Getting Connected in the Philippines: The Key to Rapid Response

In order to help deliver lifesaving aid for children, Steve used a solar-powered communications backpack that allowed him to stay connected with other key responders and coordinate relief efforts despite massive power outages.
In order to help deliver lifesaving aid for children, Steve used a solar-powered communications backpack that allowed him to stay connected with other key responders and coordinate relief efforts despite massive power outages.

When it comes to aid workers responding to mass disasters like Typhoon Haiyan, there isn’t much glamour about being the logistics guy. But when you need to get stuff done, he makes it happen.

Seasoned aid worker Steve Wells manages an important role in Save the Children’s rapid response team, which arrived in one of the worst affected areas in the Philippines, the island of Panay.

Steve set up vehicles for a trip to the northeast coastline, organize a makeshift office with WiFi in a town with no power, and arrange for plane after plane of aid to come to the island. He planned every intricate detail of the much needed response by booking trucks and recruiting staff to give out emergency kits to victims of the storm.

But as important as cellular and Internet signals are, Steve says making personal relationships with locals is key.

“It’s about making connections with the people who can help you out,” Steve says of coordinating aid in such a disaster. “They are incredible assets when you aren’t familiar with a particular place.”

“We want to source as much of our materials and products locally to support their economy, while making sure not to create false hope.”

Steve works late into the night at the humanitarian coordination center he helped set up, brainstorming with other organizations to find more resources.

More often than not, however, they are looking to him for guidance.

Steve’s been in the ‘logs’ business for almost a decade, with trips all over the world to account for his experience.

“Sourcing and distributing emergency kits in a disaster like this one is a complicated process and there are a lot of people involved,” he said. “It’s all about making sure we provide the aid as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible to meet the needs of thousands of vulnerable families.”

With caring people like you to support Save the Children’s response efforts, we can continue to send people like Steve into the field to better the lives of those affected by disaster. Please give generously to our Typhoon Haiyan Children’s Relief Fund.