Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has sent a new team to Niger in response to the food crisis that is threatening more than eight million people.
The aid agency, sponsored by Inmarsat and distribution partner Vizada, is training non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to use IsatPhone Pro satellite phones and BGAN terminals.
This is allowing emergency responders working for Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium and Care International to communicate with their headquarters and coordinate their joint activities on site when they operate in isolated areas.
In the badly-affected region of North Dakoro, TSF has helped VSF Belgium set up a field office with a laptop, IsatPhone Pro and BGAN terminal.
It is here that the drought is causing the most suffering, particularly among women and children.
“TSF's connections enable the sending of essential data about the evolution of the situation among affected populations,” said TSF spokesman Laure Crampé.
This is the second TSF team to be sent to the West African country. In April, the charity set up a communications centre for aid agencies supporting thousands of refugees fleeing violence in neighbouring Mali.
This influx has exacerbated the food emergency in Niger, sparked by increasingly frequent droughts, consecutive poor harvests and spiralling prices.
The NGOs, working as part of the National Mechanism for Food Crisis Prevention and Management, aim to bridge the “hunger gap”, which runs from the depletion of the last harvest to the next crop in September.