Vital communication links restored by ITU after Peru quake

Following the devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale that struck Southern Peru on 15 August 2007, killing more than 500 people and injuring as well as displacing thousands more, ITU deployed 50 satellite terminals to help restore vital communication links in remote and underserved areas.

The links deployed by ITU are critical in coordinating rescue and relief operations. According to Ms Cayetana Aljovin, Peru’s Vice-Minister for Communications, the equipment is being deployed in areas where telecommunications are not available. And yet these latter are most needed to facilitate emergency teams as well as government organisations in establishing communications to coordinate their work. "We take very seriously the role of telecommunications in mitigating disasters," said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. "Whenever a country is affected by a disaster, we quickly mobilise and dispatch transportable telecommunications resources that can be used for general communications by government authorities and to provide e-services such as telemedicine that are crucial for saving human lives. We hope that this contribution will go a long way towards helping Peru cope with this massive earthquake."

Emergency telecommunication is the key for government and humanitarian aid agencies involved in rescue operations, medical assistance and rehabilitation. Mountainous terrain in Peru severely hampers access and the coordination of rescue operations. In this latest emergency, the restoration of telecommunication resources helped bridge these gaps and provided the much needed link for the transmission and reception of high speed data for e-applications and for voice communications. This provided succour to both government authorities and relief agencies as well as to the affected population.

ITU was responsible for transporting and deploying all the terminals as well as paying for the air time for using them. Twelve of the terminals are Global Area Network (GAN) terminals and 38 are Regional Broadband Global Network satellite terminals (RBGAN). The 12 GAN terminals are capable of providing voice, data and video services, and the 38 RBGAN terminals provide high-speed data communications.

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