FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

FrontlineSMS in the Philippines and the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) response

UPDATED 22 Nov: Here's a new (draft) case study of ActionAid Kenya's work using FrontlineSMS in the 2012 famine response. Factsheet below updated.

UPDATED 19 Nov: Here's a new factsheet produced at the request of UN-OCHA on FrontlineSMS, FrontlineCloud and how they can be used in the Typhoon Haiyan response. Let us know any questions in the comments below, at or on Twitter.

In the aftermath of devastating Typhoon Haiyan, we're working with networks of aid agencies to support the international response any way we can - but we know that the first and most important responders are already in the Philippines.

Filipino FrontlineSMS users will have been affected and are, we're sure, already working to help their communities to respond to and recover from the effects of the strongest recorded storm ever to make landfall. We want to help, however we can.

  • If you're a FrontlineSMS user in the Philippines working to respond to or cover the Typhoon response, please let us know who you are in this thread - we'll give you priority user support and try to link you with international agencies who may be able to help - or who may need your expertise.
  • If you need information on the status of the mobile networks, let us know and we'll get you the information or put you in touch with the right person. Keep an eye on the GSMA's disaster response page, too.

What we need:

  • Let us know if you're available to translate FrontlineSMS into Tagalog.

Connection options in the Philippines

At the moment, the best way to connect FrontlineSMS to the mobile network in the Philippines is using a phone or modem. Please check out our regular resources for help with this. We will be releasing a new version of FrontlineSMS as soon as possible (early next year latest) that supports sending and receiving messages using SMSSync on an Android phone.

For FrontlineCloud, SMSSync is still the best way to get messages to the Philippines. We're working on web connections and will post updates here.

FrontlineSMS users in the Philippines

The Philippines is home to the third-largest group of FrontlineSMS users in the world, according to the data from this year's annual survey. Some of you have told us who you are:

  • Way back in 2007, the National Elections were monitored using FrontlineSMS, and the following year, the platform was used to lobby lawmakers about open source software legislation
  • Rommel Sotto of the Philippines Red Cross got in touch on this forum just a few months ago
  • Molave Development have been supporting expectant mothers in Roxas, on Mindoro, with information about safe motherhood since 2010
  • The United Methodist church has been running workshops for their community to train people on FrontlineSMS and help them work out great ways to use it
  • The incomparable Lynman Bacolor was using it in 2010 to improve patient attendance at his clinic - here's a video!
  • Our users are already working to support improved information getting to communities hit by the storm - and we know that many journalists have themselves been killed, injured or otherwise affected. Please support them here.
  • Amos Doornbos has posted to his blog about his experiences deploying the WorldVision Speed Evidence platform, including FrontlineSMS line, for the Haiyan response.
  • We know there are others we're not aware of - if you'd like to be listed here please let us know in the thread or by emailing

Let us know your other needs, news and updates here. We'll try to keep this post and the blog post that goes along with it updated.

Our thoughts are with all those affected and responding.


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OCHA asked us for a factsheet on FrontlineSMS, FrontlineCloud and how they can be used in the response - so here it is.

Hope helpful, let us know any comments here.


How can I be of help translation English to Tagalog?

Hi there!

We've passed this on to the right people internally and they will be in touch very soon.



Hi Laura, We started developing an Application for receiving SMS and MMS Messages from phones before Xmas for use in our new Disaster Management App in the Philippines.

I was amazed to stumble across FrontLineSms, one download, a bit of fiddling and we had our SMS gateway up and running in about 2 hours and integrated with out Ushahidi Reporting Implementation. 

These reports will be overlaid on our Crisis Management Web Site along with HOT data, Weather Data, Cellular and Wifi Availability data and whatever else we can find and integrate. Idea is to give a "Big Picture" to those who need it (from multiple sources in one place), and actively involve the public to contribute  via MMS, Email and SMS information on crisis/disasters small and large. We also want to use the HOT/OSM data hopefully find a way to provide some assessment of the progress to finalization of a disaster and rehab goals.

Scratch one long and difficult project with only two hours of effort.

Demo Web Site is

Twitter: disasterDOTnet

Site is still in development but we achieved a major milestone this afternoon.


Mark Cupitt

Hi Mark

Sorry for the delay, have been travelling - just wanted to say thanks for raising this! Looks great and I'm glad it's working for you. Are you talking to Amos? Should definitely be!


Hi, I installed frontlinesms version 2.4, but I am having problems in importing contacts, from m Google mail account.  It is importing onli 15 contacts each time whereas m contact list is 640 names in all.   is there a switch that limits the number of imported contacts?  Pls help 

Hi Carlos,

There should be no limit that we have set for the version 2.4 importing contacts process.  Can you please confirm how it is you are importing the contacts?  Are you exporting to CSV or vCard format first?

We tend to recommend exporting contacts into a .vcf vCard format and then importing that file.  This works robustly as vCards can hold multiple contacts.  CSV format also works but can be more problematic in needing arrange and label the columns.

This article might help:

Please let us know how this goes?


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