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 Monday, 25 June 2007

The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (<"">ITU) today joined forces with a communications firm and a business organisation to employ satellites to bolster the global response to natural disasters.

The poor - especially those living in remote and isolated areas - are most vulnerable to calamities, which wreak havoc and impede sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts.

"Satellite communication provides a platform to deliver a wide range of services and applications even to remote areas," said Hamadoun Tour˘UITU's Secretary-General.

Last year alone, nearly 22,000 people lost their lives due to natural disasters, with 95 per cent of the deaths occurring in the least developed countries.

"In the digital age, we are able to provide an [information and communications technology] lifeline to disaster victims and humanitarian personnel entrusted with coordinating rescue and relief operations, especially when terrestrial communications infrastructure is disrupted, overloaded or destroyed," Dr. Toure said.

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