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ITU joins international effort to assist Haiti

Satellite links to re-establish communications in earthquake-hit country

Geneva, 14 January 2010 — ITU joins 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. 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. ITU has allocated a budget of over USD 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. "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 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.

The worst earthquake in the region in over 200 years levelled Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital as well as other towns and villages in the country leaving several thousands dead and injured. UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon has declared it a "major humanitarian emergency".

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 5046
Mobile: +41 79 249 4861

Fax: +41 22 730 5939
Cosmas Zavazava
Chief of Division
Emergency Telecommunications
Tel: + 41 22 730 5447

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Updated : 2010-01-14