Haiyan Relief - Radio and SMS Information Services

by Internews
Nov 15, 2013

We need you now.

Credit: Rhaydz Barcia
Credit: Rhaydz Barcia

Thank you again for your support of this project. Please donate to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund and help us get news and information to Filipinos who desperately need it. 

Below is an update directly from the feild. Please share this update with your friends and family and ask them to support this critical and time-sensitive campaign. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available. 


With electricity, media, and mobile networks knocked out in areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, information is scarce for aid agencies and those in desperate need of aid – making it difficult to understand the full scale of needs.

Internews’ Rapid Response Unit has deployed a Humanitarian Media team to the Philippines. The team is conducting a fast assessment of the media and communications environment to see what can be done to help restore capacity in the media sector and support information flows to people affected by the disaster. 

Reports from the Internews team on the ground, gathered from local networks, indicate that most local media infrastructure in the affected areas has been completely wiped out. Our contacts talk of mobile phones and broadcast equipment at radio stations being "taken away by the sea." Early reports from UN colleagues tell us that at least four local journalists from major networks are dead, including one who drowned even as he was reporting from the second floor of a building in Tacloban.

To stay up to date with Internews staff and issues of information in this crisis, follow the twitter hashtag #commisaid.

 EnviroNews.ph is working hard to keep up their FrontlineSMS platform which integrates short messaging service (SMS) reporting from journalists in the country, to get news and information out about the disaster quickly. Imelda Abano, an EnviroNews.ph journalist, is currently the only Filipino journalist at the UN climate negotiations (COP 19) in Warsaw. This is an equally important measure to ensure longterm, sustainable solutions to climate change, as scientists have warned that extreme weather events will only increase in intensity and frequency if climate change is left unchecked. Many Filipinos have never heard of "climate change" before, and without reliable, accurate, and localized information about it, near-term and long-term adaptation remains challenging.

Background: Philippine Media Landscape

infoasaid, a past partnership between Internews and BBC Media Action, developed a media landscape guide to the Philippines that provides context for the affected area:

  • The Philippines’ media is rowdy, vibrant, diverse and hugely profitable. There are nearly 1,000 radio stations across the country, broadcasting on FM and Medium Wave, according to Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasterng Pilipinas (KBP) - the Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines. The KBP also lists more than 200 television stations.
  • There are 28 daily newspapers published in Manila. Dozens more daily and weekly newspapers are published in provincial cities.
  • Media ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few large privately owned groups. Their radio and TV stations and their newspapers command the highest audiences nationwide.
  • Most independent provincial broadcasters are affiliated to one of the big national radio and TV networks and relay large segments of their programming. The state media is a minor player, partly because it is banned from supplementing its budget with advertising.
  • The largest chain of radio stations, Radyo Natin, consists of more than local 100 FM stations. It forms part of the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) the largest radio group in this nation of more than 7,000 islands.
  • Filipinos send and receive more text messages than any other nation in the world except the USA – about 400 messages per person per month in 2011.

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Organization Information


Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.internews.org
Project Leader:
Amanda Frankel
Washington, D.C. United States

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