Emergency Communications and Relief Efforts Underway in the Philippines

Various telecommunications companies are spearheading relief efforts in the Philippines following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.

Smart Communications is collaborating with the Philippine government and relief organizations to deploy Thuraya mobile satellite equipment to facilitate relief. In aid of the typhoon survivors, Smart has converted over 70 Marino Phonepal (SF2500) units for use for basic voice calling on land. These units are being utilized as free call centres in over 27 municipalities. The units enable survivors to contact family members who live outside of the disaster areas.

Thuraya and Smart have deployed over 100 units of the Thuraya SF2500, SatSleeve and the Thuraya XT to Philippine government agencies as well as relief organizations such as the Red Cross to help establish critical communication channels and facilitate relief coordination efforts.

Meanwhile, global money transfer and payment services company MoneyGram has implemented series of measures to help people in the Philippines impacted by the devastation caused by the typhoon.

The firm will make a $50,000 donation to Doctors Without Borders to support immediate relief efforts. Currently, the charity has more than 100 people on the ground in the Philippines addressing urgent and immediate medical needs. Cargo planes have started delivering 329 tons of medical and humanitarian relief supplies such as medical and hygiene kits, tetanus vaccines, tents, and water. Operations are currently based in Cebu, but teams will soon arrive in the hardest hit areas, including Tacloban.

In addition, from the end of November MoneyGram is waiving the transaction fee for customers in the United States who want to donate to the American Red Cross Philippines relief effort online. Chairman and CEO Pamela H. Patsley commented: “During a crisis of this magnitude, every second and every dollar count. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to help Filipinos impacted by Typhoon Haiyan.”

Motorola’s philanthropic arm, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, has made a donation of the same size to the American Red Cross. Within the company, employee volunteerism drive has been initiated in which the Motorola Solutions Foundation will match up to an additional $25,000 in employee giving toward this cause.

The firm is also equipping first responders with mission critical communications equipment to assist in disaster recovery efforts.

Filipino operator Globe Telecom meanwhile scaled down its launch of the newest iPhone models, and has opted to use the event to extend further assistance to the victims of the super typhoon.

Globe will set up a booth where subscribers can register to GCASH to send monetary donations at the speed of sending a text message. Using GCASH as donation facility, subscribers can send money to support the relief operations of the Philippine National Red Cross, one of the most active organisations in the country that conduct relief operations.

Augmenting the donations received at the launch event, Globe will match the total GCASH donations made by its customers.

“As part of our commitment to help in nation-building efforts after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda that affected millions of lives, we are doing away with the usual grand launch event for the iPhone and instead use this platform to augment what we’re doing for our kababayans using our GCASH facility,” said Peter Bithos, Chief Operating Advisor for Consumer Business at Globe.


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