Skip to main content Accessibility help

Disaster Radio for Communication of Vital Messages and Health-Related Information: Experiences From the Haiyan Typhoon, the Philippines

  • Karin Hugelius (a1) (a2), Mervyn Gifford (a1), Per Örtenwall (a3) and Annsofie Adolfsson (a1)



Crisis communication is seen as an integrated and essential part of disaster management measures. After Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines 2013, radio was used to broadcast information to the affected community. The aim of this study was to describe how disaster radio was used to communicate vital messages and health-related information to the public in one affected region after Typhoon Haiyan.


Mixed-methods analysis using qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics was used to analyze 2587 logged radio log files.


Radio was used to give general information and to demonstrate the capability of officials to manage the situation, to encourage, to promote recovery and foster a sense of hope, and to give practical advice and encourage self-activity. The content and focus of the messages changed over time. Encouraging messages were the most frequently broadcast messages. Health-related messages were a minor part of all information broadcast and gaps in the broadcast over time were found.


Disaster radio can serve as a transmitter of vital messages including health-related information and psychological support in disaster areas. The present study indicated the potential for increased use. The perception, impact, and use of disaster radio need to be further evaluated. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:591–597)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Karin Hugelius, School of Health and Medical Science, Örebro University, 70281 Orebro, Sweden (e-mail:


Hide All
1. Sundnes, KN, Birnbaum, ML, eds. Health disaster management: guidelines for evaluation and research in the Utstein style. Vol 1. Conceptual framework of disasters. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2002;17(suppl 2). Accessed February 11, 2016.
2. United Nation Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Terminology 2007. Accessed Oct 2, 2014.
3. Stallings, R. Methodological Issues. In: Rodriguez H, Quarantelli EL, Dynes RR, eds. Handbook of Disaster Research. New York, NY: Springer Science; 2007:55-82.
4. PAHO/WHO. Natural Disasters. Protecting the Public´s Health. Scientific publication no. 575. Geneva: WHO; 2000.
5. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Situation Report No. 20 (as of 3 December 2013). ReliefWeb website. Published December 3, 2013. Accessed April 5, 2013.
6. Bartels, S, van Royen, M. Medical complication associated with earthquakes. Lancet . 2011;379:1-10.
7. Rahardjo, E, Wiroatmodjo, K, Koeshartono, P. Toward a more efficient multinational work on rescue and aid for disasters: lessons learned during the Ache tsunami and Yogya earthquake. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2008;24:301-304.
8. Austin, C, Bailey, N. The CDAC Network: Typhoon Haiyan Learning Review. A Review of Communicating With Communities Initiatives and Coordination in the Response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Published November 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.
9. Norris, FH, Stevens, PS, Pfefferbaum, B, et al. Community resilience as a metaphor, theory, set of capacities and strategy for disaster readiness. Am J Community Psychol. 2008;41(1-2):127-150.
10. Coppola, D. Introduction to International Disaster Management. 2nd ed. Burlington, VT: Elsevier Inc; 2011:9.
11. Perry, R, Lindell, M. Preparedness for emergency response: guidelines for the emergency planning process. Disasters. 2003;27(4):336-350.
12. Internews. Why information matters. A foundation for resilience. Published May 2015. Accessed June 25, 2015.
13. Rogers, M, Amlot, R, Rubin, G, et al. Mediating the social and psychological impacts of terrorist attacks: the role of risk perception and risk communication. Int Rev Psychiatry. 2007;19(3):279-288.
14. Burger, J, Gochfeld, M, Jeitner, C, et al. Trusted information sources used during and after Superstorm Sandy: TV and radio were used more often than social media. J Toxicol Environ Health. 2013;76(20):1138-1150.
15. Inter-Agency Standing Committee. IACS Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. Published 2007. Accessed August 4, 2014.
16. Romo-Murphy, E, James, R, Adams, M, et al. Facilitating disaster preparedness through local radio broadcasting. Disasters. 2011;35(4):801-815.
17. Rundblad, G, Knapton, O, Hunter, P. Communication, perceptions and behavior during a natural disaster involving a ´Do Not Drink ‘and subsequent ’Boil Water ‘notice: a postal questionnaire study. BMC Public Health. 2010;10(1):641-653.
18. Sandelowski, M. Combining qualitative and quantitative sampling, data collection, and analysis techniques in mixed-methods studies. Res Nurs Health. 2000;23(3):246-255.<246::AID-NUR9>3.0.CO;2-H.
19. Krippendorff, K. Content Analysis: an Introduction to its Methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE; 2013.
20. Graneheim, UH, Lundman, B. Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Educ Today. 2004;24(2):105-112.
21. Cretikos, M, Eastwood, K, Dalton, C, et al. Households disaster preparedness and information sources: rapid cluster survey after a storm in New South Wales, Australia. BMC Public Health. 2008;8(1):195-212.
22. Hartman, C, Roades, A, Santos, J. Starting the conversation; information, feedback and accountability trough communication with communities in post- typhoon Philippines. International Organization for Migration (IOM). Published 2014. Accessed February 1, 2015.
23. Hobfoll, S, Watson, P, Bell, C, et al. Five essential elements of immediate and mid-term mass trauma intervention: empirical evidence. Psychiatry. 2007;70(4):221-242.
24. Sugimoto, A, Nomura, S, Tsubokura, M, et al. The relationship between media consumption and health-related anxieties after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e65331.
25. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. World Disasters Report 2013. Focus on Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Action. Published 2013. Accessed February 11, 2016.
26. The European Network for Traumatic Stress. Riktlinjer för stöd och behandling efter allvarliga händelser. [Guidelines for support and treatment after traumatic events.] 2008. Accessed March 13, 2013.
27. Brymer, M, Jacobs, A, Layne, C, et al. Psychological First Aid. Field Operations Guide. 2nd ed. National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD. Published July 2006. Accessed October 8, 2014.
28. Girratano, G, Savage, J, Barcelona-deMendoza, V, et al. Disaster research: a nursing opportunity. Nurs Inq. 2013;29:259-268.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Disaster Radio for Communication of Vital Messages and Health-Related Information: Experiences From the Haiyan Typhoon, the Philippines

  • Karin Hugelius (a1) (a2), Mervyn Gifford (a1), Per Örtenwall (a3) and Annsofie Adolfsson (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.