March 2014 Arapal Camp: communication, medical care & resilience.

On March 3rd a two-man team flew from Ireland via Manila to Cebu in the Philippines for a short 1 week deployment in Arapal Camp. Their mission was to assess the ongoing communications project and plan the implementation of further stages of this plan as well as carrying out a medical assessment in order to plan the forthcoming medical training program.

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Arapal Camp is located in a rural area South-West of Bogo city on the Northern end of the island of Cebu. The camp serves as a center for the wider community coordinating rebuilding efforts for damaged houses, providing food and other assistance but more importantly running lively-hood training programs teaching people currently living in poverty how to become self-supporting through organic farming programs, lively-hood training and more. Disaster Tech Lab is contributing to this by making the camp more resilient in the areas of communications and medical services.

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We already have delivered one of the largest satellite dishes that we have ever worked with (2.4 meters in diameter) to the camp and installed it. It’s a C-band dish & satellite router supplied by Businesscom. In addition to this we’ve installed an Aruba Networks 3200 mobility controller and 2 Aruba AP-135’s in the main building of the camp. The next step is to install an outdoor AP (possibly an Aruba AP175) on this building and Aruba Networks RAP-155’s in buildings on the two hilltops surrounding the camp. The latter will be backhauled through Globe’s 3G service. Test carried out showed that this 3G network could provide download speeds in excess of 5Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps+. Not blazingly fast but more than sufficient for what is needed. Due to the availability, low-cost and faster speed the 3G network will be used for day-to-day access while the satellite backhaul will be reserved for mission critical and resilient communications.

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The second part of our resilience program is targeted at training a local cadre of volunteers in First Aid and emergency medicine skills. Working with experience EMT instructors we will provide the required training, medicines and supplies to provide Camp Arapal with a first line medical capacity able to provide primary & pre-hospital care to local residents. The current situation is that if someone has an injury that is not life threatening they will forego medical care until the injury either heals or until a complication occurs that requires hospitalization. First line medical care is generally not available or too expensive. Through our resilience program we hope to bring change to that. In addition to the training our medical team runs daily clinics providing primary medical care for people in the wider area.

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