Emergency telecommunications equipment donated to World Health Organization and Philippines government crisis response units – Geneva, 20 November 2013 – ITU is providing satellite terminals for both voice and high-speed data to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support its humanitarian work in the Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan crisis.
ITU has supplied 40 Thuraya satellite phones to facilitate health relief efforts in the worst-affected parts of the country. “At a time when the Philippines is recovering from the Haiyan crisis, relief efforts by UN humanitarian agencies are much needed to assist victims in the affected towns and villages,” ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré said. “ITU is working with WHO to provide the emergency telecommunication equipment that is vital for coordinating response operations in disaster-affected communities.”
Dr Richard Brennan, WHO Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response, expressed his gratitude to ITU for its rapid assistance to fill a major resource gap in the health sector’s response to the crisis. “These satellite phones will be of tremendous benefit to our humanitarian operations in support of the Philippine Ministry of Health, as well as WHO and its partners, helping us gather and manage information for disease surveillance, early warning systems and sectoral coordination.”
“We take our humanitarian work very seriously,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “In dire situations such as the one in the Philippines, ITU stands ready to support UN agencies in their humanitarian effort to assist people caught up in such disasters, especially those who have been afflicted by illness and those who have been displaced from their homes.”
ITU is also deploying an additional 50 satellite phones, including 25 Iridium Sat Phones, 10 Thuraya Sat Phones and 15 Inmarsat BGAN units, and is also deploying 25 laptops to help people re-establish contact with their family members in other cities of the Philippines and abroad.
ITU regularly deploys emergency telecommunications across the globe in response to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and other natural disasters. This latest assistance follows an earlier deployment of equipment and personnel in the immediate aftermath of typhoon Haiyan.