21 September 2017: A team from Inmarsat-sponsored Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) deployed to support hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean has been transferred to Mexico following the latest earthquake to hit the country.
Measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, the quake on 19 September killed at least 230 people in Mexico City and the surrounding area. President Enrique Peña Nieto has called for international support in finding survivors trapped in dozens of collapsed buildings.
The TSF team was in the Dominican Republic preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Maria, which has already caused widespread destruction in Puerto Rico and Dominica. Due to the scale of the disaster in Mexico, they were deployed to the capital yesterday.
TSF will set up emergency communications to help coordinate relief efforts using Inmarsat BGAN. The team also has IsatPhone 2 satellite phones so people affected by the earthquake can make free calls to let family know they are alive and seek assistance.
The aid agency sent two teams in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria so retains a presence in the region. Before leaving the Dominican Republic, the telecoms experts worked alongside the Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias to preposition satellite phones in five of the most exposed districts. Hurricane Maria lashed the country with heavy rain and sustained winds of up to 115 miles per hour (185 km/h) today.
The Mexico earthquake came on the anniversary of a major quake that killed thousands of people in the capital in 1985. Earlier this month, an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south of the country left at least 90 people dead.