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RE-Charge Tacloban: After Typhoon Ruby

With updates from Teddy Arellano and Lottie Salarda in Tacloban City

As a response to the power outtages brought about by Typhoon Ruby, iCSC’s solar-powered RE-Charge facility and electric converted multicabs provided free charging services for communities without power since December 9th.

Prior to this, as Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) raced close to Tacloban City with wind speed forecasts of up to 230 kilometers per hour, the team took down the 39 solar panels from the roof as a precaution. After the worst of the typhoon was over, the team quickly reassembled the solar panels to restore power within the facility and acted to provide power to those without.

December 13th: Some 39 families from both Baranggay 88 and 89 in Tacloban were relocated to Sitio Pretencio, Barangay 89, San Jose, Tacloban City. These were seaside communities that were totally washed away by 2013’s Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). The roads are rough, and muddy due to the rains. ICSC brought its multicab converted from diesel to electric motor to bring power to these households. Oxfam and Green Mindanao provided transitional shelters to this relocation area. Composed of elevated plywood walls and tin sheets on a cemented wood beam support, they are told that this would be their home for the next three years. Most of the houses had survived typhoon Ruby, except for two that had collapsed due to the strong wind, and some minor damages to others.

Electric multicab as a mobile power station

Electric multicab as a mobile power station

Free charging services for solar lamps, rechargeable lights, cell phones and radios were offered by the RE-Charge team through the mobile power station. It had been raining the night before and also during the day; the clouds overcast. Residents had to walk for 2 kilometers to have their devices charged. The community has no lights and no electric connection. They were told the power company will install lights next month. Meanwhile ICSC is making arrangements for further visits to the area to provide recharge services.

Our French volunteer engineer Matheiu with RE-Charge resident electrician Roel

Our French engineer volunteer Matheiu with RE-Charge resident electrician Roel

Residents lining up to have their mobiles and lamps charged

Residents lining up to have their mobiles and lamps charged

December 12th: Using our solar-powered electric jeepneys as mobile charging stations, RE-Charge offered free charging of cellphones and chargeable lamps to the communities living in tent city at Old Road Sagkahan, Tacloban City.

Two electric vehicles equipped as mobile power units went to Old Road Sagkahan, San Fernando Elementary School Evacuation Centerand, and Baranggay 89 to charge cellphones and rechargeable lamps. While power is already available in these areas, those living in Sagkahan and evacuation centers have power only at night and only for the camp lights. In Baranggay 89, other survivors cannot afford to pay the Php 10 fee to charge lamps and cellphones.

Ejeepney as a mobile power station for charging cellphones and lamps

Ejeepney as a mobile power station for charging cellphones and lamps

The team will also go to a new relocation site near Barangay 89 that purpotedly is without power yet, as suggested by our contacts in Barangay 89. Meanwhile, damaged solar and rechargeable lamps from the barangay are being repaired in the RE-Charge facility.

Tent community in Barangay 89

Tent community in Barangay 89

Power throughout the city is intermittent. The low pressure area near Mindanao is causing rains here. The LPA has no indication of becoming a storm.

December 11th: For three days now people in the community come to the RE-Charge facility and charge their cellphones and rechargeable lamps. The service is free, but we have a small donation box asking to people to give what they can so we can bring power to other communities.

People from both nearby communities and far-flung towns came to have their devices charged

People from both nearby communities and far-flung towns came to have their devices charged

RE-Charge team and volunteers on repair duty and setting up the mobile power station

RE-Charge team on repair duty and setting up the mobile power station

December 9th-10th: Two days after Typhoon Ruby affected the residents of Tacloban City, ICSC has reinstalled the 39 solar panels at the solar charging facility located at Burgos Street, Tacloban City, to provide one hour free charging for cellphones and chargeable lamps of the people living nearby. ICSC called for residents who need power for communication and for small medical equipment like nebulizers to visit the RE-Charge solar charging facility.

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Reinstalling the solar panels

People from both nearby communities and far-flung towns came to have their devices charged

People from both nearby communities and far-flung towns came to have their devices charged

Photos by Teddy Arellano and Lottie Salarda

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