4 November 2016: Inmarsat-sponsored aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has completed its mission in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.
Over a three-week period, two teams of emergency communication experts managed to reach 19 towns and villages left cut off after winds of up to 145 mph (233 km/h) swept across the island. In total, 2,461 people were able to contact friends and family using IsatPhone Pro satellite phones.
TSF’s mission to set up communication hubs for first responders was made easier because it has maintained a permanent telecoms response capacity in Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake. In collaboration with the National Association of the Scouts of Haiti, emergency telecommunications kits are pre-positioned throughout the country. Scout volunteers have been trained by TSF to deploy BGAN in the direct aftermath of a disaster.
The kits and volunteers were made available to the humanitarian community, as well as the governmental civil protection body (DPC) and the National Emergency Operations Centre (COUN), within hours of Hurricane Matthew striking on 3 October. Over 27,700MB of data was transferred as the relief effort was coordinated between all the agencies involved.
In addition, TSF has set up two dedicated satellite lines to the International Medical Corps and Belgian NGO Kenbe Fèm for the safety of personnel working in difficult security conditions as a cholera epidemic sweeps across the country.
*TSF has deployed an assessment team to northern Iraq to support humanitarian agencies preparing for a mass population displacement as fighting in Mosul intensifies.
A team from the agency’s Asia Pacific base has arrived in the region, where some 17,600 people have already fled since the beginning of the offensive on 17 October. The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million civilians remain in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.