I was reading somewhere about how they now no longer need to know morse code for Ham operators. I also read about how modern disasters now are much less dependent on the Ham operation networks because of the internet and the presence of local bloggers who can report.

Ah, the bad news is that the reality is that this might not be perfect.

For example, when 9-11 occured, we were running Diabetic clinic and forbidden to leave on our radios. So in between patients, I checked my computer, only to find all the usual sites were down, due to overusage. Finally, at 11 am (10 am EST: I lived in the midwest USA then) I got on the BBC to find about the collapse of the towers.

Here in the rural Philippines we have had cable tv and telephones in town since the early 1990’s but the real revolution for ordinary people has been the cellphone with texting. Even our maids and drivers have access to them, and you can buy 100 peso worth of text time and leave a lot of text messages for that amount.

Yet the big internet story this year (2007) has been the earthquake off of Taiwan that destroyed several overseas cables carrying the internet traffic from Asia. This also affected some phone lines, but mainly it meant no email. Yahoo was down for two weeks. Hotmail off and on. And google, well it worked. But all overseas was slow, and only the big business internet center in the Mall was working (perhaps due to satellite linkage).

We still have no internet at home.

Now, for most local emergencies the internet will be up, but as the earthquake shows, it has vulnerabilities.

Yet except for some blurbs on Bloomburg TV news, there has been no coverage of the incident.


Nancy Reyes lives in the rural Philippines. Her webpage , when the internet is working, is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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