Tech & Medical Relief

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastated the Philippines on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,268 people and affecting more than 11 million. The cyclone caused catastrophic destruction in the Visayas, particularly on Samar and Leyte. Many areas were left without the capacity to communicate, severely hindering relief efforts throughout the country.

Immediately following the typhoon, Disaster Tech Lab began logistical preparation to deploy to Cebu, one of the areas hardest hit. After conducting initial wireless service surveys, mapping, and medical needs assessments, the tech team was able to set up Wi-Fi access points to serve a major disaster response and rebuilding hub in Arapal within weeks of arrival. Once the hub was in place, the medical team traveled to Bantayan Island, where they trained local EMTs, provided much-needed medical supplies to the ambulance service in Santa Fe, and evacuation injured people to Cebu City main hospital.

Over the course of their response from December 2013 to April 2014, the medical team responded to a number of emergencies, conducted medical assessment missions in rural areas, provided medical training (first aid, CPR, and wilderness rescue) for local communities, and operated clinics in the small island communities surrounding Cebu.

In Februrary, after initial surveys had been completed, a satellite broadband dish was installed at Camp Arapal, providing the local community with a resilient means of communication. Throughout the response period, the tech team continued to gather wireless signal (Wi-Fi and cellular) survey data in areas between Cebu City and the northern end of Bantayan Island. This data was shared with other agencies via the Digital Humanitarian Network and published online:

Thanks to the generosity of Etihad Airways and Philippine Airlines, Airlink was able to help Disaster Tech Lab send 7 tech and medical relief personnel to help with response over the course of the response period.