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ITU deploys satellite communications to prepare for hurricane in Haiti

by david.nunes

High-speed data capability to assist in applying telemedicine and overall humanitarian effort

Geneva, 5 November 2010 – ITU has dispatched thirty broadband satellite terminals to Haiti as the country prepares for hurricane Tomas, which is expected to strike its shores today. Meteorological authorities have placed Haiti on Red alert as the storm gathers strength over the Caribbean Sea. The impending storm places additional risk on the people of Haiti who are already suffering from the impact of the devastating earthquake which struck the country on 12 January this year.

The satellite terminals are part of the overall hurricane preparedness efforts underway in Haiti. The equipment, which will be deployed initially for a year, will be managed by CONATEL, the Haitian telecommunication regulatory agency. The equipment is intended to support relevant governmental and non-state humanitarian agencies in accordance with requirements on the ground.

The terminals being deployed have a high-speed data capability that is suitable for advanced telemedicine applications and will be useful to monitor and address ongoing health concerns in Haiti as with the recent cholera epidemic.

The terminals will also be used to support the overall recovery effort in Haiti as well as to strengthen early warning capabilities.

Re-establishing communications is a critical tool in disaster management to ensure timely dissemination of authoritative information to government entities and aid agencies involved in rescue and rehabilitation efforts. ITU is working with emergency communications partners Iridium Communications and Inmarsat to ensure connectivity for satellite handsets, which will be used by local authorities to facilitate humanitarian assistance to disaster victims. ITU pays for the transportation of the equipment and for the air-time for its use.

For further information, please contact:Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU +41 22 730 5046
+41 79 249 4861
+41 22 730 5939

Cosmas Zavazava
Chief of Division
Emergency Telecommunications, ITU + 41 22 730 5447

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