FrontlineSMS in the Philippines and the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) response

UPDATED 22 Nov: Here's a new (draft) case study of ActionAid Kenya's work using FrontlineSMS in the 2012 famine response. Factsheet below updated. UPDATED 19 Nov:Here's a new factsheet produced at the request of UN-OCHA on FrontlineSMS, FrontlineCloud and how they can be used in the Typhoon Haiyan response. Let us know any questions in the comments below, at or on Twitter.

In the aftermath of devastating Typhoon Haiyan, we're working with networks of aid agencies to support the international response any way we can - but we know that the first and most important responders are already in the Philippines.

An expectant mother checks her phone. Molave Development sent 11,000 SMS with safe motherhood information. Credit: Molave Development

An expectant mother checks her phone. Molave Development sent 11,000 SMS with safe motherhood information. Credit: Molave Development

Filipino FrontlineSMS users will have been affected and are, we're sure, already working to help their communities to respond to and recover from the effects of the strongest recorded storm ever to make landfall. We want to help, however we can.

  • If you're a FrontlineSMS user in the Philippines working to respond to or cover the Typhoon response, please let us know who you are in this thread - we'll give you priority user support and try to link you with international agencies who may be able to help - or who may need your expertise.
  • If you need information on the status of the mobile networks, let us know and we'll get you the information or put you in touch with the right person. Keep an eye on the GSMA's disaster response page, too.

What we need:

  • Let us know if you're available to translate FrontlineSMS into Tagalog.

Connection options in the Philippines

At the moment, the best way to connect FrontlineSMS to the mobile network in the Philippines is using a phone or modem. Please check out our regular resources for help with this. We will be releasing a new version of FrontlineSMS as soon as possible (early next year latest) that supports sending and receiving messages using SMSSync on an Android phone.

For FrontlineCloudSMSSync is still the best way to get messages to the Philippines. We're working on web connections and will post updates here.

FrontlineSMS users in the Philippines

The Philippines is home to the third-largest group of FrontlineSMS users in the world, according to the data from this year's annual survey. Some of you have told us who you are:

  • Way back in 2007, the National Elections were monitored using FrontlineSMS, and the following year, the platform was used to lobby lawmakers about open source software legislation
  • Rommel Sotto of the Philippines Red Cross got in touch on our user forum just a few months ago
  • Molave Development have been supporting expectant mothers in Roxas, on Mindoro, with information about safe motherhood since 2010
  • The United Methodist church has been running workshops for their community to train people on FrontlineSMS and help them work out great ways to use it
  • The incomparable Lynman Bacolor was using it in 2010 to improve patient attendance at his clinic - here's a video!
  • Our users are already working to support improved information getting to communities hit by the storm - and we know that many journalists have themselves been killed, injured or otherwise affected. Please support them here.
  • Amos Doornbos has posted to his blog about his experiences deploying the WorldVision Speed Evidence platform, including FrontlineSMS line, for the Haiyan response.
  • We know there are others we're not aware of - if you'd like to be listed here please let us know in the thread or by emailing

Let us know your other needs, news and updates. We'll try to keep this post and the forum thread that goes along with it updated.

Our thoughts are with all those affected and responding.