Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Télécoms Sans Frontières Dispatches to Haiti

Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), which provides emergency telecoms support in partnership with the U.N. and other groups, has dispatched a team equipped with Inmarsat mobile voice and broadband terminals to Haiti. Further reinforcements will shortly leave from TSF's international headquarters in France.

Haiti's cellular and terrestrial telecoms network appear to be damaged beyond use. Satellite communications now provide the only means for communicating to, and within, the country.

The TSF teams will use Inmarsat BGAN and Mini-M to provide essential communications services -- a critical requirement for co-ordinating the early stages of the response -- for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), and other NGOs arriving to assist with relief efforts.

After the initial emergency response, TSF will offer communications for the local population, enabling them to call family and loved ones. TSF estimates that up to 5.4 million people could be affected by the humanitarian catastrophe.