BT sends emergency team to Vanuatu
23 March 2015
We’re using our skills and services to combat the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Pam.
The category five cyclone hit Vanuatu, a South Pacific island, on 6 March. It is regarded as one of the worst cyclones in recent history in the Pacific region – and one of the worst natural disasters in Vanuatu’s history.
We’re sending employees and equipment to help people affected by the cyclone, along with four members of our emergency response team (ERT).
They will be flying to the island this week to set up the ERT’s International Disaster Response satellite capability in four locations. These will be used by responders on the ground to communicate and co-ordinate the relief effort, as well as for the local communities to make contact with loved ones.
Craig Thorpe, BT’s head of ERT, said: “This will be a real collaborative effort bringing teams from many different companies and organisations together, to help the people of Vanuatu.
“We’ll be working closely with the UN World Food Programme Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, Cisco, Ericsson and our colleagues in NetHope, which is an NGO specialising in improving IT connectivity for humanitarian organisations in developing countries and areas affected by disaster.
“By the time we arrive in Port Vila, our satellite kit – which was shipped out from Madley on Friday – will have cleared customs and we’ll be able to start work immediately.”
Alongside Craig, the other members of our ERT travelling to Vanuatu are engineers John McGaw and Nigel Baker, and Alastair Hartfield, satcoms support manager.
The ERT has been involved in responding to the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, as well as providing NetHope with remote support during the Ebola Crisis Response to Sierra Leone.
Lisa Shattock, BT’s programme director for Improving Lives, said: “The ERT is a great example of how BT volunteers are using their unique skills and our own technology to make a real difference to communities around the world.”
Our ERT will also be supporting various charities who are already working in Vanuatu. If you’d like to make a donation to help the affected region, the following charities are already working there and are using BT MyDonate to support their efforts: UNICEF; British Red Cross; Save the Children; and Oxfam.