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Emergency Communications Deployed to Typhoon Hit Philippines

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The telecoms charity, T l coms Sans Fronti res is deploying emergency communications services in areas of the Philippines hit by Typhoon Pablo.

Communications lines were cut when Typhoon Pablo hit the province on December 4, flattening buildings and damaging cell sites and telecoms transmission facilities.

The charity is deploying a a portable mobile phone network which packs in to three suitcases, weighs less than 100kg and can be taken on commercial flights. The kit was developed by Huawei and funded by the Vodafone Foundation. Once on location, a network can be established in 40 minutes.

The 'ultra-portable' mobile network will be used in the municipality of Baganga, where relief agencies have set up an operations base and connected via satellite to wireless services provider Smart Communications' network. Once operational, the portable communications network can provide coverage of three to five kilometres and the GSM base station can transmit and receive thousands of text messages and dozens of calls simultaneously.

The Instant Network has been previously deployed in response to a humanitarian situation, when it provided communications during severe droughts in Kaikor, Northern Kenya earlier this year. However, this is the first time it has been used in an emergency disaster situation.

This is the first time that the Vodafone Foundation has used the technology in a country where it does not operate. It is being deployed by a team from Vodafone New Zealand - engineers Cliff Robertson and Jason Rogers - and the Vodafone Foundation.

Sebastien Latouille, ICT manager and head of mission Philippines,Télécoms Sans Frontières, said: "Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has been working in the affected area of Davao Oriental, where communications have not been available for the last seven days. The deployment of the Vodafone Instant Network will provide connectivity back in the area, greatly enhancing the relief work efficiency and enabling the displaced families to get in touch with their loved ones,"

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Tags: telecoms sans frontieres  Philippines