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Tells you what's happening in Telecommunications around the world

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Editorial
The ITU Global Emergencies Response effort
Dr Hamadoun Touré
photo credit: ITU/V.Martin
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General

I learnt with deep sorrow about the loss of life, the injuries and human displacement, and the damage to property and infrastructure in Japan resulting from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.

I immediately asked my colleagues to make arrangements for the deployment of emergency telecommunication resources to help government agencies and other humanitarian organizations coordinate search and rescue operations and the delivery of logistics to the victims. ITU then deployed satellite equipment to disaster-hit areas.

The tragic events in Japan follow a series of disasters across the globe, including the earthquake in Indonesia, floods and cyclone in Australia, and then the earthquake in New Zealand which destroyed much of Christchurch.

Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered, or have lost loved ones, or their homes and businesses, in these catastrophes. The knowledge that information and communication technologies can, in a number of ways, mitigate the effects of such events will spur us on to make sure that the whole world has access to telecommunication services, which can provide a lifeline when disaster strikes.

ITU’s response to the spate of natural disasters in rapidly deploying emergency communication equipment to restore vital telecommunication links has received support from governments, development banks, regional financial institutions, United Nations agencies and the private sector. In March 2011 alone, financial support was received from several governments, adding to previous donations. ITU also signed an agreement with Intelsat and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) to strengthen emergency telecommunication resources.

ITU deployed satellite-based assistance for the first time in 2005, following the December 2004 Asian earthquake and tsunami. Since then, ITU has provided emergency telecommunication services to several countries around the world, including assistance to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in 2004, the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 and the floods in 2010, the floods in Suriname in 2005, the cyclone in Myanmar and the Sichuan earthquake in China in 2008, the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010, the earthquakes in Peru, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and, most recently, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

I am most grateful for the assistance and support given by all our partners under the aegis of the ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies, which gives priority to telecommunications as a means of saving lives.

 

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