Communications experts from aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) are using satcoms to support relief efforts in the Philippines.
The Inmarsat-sponsored charity dispatched members of its regional team based in Bangkok to the country's capital Manila two days before Typhoon Bopha struck, leaving 740 people dead, another 890 missing and 778,000 displaced.They are leading a national network of emergency response teams created by the aid agency in the Philippines in 2011.
“The teams have been working beside refugee families in various evacuation camps of Cateel, Baganga, Boston and Monkoya, carrying out humanitarian calling operations using Inmarsat satellite communications,” said a TSF spokesman.
“Hundreds of families have been able to contact their loved ones and tell them they're safe.”
He added: “At the same time, TSF has been providing satellite connections within its various telecom centres to support humanitarian organisations and local authorities present on the ground.
“And, our experts have been assessing the damage to the telecoms infrastructure in the most affected municipalities of Davao Oriental in collaboration with the Red Cross, United Nations' Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Unicef, United Nations Disaster Assessment and Co-ordination teams and regional government units.
“Mobile, landline and internet networks are still cut off in affected areas and will not be restored before several weeks.”
TSF's teams are equipped with emergency kits, which include Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro and BGAN terminals to help co-ordinate relief efforts.