Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ham Emergency Radio Operations: Busy times for disaster response

Soon after the strongest earthquake in more than two decades, measuring 7.6 on the Ritcher scale, hit the Philippines members of the Ham Emergency Radio Operations (HERO) soon after were exchanging messages with the affected coastal areas.

Eddie Valdez DU1EV, the Chief Operating Officer of the Philippines Amateur Radio Association said that DU1VHY handled traffic and got reports from the affected areas of DU4, DU5, DU6, DU8 and DU9. 

Eddie DU1EV said "The area of DU5 was nearest the epicenter and DV5PO reported there was a power outage in Borongan, Samar Island. DV5RAY reported tha people were evacuating because of the tsunami alert."

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology later lifted its tsunami alert after only small waves were generated and not the life-threatening waves that can be expected to occur with an earthquake of that size. It also caused tsunami warnings in Indonesia, Japan and Papua New Guinea. 

He said the earthquake was felt over a wide area with numerous reports including shaking chandeliers and triggering alarms in some vehicles.

Eddie DU1EV said it was good that many hams in the affected areas showed up on the 2-metre and 40-metre emergency channels and other districts were on standby if needed.

The undersea earthquake struck the central part of the archipelago off the town of Guiuan on Samar Island on Friday. It killed one person in collapsing house, caused damage to infrastructure and people to flee to higher ground.

Tens of thousands of people have since returned home. Eddie DU1UV reports that an initial assessment by the government's National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council is that there was no major structural damage in the affected areas.

Most of the homes destroyed were made of light materials in the coconut growing low socioeconomic area.
In February this year a 6.8 quake killed 51 and left more than 60 people missing in the Negros and Cebu regions on the Philippines.

The latest earthquake followed HERO being activated during the flooding caused by heavy recent seasonal monsoon rains and storms, including most of the capital of Manila being under water during a 48 hour deluge.
Authorities have also renewed their warning of further disasters in the Pacific-rim of fire which includes the Philippines, where an earthquake measuring 7.9 killed thousands in the area of Luzon on July 16, 1990.
Jim Linton VK3PC
Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee
Eddie Valdez DU1EV
Chief Operating Officer of PARA

(Source : Southgate Amateur Radio News)

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