Network based systems

Towards a multimode communication network for disaster management

INFORMATION chaos is inevitable in the aftermath of a disaster situation, as first responders may be affected. With my limited internet in the mountains, my social media timeline alerted me to how Typhoon “Odette” (international name: “Rai”) hit Cebu, Siargao, the Dinagat Islands and other provinces. My source was Twitter. When the data connection is spotty in places like the highlands, Twitter loads faster than Facebook and Viber. I have never seen Cebu, my hometown, in such a wreck, so I used the search function on Twitter and Facebook for updates. Based on the complaints on Twitter, concerned netizens considered the devastation to be underestimated. They have no news of what is happening to or around their families. With an intermittent connection, I was able to see many complaints that the national media was not covering the devastation. But major newspapers have provided updates on their social media platforms. I think the limited access to communication in the disaster areas of Odette due to damaged internet infrastructure prevented them from texting or scrolling online.

My fellow Cebuanos may not know it, but I read articles on social media about the relief initiatives from the dawn of December 17th. Ryan Macasero, Cebu correspondent for Rappler, described the challenges of covering the news. “If you’re frustrated with the slow news coming out of the Visayas, so are we. To give you an idea of ​​what we’re dealing with here, I’ve had about 5 minutes of decent data in the last 2 hours. We contact our home base in Manila within minutes. A friend said: “We need to seriously think about how to provide information in an emergency. Even social media did not serve the Internet as a platform for information discovery, because the Internet did not exist. “The radio would have been useful if everyone used their battery-powered transistor radios for updates. . Desperate for the news, Max Limpag, a Cebu-based reporter, tapped into AM radio only to hear a radio drama. At times like these, Limpag missed ABS-CBN and its affiliate radio in Cebu , DYAB, who were interrupting programming to focus on disasters. With the Internet infrastructure devastated in Cebu, Limpag added that radio would have been the best medium for updates. Another suggestion is to use a sub- text-only domain, not just mobile Text news like WAP, without scripts or trackers, would be useful with intermittent and slow networks.

Those outside disaster areas could help share credible information. Twitter Philippines (@TwitterPH) provides more tips on how to research and find credible disaster management information. On the app, click on the explore tab and then type and enter your keyword or query related to disaster management in the search option at the top. I have used the keyword “#OdettePH Cebu” and tab on the last tweets. A prompt on “ThereIsHelp” would appear. Simply click on it to access credible information and facts about the issue. There is also a list of crisis and disaster relief agencies to get updated events and other news from reliable sources.

While the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) provided SMS updates ahead of the attack, comments from friends say they were so under-prepared for the intense winds. The wind sounded like construction machinery and bulldozers. Another described it as being hit with a hammer on the roof. In my Cebu Viber group, one said, “Pagasa has failed miserably, as has the NDRRMC. I have looked at their text messages and they have repeatedly warned of only heavy rains. “

Much like what I wrote about the Taal eruption (January 23, 2020), we could alleviate yet another news chaos when the national government, media and private sector sit down and organize a information on functional disasters. Look for a multimode communication network for disaster management. Community-based disaster management would require exploring innovative approaches for the application of emerging communication technologies in disaster management.

For Typhoon Odette relief initiatives, read my article on

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