Update from The Philippines: Continued Connectivity and Progress
When Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, people lost their lives, their homes, and were without access to clean water or food. Inveneo responded within days, sending a team to jump-start assessment and launch communications relief efforts. Since the typhoon, Inveneo has been on the ground in Leyte and Samar (islands in the Visayas region of the Southern Philippines) supporting emergency communications for major NGOs providing lifesaving aid.
In November, a week after Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Visayas, our assessment team provided disaster communications assistance to our partners United Methodist Communications (UMCOM) and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOM/UMCOR teams were previously operating without any form of emergency communications in areas where cellular networks were non-functional.
In December, and with support from our partner UMCOM, we loaded up rugged tablets with a suite of disaster response applications to give field staff at 20+ major NGOs including Oxfam, Plan International, and Save the Children access to up-to-date crisis maps and to help coordinate their relief efforts. Inveneo also provided training on use of the tablets.
(L to R) Inveneo engineer provides satphone training to senior UMCOR staff; Innovate ICT’s tower team in the Inveneo / Petzl tower safety workshop in January 2014; Innovate ICT owner Jayson Orebia installs wireless equipment at World Vision International.
In January and February, progress continued as two of our engineers spent a month on the ground. We focused our work in three areas:
Supporting the UN Emergency Telecom Cluster (ETC), providing direct engineering support to the active ETC network in Tacloban City. The ETC network provides emergency connectivity to the NGO community in Tacloban until local providers can restore services. Inveneo engineers deployed a new relay site to fill in a dead zone in the ETC network, connecting the offices of 5+ additional NGOs. This relay site provides them with critical connectivity when they had no other options. These NGOs, including Save the Children, ACF, and Solidarite and working across diverse issues including food security, water and sanitation, shelter, and children’s issues are now better able to coordinate their operations through the use of email, skype, and other Internet services.
(L to R) Inveneo engineer configures equipment providing a critical redundant backhaul link to the Tacloban City ETC network; The Inveneo-installed relay site in western Tacloban City serving 5+ NGOs who have no other connectivity options; Inveneo engineer climbs a tower to install wireless equipment to bring SOS Children’s Villages online.
Inveneo is committed to local sustainability in all of its projects and trains local technicians to ensure that projects will continue long after the Inveneo team leaves. If you would like to help Inveneo continue its work, please visit http://inveneo.org/donate