The United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Group Foundation announced today that Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), a humanitarian NGO equipped to deploy rapid response IT and telecom teams anywhere in the world within 48 hours of a disaster, has dispatched an emergency crew to Lima, Peru.
Deployed from TSF regional headquarters in Managua, Nicaragua, the TSF team arrived in Lima within 24 hours of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake. TSF’s telecom team will be among the first of the international aid workers to establish emergency telecommunication centers that provide United Nations (UN), NGO, and government responders with reliable voice, Internet, fax, and video connections using satellite, WiFi, and GSM equipment. Relief workers rely on these centers for response and relief assessment, logistics, and coordination.
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life in Peru, and hope that TSF’s rapid deployment will help save lives and enable the communications needed to provide relief and stabilize the situation,” said Kathy Calvin, chief operating officer of the UN Foundation.
“The ability to communicate within hours of a crisis is critical to the effective coordination of relief efforts,” said Andrew Dunnett, director of The Vodafone Group Foundation. “We are proud to support TSF’s rapid response deployment as part of our disaster relief program to get vital supplies and telecoms services to where they are needed most,” he said.
TSF’s emergency crew is carrying satellite equipment such as Inmarsat BGan and RBgan terminals, GAN M4 and Mini M, and other IT equipment that may be needed to install one or more telecom centers offering broadband Internet connections and phone and fax lines. The TSF team is expected to set up and operate these IT centers for up to one month before handing telecommunications management over to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in coordination with which TSF has deployed to Peru.
The deployment is being funded in part by the UN Foundation and Vodafone Group Foundation through their Rapid Response Emergency Telecommunications program, which supports the partnering of TSF, the leading humanitarian NGO specialized in emergency telecommunications, with UNICEF and OCHA, the two UN agencies charged with leading telecommunications in disaster response and recovery efforts.