Just last week, Philippines was hit by typhoon Glenda. And while weaker, typhoon Henry is still in Philippine Area of Responsibility. As of this writing, people from Manila are just waiting for typhoon Glenda to hit the area.
Fearing the repeat of the destruction caused by typhoon Yolanda last year, Filipinos (and even the government, fortunately) are taking the necessary precautions to prevent the same level of destruction.
For us, being prepared is the key. And your smartphone may provide very helpful. Aside from the normal features of communication through SMS and calling, smartphone nowadays have a handful of apps that provide timely and crucial information.
Here are some apps that you can download to help you prepare and to keep you informed:
Twitter is a FREE microblogging social media site that allows you to post in 140 characters or less. One of the useful features of Twitter during calamities is the hashtag, which index tweets that use them. For the Filipinos, there are now standard hashtags that can be used during calamities. Some of which include #RescuePH (for people in need of rescue), #SafeNow (for people rescued), #ReliefPH (to get info on relief opetations), #WalangPasok (for class and work suspensions). Twitter is free on iOS and Android.
MMDA released this app a couple of years ago to provide real-time traffic updates in major Metro Manila roads — EDSA, C5, Roxas Boulevard, Commonwealth Ave., etc. The app also includes news alerts for road closure or accidents.
IMReady is the one-stop-shop app developed by GMA News and Public Affairs. It aggregates weather updates, traffic situation, power outages, flight cancellations, rainfall advisory, and even geohazard information in one app. This is a nifty app to have in your phone just in case you want to save battery and just open one app.
In any case, it is handy to have a local news app on your phone. Some of the available apps are GMA News, Rappler and ABS-CBN News. Use these apps to get timely news and updates. During power outages, your phones can be your only source of news and information.
Stuck at work and don’t have a car? Getting a cab during a typhoon can be so much stress. And while the chances of booking a taxi lessens during a typhoon, using GrabTaxi to book a cab somehow ensures that your travel will be safer. And you can even book a cab while inside the office and save yourself from drenched clothes. There’s a PhP70 booking fee on top of your meter fare. Not a bad deal if you really want to go home.
While the MMDA app is reliable most of the time, there’s no better source of traffic info than the people who are actually on the road. Waze is a maps app that also provides traffic situation based on the people who downloaded the app and are currently on the road. They can provide tips on which roads to avoid and where accidents may be happening. Waze can also provide hands-free navigation in case you are on the wheel.
DOST Project NOAH provides rainfall updates based on location and even provides the latest weather bulletin from PAG-ASA. This app takes quite a long time to load but still useful when you want to know which areas are heavily affected by the typhoon.
It pays to be prepared. Stay safe and dry, everyone!