When disasters like Typhoon Haiyan strike, it's important that victims and their family can communicate. That's where Vodafone's Instant Network comes in.
In the wake of a natural disaster, one of the first things people need to do is contact their loved ones and let them know they’re ok. But if the damage is so extreme as to knock out every line of communication – as with Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines – what can you do? An ‘Instant Network’ has been supplied to people in the province of Palo, one of the most affected areas, by the Vodafone Foundation.
Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines earlier this week, and it’s believed to have been the strongest storm ever to make landfall. More than 10,000 people are thought to have been killed and more than 500,000 displaced due to an untold level of destruction.
It’s a terrible situation where every little helps, which is why the Vodafone Foundation wasted no time in launching two of our ‘Instant Network’ kits on the scene.
“Each ‘Instant Network’ acts as a portable point of access for mobiles.”
Each ‘Instant Network’ acts as a portable point of access for mobile phones. They each fit into just four suitcases, meaning they’re plenty small enough to fit on a commercial flight as and when needed. As such, we were able to get our kits to the scene within 24 hours of the typhoon hitting.
The Vodafone Foundation team believes that the kit is now helping people send or receive upwards of 1000 SMS’ per minute. Due to the difficulties and the sheer volumes involved, some calls still aren’t getting through, but being able to text loved ones is clearly of huge importance to the people of Palo.
“Network is more important that power”
Those were the words of a local man in Samar – just one of thousands using the network to contact his family. His sentiment is obviously one being felt across the community, as people have been doing what they can to keep the Instant Network running.
With no power, the Instant Networks are using a generator to stay in operation. The problem there is that fuel is in short supply, and the nearest station still in operation is a whopping six hour drive away from our network site.
As testament to how important this communication is, though, the locals have begun pumping gas from their cars into the generator to keep things ticking over. It’s ad hoc and it’s rough-and-ready, but the Instant Network is working at full capacity, and it’s connecting those in need.
The teams in Boronga and Cebu will stay for a few days until the local connections are running again, at which point they’ll pack up the Instant Network and move it along to other areas in need of communications.
A little help from our friends
The Sun newspaper has now launched an appeal to help those affected by this disaster. Using JustTextGiving by Vodafone, the paper is aiming to raise money for the Disasters and Emergencies Committee, which will go directly to those in need. On top of that, the Vodafone Foundation will match every pound raised for the Disasters Emergency Committee through JustTextGiving up to £100,000.
And, in case you need to call anyone affected by Typhoon Haiyan, we’ve applied a £15 Bonus Credit to your Pay as you go account, for you to use in the next fourteen days. You can check your balance any time by calling 2345. See www.vodafone.co.uk/bonuscredit for more info.
To support the cause, text SUNP99 £1 to 70070.