Philippines Aid Mission.

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Disaster Tech Lab has now decided to return to Camp Arapal in the Philippines to continue the project we started earlier this year and to make the community fully self-supporting in communications and medical needs. During our 10 day mission in late October to early December we plan to complete the following tasks:
• Install a 3G internet backhaul into the location.
• Extend internet access via WiFi to the whole camp/village.
• Install a number of VoIP phones allowing incoming and outgoing phone communication.
• Train local volunteers in IT networking skills so that they can maintain and support the communications network.
• Provide refresher training for the local medical response team.
• Run medical clinics in surrounding communities providing first aid and pre-hospital care.
• Carry out a medical assessment for the region and share with national authorities.
• Establish a permanent local medical clinic.
• Provide medical supplies and equipment for above clinic.

We need your help to enable us to help others so please make a donation!

During our initial deployment to the Philippines, following typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, we worked in several areas across the Northern half of the island of Cebu. Our teams built communications infra-structure, provided communication services, ran medical clinics and trained several teams of local volunteers in first aid and medical skills. Out of all the lessons learned during this 4 month deployment one thing stood out from the rest: the need for the local population to become more prepared and resilient. The Philippines is a country that is battered by typhoons, earthquakes and volcanoes on a regular basis. As this is something that cannot be changed the best way to decrease the number of casualties following disasters is by enabling the population to be more prepared and to respond quicker and more efficiently.

One of the communities that we worked in stood out from the others, this was Arapal Camp. Arapal is located in a remote rural area south-west of the city of Bogo. The region is very poor and has almost no infra-structure or services. However Arapal Camp, under the guidance of US born Philippinos, has started a number of programs to empower the local community and allow them to become more resilient. They are running sustainable farming programs and livelihood training (carpentry, artisan crafts etc). They have also build a school for local children and are serving as a hub for the wider community for the ongoing rebuilding effort providing materials, labor and construction advice. The camp also has a central kitchen, a sawmill, pig & goat farm and serves as a religious center for the area with Sunday mass attracting up to 1000 people.
In short Arapal Camp is a community that wants to and *is* improving their own situation. They do not want to be dependent on aid and roll from one disaster to another.
To assist this great community,Disaster Tech Lab has decided to provide technical/communications & medical expertise and equipment. Earlier this year we installed a satellite dish as well as a number of WiFi access points providing internet access to the main building. We also ran a number of medical clinics and more importantly provided First Aid and CPR training to a team of local medical volunteers that we set up. Having a reliable source of communications greatly enhances the communities resiliency and preparedness while the medical training and supplies provided by Disaster Tech Lab have already proven their worth in a community which was hours away from any form of medical aid.

The overall effect of this mission will be that the wider community will have access to communication services which will be more resilient than the unreliable services currently offered by the telecoms companies. Not only will this allow them to communicate better following a disaster but the internet access will greatly improve the quality of their livelihood training programs as well as the children’s education in the school. The medical training as well as the equipment and supplies is also invaluable as a in these type of rural communities a large number of people still end up either dying or incurring livelong disabilities due to the non-existent medical care. For Arapal the nearest doctor is 2.5 hours away and most people can’t even afford to go. The training and medical supplies we delivered earlier this year has already been put to good use on several occasion given urgently needed aid to people with injuries or illnesses.
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Our deployment to the Philippines was concluded successfully on December 22nd.
We will shortly be publishing the after action report containing all details of the mission and the goals accomplished.
The AAR will be shared online via our website:

We would like to thank all donors for their support as without them our work would be impossible.

If you want to continue to support our work there is an online donation facility on the following page:
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Yesterday another part of our mission started: Education.
Now that Camp Arapal has internet access and WiFi it's important to maintain the network. The most economical way is by training local people in the required skills. This not only means that we don't have to send someone when the network breaks down but it also means that we will leave behind new knowledge which empowers the local community.
Here are some pictures of the first teaching session where people learned how to splice network cables.

Please make sure that we can continue sharing our knowledge by making a donation today!
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Work in Arapal has been proceeding on schedule. But we continue to need your support.
While Martin & Tom have started building the wireless links and VoIP phone system the rest of the team has started the medical training clinics as well as the clinics to treat people with urgent injuries.

We received a batch of photos from the team this morning showing them in action. The pictures give a good impression of the value of the work as well as the area they work in.
A few pictures are attached to this update but you can see more on our Facebook page:

Please support us by making a donation and sharing this update!
Signal tests for the wifi link.
Luxury transport.
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As typhoon Ruby was making landfall in East Samar our team members started arriving in Cebu. With people flying in from Winnipeg, Belfast, London, Los Angeles and Sidney there was a worry that flights might be cancelled but luckily everyone arrived more or less on time. The hotel they were staying in was already filling up with families seeking refuge from the typhoon. On the way from the airport to the hotel signs of ongoing evacuations were visible everywhere with schools and other buildings being used as shelters.

Contact with Camp Arapal told us that the camp was full with refugees from the typhoon and that it would be better if we postponed our arrival by a day. This was actually beneficial as we were able to send a delegation to a Ruby Task Force meeting organised by the local authorities. The meeting was attended by local authorities as well as NGO’s such as All Hands Volunteers (one of our partner organisations), Islamic relief, Project Hope and others. The meeting provided a good briefing on the scale of the impact as well as coordinate with other NGO’s and make them aware of our presence and capacities.

While the meeting was going on our techs Martin & Tom got their geek on and fixed the hotel’s wifi.

On the same day several boxes of supplies & equipment which we had shipped from the US in early October (thanks to the Handang Tumulong Foundation) arrived in Cebu. Again a case of perfect timing. The team and the supplies have since made it to Camp Arapal. While power is still out at the camp our techs have carried out their site survey and will start building the wifi P2P links tomorrow. In the meantime the medical team got stuck in straight away also and has already treated several medium casualties and one urgent one. The first medical clinic is planned for tomorrow. More updates to follow soon.

In the meantime your donations are still very much needed. As our work has goes on so will the costs. Your donation will allow us to purchase more medicine locally which will be administered to people attending the clinics.

Please keep your donations coming!
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$3,939 of $12,500 goal

Raised by 46 people in 60 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created September 18, 2014
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