Satellite Emergency Communications Deployed to Assist Humanitarian Needs

Posted by Michelle Howard
Monday, November 11, 2013

The IMSO Director General, Captain Esteban Pacha-Vicente, is pleased to provide information about deployment of satellite emergency communications in the Philippines to assist in the management of the very critical humanitarian situation in this area.

Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Agency (UNDAC) are working together to bring much needed support to the disaster-stricken Philippines. TSF deployed on November 7, the day before typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) hit the Philippines – predicted at that time to be a Category 5 typhoon with wind speeds of up to 300 km/h, the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history.

The disaster has called for great humanitarian aid due to the 4.1 million people it could potentially affect in the areas of Visayas and Leyte. It is for this reason that Télécoms Sans Frontières’ Bangkok based team, as well as backup from its international headquarters in Europe, made way for the Philippines on 07/11/13 before the typhoon struck to provide the immediate, essential mobile communications support to the hundreds of thousands of people affected as well as the numerous humanitarian aid agencies in the field. The reinforcements sent from TSF’s international HQ mean that the hundreds and thousands of affected people will be able to make calls to their families to inform them of their situation, in many cases reassuring them that they are still alive.

Thanks to its partnership with UNDAC, TSF is one of the first NGO responders on the ground, allowing for telecoms assessments to be carried out as well as the immediate installation of telecoms centres to generate a coordination hub for the other NGOs in the disaster zone.

Being amongst the first on the ground after Haiyan struck, this allowed TSF to pre-position three telecom centres for relief coordination before the influx of humanitarian aid arrived in the aftermath. The town of Tacloban has been identified at the most affected area, with head of UNDAC, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, describing the area as having suffered “destruction on a massive scale”. TSF has already installed three functioning satellite connections which provide internet to the telecom centres put in place – the first, to the benefit of the Filipino NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) as well as the Ministry of Telecommunication, the second, used by the United Nations agencies of OCHA, WFP and UNDAC and the third for all the other humanitarian organizations present in the area.

Inmarsat satellite communications provided by TSF’s centres are essential to any humanitarian operation. They provide all NGOs with a management hub from which they can send and receive essential information concerning their operations, meaning they can work as efficiently as possible and coordinate their actions amongst the millions of people affected by Haiyan. Working in collaboration with local telephone operator, TSF has carried out assessments of the telecom situation and it is estimated that it could take up to two months or more before the telecommunications networks are fully restored.

TSF has also provided direct support to the Filipino government - The Minister of Home Affairs and his deputy have both been supplied with Inmarsat SatPhones in order improve communication capacities within the government and beyond.

Access to reliable satellite telecommunications in emergency situations becomes critical especially in remote areas and when terrestrial networks are often seriously damaged or destroyed after a natural disaster. The IMSO Convention provides that IMSO, through existing international mechanisms dealing with technical assistance, should seek to assist satellite providers in their effort to ensure that all areas, where there is a need, are provided with mobile satellite communications services.

IMSO periodically receives information about deployment of emergency communications in cases of natural disasters or humanitarian needs provided by Inmarsat and deployed on-the-scene by Télécoms Sans Frontières, the non-governmental organization responsible of establishing emergency telecommunications centres to serve the UN, national governments and NGOs humanitarian teams.

Emergency communications are provided by satellite operators through modern equipment that can be rapidly deployed on the scene. Inmarsat provides BGAN terminals that are deployable within minutes and allow satellite broadband and voice and fax services, as well as portable IsatPhones that offer instant satellite telephone communications, including text and email messaging as well as GPS location data.

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

DP World in Talks With Banks for $3b Loan

Dubai-owned port operator DP World is in talks with lenders to triple the size of an existing $1 billion loan, as well as extend the lifespan and reduce the interest rate,

Webinar to Examine 3D Laser Scanning in the Marine Industry

3D laser scanning has taken much interest in the maritime industry as it continues to find greater acceptance in the sector. In an up-close look at 3D laser scanning,

Royal Caribbean Profits Take a Hit

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd reported a much lower-than-expected quarterly profit as costs rose and passengers spent less onboard. Shares of the company, whose

Technology

Webinar to Examine 3D Laser Scanning in the Marine Industry

3D laser scanning has taken much interest in the maritime industry as it continues to find greater acceptance in the sector. In an up-close look at 3D laser scanning,

Marine Diesel Purification Breakthrough by SurePure

Liquid photopurification specialist company SurePure Inc. apprises of a breakthrough in the microbiological purification of contaminated marine diesel fuel, using

Safety the Focus as Heavy Lifting Picks Up

Modern heavy lift capabilities are crucial for safe, efficient operations offshore Heavy lift operations offshore are an awe-inspiring feat, but an operation that

News

Petroecuador Tenders to Buy High Octane Naphtha

State-run Petroecuador has launched two tenders to buy a total of 22 cargoes, 240,000 barrels each, of high octane naphtha RON 87 and 93 for delivery starting on May 21-23,

DP World in Talks With Banks for $3b Loan

Dubai-owned port operator DP World is in talks with lenders to triple the size of an existing $1 billion loan, as well as extend the lifespan and reduce the interest rate,

Norway's Oil Sector May Face More Project Cuts, Delays

More oil and gas projects in Norway could be put on hold because of rising costs, adding to a growing list of developments that have been delayed or called off,

Electronics

Global Shipping Exposed to Cyber Threats

The next hacker playground: the open seas - and the oil tankers and container vessels that ship 90 percent of the goods moved around the planet. In this internet age,

USJ-IMECO Completes RAACI Acquisition

Affiliates of USJ-IMECO Holding Company, LLC, a portfolio company of J.F. Lehman & Company (JFLCO), announced the acquisition of Robichaux Automation and Control, Inc.

Schlumberger Announces Q1 Results

Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) today reported first-quarter 2014 revenue from continuing operations of $11.24 billion versus $11.91 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, and $10.

Maritime Safety

IMB: Piracy Falls to Lowest Level since 2007

The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed that piracy on the world’s seas is at its lowest first-quarter level since 2007,

Lawyer: Korea Ferry Owners Accept Responsibilities

The family that has a major stake in companies that control the shipping operator whose ferry sank last week, likely to have killed hundreds, will take social and

Korean Ferry: Pair Drowned with PFD's Tied Together

A boy and girl trapped in a sinking South Korean ferry with hundreds of other high school students tied their life jacket cords together, a diver who recovered their bodies said,

Communication

Body Of Korean Boy Who Raised Alarm On Sinking Ferry Found

The body of a South Korean boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that a passenger ferry with hundreds on board was in trouble has been found, his parents believe,

Boy Passenger Made Initial Distress Call from Sinking Ferry

The first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry was made by a boy with a shaking voice, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn. He

Harris Corp Awarded Huge Navy Satcom Contract

Florida-based Harris Corporation informs it has been awarded a US Navy potential US$133-Million broadband satellite communication terminal contract. Highlights:

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3207 sec (3 req/sec)