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TSF reinforces South-East Asian emergency response mechanism

Within the framework of the pact signed in 2017 between TSF and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), in March 2018, Télécoms Sans Frontières was invited to play a part in the Association of South East Asian Nations’ first training workshop of the season hosted in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

TSF’s role focused on tutoring participants in the use of emergency telecommunications during a disaster response. Specifically, several sessions were provided on the deployment of mobile satellite communications material, and the peripheral networks that can be created with satellite backhaul. These connections form the backbones of the emergency operations centres that are set up at the heart of disaster zones, and allow relief responders to coordinate work in an environment where communications are often entirely destroyed or largely disrupted. The skills acquired during the workshop were consolidated at the end of the week by a simulation exercise allowing participants to apply their knowledge to a mock-up disaster situation. 

A total of 31 emergency response agents from nine different ASEAN member states including Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia were trained over a seven-day period. These people make up the teams that respond to the region’s average of 178 natural hazards each year. 

In addition to its support role, it was also requested that TSF observe, analyse and report on the coordination between the ASEAN response teams and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination mechanism (another of TSF’s operational partners), also present during the exercise. 

 

The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre) Director of Operations commented TSF’s intervention in the workshop, stating that,

“TSF as AHA Centre's operational support partner provides our ERAT members with the confidence in using satellite communications technologies during our Induction Courses. This is an essential skill that prepares our teams for future deployments. TSF also provides connectivity in our Joint Operations and Coordination Centre (JOCCA), our onsite coordination platform for ASEAN response teams.  Through this partnership, we are more confident that AHA Centre/ASEAN can fully realise its collective strength.”

The agreement between ASEAN and Télécoms Sans Frontières sees TSF committing to training the ASEAN’s Emergency Rapid Assessment Teams (ERAT) in the use of emergency ICT to help strengthen the regional, national and sub-national responses and reinforce teams’ autonomy in the event of disaster. TSF equally agrees to support the ASEAN on the ground by deploying alongside them in the aftermath of natural hazards if the specific context requires so.

 

Télécoms Sans Frontières has held a permanent presence in the Asia/Pacific region since 2004 when it opened its Regional Office in Bangkok. Our Office is ready to deploy 24/7 thanks to a network of fully-trained and highly specialised volunteers. Thanks to the support of our partners, and notably PCCW Global, TSF Asia/Pacific has responded to all major disasters across the region since its opening, including the 2004 tsunami, the Nepal Earthquake and the countless cyclones that blow through the area on an almost permanent basis.
 
TSF’s dedication to providing rapid and reliable emergency telecommunications in the Region was recognised earlier this year by the Pacific Telecommunications Council at a ceremony where TSF was bestowed the Innovation Award for Best Quality of Life Improvement.

We will of course be keeping you updated throughout the course of our mission, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to email us at marketing@pccwglobal.com for any further information.

 

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