Perhaps as many as 10,000 people have perished with hundreds of thousands more displaced from their homes in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Haiyan. Named “Yolanda” by the Filipino authorities, the typhoon is considered by many to be one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, storms in recorded history causing certainly one of the worst natural disasters in history.
Yolanda struck the eastern coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on November 8, 2013, a day certain to be remembered as one of the worst days in the history of the Philippines.
Initially slow to get started due to looting concerns and the lack of infrastructure in place to support it, aid has since ramped up to a furious pace as troops and supplies continue to flood to the area from all over the world.
Always a significant challenge in any such natural disaster is providing the communications required in order to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid to thedevastated areas. Also, one cannot underestimate the need for the desperate victims of Yolanda to be able to communicate with their families both within the country as well as throughout the world.
Telecoms Sand Frontieres (TSF), working in conjunctions with the United Nations, has provided two teams equipped with BGAN satellite technology and handheld Isatphone Pro satellite phones by Inmarsat to coordinate relief efforts throughout the island chain.
Anticipating the extent of the disaster, Inmarsat was able to get the equipment to the islandsTyphoonYolanda ISatPhone Pro resized 600 before the typhoon struck. This proved significant in expediting the search and rescue efforts by the Minister of Home Affairs and facilitating victim communications with loved ones thought the world. One cannot underestimate the importance of just being able to tell loved one that you are ALIVE!
“We were able to set up three telecom centers for relief co-ordination before the influx of humanitarian aid arrived in the aftermath of Haiyan,” said a TSF spokesman.
Once again, Inmarsat stands at the forefront of disaster rescue and relief efforts worldwide. Thanks to BGAN satellite and the Isatphone Pro, a horrible situation is made just a little less horrible.