tropical storm Kai-Tak at killed about 33 people, followed by tropical storm Tembin that swept through the southern Philippines, with reports that 200 lives have been lost.

Roberto C Vicencio ‘JoJo’ DU1VHY says HERO had HF coordination through the national emergency net at 7.095 MHz with three nets being held, 0700, 1700 and 1900.

Local clubs embedded with the government responders used designated channels and club frequencies.

JoJo says Kaitak ravaged the Central Visayas area, almost the same entry point as the Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and maintained a stationary position for about three days.

“Much rain was dumped in the Samar and Tacloban areas of the Central Visayas region,” he said. “In situations like this, most of radio amateurs in the affected areas fold into the government's regional/provincial disaster risk reduction management offices to consolidate the actions of the amateur and civic groups as well as the military and police forces.”

But after a respite of two days the southern island of Mindanao was threatened by Tembin.

HERO reported that this was anticipated and the government was able to mobilise the assets of radio amateurs and civic communications group as well as the police and armed forces.

Joyo says the wind strength and volume of rains inundated the island and the system took a direct path from east to west of Mindanao island.

Flooding hit houses and many lives were lost when people were trapped in their homes by the flash flooding.

He said: “Bridges, roads and agricultural fields were damaged. There was a shortage of communications too. “Many major transportation arteries were affected further stranding others who tried to escape. About 200 have been declared dead with the final count not yet determined.” Ed Escabarte DU8EE embedded with the regional disaster risk reduction management office mentioned that search is ongoing for survivors and bodies.

It is only the start of the season for adverse weather in the Philippines, with the HERO network prepared for other activations.

– Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee