Emergency Communications for Disaster Relief Deployment 2006 Archive
Suriname (May 12- May 22, 2006): In May 2006, torrential rains in central and southern Suriname caused several major rivers to rapidly rise beyond their banks. The resultant flooding submerged an area estimated at nearly 30,000km², forcing over 37,000 people from their homes and badly damaging local buildings, land, and vital communications infrastructures.
Télécoms Sans Frontières immediately deployed a team of ICT specialists to the region to install an emergency telecommunications centre to support aid groups working on the ground and help coordinate the intensive relief efforts following the rains.
By establishing secure phone lines, internet connections, and laptop work stations, Télécoms Sans Frontières was able to provide the vital communications resources necessary to enable aid workers to quickly and efficiently respond to the crisis, saving both time and lives.
Indonesia (May 27- June 20, 2006): On May 27, 2006, an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale shook the entire Indonesian island of Java, killing over 5,000 people and injuring nearly 40,000 more. Vital internet and phones lines were badly damaged or destroyed as hundreds of buildings and homes collapsed during the quake, leaving an estimated 1.5 million people without shelter and without a way to communicate with friends and loved ones.
In response to the crisis, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) immediately deployed a group of ICT specialists to establish an emergency communications center in the city of Yogyakarta. In less than 48 hours, TSF had installed computers, routers, printers, broadband internet and fax and telephone lines to support the more than 20 relief agencies working on the ground.
The TSF team not only provided essential telecoms services for relief workers, but also launched a humanitarian calling operation that gave over 500 survivors the opportunity to make phone calls and connect with loved ones.
Lebanon (August 6- September 20, 2006): The 2006 Lebanon War killed over a thousand people and displaced an estimated one million Lebanese civilians. The 33-day military conflict also left in its wake a severely damaged internal infrastructure. Roads, bridges, buildings, phone lines and satellite towers had all been compromised by massive airstrikes, artillery fire, and military attacks. Even Beirut's Rafic Hariri International Airport was destroyed during the conflict.
Upon the brokering of a ceasefire by the United Nations, Télécoms Sans Frontières immediately deployed to the devastated region. TSF's ICT specialists established emergency communication centers in over five cities throughout Lebanon to help coordinate humanitarian aid and recovery efforts.
During their 34 days of deployment, TSF also established a humanitarian calling operation during which over 600 families benefited from a phone call to loved ones who had been displaced by the conflict.
Democratic Republic of Congo (August 16- September 20, 2006): The bloody history of the Democratic Republic of Congo paints an enduring portrait of civil war and violence. However, in May 2006, the disarmament of powerful rebel groups in the region provided a new ray of hope for children and families who had been displaced by years of infighting.
As waves of displaced persons began returning to their homes and villages, humanitarian aid groups quickly moved into the newly-accessible region to support new needs and help aid transition. Télécoms Sans Frontières also immediately deployed to the DRC to join The United Nations International Children's Education Fund (UNICEF) in their efforts in the war-torn region by providing emergency telecommunication services and equipment.
In addition to UNICEF, over 17 other organizations utilized TSF's communications center, and more than 100 individuals benefited from the humanitarian calling operation led by the TSF team.