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Telecoms Charity Sends Aid to Congo

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In an effort to support the agencies of the United Nations and non governmental organizations, a team of emergency telecommunications specialists was deployed from T l coms Sans Fronti res (TSF) headquarters in France to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The team reached the city of Dungu situated near the Sudanese border in the eastern province of this central African country Sunday.

Trapped in a conflict between the Congolese armed forces and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), the civilian populations of the Dungu territory are increasingly victim to rape, pillage and murder. Since the governments of the RDC and Uganda joined forces to eliminate the LRA in 2008, the rising conflict has led to mass displacements of populations estimated between 25000 and 50000 people-a crisis that is expected to exacerbate in the coming months.

Aid agencies have joined forces to protect civilian populations and save lives in this unstable region with limited telecommunication infrastructure. A major refugee camp is currently being established to meet the needs of the tens of thousands of internally displaced persons. To facilitate the work of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations in the region, TSF has offered its services to establish a telecom center at Dungu to be used by the entire humanitarian community.

The TSF team will establish a satellite connection via a mobile system to provide internet and telephones. The team will remain in the zone for one month in order to guarantee solutions that benefit the entire humanitarian community for the coming months, including the establishment of a more durable fixed satellite system. Concurrently the team will evaluate the needs of the local population and could run humanitarian calling operations enabling civilians to contact their relatives in DRC or abroad.

Last November, a TSF team was deployed to Uganda to help meet the needs of growing refugee populations fleeing the DRC. The telecom centers benefited 10 humanitarian organizations and phone calls were provided for almost 2000 families. In 2008, TSF intervened in 10 humanitarian emergencies throughout the world, assisting over one hundred organizations and 20,000 civilians.

This mission is supported by the Vodafone Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Vizada, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, PCCW Global and the Conseil Régional d'Aquitaine.

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Tags: pccw  rsa  ict  itu  vodafone  telecoms sans frontieres  tsf  satellite  united nations  emergency  army  Congo