ITU Deploys Satellite Communication Equipment and Experts to Support Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg took this picture Typhoon Haiyan at 0735 GMT 9 November 2013 from the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg took this picture Typhoon Haiyan at 0735 GMT 9 November 2013 from the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

[Via Satellite 11-13-13] ITU has dispatched emergency satellite telecommunications equipment to areas severely affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which tore through the Visayas region of central Philippines on Friday with deadly force. One of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, Haiyan made landfall five times in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Panay Island and Palawan, devastating buildings, communities and families.

Damage to critical telecommunications infrastructure has made rapid assessment difficult, and authorities are still determining casualty figures. Given the extent of the damage it could be weeks or months before physical telecommunications infrastructure is repaired or replaced. In the meantime, satellite equipment provided by ITU to the Philippine authorities will help ensure that essential telecommunications services can be quickly provided through satellite, to enable much-needed support for search and rescue services as well as the need for families to re-establish contacts.

ITU has deployed 50 Thuraya satellite phones equipped with GPS to facilitate search and rescue efforts, along with 30 Iridium satellite phones, 20 Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network terminals, and a Qualcomm CDMA base station. The equipment can be charged by car batteries and is also supplied with solar panels to enable operation during power outages.

“Our aim is to ensure that the national and international humanitarian community has reliable access to telecommunications to enable them to serve affected people and save lives,” said Brahima Sanou, director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU.

ITU experts have been deployed to the Philippines and are working with the authorities to train first responders in the use of the equipment during search and rescue operations and for logistical support.

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