philippinesThe death toll from the storm ‘Typhoon Haiyan that hit the Philippines last Friday has risen above 3500. The storm swept away the port-city of Tacloban. Victims were drowned, hit by debris or trapped under rubble. The number is expected to rise as news trickles in from remote settlements. The devastation is widespread across six Philippine islands. It is reported that approximately 11 million people been affected, many displaced or left homeless.

At this hour of great distress and pain, the Asia Pacific Regional Board of AMARC offers deepest condolences to those that have list their loved ones and sympathies for those that have survived but are under great pain and distress. On behalf of community broadcasters in the Asia Pacific region and beyond, AMARC expresses solidarity and strength to all.

In order to help facilitate the ongoing relief activities through its regional and international network of community radios, AMARC Asia Pacific and its members have begun to work with Philippines based members for setting up emergency radios for relief and rehabilitation.

Although International and Philippines based aid agency are working on aiding survivors, many survivors have not been covered by aids, especially those living outside urban areas near the Tacloban city, one of the most devastated areas by the storm. These are areas that are difficult to reach and receive limited coverage from the mainstream media.

Under these circumstances, AMARC Asia Pacific is helping coordinate efforts for providing access to communication and information so that survivors can better access food, shelter and  other basic needs. AMARC and its members in the Asia Pacific region, especially those from Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines are developing plans for setting up several emergency radio stations in strategic locations within the affected areas, especially those that have not been covered by mainstream media. Plans include providing simple training to volunteers to operate and manage emergency radio stations as well as develop content for radio program.