Philippines Network of Environmental Journalists Covers Response to Typhoon Haiyan

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Internews, Guiuan, Philippines

Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) joined with the Philippines Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ) to carry out a successful crowdfunding campaign in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. PNEJ will be use funds to send a delegation of journalists from other regions to Tacloban City to learn from first responders, provide funding for ongoing story production, and finance improvements to PNEJ’s SMS platform that allows journalists to spread news and information via text messages.

The Philippines is an island nation of more than 100 million people living at the doorstep of climate change. Each year, Filipinos face recurring natural disasters: enduring typhoons, severe drought, floods, and coastal erosion. When super typhoon Haiyan hit the shore of the Philippines in November and caught the attention of the world, it was the country’s 25th typhoon of the year.

It was with the country’s extreme vulnerability in mind that the Philippines Network of Environmental Journalists applied for an EJN grant in late 2012 in an effort to address the myriad problems that often arise when reporting a disaster.

Over the past year, PNEJ has developed and launched EnviroNews.ph to deliver a steady stream of information about environmental issues in the Philippines from its network of over 200 journalists. The website integrates elements of SMS reporting – using text messages on mobile phones – to maintain communications with journalists spread throughout the country, as well as in the event of the natural disaster, when Internet connectivity is threatened. Details about how the system was built and operates are available in a tutorial written by PNEJ President Imelda Abano in the GeoJournalism Handbook.  

But when Haiyan hit the Philippines at record-breaking speed, cities were shattered and lives were lost. Among the toll were four PNEJ journalists who worked for a local radio station in Tacloban City, where the eye of the storm was concentrated. In response, Internews re-launched a crowdfunding campaign to begin rebuilding critical communications infrastructure and assist PNEJ in covering the recovery and rebuilding effort in the long-term. The campaign raised $6,000 for PNEJ, which, along with EJN, extends sincere gratitude to all those who supported these efforts.

The team of PNEJ journalists just recently returned from Tacloban - read Imelda Abano's reflections on the trip.

Learn about Internews’ additional emergency information work in the Philippines