Inmarsat-sponsored Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has established a Global Xpress satellite broadband connection at the first humanitarian coordination centre in Les Cayes, one of the areas most affected by a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit south-west Haiti on 14 August.
The coordination centre is the main hub for humanitarian operations and will provide vital satellite communications for all relief organisations on the ground, including the United Nations, the Civil Protection, the National Centre for Emergency Operations (COUN) and Help.ngo.
“We joined the first convoys heading to the south-west of the country and provided satellite connectivity at the operations coordination centre which was being set up here in Les Cayes. This connection makes information sharing more reliable between the local team of the National Civil Protection Agency (DGPC) and the national level in Port-au-Prince. It also speeds up the establishment of the coordination centre with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team,” said Florent Bervas, Head of Mission for TSF in Haiti.
Tropical storm hampers efforts
Operations have already been hampered by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Grace, causing significant damage to the transport infrastructure, as well as low security in the area. In addition to the Global Xpress connection, TSF has provided IsraAID with IsatPhone 2 satellite phones for added security.
Members of TSF are also supporting United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) with satellite connectivity for its operations in Jérémie and Les Cayes, gathering accurate information about the damage and needs of the people for Haiti’s governmental agencies and organisations involved in the disaster response.
To date, there have been over 2,200 casualties, more than 300 are still missing and over 12,000 injured in Haiti.
Inmarsat has been the official satellite communication partner to TSF since 2000, providing the world’s first NGO focusing on emergency-response technologies with financial aid and airtime, as well as pro-bono legal services from 2019.