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ITU Disaster Response

​When disasters strike, and upon request by Member States, ITU deploys satellite telephones and terminals as well as other emergency telecommunications equipment to affected countries within the first 24 to 48 hours. This equipment helps restore vital communication links and is critical for coordination of disaster response activities within the government and humanitarian agencies involved in rescue and relief operations.

Papua New Guinea

Emergency telecommunications equipment was deployed to Papua New Guinea after the devastation caused by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck on 26 February (25 February UTC), with its epicentre in Nipa-Kutubu district, Southern Highlands province. The affected area is sparsely populated, with a dispersed population living in remote, rural communities. A state of Emergency has been declared for Highlands Earthquake Disaster areas in Hela, Southern Highlands, Western and Enga Provinces to expedite the restoration of essential public services. It is estimated that up to 465,000 people may have been affected by the disaster. An estimated 247,000 people are likely to require immediate assistance. Water is reported to be scarce in affected areas due to damage to storage facilities and water sources. The strong quake caused loss of life and destruction to national critical infrastructures including telecommunication networks, powerlines and roads. One of the main health facilities in the affected area, Mendi hospital, is reportedly experiencing disruption to both water and power supplies. Satellite equipment was sent directly to Papua New Guinea to support government's needs for communication in remote areas. The emergency telecommunications equipment provided include satellite phones and accessories, which will be used to coordinate activities for response, search and rescue efforts as well as recovery of vital telecommunication services.

Tonga

Emergency telecommunications equipment was deployed to Tonga after the destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Gita, that hit the island on 12 February 2018. Gita is one of the most intense tropical cyclone to impact Tonga since reliable records began. Over 4 500 people were evacuated to temporary evacuation centres and over 1 500 houses were damaged or destroyed. The satellite telecommunications equipment is being used to restore telecommunication links between the islands in order to coordinate response and recovery efforts.

CARIBBEAN ISLANDS


In September 2017, ITU deployed emergency telecommunication equipment to the Caribbean as a response effort after the massive devastation caused by Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Many Caribbean countries suffered extensive damages from some of the strongest storms to hit the region in a decade. They affected telecommunication networks, power and water infrastructure, leaving many communities without water, food, power or communications. 

Several Member States, including Haiti, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, received emergency telecommunications equipment, including satellite phones, BGANs and VSAT to support humanitarian relief and recovery efforts.

Zimbabwe

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In March 2017, ITU deployed emergency telecommunication equipment to Zimbabwe, following the request made by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services  after the devastation caused by severe floods. Many homesteads and schools were destroyed and many lives were lost during this emergency. The equipment is being used to coordinate recovery and rehabilitation activities  including providing communication to the most affected communities in the country.

Haiti

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In October 2016, ITU deployed emergency telecommunication equipment in response to the devastation caused by Category 4 Hurricane Matthew, classified as the most powerful Caribbean Hurricanes in the last decade. Matthew caused many loss of lives and affected power and communication networks as well as transport roads, water and healthcare infrastructure. The government of Haiti used the equipment to support relief and coordination efforts as well as in assisting many communities that were totally affected. 

Sri Lanka

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In May 2016, ITU deployed emergency telecommunication equipment in response to the government of Sri Lanka request for assistance. Torrential rain caused loss of lives and destruction to infrastructure including telecommunications, power lines and roads. Many communities were affected and access to the affected areas were limited.  The emergency telecommunication equipment provided include satellite phones, satellite broadband terminals and accessories, which are being used to support relief and coordination efforts.

Ecuador

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Emergency telecommunications equipment was deployed to Ecuador after the devastation caused by the 7.8 earthquake that struck the country on 26 April 2016.  The ITU satellite equipment was delivered directly to the Manabi Province, the most affected area of the coast of Ecuador. The strong quake caused a lot of destruction to infrastructure including telecommunication networks, powerlines and roads.  The emergency telecommunications equipment provided include satellite phones, satellite broadband terminals and accessories, which are being used to support search and rescue efforts as well as recovery and reconstruction activities .  

More Deployments


Find out more about how ITU assisted the affected countries in the aftermath of a disaster and helped in restoring vital communication links in the previous years.