Telecoms aid agency reconnects island devastated by quake

A team from aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières helped set up emergency communications centres to reconnect towns on the island of Bohol in the Philippines.

The telecoms experts were called-in to restore critical communications after the island was devastated by an earthquake which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

Almost 400,000 were affected by the quake which triggered landslides engulfing homes and destroying infrastructures.

Main priorities
TSF focused its operations on three towns Loon, Maribojoc and Sagbayan, which had all been cut off from the rest of the country.

The Inmarsat-sponsored agency collaborated with children’s rights organisation Plan International, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and local telephone operator SMART.

A TSF spokesman said: “One of our main priorities on arrival in the town of Loon was to reconnect the town hall.

Free calls
“After carrying out an assessment of the telecom situation, we set up an internet connection and Wi-Fi bridge so that the Filipino Department of Social Welfare and Development, local police and government departments could co-ordinate aid efforts.

“We then established similar telecoms centres in Maribojoc and Sagbayan.”

The Inmarsat-sponsored agency also set up humanitarian calling giving people affected by the disaster the opportunity to make a free satellite phone call to let their loved ones know they were safe.

Télécoms Sans Frontières: www.tsfi.org