News / Asia

Relief Radio Station Signals Dire State of Communications in Tacloban, Philippines

Relief Radio Station Signals Dire State of Communications in Taclobani
November 23, 2013 4:37 AM
All of Tacloban’s 15 radio stations were knocked off the air when Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippine city of 220,000 people. A response within 72 hours by volunteers managed to get an emergency station on the air - the only local mass means for the survivors there to get instant, reliable information. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Tacloban has the story.
Relief Radio Station Signals Dire State of Communications in Tacloban
All of Tacloban’s 15 radio stations were knocked off the air when Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippine city of 220,000 people. A response within 72 hours by volunteers managed to get an emergency station on the air - the only local mass means for the survivors there to get instant, reliable information.

“It is now 10:07.  This is 98.7 FM, First Response Radio broadcasting live in Tacloban city.” The voice of Magnolia Yrasuegui is filling a void. Around the clock, live and on tape, she and others are heard across the destroyed city informing residents on how and where to get help.

The portable station, part of an international non-profit network of radio technicians, is contained in a couple of suitcases that were stored in Manila.

An initial small 50-watt transmitter is being replaced by a more powerful 600-watt unit.

Even the weaker signal, though, could be heard for kilometers emanating from a small antenna erected on the roof of the damaged city hall.
VOA reporter Steve Herman is in the Philippines covering rescue and recovery efforts.

Survivors are seeking accurate information about the fate of family members and their city, according to Yrasuegui. “Rumors have been flying out and they do not know anything about what happened to them, if their relatives are still there. So communication also is aid.”

With no electricity service in the city and batteries a scarce commodity, volunteers from the station have distributed hundreds of solar and crank-up radios to people in evacuation centers.

They get to hear from in-studio guests such as Dr. Joji Tomioka of Japan’s medical team for disaster relief, which is now treating patients in Tacloban.   

The five volunteers staffing First Response Radio say they will remain on the air until this city can recover to the point that at least one of its radio stations can resume broadcasting.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

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Comment Sorting
by: Luz from: USA
December 05, 2013 8:29 PM
My sister in law & my brother just went to Ormoc last week & said there's a mount of relief goods in Pier, smelled so bad & ruined because no ones distributing the relief goods!!That's a waste!A lot of people starving especially in remote areas,like cemetery!My brother went there. & his wife to visit my niece's grave, when they got there, there's people there asked my brother & his wife if they bring something to eat, it was heart breaking my brother & his wife they didn't expect there's people there,please send people to help them :-(

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 25, 2013 4:36 AM
I agree communication is also one of the most needed aids in disaster suffering areas. Their information where to get relief stuff must help decrease the number of looting.

by: van from: vn
November 23, 2013 11:02 AM
i think that China is so lying, bellicose. The Us must work closely with Japan to prepare for war with China.

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