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Balangay: an information system to prepare and respond to disaster


Project type Innovation 

Country The Philippines 

Support £40,000

Country Engagement Developer Vivien Enrique Suerte

“I grew up in disaster. Ever since I was little, I’ve seen terrible things happening to friends and family. This is my main driving force for the project.” — Frei Sangil, Balangay


people died when Typhoon Hainan hit the Philippines in 2013

22 tropical storms

make landfall each year in The Philippines on average

Start date
July 2015
End date
July 2016
Period: 13 months


The Philippines is the world’s most disaster –prone country, with more than 22 tropical storms hitting land each year.

For affected communities, advance information on how to prepare for disasters is key to ensuring that families, homes and livelihoods are protected, and strong communication systems are required to make sure people can reach out for help both before, during and after a disaster strikes.


The Balangay team have designed an open, cloud-based information system to improve the implementation and accountability of disaster preparedness, response and relief actions in the Philippines.

This system is a public resource on disaster information. It teaches citizens in the simplest possible way about disaster related information, preparing families for earthquakes, floods and typhoons. It also provides a real-time platform for reliable communication between local government units, NGOs and affected communities during emergencies.

This project was one of nearly 400 ideas submitted for the 2015 Global Innovation Competition. Below, project lead Frei Sangil talks about her inspiration for the project.


The Balangay team is led by cousins Frei and Paolo Sangil. The team formed around the idea of Balangay and works closely with partners in Albay Province, where the project will be piloted. Partners include the University of BiCol’s Department of Science and Technology, the Albay Risk Management Bureau, the Philippines Red Cross and provincial government agencies.