Uruguay

Uruguay - Floods: TSF deploys from Americas base

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Pau, 14 May 2007 - A crew of specialists in emergency telecommunications took off on Saturday from Télécoms Sans Frontières' Americas base situated in Managua, Nicaragua to strengthen the coordination of relief teams following heavy floods which are affecting 9 of the 19 provinces of Uruguay. TSF is notably deployed to support the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams (UNDAC).

According to a report from the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), 110 000 people have been affected by the worst flooding since 1959. 12 000 people have already been evacuated. These figures are likely to rise in the coming hours when the flood waters reach low-lying areas.

Communications have been disrupted in several affected zones and upon arrival TSF will immediately put satellite communications equipment available in order to facilitate the first assessments and ensure reliable communication between the field and organizations head offices. TSF's specialists in emergency telecommunications are carrying three mobile satellite data transmitters (Inmarsat Bgan and RBgan terminals) and satellite phones enabling to deploy communication centres with broadband Internet, phone and fax lines and other IT equipment.

TSF is ready to deploy more crews from France depending on the needs of rescue teams and of affected civilians.

This mission is coordinated with the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and funded by the Vodafone Group Foundation, the United Nations Foundation and TSF's other partners.

This is the 7th deployment of TSF with the United Nations since signing the agreement with UN OCHA and Unicef in May 2006. Previously, TSF deployed to Suriname (May 2006), to Indonesia (June), the Democratic Republic of Congo (August), Lebanon (August), Mozambique (February and March 2007) and most recently to the Solomon Islands following the tsunami which the archipelago in April.

More about TSF

Télécoms Sans Frontières: the leading humanitarian NGO specialised in emergency telecommunications.

With its 24-hour monitoring centre and relying on its operational bases in France, Nicaragua and in Thailand, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) crews of IT and telecoms specialists can intervene anywhere in the world in less than 24 hours after any sudden onset disaster or conflict and in a matter of minutes set up a satellite-based telecoms centre offering broadband Internet, phone and fax lines. These centres enable emergency NGO, the United Nations and local authorities to communicate right at the heart of event. They also facilitate the coordination of aid efforts. In parallel, TSF also runs humanitarian calling operation to offer support and assistance to affected civilians, giving them a link with the outside world from which they would be otherwise completely cut off.

Since its creation in 1998, TSF deployed to nearly 50 countries and assisted more than 350 relief organisations. In 2006, TSF became a partner of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). TSF is First Responder of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC).

Télécoms Sans Frontières is also a working group member of the United Nations emergency telecoms body (WGET). TSF is a partner of the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission (ECHO) and a member of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).

TELECOMS SANS FRONTIERE
19, rue Jean-Baptiste Carreau 64 000 Pau, France
+33 (0)5 59 84 43 60 - +33 (0)5 59 84 43 58
Press contact : Oisin Walton
communication@tsfi.org - www.tsfi.org.