Disaster response Philippines

Typhoon Mangkhut

Published on Sep 25, 2018 02:54 PM  -  Updated on Jun 25, 2020 12:13 PM
TSF provides rescue organisations on the ground satellite connections following the Typhoon Mangkhut that caused deadly landslides.

Context: Typhoon
Start date: 14/09/2018
End date: 19/10/2018
Areas of intervention:

  • Luzon Island
  • Batan Island


  • Support to coordination
  • Connectivity for population

4 Internet centres
20 organisations supported
1,300 beneficiaries


On September 15, the north of the Philippines archipelago was hit by the most powerful typhoon of the year 2018. Classified in category 5, Mangkhut (known locally as Ompong) swept through Luzon Island from east to west, then headed for China, leaving trail of devastation in this particularly poor area.

In the wake of the typhoon, the cyclone conditions remained intense. Torrential rains accompanied by gusts of wind caused floods, landslides, power lines torn off and roads cut. The National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management (NDRRMC) estimated that at least 5.2 million people were affected by the typhoon. Tens of thousands of Filipinos had been urgently evacuated.


Since the announcement of the super typhoon, Telecom Sans Frontières pre-positioned in Manila, the capital, a team from its base in Asia to prepare the coordination. A team from the headquarters arrived on September 16, with additional material.

After the passage of Mangkhut, TSF worked with the national authorities and operators to evaluate the affected areas. Three regions have been identified for the installation of satellite connections.

On September 17, TSF teams deployed on two of the sites: Itogon Municipality in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) northwest of Luzon, and Batan Island in the Cagayan region.

In the meantime, TSF transferred a VSAT to the municipality of Vintar and then remotely supervised its installation and fonctioning.

Support to national coordination

In the municipality of Itogon, heavy rains triggered numerous landslides in this mountainous area with very high mining activity. In the village of Ucab, about 60 miners and their families were buried under a mudslide following the collapse of a mountainside.

To enable hundreds of rescuers and volunteers to increase the efficiency of their research, TSF installed a VSAT connection providing free Wi-Fi access in the Rescue Centre located near the accident area.

A second connection was set up in the village of Tuding, a few kilometres away, in a school and gymnasium transformed into a Coordination Centre and shelter. The different national and local authorities, NDRRMC, DSWD, LGU etc., benefit from the TSF connection to coordinate their operations and send their reports.

A second team went to Batan Island to ensure free satellite connectivity following the complete shutdown of the network. A Global Xpress has been installed at the Basco Town Hall allowing the mayor, the governor and local employees to use the Internet and thus to communicate with the national authorities.

Connectivity for the population

The Rescue Centre in Ucab also hosted victims' families, therefore TSF connection allowed them to contact their relatives to inform about the situation and possibly to ask for help.

Likewise in the neighboring village of Tuding, the school and gymnasium also served as a shelter for more than 250 families who lost their homes, where they benefited from the services provided by local organizations: food distribution and medical follow-up. They were also able to connect for free with their relatives to update them.

In the town of Basco on the island of Batan, the 8,500 inhabitants found themselves totally isolated and cut off from the world. They were able to benefit from the free Wi-Fi covering an area of nearly 3,000m² around the town hall.

In the municipality of Vintar, in the far north of Luzon, TSF provides a connection for the installation of an Instant Network that allows local population to use the mobile network with their phones.

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