Disaster response Philippines

Bohol Earthquake

Published on Oct 17, 2013 02:00 AM  -  Updated on Jul 09, 2019 12:43 PM
The October 15 earthquake on the island of Bohol affected nearly 400,000 people. TSF provided means of communication to local authorities to enable them to better organise their response. Humanitarian calling operations were also carried out to enable the inhabitants of the most affected cities to contact their families.

Context: Earthquake
Start date: 17/10/2013
End date: 24/10/2013
Areas of intervention: Bohol Island

  • Support to coordination
  • Humanitarian calling operations

3 Internet centres
5 organisations supported
896 MB of data transferred
3 communities


On 15th October 2013, more than 3 million people in the Philippines were affected by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2. On Bohol Island, the tremor destroyed most of the road infrastructure and triggered landslides that swallowed up almost 50% of the homes. According to official figures from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly 400,000 people were affected by the disaster and over 200 people lost their lives.

Although urban areas were still electrically powered, most isolated rural communities were without power and therefore had no functioning telecommunications infrastructure.


As soon as Télécoms Sans Frontières received the alert, its Bangkok-based team deployed to Bohol to intervene in the most remote areas. TSF supported not only the thousands of affected people, but also the many relief teams and NGOs in the field.

Support to coordination

As part of its mission, TSF worked in collaboration with Plan International Philippines, OCHA and the local operator, SMART. Upon arrival in the city of Loon, one of the most affected areas, TSF made it a priority to reconnect the City Hall.

After an assessment of the telecom situation, TSF set up an internet centre and a Wi-Fi bridge to help the social welfare department, the government and the police coordinate their actions so that they can provide assistance to civilians in need.

Telecommunication centres were also set up in the cities of Maribojoc and Sagbayan for the benefit of local authorities and the Department of Health.

Humanitarian calling operations

The earthquake hit three cities in particular: Loon, Maribojoc and Sagbayan, cutting them off from the rest of the country.

TSF moved to different areas on the island offering the opportunity for people to make calls to their families in the Philippines and abroad, and to receive the necessary psychological support after such a disaster.

With the support of