TSF sets up emergency communications in disaster zones of the Philippines
11 November 2013
Teams from Télécoms Sans Frontières’ have set up three telecoms centres in the town of Tacloban, the centre of the devastation from typhoon Haiyan to provide communications for all relief organisations and the public.
The teams set out for the Philippines before the typhoon struck last week. They have already installed three functioning satellite connections for the telecom centres providing internet and communications.
The first centre is for the Filipino National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as well as the Ministry of Telecommunication, the second, used by the United Nations agencies OCHA, WFP and UNDAC and the third for all of the other humanitarian organisations present in the area.
TSF’s centres provide all NGOs with a management hub from which they can send and receive essential information concerning their operations, meaning they can work as efficiently as possible and coordinate their actions amongst the millions of people affected by Haiyan.
Working in collaboration with local telephone operator, SMART, TSF has carried out assessments of the telecommunications situation and has estimated that it could take up to two months or more before the telecommunications networks are restored.
The Philippine Department of Health has placed an official request for TSF to put a satellite connection in Tacloban General Hospital to allow hospital workers to communicate directly with medical teams on a national scale and provide well-coordinated health support to the thousands of victims seriously injured by the typhoon.
Two separate teams have deployed to the islands of Busuanga and Panai to provide both technical and material support to the UN, supplying satellite equipment and telephones for assessments which are being carried out in hospitals and military bases used as improvised evacuation centres.
Local operators, SMART and Globe Telecom have managed to partially restore GSM coverage in some areas of Tacloban. Before the full operational services are restored to the mobile network, TSF says that, alongside SMART, it will continue to carry out humanitarian calling operations to allow the thousands of people cut off from the rest of the world to get in contact with their families.
Further information and to support TSF
See the Télécoms Sans Frontières website: www.tsfi.org