Creating WiFi Links to Save Lives in Haiti

Today’s Status

This morning, Inveneo’s team on the ground in Haiti, CIO Mark Summer and Engineer Andris Bjornson, started deploying the first of 15 long-distance WiFi Internet links for NetHope partner organizations across Port au Prince.

Long-distance WiFi links to relief

They started by connecting an Inveneo R4 Hub Server to the VSAT satellite Internet downlink from ITC Global, and installing a local access point for the CHF International headquarters.

Then they created two long-distance WiFi links from the headquarters of CHF International, to two different offices of Save the Children in Port au Prince. The first link was around 2.5 kilometers long. Later this afternoon they established a third link to the offices of Catholic Relief Services.

This is the start of the network we plan to establish within the next two weeks. The final result will be a redundant, high-speed Internet connection shared via long-distance WiFi antennas with 15-20 NetHope member agencies. This new connectivity will open the flow of information within and among agencies and speed the delivery of critical relief services.

The Need is Great

This communication network cannot come fast enough for the people of Haiti. Here is Mark Summer’s description of Port au Prince he’s seen while driving between WiFi installations:

Driving around you see many collapsed or significantly damaged buildings, often right next to completely intact ones. Here in the hills the damage is significantly less then down in the center of PaP where in it seems that in many areas more then 50% of the buildings are gone or beyond repair.

We’ve seen buildings that have had two or three stories and now no higher then 5 feet of the ground – it seems as if walls just turned into sand…

Many Haitians now live in parks, parking lots or simply in the street (often a whole road is closed because people now live it in) under tarps or in tents. You see people bathing on the side of the road, cooking in the street or parking lots etc.

Currently the weather is very pleasant warm (in the 80s) but not too humid in the day and a nice cooling off in the evenings but not too cold. Once it starts to rain here things will be decidedly more unpleasant for the people living in the parks, streets and back yards.

Expanding Our Impact

We’ve already received requests for assistance from other organizations in Haiti (ICT Request Form). As we gain a better understanding of local conditions and local partner resources, we hope to expand our impact and establish lasting ICT capacity in Haiti. We still have the long-term goal to expand our innovative technology model into the country.

In these efforts, we’d love for you to stay involved. You can follow us in real-time via RSSTwitterFacebook, or Youtube.

How you can help

NetHope has agreed to provide funds to cover the cost of equipment and the EKTA Foundation has generously supported the initial deployment. We are making an appeal for donations to cover the quickly escalating costs associated with our Haiti relief efforts.

Please donate to Inveneo using PayPal or Google Checkout below. Inveneo is a US-based 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization. If you are a US resident, your donation may be tax deductible.

All donations through January 31, 2010 will be used only for Haiti relief efforts, including the project to get connectivity to the major NGOs in Haiti.


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  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 22, 2010 in the categories: News, Relief
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