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 Wednesday, 21 May 2008

20 May 2008 at 14:43

News, Disaster Management, ITU, Satellite, Myanmar: Controversy has marked the relief efforts in Myanmar's recent cyclone tragedy. One encouraging sign is that ITU satellite terminals are restoring vital communications links. The International Telecommunication Union has deployed 100 satellite terminals to help restore vital communication links in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis which hit Myanmar on May 2 with devastating effect in Yangon and the low-lying Irrawaddy delta region.

Thousands were killed, and thousands more are injured and missing. High winds cut electricity and destroyed roads and communications links, hampering the coordination and delivery of assistance. With the restoration of communication links, designated government officials and other humanitarian agencies are able to more efficiently coordinate relief operations. The mobile terminals are easily transported by road and air to be used both by humanitarian workers and the victims of this disaster.

"I am very disturbed by the high frequency of disasters across the globe," said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "This particular disaster, like the tsunami of 2004, struck on a weekend when most of the agencies that could provide assistance least expected it." Expressing his deep condolences to the government and people of Myanmar, Mr Al Basheer said: "I am however, heartened by the fact that ITU was one of the very first agencies to arrive in Myanmar with telecommunications resources."

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