April 27, 2015
ITU has deployed emergency telecommunication equipment in Nepal following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on Saturday. The emergency equipment includes 35 satellite mobile phones and 10 satellite Broadband Global Area Network terminals along with solar panels and laptops to support relief coordination efforts.
“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the people and the Government of Nepal following loss of life even as the toll continues to rise and widespread devastation across the country,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The emergency communication equipment sent by ITU will help restore vital communication links that are essential to coordinate relief and rescue efforts.”
“Emergency telecommunications play a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disasters,” said Brahima Sanou, director of ITU’s telecommunication development bureau. “They ensure timely flow of information that is much needed by government agencies and other humanitarian actors involved in rescue operations.”
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), initial government reports confirm that 30 out of 75 districts in the country have been affected in the Western and Central Regions, including Kathmandu Valley. This includes mountainous and hilly terrain in areas where rural populations are widely dispersed as well as some very densely populated cities – the greater Kathmandu area, Bhaktapur and Pokhara.
At the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan, ITU addressed the importance of linking information and communication technologies to disaster risk reduction.
ITU said it considers emergency telecommunications an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda.