The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network has been deployed in the Philippines to enable humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving work and people to locate loved ones following the catastrophic typhoon.
A team travelled to the Philippines last weekend at the request of Smart Communications, Inc. to deploy two Vodafone Foundation Instant Networks to Palo, a region 15km south of Tacloban, one of the worst affected parts of the Philippines. The portable network, which fits in to four suitcases, weighs 100kg and can be transported on commercial flights, was transported to the country within 24 hours of the typhoon hitting.
The portable networks will be deployed by Smart, with the assistance of four volunteers from Vodafone Hungary and Vodafone New Zealand and a team from Télécoms Sans Frontières. Oisin Walton, Vodafone Foundation Instant Network Manager, who has 10 years’ experience in emergency telecommunications, is leading the deployment.
The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network is a portable mobile phone network and is light enough to travel in the back of a car or on commercial flights, which enables a quick response to disasters. Consisting of an antenna, a foldable mast, an industrial computer and base transceiver station, the equipment is powered by generators.
Vodafone Foundation Instant Network was also deployed in the Philippines last December during Typhoon Bopha, where almost 300,000 calls were made in 17 days. In the last 12 months, the programme has provided support in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Andrew Dunnett, Vodafone Group Director Sustainability & Vodafone Foundation, said, “This is the second time in 12 months we have deployed the network to the Philippines. We hope it will not only provide much-needed network support for aid agencies, but will enable those people caught in the most devastated areas with no means of communication to connect with their loved ones outside of those areas”.