Thursday, July 18, 2024

UN sends more satellite phones for health efforts in Yolanda-hit areas

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations, said it is providing additional satellite terminals for both voice and high-speed data to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support its humanitarian work in the Philippines for the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) crisis.

The satellite phones deployed by the ITU is similar to the units donated by Smart Communications to Cebu-based Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (above photo) for its disaster response efforts in Samar and Leyte

ITU has supplied 40 Thuraya satellite phones to facilitate health relief efforts in the worst-affected parts of the country.

?At a time when the Philippines is recovering from the Haiyan crisis, relief efforts by UN humanitarian agencies are much needed to assist victims in the affected towns and villages,? ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Tour? said.

?ITU is working with WHO to provide the emergency telecommunication equipment that is vital for coordinating response operations in disaster-affected communities.?

Richard Brennan, WHO director of emergency risk management and humanitarian response, cited the ITU for its assistance to fill a major resource gap in the health sector?s response to the crisis.

?These satellite phones will be of tremendous benefit to our humanitarian operations in support of the Philippine Ministry of Health, as well as WHO and its partners, helping us gather and manage information for disease surveillance, early warning systems and sectoral coordination.?

ITU is also deploying an additional 50 satellite phones, including 25 Iridium Sat Phones, 10 Thuraya Sat Phones and 15 Inmarsat BGAN units, and is also deploying 25 laptops to help people re-establish contact with their family members in other cities of the Philippines and abroad.

The UN agency regularly deploys emergency telecommunications across the globe in response to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and other natural disasters. This latest assistance follows an earlier deployment of equipment and personnel in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

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