Two mobile networks in the Palo region help victims of Typhoon Haiyan
Vodafone Foundation, the charity arm of the British telecommunications company, has deployed two ‘instant networks’ to help victims of the Typhoon Haiyan, which raged across the Philippines during the weekend.
The portable mobile networks, previously used in South Sudan, Northern Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, enable local residents to contact their loved ones in the wake of the disaster, and allow humanitarian workers to carry out their mission.
Vodafone Foundation sent a team to the Philippines within 24 hours of the typhoon hitting the islands, at the request of Smart Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.
The Foundation deployed two pop-up networks in Palo, a region 15km south of Tacloban – one of the parts worst affected by the natural disaster – with the assistance of volunteers from Vodafone and Télécoms Sans Frontières.
Developed by Vodafone, a single instant GSM network can fit into just three suitcases, weighing around 100kg – light enough to travel in the back of a car or be transported on commercial flights. It consists of an antenna, a foldable mast, an industrial computer and a base transceiver station, all powered by a portable generator.
Once on location, an instant network can be deployed in less than 40 minutes.
The same equipment was deployed in the Philippines last December during Typhoon Bopha, when almost 300,000 calls were made in 17 days.
“This is the second time in 12 months we have deployed the network to the Philippines. We hope it will not only provide much-needed network support for aid agencies, but will enable those people caught in the most devastated areas with no means of communication to connect with their loved ones outside of those areas,” said Andrew Dunnett, director of Vodafone Foundation and head of sustainability initiatives at Vodafone Group.
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