Emergency Communications in two disasters

When a fierce cyclone came ashore in India, and a devastating earthquake struck the Philippines, it was radio amateurs who provided vital communications. As Cyclone Phailin headed towards India’s Bay of Bengal authorities quickly evacuated dangerous areas. The Amateur Radio Society of India was set to go with trained radio amateurs. That monster storm in the very same region 14 years ago killed 10,000 people. This time, with the early evacuation of many thousands, the death toll was about 21. Jayu Bhide VU2JAU asked that 7145 kHz be kept clear as Dilip VU2DPI, Mithilesh VU3BHI and Sameer VU2AOR worked around the clock, passing essential messages and doing what they could to help. Then an earthquake two days later saw activation of the Ham Emergency Radio Operators by the Philippine Amateur Radio Association. Ramon Anquilan DU1UGZ said as crews were about to clean up the debris left by Typhoon Santi, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Bohol Province causing numerous casualties and damage. He asked that 7095 kHz be kept clear for emergency traffic. Messages over HF, on 2-metres and via Echolink included that many buildings had been damaged, bridges collapsed, power outages, schools closed, weather reports and aftershocks. When disaster strikes, often the emergency communications provided by radio amateurs supplements and supports those engaged in relief and rescue work. -Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.

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