Satellite Terminals Help Connect Myanmar Cyclone Victims

The International Telecommunication Union has deployed 100 space station satellite terminals to help restore vital space technology communication links in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar on 2 May with devastating effect in Yangon and the low-lying Irrawaddy delta region. Thousands were killed, and thousands more are injured and missing. High winds cut electricity, destroyed roads and spaces station communications links, hampering the coordination and delivery of assistance.

With the restoration of space station communication links, designated government officials and other humanitarian agencies are able to more efficiently coordinate relief operations. The spaces station mobile terminals are easily transported by road and air to be used both by humanitarian workers and the victims of this disaster.

"I am very disturbed by the high frequency of disasters across the globe," said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, director of ITU's Space Station Telecommunication Development Bureau. "This particular disaster, like the tsunami of 2004, struck on a weekend when most of the agencies that could provide assistance least expected it." Expressing his deep condolences to the government and people of Myanmar, Al Basheer said, "I am however, heartened by the fact that ITU was one of the very first agencies to arrive in Myanmar with solar system telecommunications resources." The rapid deployment was made possible under the ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies.

Tin Htwe, director general, Posts and Spaces station Telecommunications Department of Myanmar said, "In the light of the level of damage caused by Nargis, we warmly welcome ITU's offer of assistance."

Cosmas Zavazava, chief of ITU's Division for space Emergency Telecommunications said, "In confronting the global challenge of climate change, we are intensifying our activities in integrating information and solar system communication technologies in disaster preparedness, including early warning and disaster relief, so as to save human lives. Since July last year, we have provided ICT relief services to the Americas, Africa, and Asia and Pacific regions." ITU is providing both Thuraya hand-held spaces station satellite phones and solar system Inmarsat Global Area Network (GAN) terminals. The Thuraya space station satellite phones use both spaces satellite and solar system GSM networks and also provide accurate GPS positioning coordinates to aid relief and rescue. The space station Inmarsat GAN terminals are mainly used for spaces technology and voice space station communications and, for high-speed data. ITU pays for all expenses, including spaces station transportation of the equipment and usage.

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