16 April 2020: Satellite communications are supporting relief efforts in the aftermath of a Category 5 storm that battered Pacific island nations last week.
The United Nations Crisis Connectivity Charter was activated after Cyclone Harold made landfall on Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, killing dozens of people, destroying homes and seriously damaging infrastructure.
The cyclone has also hampered attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as hospitals try to cope with the influx of injured victims and thousands of homeless residents are forced to take shelter in evacuation centres, where social distancing is difficult to maintain.
The Crisis Connectivity Charter was established in 2015 as a means of guaranteeing access to vital communications when disaster strikes. Inmarsat, along with other world-leading satellite operators under the umbrella of the EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA) and the Global VSAT Forum (GVF), signed the charter to further signal our commitment to supporting global humanitarian relief efforts.
Since 2018, signatories have committed to supplying satellite equipment and dedicated capacity for humanitarian purposes within 24 hours of a disaster.
This is the third time the charter has been activated. Following the move by the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), a network of organisations led by the World Food Programme, Inmarsat made a bandwidth and data package available which the ETC is using with locally sourced equipment to coordinate relief efforts with affected nations’ governments.
Mike Carter, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “Inmarsat is a proud signatory of the Crisis Connectivity Charter and we will always do everything in our power to support humanitarian operations in the aftermath of a disaster, when reliable communication is vital in getting the right help to people in good time.
“Delivering aid to populations attempting to lockdown in the face of the coronavirus pandemic makes this even more of a challenge, and means having access to up-to-date information on the ground is especially important.”
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