ITU Sends 100 Satellite Phones to Chinese Earthquake Zone
Published on: 21st May 2008
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has deployed 100 satellite phones to help restore vital communication links in the aftermath of the severe earthquake that struck central China. The quake, which destroyed infrastructure and telecommunications lines, disrupted electricity and transport, brought down buildings and rendered nearly 5 million people homeless, is the country's worst natural disaster in three decades.
With the restoration of communication links, designated government officials and other humanitarian agencies are now able to more efficiently coordinate relief operations. The mobile satellite terminals are easily transported by road and air to be used both by humanitarian workers and the victims of this disaster.
"I am shocked by the magnitude of this disaster, which has wreaked havoc in the Sichuan province of China," said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "I would like to assure the government that ITU is ready to provide expertise in carrying out telecommunication network damage assessments aimed at paving the way for the rehabilitation of the damaged telecommunications infrastructure." Mr Al Basheer said that ITU has dispatched satellite equipment to facilitate rescue and relief operations. He thanked Thuraya for contributing the satellite terminals and FedEx Switzerland for transporting the equipment free of charge to China. ITU will bear all other costs related to the deployment.
ITU has sent hand-held Thuraya satellite phones which use both satellite and GSM networks and also provide accurate GPS coordinates to aid relief and rescue operations.