International Radio Emergency Support Coalition Active During Gustav Emergency
The following is a News Release dated August 28, 2008:
In response to a request for assistance from the VoIP Hurricane Net, IRESC has been placed on activation. IRESC is uniquely placed to gather current information on the effects of hurricanes in several ways. The focus of activity is the IRESC EchoLink conference.
As the unpredictable Gustav sways between Tropical Storm and Hurricane strength, IRESC has maintained EchoLink contact with its members that are positioned throughout "Hurricane Alley" and nearby countries. Also, IRESC has a large and active Spanish section that have been monitoring and translating radio and television broadcasts, as well as official government documentation, generated by the countries of concern. IRESC members in the region have been contacting radio amateurs in the countries affected by Gustav before, during and after the storm. All of the information collected has been placed on the IRESC Information Database and passed to the VoIP Hurricane Net for onward routing to the National Hurricane Center.
As Gustav roared passed Haiti, resulting in 22 deaths, IRESC made contact with Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, and David Farquharson, HH2QCS, who provided instantaneous reports on the situation which proved important to all interested parties. HH2QCS was particularly well placed to report -- his QTH is 4000 feet about sea level in the mountains to the south of Port au Prince.
The IRESC Spanish team provided translations of bulletins generated by Professor Arnaldo Coro Antich, CO2KK, Emergency Coordinator IARU Region II Area C and member of the Federacion de Radioaficionados de Cuba.
Despite poor HF conditions, IRESC Liaison Officer for Trinidad & Tobago, Julien Dedier, 9Z4FZ, was able to make contact with amateurs in Jamaica and filed a direct report on the hurricane preparations there.
Concern at the growing strength of Gustav now centers on the Cayman Islands. IRESC has been monitoring and transcribing radio broadcasts from several of the islands' stations as they suspend normal programming and move to emergency announcements, including the imposition of a curfew by the Royal Cayman Island Police Service. Efforts continue to try to raise radio amateurs on the islands in order to gather direct reports.