Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Plan's Emergency Response Team: Trying to Communicate From East Samar

Cross-post from the personal blog of Plan International’s Internal Communications Specialist in Asia, Hatai Limprayoonyong, reporting from the Philippines.

Today, I went to Tacloban City, one of the worst-affected areas, together with my Plan colleagues and 13 volunteers. We took dry food and hyposol (a simple treatment that makes water drinkable) with us, in the hope it would be enough for the Plan staff in East Samar, as well as about 50 affected people. We hope these supplies will last three to five days.

There is no signal here at the Plan office in East Samar and things are in a bad way. To get connected, you need to go out to the city hall. At the city hall there is a vital hub served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, where you can make contact with others through radio. There’s also computers with internet access.

They tell me this hub has been set up here since November 9 and 1,000 people come here every day. There are only five computers and our time is limited to three minutes per person. I suppose this is just enough time to Facebook or Tweet those close to us, those who depend on us, that we’re OK. They say this centre will be here as long as the gas and generator are working.

Things aren’t safe here and we’re given a strict curfew to return to our base by 5pm – the security guard will be waiting for us and there is a password for us to get access to our team house. People sleep wherever they can.

But now I hear there is an issue with transportation. We’re in trouble as we’ve run out of fuel. Gasoline is precious - for power and transportation. For now, we have to wait and I wonder when we will make it back to Plan’s base in Manila.

We are staying positive and doing what we can, but I can see the staff from Plan’s local team are tired and exhausted. Some have lost their homes. Others have lost everything they know. It’s a difficult situation to comprehend, as we are responsible for providing relief for people, yet we are also affected.


To help ensure that families affected have the resources needed to rebuild and recover, please visit Plan’s Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund page.

We will contact sponsors directly if we receive any news about individual sponsored children. If you are planning a visit or have any particular concerns around this issue, please contact our Donor Relations staff at donorrelations@planusa.org or at 1-800-556-7918.

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