Viber, Skype Offer Free Calls To Contact Haiyan Survivors While PH Government Still Not On The Ground

By @SlGRlD on

Instant messengers Skype and Viber have now offered free calls to contact loved-ones in Central Philippines while they wait for the Philippine government to move the relief operations forward.  

On Nov. 11, Viber announced, "In light of the current situation in the Philippines, we are opening a temporary service, allowing Filipino users to call regular (non-Viber) numbers outside of the Philippines for free." It noted the offer is "not a final product" and that not all countries are supported. In its Web site, Viber shows a banner image that reads, "The Filipino Spirit Is Waterproof."

List of Supported Destinations of Viber's Viber Out

Landline and mobile (all numbers):

U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, Austria, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Thailand

Landline only (no mobile phones):

Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Venezuela

Skype Offers 60 Minutes Worth of Calls

Skype sent an e-mail Thursday saying, "Following the devastation and loss of life brought about Friday's typhoon, our thoughts are with everyone affected." The e-mail, signed by "The people at Skype" adds that along with the email is a voucher that allows Filipinos to call anyone in the world. The e-mail also comes with a code that allows users from the Philippines to make 60-minutes worth of calls.

Storm-Ravaged Towns, Absent Government

A Filipino volunteer currently in Catbalogan City updated his Facebook wall saying in the vernacular that government presence is not felt in the area. Primo Morillo, who works for the Philippine-Misereor Partnership Inc., was on his way to remote towns Borongan and Guiuan Wednesday to distribute relief goods.

Five days after typhoon Haiyan, CNN News Reporter Anderson Cooper took to Twitter saying, "There is no real evidence of organized recovery or relief" adding that it is frustrating.  He said on CNN that the situation is "miserable" and that people were desperate. 

Cooper also wrote on CNN's Web site that "Help cannot reach the city fast enough" referring to Tacloban City. Sources said while telecommunications are working again, the bulk of the humanitarian aid for typhoon Haiyan survivors has not yet reached the coastal city.

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