Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has set up an emergency satcoms centre in Timbuktu, Mali.
The Inmarsat-sponsored team has installed a satellite internet connection at the town hall for use by non-governmental organisations, crisis teams, hospital staff and the local authorities.
With the mobile network in the region only partially functional, TSF has also set up humanitarian calling operations.
Local people can make a free call to let loved ones outside the country know they are safe.
TSF deployed to Timbuktu with BGAN and IsatPhone Pro equipment after French and Malian troops seized the northern town back from rebel forces.
A total of 14 satellite lines have allowed 550 calls to be made so far – these have often been the first calls people have made for several months.