International Telecommunication Union (ITU): ITU deploys satellite
terminals in quake-hit China
(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)
ITU deploys satellite terminals in quake-hit China Restoring
telecommunication links vital in rehabilitation effort
Geneva -- The International Telecommunication Union has deployed 100
satellite terminals to help restore vital communication links in the
aftermath of the severe earthquake that struck central China on 12 May
2008. The 8.0-magnitude quake in Sichuan province of China killed more
than 40 000 people and injured hundreds of thousands, with many still
missing ten days after the tragedy. The quake, which destroyed
infrastructure and telecommunications lines, disrupted electricity and
transport, brought down buildings and rendered nearly 5 million people
homeless, is the country's worst natural disaster in three decades.
With the restoration of communication links, designated government
officials and other humanitarian agencies are now able to more
efficiently coordinate relief operations. The mobile satellite
terminals are easily transported by road and air to be used both by
humanitarian workers and the victims of this disaster.
"On behalf of the International Telecommunication Union, I would like
to extend our profound sympathy to the Government and people of China
on the terrible tragedy that struck the South-Western Sichuan
province," said Dr Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of ITU. "Our
hearts go out especially to the families of those who have been killed
and injured and those still missing following the powerful earthquake."
"I am shocked by the magnitude of this disaster, which has wreaked
havoc in the Sichuan province of China," said Sami Al Basheer Al
Morshid, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "I
would like to assure the government that ITU is ready to provide
expertise in carrying out telecommunication network damage assessments
aimed at paving the way for the rehabilitation of the damaged
telecommunications infrastructure." Mr Al Basheer said that ITU has
dispatched satellite equipment to facilitate rescue and relief
operations. He thanked Thuraya for contributing the satellite terminals
and FedEx Switzerland for transporting the equipment free of charge to
China. ITU will bear all other costs related to the deployment.
Vice Minister Xi Guo Hua, Ministry of Industry and Information
Technology, said, "On behalf of the Ministry of Industry and
Information Technology of the People's Republic of China, I would like
to express our heartfelt gratitude to the International
Telecommunication Union for the sympathy you have shown and the kind
offer of satellite equipment. As you are aware, the earthquake in
Sichuan province of China has caused severe losses to the affected
areas in terms of human lives and properties. Our government is
handling the disaster as a matter of top priority, mobilizing all
resources available for the rescue work and trying every effort to
minimize the extent of damages as a result of the earthquake."
ITU has sent hand-held Thuraya satellite phones which use both
satellite and GSM networks and also provide accurate GPS coordinates to
aid relief and rescue operations.
ITU Framework for Cooperation in Emergencies (IFCE)
The IFCE has benefited from the generous contribution of funds and
equipment from its partners: Inmarsat, Iridium, Thuraya, ICO Global
Communications, Vizada, TerreStar Global, and FedEx. Thuraya has
increased its contribution to the IFCE with an additional 100 handheld
satellite phones, augmenting the 50 satellite phones it provided to ITU
For more information, please see www.itu.int/ITU-D/emergencytelecoms/
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and
communication technology issues, and the global focal point for
governments and the private sector in developing networks and services.
For more than 140 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of
the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning
satellite orbits, worked to improve telecommunication infrastructure in
the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that
foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications
ITU also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums
bringing together the most influential representatives of government
and the telecommunications industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and
technology for the benefit of the global community, and in particular
the developing world.
From broadband Internet to latest-generation wireless technologies,
from aeronautical and maritime navigation to radio astronomy and
satellite-based meteorology, from phone and fax services to TV
broadcasting and next-generation networks, ITU is committed to
connecting the world.
CONTACT: Sanjay Acharya, Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 5046
Tel: +41 79 249 4861
Fax: +41 22 730 5939
Cosmas Zavazava, Chief of Division Emergency Telecommunications ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5447
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