10 August 2020: Inmarsat partner and emergency telecommunications NGO Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has deployed to Beirut in the aftermath of a devastating explosion that rocked the capital of Lebanon on 4 August 2020, destroying its port.
As the death toll rises to over 200, with up to 5,000 injured, many missing and another 300,000 people forced out of their homes, the disaster has overwhelmed Beirut’s healthcare system, which is already struggling to treat COVID-19 patients and the needs of over one million refugees.
TSF is working in collaboration with United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to provide reliable satellite communications (satcoms) in the area. Currently, the local network remains unreliable and electricity is almost solely being supplied through generators.
Satcoms will be vital to help coordinate UNDAC’s search and rescue teams and support its assessment operations to evaluate the damages caused by the explosion, including the risks linked to the chemicals released during the accident on the environment and Beirut’s citizens.
TSF will also provide connectivity to the UNOCHA Regional Office, which has been damaged by the explosion, and to help coordinate the many humanitarian organisations and governments expected to arrive in the area over the coming days.
Inmarsat has been a partner to TSF for 20 years, providing the NGO with free airtime and financial aid to restore communications after disasters and coordinate relief efforts. Currently our Global Xpress, BGAN and IsatPhone2 services are on standby to support humanitarian response to the disaster.