This is me, thinking aloud about ways to help in the Philippines (and to build a base for future reactions to disasters). Note that SCInet already has reacted in partnership with other groups, so I'm probably reinventing the wheel here (see my thoughts about Haiti, which I need to get back to work on). But I'm thinking anyway.

What I'm thinking about primarily is two responses:

  • Instruction: sending booklets and transmitting PDFs for local printout/distrubtion that teaches people how to build their own integrated cooking/water purification out of scrounged materials
  • Materials: CooKits, WAPIs, and instruction bundled into kits, ready to use.

Primary Issues

  • What to send - what's the best thing to send?
  • Production - do we have enough stuff? Is it bundled in a logical manner?
  • Transportation - how do we get it there? Are there NGOs responding to this who would be interested, and what do we need to do to sell the idea of delivering supplies (i.e., the water purification angle)
  • Education - how do we teach people how to use it?
  • What's already there - are there already solar cooking promoters in the Philippines who are working on exactly this, and if so, how can we help them? What do they think is the best response to this situation?
  • Funding - how do we pay for it, not only in terms of money, but in terms of man-hours needed to execute the project?

All of these questions feed into one another. Finding out the truth on the ground is pretty important. There's no use in generating, say, a ton of self-starter kits if there is no way on the ground to get them to the people who need them, or if there are other educational or cultural barriers to people actually using them once they're there.

First Thoughts about Actual Physical Stuff

Instruction Cards

With regard to the ready-to-use kits: these would consist of a CooKit, a WAPI, and a set of cards that would provide quick set-it-up-yourself instruction in various regional languages.

If we can fit instructions on one side of an oversized postcard (half of a US Legal sheet), we can support four languages using two cards. Alternately, a full-sized sheet of paper bi-folded into a folio could support four languages for one set of instructions. I would be happiest with a kit that would contain:

  • A CooKit
  • A WAPI
  • Instructions for building a 16-brick Rocket Stove
  • Instructions for building a heat-retention basket

It might also be good to produce instructions for building a WAPI, and perhaps some other built-it-yourself cooker plans for making cookers out of scrounged materials.

Vistaprint, oversized postcards (half a U.S. legal sheet):

Full Bleed Size

8.64" x 5.59" 219 x 142 mm 2592 x 1677 pixels

Document Trim Size

8.52" x 5.47" 216 x 139 mm 2556 x 1642 pixels


Cost: $100 for 500 ($0.20 each). Greyscale printing on the back is offered for free, so we could do one language on the front, and another on the back. They are unlaminated. Given that the basic CooKit is also unlaminated, I'm not terribly worried about the cards getting wet. They could be stored in a spare large oven bag (along with the CooKit, maybe).


Wikipedia says: Filipino (which may or may not be something more or less the same as, or a prestigious version of, Tagalog) and English are the Philippines' two official languages. (Here:

Hardest hit areas: "Haiyan raced across the eastern and central Philippines, inflicting serious damage to at least six of the archipelago's more than 7,000 islands, with Leyte, neighboring Samar Island, and the northern part of Cebu appearing to take the hardest hit." (here:

Back to Wikipedia: Leyte and Samar are part of the Eastern Visayas Province; Cebu is part of Southern Mindanao. Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit cities, is the largest city on Leyte Island. According to Wikipedia's entry on Leyte (here:, the region is served by four languages: Waray-Waray, Cebuano, Filipino, English. Waray-Waray is spoken in the northern part of Leyte, in parts surrounding Tacloban City (here: Cebuano is the primary language of the Central Visayas (and Cebu, hence its name), but is also spoken in Western Leyte (here:


Because I am an Esperanto geek, I am of course going to push forward to having all of these materials in Esperanto as foundational documents. There are Esperantists all over the world. So if we find ourselves involved in a situation that requires our documents be translated into a local language, chances are just as good (or perhaps better, depending on the area) that there will be someone who speaks excellent Esperanto who will be willing to translate for us. I can't prove it, though.

Something Can Be Done

This is my placeholder for links to NGOs and other bits of information that I think will be useful (or who are already responding to the Haiyan disaster).

Solarwiki's page on Philippines:

I've contacted OneEarth and Sun Blaze BBQ via FB to find out if they've already got plans -- most specifically if they have the means to get supplies to the region. I know that international groups like Red Cross have the means (and, in fact, it wouldn't surprise me to know that the U.S. Navy isn't right now delivering relief supplies via helicopter to the affected areas); the question is: if SCInet spearheaded a project to fund the creation of self-starter kits, would they be willing to deliver them?

WAPI kits:

WAPI meta kit: emailed

Now I have to ask myself: where does the U.S. Navy get its relief supplies? In a completely unofficial response from another person on Facebook: "...the Navy is the delivering agent. Just as with all relief supplies fro our Government, they are paid for by the taxpayers. The Navy, just as other services will provide transportation for relief supplies from agencies such as Red Cross." And: "...DLA is usually tasked with tracking those supplies in conjunction with various organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc. (At least that is how it was in the 90's when Hurricane Marilyn went through the Virgin Islands.)"

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