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When a volcano erupts, what’s needed to ensure an effective response? Information gathering and dissemination; coordination with local governments; aid; and volunteer organizations are all essential. But without the appropriate technology, this emergency work is impossible.

One of the most immediate needs, according to first responders, is a dependable communications system. This helps government officials understand the scale of the issue and make informed decisions on what actions to take.

Four months after Mount Mayon volcano began erupting, Devex visited the Bicol region in the Philippines to report on the state of relief and evacuation efforts.

Satellite communications power response to Mayon Volcano

In response to the recent activity of Mount Mayon volcano, the Philippine government and its development partners have relied on satellite communications to help evacuate more than 60,000 people and deliver crucial aid and relief. Devex takes a deeper look into the disaster response efforts.

The Philippines' Department of Social Welfare and Development is working with commercial satellite provider Inmarsat to adopt and institutionalize a satellite communications system to improve these interventions and coordination, as part of a long-term effort — the International Partnership Programme — financed by the UK Space Agency.

“We really had to rely on technologies that will facilitate our intervention programs for the poor and for the disaster-prone communities,” said Arnel B. Garcia, regional director at DSWD. For more on how this took place on the ground, take a look at the video above.

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