Haiyan telecom relief efforts gain pace

Dylan Bushell-Embling
12 Nov 2013
Daily News

Philippine operators and international telecom aid groups are stepping in to restore connectivity to areas hard-hit by super typhoon Haiyan.

The devastating storm may have killed up to 10,000 residents in one city alone, and has ravaged telecom infrastructure in the worst-affected areas.

Globe engineers have been hard at work restoring cell sites affected by the typhoon, and as of yesterday had restored 50% of damaged base stations, the company announced.

Globe has also deployed several on-wheels cell sites to improve connectivity for typhoon victims, and set up seven free calling stations and 24 mobile charging centers as part of its relief efforts.

Rival mobile brand Smart is also restoring mobile coverage in affected areas as part of its relief efforts. In the interim, the company has partnered with Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) and Vodafone Foundation to provide temporary satellite and cellular services for victims and relief workers.

Under the collaboration, Vodafone Foundation deployed two of its suitcase-sized Instant Networks to support humanitarian workers.

Smart Satellite Services and TSF are meanwhile providing free satellite call stations for victims, and Smart and Thuraya Satellite are deploying fixed satellite phone and satellite sleeves that can transform iPhones to satellite units.

Singapore's SingTel has separately announced it is donating 1.7 million pesos ($39,000) to the relief efforts, running a donation drive for its staff in Singapore in Australia, and waiving remittance fees for mRemit payments between its Singapore subscribers and their loved ones in the Philippines.

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