Komunidad Helps Build Resilience as Siargao Recovers from Typhoon Odette

The Municipality of Siargao was fast becoming a tourist favorite, especially among surfers, until super typhoon Odette ravaged its community. The island town was left with fallen trees and damaged structures in December 2021.

As the town rebuilds from the storm’s ravages 15 months later, Komunidad is now helping provide Siargao’s local government and residents with the knowledge and tools—all science-based—to minimize impacts of stronger storms like Odette.

Komunidad chose Siargao as its beneficiary to help in rehabilitation and resilience-building efforts in the community, Impact Director Kaye Sangalang said. She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic also compounded the devastation wrought by super typhoon Odette, which affected more than 173,000 in the island province and damaged P20 billion worth of properties — making it doubly difficult for the community to rebuild.

Last March 21, Komunidad launched its Climate-Resilient Siargao Project with nine municipalities of the town island as its beneficiaries. These are the municipalities of Burgos, Dapa, Del Carmen, General Luna, Pilar, San Benito, San Isidro, Santa Monica and Socorro.

Under this 18-month project, Komunidad will set up web, mobile and automated alerting tools to provide the LGU and Siargao residents with realtime & forecast weather analysis.

Through this project, Komunidad hopes to empower communities in Siargao to make data-driven decisions for disaster preparedness and risk mitigation with the help of localized and automated multi-hazard and impact-based monitoring and early warning systems.

“Municipal leaders, risk officers, responders, and communities in Siargao will have access to timely, automated and localized weather and climate information and risk analysis using various platforms such as web app, mobile app, public dashboard, automated email reports, and SMS alerts. These decision-support tools will be complemented with onboarding, capability-building, and IEC activities to aid in user adoption,” Sangalang said.

The launch also initiated a series of training and workshops, including a Climate and Weather 101 session with key stakeholders from the Municipality of Del Carmen.

Mainstreaming #EarlyWarningsForAll

The project is made in partnership with the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Swedish International Cooperation Agency.

Meanwhile, Philippine telecommunications giant Globe will lend its reliable internet connection to power Komunidad’s Mobile Network Operator by providing Home Prepaid Wifi devices.Globe also vows to look into other potential integration points with Komunidad Global’s platform.

Globe Group’s chief sustainability and corporate communications officer Yoly Crisanto said their company “recognizes the role of technology in strengthening climate resilience, and we are committed to supporting initiatives that promote sustainable development in the communities we serve.”

“This partnership is one way we can use our technology to help local government units in Siargao prepare for and mitigate the impact of disasters,” Crisanto added.

Beyond helping Siargao regain its footing in the next 18 months, Sangalang said they wish to see mainstream digitization and data-driven approaches in Siargao’s DRR and CCA and integrate Komunidad’s MHEWS into the local government’s disaster preparedness and risk mitigation protocols for project adoption and sustainability.

She explained that this move will help optimize and synergize disaster risk reduction efforts of local governments and even expand their services to enhance the communities’ climate and weather knowledge so they can make informed decisions for safety, asset protection, productivity and livelihood.

 “With Komunidad’s technology and the communities’ local knowledge and experience, we can make the early warnings for all a reality in Siargao,”  Sangalang added.