Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines solar lamps waiting to be delivered to typhoon-struck areas in the central islands of the Philippines, where electricity has been down since Friday. (Facebook/Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines)
As relief efforts ramp up in the wake of the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the central islands of the Philippines, aid workers struggle with the the blocked roads, downed power and communications. In the coastal city of Tacloban, Leyte, where no building appears to have escaped damage from the typhoon, Filipino officials enforce curfew as they attempt to restore order on the city, which has had no electricity since Friday.
Neighborhoods are in total darkness at night, with the exception of some areas with generator-produced light, according to USA Today. The darkness poses challenges for relief workers and survivors, as they seek out clean water, food, and medical care.
To light up the devastated areas, several organizations are helping send solar lamps and mobile chargers to the Philippines. Solar Energy Foundation Philippines is mobilizing a joint relief effort with on-the-ground rescue in the areas hit hardest by the typhoon, including Tacloban, Ormoc, Iloilo, Roxas City, and Busuanga. The organization is deploying one solar lantern with mobile charger to partners such as Red Cross and TaosPuso Foundation for every $50 donation made.
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"These are essential tools to bring people to safety, access critical information and navigate disaster," the foundation said on its website. "As the sun sets and night falls, darkness becomes an isolating threat. We want to ensure no one is left in the dark."
The Chicago-based non-profit organization Watts of Love has also launched an emergency disaster relief campaign to deliver 10,000 solar LED lanterns to the Philippines. A donation of $40 will cover the cost of one disaster relief light and power kit with a built-in cell phone charger and radio charger, according to the organization.
What these lights offer is immediate impact of saving money so they don’t have to purchase kerosene," Watts of Love founder Nancy Economou told CBS Chicago. "It also has a USB chord where they can charge cellphones ... They can also power radios for an emergency communication.”
Economou believes the solar lights, which can last up to 3-4 years, can help doctors and rescue workers in the devastated islands.
MORE: Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) Leaves Stunning Damage
Tacloban City on February 23, 2012. (DigitalGlobe)