17 June 2014: Inmarsat-sponsored Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has arrived in Kurdistan to help people caught up in the developing civil war in Iraq to contact family and friends.
The TSF team flew into Erbil Airport in the Kurdish capital, 80kms (50 miles) east of Mosul, on Sunday, June 15.
Up to half a million people are thought to have fled to safety from the Nineveh Governorate in northern Iraq towards the border regions of Kurdistan with little prospect of finding shelter.
People fleeing their homes will have the use of eight IsatPhone Pro satellite phones to stay in touch with friends and family.
“The relief represents far more than just a simple telephone call,” said Alexander James Thomas, Head of Communications at TSF.
“Through each call, they receive not only emotional support, but also personalised assistance adapted to their needs. This phone call is often the first contact that people have had with their families for several days.”
The team will also be using three Inmarsat BGAN Explorer 500 terminals for Humanitarian Internet Communication Centres, allowing people access to social networks, email and news websites using interactive tablets.
The centres will also allow emergency workers from other NGOs, including United Nations agencies, to work together and co-ordinate the relief effort.
Télécoms Sans Frontières: www.tsfi.org