Tacloban Rescue Mission Debriefing

by: Mallory Sadd, Gretchen Pfeiffer and Cara Maxwell

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastating portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in early-November 2013. Tacloban, Republic of the Philippines, was directly hit and the people their were left with nothing. It was our job to deliver supplies to the people in need.

Here's A video On Typhoon Haiyan

Super Typhoon HAIYAN (YOLANDA) in Tacloban City, Philippines (2013)


Team Member Responsibilities

  • Pilot- Mallory Sadd. Command of the aircraft upon takeoff. Double checks the route plotted by the navigator. Approves any inflight route changes. Participates in the selection of relief supplies.

  • Navigator- Gretchen Pfeiffer. Identifies airports suitable for intermediate stops and calculates flight times. Plots the final route on the world map. The Navigator also reviews weather and other flight advisories, and informs the pilot if changes are necessary. Participates in the selection of relief supplies.

  • Load Master- Cara Maxwell. Supervises the division of the supplies among five pallets based on the capability of the aircraft. Participants in the selection of relief supplies.

  • Medical Officers- Everyone. Determines what medical supplies are needed for the mission to prevent and control disease outbreaks, and serves as team expert on infectious diseases. Participates in the selection of other relief supplies.

The Disaster Fixer-Uppers

Mission Goal

  • Our goal was to treat most of the diseases and give the people supplies that cover the basic needs.

Our Primary Objective

  • Our primary objective was to fly to Tacloban on a C-130 Hercules aircraft and select and deliver needed supplies to the people living in Tacloban City.


Manifest of what was delivered

  • We used 5 pallets to deliver the supplies we needed to Tacloban. Each pallet carried different supplies and manifests of each pallet are listed below.
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Time it took to deliver the supplies


Our Flight Route

Houston, Texas to Pellston, Michigan

Pellston, Michigan to New Found-land/Labrador, Cananda

New Found-land/Labrador, Canada to Southern Peninsula, Iceland

Southern Peninsula, Iceland to Kemi, Finland

Kemi, Finland to Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia to Kirensk, Russia

Kirensk, Russia to Beijing, China

Beijing, China to Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong, China to Tacloban, Republic of the Philippines

Was Our Goal accomplished?

  • Yes! Our goal of treating most of the diseases and giving the people supplies that cover the basic needs was accomplished!

- Diagrams -

Our flight plan map

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Model Of Our Pallets

Total Weight and Volume

  • Total Weight: 26,800 lbs.
  • Total Volume: 2,664 cubic ft.

Supplies that directly addressed our goal

  • The supplies that were addressed to our goal were mainly the medical supplies. Medical supplies such as the vaccines and special medicines needed for each disease, and some pain killers to help treat some of them were the supplies that were mainly addressed to our goal of saving people from each disease. We also brought food, clothing, and other basic human needs, that contributed to our primary goal.


Chronological Description of what was accomplished

  • This process took many different steps to complete our goal. First, we discussed the team member responsibilities and we chose a team name. Then, we learned and researched our ending destination, Tacloban City, Philippines, and about Typhoon Haiyan. Next, we researched the most common diseases in Tacloban and learned abut the causes, symptoms, and treatments for them. Then, we determined what supplies we were going to take, packed them up on our pallets, and measured the total volume and weight. Finally, we used Google Earth to plan our flight route and found the total time it would take to deliver the supplies.

Misconceptions addressed

  • There were many things that we thought about Tacloban that were actually not true. We didn't think that the typhoon was that bad, but when we researched we found that the people were left with nothing and the death number was very great. We also thought that the people there were pretty much just "poor", but it turns out that they were actually completely broke and had absolutely nothing. We also didn't think that there were that many common diseases, but there were a ton and a lot of people were infected and needed help.

Strategies that worked/didn't work

  • Some of our strategies worked, and some did not. One strategy that did not work was our flight route. We went a different direction that most groups, and had a longer time. That was something we could have fixed. Another strategy that didn't work was the amount of stuff we could have taken on the plane with us. We had some open areas where we could have stuffed something inside and gotten the weight up. Something that did work was how we arranged what we took with us. We were able to fit everything we needed into three pallets and were able to use the rest to put whatever we felt was necessary. Another strategy that worked was being able to take 100% of our supplies, that way we were able to take everything we needed with us, and extra.

Tips/ Lessons learned

  • There were many tips involved in our PBL and many lessons learned as a group during our experience researching our flight to Tacloban. One of the tips we found helpful was working together and communicating as a group. Working together and communicating helped us get our work done faster and in an efficient way, and by communicating we were able to talk about our research and turn in thorough and accurate work. Not only were we able to get our work done on time, but we were able to have fun with each other along the way. Another tip we found helpful was to split up the work by assigning each member a section to work on and complete in a certain amount of time. This helped us a lot because we were able to finish quickly which gave us time to look over and add anything we found to each other's work and still accomplish our goals on time. The final tip we found helpful was the use of Google Drive and making sure we did all of our work on a Google Doc before putting it into our final presentation. By doing this we guaranteed that our work would be saved, and it also let us edit each other's work before putting it on the final presentation. One of the lessons we learned over the course of this PBL was that flying across the Pacific Ocean was more efficient and faster than going across the Atlantic Ocean. Going across the Atlantic made our flight longer, and that would be inefficient because our objective was to get to Tacloban in the quickest way possible to deliver supplies to the people in need. Another lesson we learned was to have tried placing the supplies in many different ways in the pallet instead of going with the first time that the supplies fit. This would have been better to do because we would have been able to fill up our plane a lot more, and deliver even more supplies to the people of Tacloban. Considering that the Philippines is a poor country, not many citizens have the basic human needs that we do, and by delivering more supplies we could help even more people than we did with this flight plan. The final lesson we learned that working as a group and communicating with each other is a quicker way to get our research done and accomplish our goals on time. Working through this PBL as a group helped us develop many tips that we found helpful and also some lessons that we could use in the future if we ever decided to fly back to Tacloban and deliver supplies.

statement reflecting purpose/ accomplishments

  • The Disaster Fixer-Uppers had a purpose of flying to Tacloban to help the people in need who were affected by the typhoon. We had to research The Republic of the Philippines, select and pack supplies, and plan a flight route in the shortest amount of time possible. We used many different tools, like, Google Earth, to accomplish what was done. We accomplished everything we set out to do and learned a lot about the people and environment in Tacloban. Having 100% funding was a great accomplishment and it helped us in the rest of the project. We didn't get to Tacloban in the shortest amount of time, but we did get there in a very efficient way. We packed our supplies well and brought a very well developed supply of things the people needed. This PBL was a good way to learn how to work together with a team and it was a great way to relate to a real world situation. Our team is proud of what we accomplished and each one of us agreed that we were a good team and worked well together. Flying to Tacloban and helping the people in need helped us realize that communication, collaboration, and a good pace will get the job done. It also gave us an appreciation of how lucky we are and how unfortunate and desperate some people are in some emergencies. This was a fun and engaging project and we would definitely do another PBL!

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