Inmarsat enables vital coordination efforts in Iraq

25 July 2014: Inmarsat is enabling vital support services to be deployed in Iraq to help the growing number of internally displaced people (IDP) who have fled their homes following the developing civil war.

IOMIraq training

Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), the Inmarsat-sponsored telecoms aid agency, has been working on the ground supporting NGOs in Iraq since 15 June. It has been providing crucial satellite communications to help the growing number of IDPs, which currently stands at 500,000 according to recent UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) figures.

TSF’s latest effort has been to provide the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Iraq with four Inmarsat BGAN EXPLORER 500 terminals for Salah Al-Din, Anbar, Kirkuk and Mosul, and to train staff on how to use the equipment.

Relief efforts

Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity will facilitate improved coordination of relief efforts in these regions and the transmission of valuable data on demand in areas where terrestrial communications are down or not in reach.

“Thanks to Inmarsat, the IOM can now transmit data on a daily basis to allow the admin and logistics support team to plan, act ahead and provide the support and services which are vital for saving lives in emergency situations,” said Alexander James Thomas, Head of Communications at TSF.

“Furthermore, UN agencies also benefit from these connections by using IOM reports as a basis of information for their situation reports, maps and general coordination.”

Emotional support

When TSF arrived in Kurdistan at the start of the conflict their first priority was to provide people fleeing their homes with the use of Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro satellite phones to contact friends and family and provide much-needed emotional support.

TSF has since set up Humanitarian Internet Communication Centres to enable people to access the internet and social media, and for NGOs to gather and coordinate relief efforts.

In addition, the agency has established an education centre at the IDP Khazar camp on the Kurdish borders to allow children between the ages of nine and 15 to access learning activities on the internet via BGAN.

Télécoms Sans Frontières: www.tsfi.org