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Sparking off the emergency response

Electricity poles and cables which were damaged by Typhoon Haiyan line a street in Jaro, Leyte provence. Photo: Irish Aid

The power supply to the region was badly affected, with transformers being ripped from pylons and electricity poles.

Noel Griffin, an electrician originally from Limerick, is a member of Irish Aid’s Rapid Response Corps (RRC). Noel has offered his skills and expertise to be at the disposal of the RRC at short notice, so that Ireland can respond swiftly and effectively to crises.

The ability of agencies to communicate is essential to ensuring that needs of the survivors are understood and met in the most efficient way possible.

Noel has been a member of the RRC since 2007 and has been deployed several times to Sudan and Kenya. Most recently Noel has been deployed to Tacloban in The Philippines to work with the World Food Programme (WFP) in their emergency and recovery efforts after Typhoon Haiyan.

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful storms ever recorded and caused catastrophic damage to the areas that it hit. Tacloban was one of the most badly affected areas as it was hit not only by the high winds, but also by a storm surge wave which levelled buildings in the city, roughly the size of Cork.

The power supply to the region was badly affected, with transformers being ripped from pylons and electricity poles. While the underground infrastructure remained largely intact, the damage was pervasive and will take months to recover totally.

Noel Griffin at the Network Operations Centre, Tacloban City.
The NOC is the central Hub supplying internet connectivity for the UN agencies and the INGOs operating in the area and the base for the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster.

Noel deployed with the WFP in the days after the Typhoon to get generators and electricity supply up and running to support telecommunications and IT networks so that agencies could communicate effectively with each other. The ability of agencies to communicate is essential to ensuring that needs of the survivors are understood and met in the most efficient way possible.

Once telecommunications and IT were restored Noel began to bring electricity into the warehouses where food and non food items are stored.

As the electricity supply began to meet the needs of the emergency, the focus shifted to the recovery stages and Noel began planning for the more medium and long term needs. This included planning for the electrification of offices to assist the recovery efforts and to reinstate the major power supplies and street lighting.

While it is expected to take 12-18 months for individual premises to regain their full power supply some power was restored in time for Christmas. 

 

 

Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps

The Rapid Response Corps is made up of skilled and experienced people from a wide range of professions, like electricians, engineers, public information experts and protection officers. Find out more about our Rapid Response Corps