Vodafone said that the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network is being taken to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe to provide communications support in the areas worst affected by Hurricane Irma. The Instant Network team will offer support to local operators and will work alongside NGO Télécoms Sans Frontières to help restablish mobile communications, helping aid workers communicate during the relief effort and enabling people to contact their loved ones following the devastating hurricane.
Deployment of Instant Network 3G to provide connectivity, supporting the humanitarian relief programme. Instant Charge to provide free mobile charging to communities in areas with no power. The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network is being taken to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe to provide communications support in the areas worst affected by Hurricane Irma.
The Vodafone Foundation team is coordinating with local operators and NGOs working in Guadeloupe to determine when and where the Instant Network equipment should be deployed. Guadeloupe is the nearest island to the areas worst affected by Hurricane Irma, including St Martin, St Barts and Barbuda, said company.
Company said that the Vodafone Foundation has a team of volunteers, all Vodafone employees, on standby to deploy: Instant Network 3G, a mobile network in four suitcases with 3G connectivity which can be taken on a commercial flight; two Instant Charge devices – an outdoor mobile charging station which provides 66 charging points; and Instant Classroom Xtra, the Vodafone Foundation's ‘digital school in a box', which is being repurposed to create an emergency cybercafe to enable communities to contact their loved ones and to support the humanitarian relief programme. The victims of Hurricane Irma will be able to use the emergency cybercafes to borrow tablets, charge their phones for free and connect to free WiFi.
The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network 3G equipment is light enough to travel in the back of a car or on commercial flights, enabling 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 and can provide coverage within a radius of one kilometre, said company.
This will be the eleventh emergency response mission for the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network team. The Instant Network was deployed in Nepal during the 2015 earthquake and in the Philippines in November 2013 during Typhoon Haiyan, where over 443,000 calls were made and 1.4 million SMS were sent. A total of 2.9m calls were made using Instant Network in the Philippines, Kenya and South Sudan
Instant Charge has recently been deployed in refugee camps, including in Lesbos and Samos Islands in Greece, where 84,600 devices were connected. Instant Classroom is currently benefiting thousands of children and teenagers in schools in refugee camps across sub-Saharan Africa.
“Through our Instant Network programme, we are able to deploy our people and our technology to provide communications support at a critical time. Ensuring people are able to communicate in the aftermath of a natural disaster is crucial, both for the coordination of aid and to enable those affected to reconnect with family and friends,” said Andrew Dunnett, Vodafone Foundation Director.