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Rapid Response and Relief

On November 8th 2013, Typhoon Haiyan tore through the Philippines affecting over 9 million individuals and displacing over 600,000, destroying telecommunications infrastructure, medical facilities, and many critical services. The city of Tacloban in Leyte, Philippines served as a central coordination point for the relief mission but detailed assessment of damage was not available initially due to debris and the scarcity of communications services.

First, Global DIRT deployed a team of assessment specialists in coordination with Immersive Media (who donated personnel and software support) to insert and setup 360 mapping in Leyte, Philippines. After the initial reconnaissance and assessment, they were able to deploy communications specialists in coordination with CISCO, Intelsat, and GATR. Technologies (who donated personnel, equipment, and satellite coverage) to insert and setup emergency telecommunications equipment in Leyte, Philippines.

After their initial assessment, they were able to get underway with search-and-rescue activities. They deployed a team of K-9 units certified in live find, as well as human remains detection specialists, in coordination with UNDAC, UN OCHA, OSSOC, the Government of the Philippines, and the City of Tacloban to detect casualties and human remains (HR) located in debris piles spread across greater Leyte, Philippines.  Throughout their time in the Philippines, Global DIRT’s mission was to identify locations containing human remains, assist proper collections of human remains, and properly identify and bury those who had lost their lives in the destruction.

In conjunction with this work, Global DIRT also initiated a remote outpatient medical support mission. They deployed a team of medical specialists in coordination with RTR Hospital, Mission Tacloban, UN OCHA, WHO and the City of Tacloban to insert and setup emergency remote patient care through deployment of medical personnel in helicopters and donated vehicles to areas without medical capacity. 

Thanks to the generosity of Etihad Airways, United Airlines, and all of our supporters who donated United Charity Miles, AIRLINK enabled Global DIRT to send 13 volunteers to help with reconnaissance, search and rescue, and medical relief.

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