Hurricane Koppu and the 'game changing' communication response

Source: Tue, 17 Nov 2015 11:14 AM
Broadcasters with FRR-FEBC keep people informed and hear what they are saying
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It took an hour of phone calls to activate the minimum response actions by agencies in terms of communication for communities to Typhoon Koppu (locally known as Lando). There was already a plan and a strategy in place. Work earlier in the year led to the establishment of a group of likeminded organisations working through community engagement. Within this Community of Practice (CoP) are more than 40 members. The establishment of this group is an example of how people coming together before an emergency and agreeing actions enables a more effective, and highly diverse, response that worked to save lives, gather information and help the public to communicate their need. It is true that during the preliminary discussions some did not understand what their role might be in a context where the government would be active. However, when Typhoon Koppu turned theory into practice the immediate mobilisation of resources and communication technology underlined how the united effort made a material difference to help people and allow those most affected to shape the aid effort.

Responding to a request from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) the organisations involved were able to provide an innovative set of interventions. These included not only communication support, but also a series of community consultations and assessments (the use of Rapid Information Communication Accountability Assessment or RICAA), while even providing operational support through the use of UAV drone by SkyEye to monitor infrastructure damages in Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. The group also set up an emergency radio facility, courtesy of FRR-FEBC, in Casiguran, Aurora to support LGU, humanitarian agencies, affected local media and communities in the provision of two-way communication mechanism while social news network Rappler monitored feedback and concerns of the affected populations through the use of social media platforms. Most CoP members (World Vision, Care, NASSA/Caritas, Save the Children, IFRC-PRC and Code-NGO) conducted community consultations in Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija. The community consultation was a way of identifying other needs and preferred channels for communication for feedback.

Finally the SMART telecom provider set up 44 free calls, SMS and charging stations services in the affected areas of Aurora, Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Ecija. It also restored telecom towers that were destroyed days after the typhoon. Its services facilitated the affected communities communicating with their loved ones and informing authorities of their immediate needs.



The organisations involved in the response included CDAC network international members OCHA, IOM, World Vision, UNFPA, UMCom, Save the Children and UNICEF. In country FRR-FEBC and other organizations such as Rappler, NASSA/Caritas, ACF, IFRC-PRC, Care, SkyEye, SMART telecom, Weather Philippines, Panahon TV and CODE-NGO were at the forefront of responding and working with the affected local government units (LGUs) days  before and after the typhoon.



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The CDAC Network is a growing platform of more than 30 humanitarian, media development, social innovation, technology, and telecommunication organisations, dedicated to saving lives and making aid more effective through communication, information exchange and community engagement.

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