ITU supports WHO and UNHCR in Mali

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Emergency telecommunications provided to UN humanitarian agencies

Geneva, 14 March 2013 – ITU has provided satellite terminals for both voice and high-speed data to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support their humanitarian work in the Mali crisis.

ITU has supplied 30 Thuraya satellite phones to WHO to facilitate health relief efforts in northern Mali.

“At a time when Mali is recovering from conflict, relief effort by UN humanitarian agencies is much needed to assist people in the affected towns and villages,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said. “ITU is working with WHO and UNHCR to provide requisite support with emergency telecommunication equipment, which is critical in coordinating operations to help the people affected by the crisis.”

Dr Richard Brennan, WHO Director of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response, said, “The deployment of satellite communication equipment will help fill a major resource gap in the health sector’s response to the Mali crisis.” He also stated that “during a humanitarian crisis, WHO operations require a range of logistical equipment, including communications for health information management and to comply with field security measures”.

“We take humanitarian work very seriously,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “In dire situations such as the one in Mali, ITU is ever ready to support UN agencies in their humanitarian effort to assist people and communities caught up in conflict, especially those who have been afflicted by illness and those who have been displaced from their homes.”

ITU regularly deploys emergency telecommunications across the globe in response to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and other natural disasters.

For more information, please contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
+41 22 730 5046
+41 79 249 4861