Last week, the Government of Luxembourg hosted Humanitarian ICT Week. Over the course of the week, our Disaster Response team attended both the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) meeting and the Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET). In anticipation of these events, we featured a guest blog post from Imogen Wall, an independent consultant advising UN OCHA, who mapped out some of the topics of discussion.
LUXEMBOURG – Five days of international cooperation and innovation begin in Luxembourg on Monday with the Humanitarian Information and Communications Technology Week. The week will bring together representatives from the UN, the Luxembourg government, private sector, non-governmental organisations and other groups to discuss how technology can improve international disaster response.
Philippines, Mali, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic – all countries which began 2014 coping with natural or man-made disasters. As the humanitarian community realigns for the New Year, while responding to these simultaneous emergencies, we reflect and consider what lessons learned on the technological frontlines became lessons implemented and where we still need to improve.
"The main challenges we face in these kinds of situations, especially with the typhoons and the tidal surge that they had here, is the damage to the infrastructure," says Neil Murphy-Dewar, Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) Team Leader in Tacloban. "In Tacloban the electricity infrastructure was totally destroyed, the mobile phone networks were brought down, and the landline telephone networks and the internet service providers were all severely damaged."