“Every new study reveals that global warming is happening far more quickly than was previously anticipated. Staid scientists are now suggesting the real possibility of billions of human beings being killed off by what some are calling a Climate Holocaust. A recently released study suggests an increase in temperatures of 16 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.”
– Derrick Jensen
British destroyer arrived and sent a helicopter to probe on islands that have not yet been reached ten days after the storm. They found pockets of islets totally devastated and still unreached. From the helicopter were seen messages such as “help” and “food”.
Yolanda is one of the most destructive typhoon visited the Philippine archipelago. It pummeled Visayas region particularly Leyte and some parts of Cebu and Panay areas. Super typhoon Yolanda left the archipelago with thousands of dead people, commercial and residential structures are destroyed, power is knocked-out; agriculture and livelihood are washed-out which caused billions of losses. Destruction is so extensive that brought unimaginable effect to the survivors.
Reports in relation to looting and violence in Tacloban city and other municipalities are effects of dirty politics, neglect and corruption. The inability of the government to provide swift, systematic and effective respond made people behaved violently; shortage of food is not an issue. The global attention is on the Philippines for the past few weeks; donations and support in terms of cash, in kinds and in services are overwhelming. Ships fully loaded of goods are lined-up in ports of Cebu and Manila; billions of funds are pouring in; despite of these, families and communities are scrambling to get food.
This calamity is one of the most devastating witnessed by global community, the spirit of solidarity is heartwarming but the government’s corrupt practices undermined these initiatives; almost two weeks after the storm, the number of deaths is still unknown, still climbing. The number of homeless has been estimated at 2 million, then 4 million, and still climbing. Information creeps, even as international support comes in.
Prices of basic commodities increased almost double; lack of power supply is a lucrative business that exploits the victims. Local business offered high rate of charging services to the people for their emergency lights and mobile phones.
In this context, we in Mobile Anarchist School and Onsite Infoshop decided to act; as always, we act autonomously; providing support such as this is expensive so we sought support from Local Autonomous Network (LAN), independent collectives and groups and international network.
Power is crucial in terms of rehabilitation and recovery process, so we focus our effort in consolidating resources to complete a 150 watts solar set-up to provide free charging services to community to power up emergency lights, flashlights and mobile phones. After a week of soliciting support, we procured 160 watts solar panel, 10 ampere solar control charger, 500 watts inverter and 12 volts/50 ampere starter
Inter-Island travelling [20 November]
Bus ride is the most practical and cheapest way to reach Leyte. At nine AM, we left Cubao, Quezon City and negotiated the road connecting Manila, Laguna and, Quezon; we took ferry to cross the sea between Sorsogon and Samar. In more than 30 hours we reached San Miguel Leyte.
As we travel, we witnessed the extensive damage in many municipalities in Leyte; sight of devastation starts right after we crossed San Juanico a bridge connecting Samar and Leyte. The situation in Tacloban is relatively peaceful, the people are trying to collect and salvage remaining useful materials to rebuild their homes at the back draft of heavily devastated city. We could not find any regular trip so we rented an expensive jeep going to Municipality of San Miguel. We reached Barangay Libtong, San Miguel on the 21st of November at four in the afternoon.
Solar Charging Operations
Our actual operation started on the 22nd of November, we charged at least 40 units of flashlights and mobile phones and we reserve more units to be charged on the following day. We conducted informal discussions with the families and let them talk and share their miseries, grief and difficulties. Unfortunately, our plan to give a free call and free internet access for communication purposes did not materialize due to lack of signals.
Sunlight was poor due to low pressure area that brought rain; we decided to temporarily cease operation to re-charge our battery. We arranged interviews and discussions with localities and barangay officials to gather data. More phones and flashlights come in for charging but we stopped accepting and asked people to come back because we can accommodate only very limited units. We thought to stop accepting mobile phones since there is no network but we observed people also use their mobile phones as flashlights.
We resume the operations; more people showed-up and waited to be served. Good thing that sun shone the entire day and we able to charged at least 30 units. We reduced number of units to avoid under voltage status. We observed the process of relief distribution of barangay officials and Philippines air force.
We keep accepting phones and flashlights but we able to charge limited units. The capacity of our solar set-up could only accommodate 30 units per day to avoid draining our battery.
We conducted an orientation to local volunteers who will maintain our solar equipment. Before the team left, we made sure that volunteers are familiar with the simple process of operation and maintenance to continue providing free charging services without us.
We are set to travel going to Ormoc City; from Ormoc we took ferry going to Cebu where we will catch a plane going to Manila. We need to be in Quezon City in time because we have a climate conference with Evangelical network.
The incompetence and corruption in the government proved to be more devastating than the super typhoon itself; based on what we see, we suggest that people, collectives, private sectors and autonomous network that are interested to provide support, please send your support directly. Or coordinate to the groups who are working on the ground.
Avoid government process because goods and supplies will just end up in storage facilities accessible only to authorities. Thousands of sacks of rice and goods are being kept by the authorities and distributing only very limited supplies to the families.
In our part, we would like to expand our set-up of solar power unit. We are planning to complete 300 watts solar panel, 30 ampere solar control charger, 500 inverter and two units of 3SM maintenance and deep cycle batteries to accommodate more units of mobile phones and flashlights.
We will organize a Solar Guerilla Autonomous Response Team that will immediately react in every
calamity and power collapse situation.
We are going back in the second week of December with upgraded set-up.