French telco helps link up towns isolated by Pablo

Subscribe Now February 07, 2013 at 02:52pm

In emergency cases, providing telecommunications access to affected communities as a humanitarian response is as critical as the need for food, water, shelter and medical help. This was the case for the residents of three coastal towns in Davao Oriental who were displaced by typhoon Pablo in December last year. Most of the structures, including telecommunications infrastructure, in these towns were damaged by the strong winds.

Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), a non-government organization specializing in emergency telecommunications services, has helped save lives by providing valuable communications support to rescue and search teams, aid agencies and victims in the towns of Cateel, Baganga and Boston for a month in the aftermath of Pablo.

TSF volunteers led by ICT manager Sébastien Latouille went to Davao Oriental, and worked with Smart engineers in setting up satellite voice and Internet facilities in the area and Vodafone Foundation, the humanitarian arm of one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world.

“Our operation in Davao Oriental was successful. With the help of Smart engineers, we were able to help other organizations save lives and directly support victims’ needs for communications. We are looking forward to future collaborations with Smart on disaster preparedness and response,” said Latouille, who stayed in Davao to oversee operations for nearly a month.

It wasn’t the first deployment of TSF in the Philippines. It also provided voice, data and fax services, as well as global positioning system (GPS) devices to the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams in 2009 when the country was hit by a string of typhoons, including Ondoy, which submerged most parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

TSF, which is based out of the French city of Pau, was founded to address the critical need for reliable emergency telecommunications services.

TSF is one of Smart’s global partners in this field. Smart, through its umbrella CSR program, Kabalikat, has been active proponents in the industry for emergency preparedness and disaster response since the beginning of the company’s operations.


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