Irish Emergency Response Charity Is Saving Lives In The Philippines – – Our News, Your Views

Irish Emergency Response Charity Is Saving Lives In The Philippines

Disaster Tech Lab, an emergency response charity which has been deployed in Haiti and the USA previously is now making a lifesaving impact in the Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan was a powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, on November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, killing at least 6,201 people in that country alone. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed. Disaster Tech Lab decided to deploy a team to the Philippines the day after the Typhoon made landfall and the organization has been working on various projects since. They are currently preparing to send another team of volunteers to the island of Cebu.

In the last 4 months, Disaster Tech Lab has deployed rotating teams of technical and medical volunteers to the island of Cebu. Cebu was chosen as area of operations as it was heavily damaged but the majority of the large NGO’s seemed to focus their efforts on the area of Tacloban on Leyte, an island East of Cebu. This created a gap in aid that DTL filled. Their tech team carried out wireless signal surveys and build communications networks in Bantayan and an area called Camp Arapal South-East of Bogo city while their medical team provided first aid to people in affected areas, carried out medical needs assessments and provided first aid, CPR and EMT training to volunteer groups in Bantayan and Camp Arapal. They also provided medical supplies to kit out an ambulance on Bantayan, a volunteer emergency response group on Bantayan, the health care workers on Kinatarkan Island and the first aid station at Camp Arapal.

The life-saving impact of their work quickly became apparent on two specific occasions.

On December 18th two Oxfam volunteers in Santa Fe were involved in a serious road accident resulting in severe head injuries. A Disaster Tech Lab medical volunteer was the only qualified EMT in the area. He provided First Aid and arranged an ambulance (stocked with supplies provided by DTL) to transport the injured persons to the nearest hospital. This trip involved a 2 hour ferry trip and a further 4 hours driving. It was only for this volunteer’s actions and treatment during this transport that both patients were able to make a full recovery.

The next lifesaving event was on January 11th when a passenger ferry got into trouble offshore of Bantayan Island. A DTL volunteer who was on the ferry transporting technical equipment used one of their radios to alert other volunteers on the island. The Disaster Tech Lab team coordinated a rescue effort together with other NGO’s on the island and used small, local fishing boats to evacuate the more than 300 passengers and bring them safely ashore. The fact that one of the DTL volunteers was a water rescue instructor proved invaluable. There was only one injury when a woman slipped and fell between the ferry and a rescue vessel. Again, DTL volunteers sprang into action rescuing her from the water, transporting her safely ashore and bringing her by ambulance to the nearest hospital for treatment.

The organization is now preparing for the departure of another team to “Camp Arapal” on Cebu Island where they are assisting in the creation of a local volunteer emergency response group. Such a group will ensure that the area is more prepared and resilient to future disasters. DTL is building a communications network from scratch in the remote village and is also providing medical training and supplies with the aim to have certified Emergency Medical Technicians available in the long run. The area currently has no local medical services.

Evert Bopp, who founded the organization with his wife Kate, says the following: “our organization is small and agile. We act much faster than the large, top-heavy NGO’s and can anticipate and act on the local needs faster than most organisations. We’ve proven this during 30+ projects in Haiti and 3 deployments in the USA. We are cash-lean but resource rich and 99% of all donations we receive are truly spent on the ground delivering aid. Nobody, and I really mean nobody in our organization receives a wage”.

Disaster Tech Lab is currently raising funds for their upcoming deployment. You can find out more about them via their Facebook page:

For more detail please contact Evert Bopp on 086/8645099 or email  [email protected]











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