Technology experts from charity Telecoms Sans Frontieres are providing emergency telecoms services to the victims of the flooding in Pakistan.
TSF, which has been in Pakistan since 9 August, said it has been providing telecoms services to victims of the flooding to allow them to call relatives and friends abroad. Around 945 families have been provided with calls so far, according to TSF. “For many people, the call provided by TSF is the first call since the outbreak of the disaster,” the organization said. “Many victims have lost their mobile phone or are in places with no electricity to recharge or simply have no money to buy credit.”
According to UN officials, the Pakistan floods cover an area the size of England with up to 20 million people affected. At least 1,600 people have been killed, with health officials warning the toll could rise as water-borne diseases spread, TSF reported.
TSF said it has 8 mobile teams, equipped with satellite and GSM phones, in the districts of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda and plan to operate in the country for at least a month. The teams are composed of one man and one woman to allow both men and women to make a call, TSF said.
TSF staff also provides support to OCHA/UNDAC and the other UN agencies in the inter-agency office in Multan, Punjab Province. This assignment is scheduled until staff from the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster and other OCHA partners (IHP) take over. TSF continues to coordinate with the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) as per further needs for ICT support to aid agencies.
Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) deployed to Haiti in January to respond the impact of the earthquake in the country. The charity specialises in setting up communications infrastructure to allow aid-agencies to communicate on the ground more effectively.
(Source: eweek europe, TSF)
Pakistan has been severely affected by unprecedented floods triggered by heavy rains. It has led to tragic loss of lives besides widespread loss of livestock, destruction of physical/communication infrastructure in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. Flooding has submerged whole villages in the past week, killing at least 1,600 people, according to the UN. Pakistan authorities believe more than 12 million people have been affected, with the figure likely to rise as flood waters head south.
Christian aid agencies have warned that the destruction of transport and communication links is leaving many victims of the Pakistani floods virtually “cut off” from outside help. Ashraf Mall, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Pakistan, said:
“It’s one of the biggest floods in the history of Pakistan. People need food immediately as they have lost their homes and possessions. But it is not proving easy to respond to this emergency. Bridges and roads have been destroyed and the disruption of transport and communication links is making assessments difficult, with many survivors effectively cut off from outside help.”
Some pictures of Pakistanis coping with the floods can be seen here. Some ways to help through your donations are listed here.
(Sources: SAMAA, Christian Today)
Connectivity is not only necessary in daily routine life but it becomes very crucial in the times of disaster. Recently Haiti has been struck with a disastrous quake which has also cut off Haiti’s communications links. Re-establishment of Telecommunications in Haiti is essential for effective disaster management and efficient coordination of the rehabilitation efforts.
Many private and humanitarian organizations are contributing their part to re-connect Haiti. ITU has allocated a budget of more than 1 million USD to deal with this disastrous situation and is providing Satellite links to re-establish connectivity in the region. OLPC is offering free rugged laptops to go with rehabilitation/aid teams and are inviting such teams to contact them immediately. Telecoms Sans Frontiers (TSF) has deployed its team to provide immediate support in setting up emergency telecommunications.
We sincerely hope that Haiti would be re-connected to the world very soon!
Some pictures of Haiti Earthquake can be seen here.