Thursday, January 14, 2010

ITU joins international efforts to assist Haiti

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has joined the international effort to provide humanitarian assistance to Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake on 12 January 2010.

Forty satellite terminals are being deployed immediately to re-establish basic communication links and a further 60 units with broadband facility are being dispatched along with experts to operate them. The ITU will also set up a Qualcomm Deployable Base Station (QDBS), a reliable, responsive and complete cellular system designed to enable vital wireless communications aimed at strengthening response and recovery mechanisms in a disaster zone. The ITU has allocated a budget of over US$ 1 million to strengthen the disaster response effort in Haiti.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré expressed his solidarity with the people of Haiti and offered his condolences to the bereaved victims of the disaster. “The whole world is in shock following the devastation and untold misery caused by the earthquake in Haiti,” Dr Touré said. “The ITU will do everything possible to provide assistance to the people of Haiti by re-establishing telecommunication links which will be vital in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the days ahead.” Dr Touré also called upon ITU Sector Members and other ICT companies to urgently assist the ITU’s efforts to reinstate telecommunications in Haiti.

Along with the destruction of buildings and infrastructure, telecommunication links in Haiti were also snapped in the wake of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Re-establishing communications is a critical tool in disaster management to ensure timely dissemination of authoritative information to government entities and aid agencies involved in rescue and rehabilitation efforts.
(Source: ITU/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)