16 October 2007

Uganda: Satellite Phones for Flooded Districts

Kampala — The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has given Uganda 25 satellite telephones to help restore vital communication links following flooding in the eastern and northern regions.

A statement from the ITU yesterday said the terminals are to be used by designated government officials and other humanitarian agencies, to coordinate relief operations in the affected districts.

Isaac Kalembe, a spokesperson at the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), confirmed that the terminals were in the country. "The Thuraya satellite phones will be handed over by the ICT minister on Thursday."

The offer follows a request by the communications commission.

"There is no doubt that communication links are essential to ensure a more effective and coordinated relief effort. This is why we have, upon request from the Uganda Communications Commission, quickly deployed the resources at our disposal," said the Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, an ITU director.

Patrick Masambu, the UCC chief, thanked ITU and said the gadgets would facilitate relief efforts.

"The satellite terminals are very timely and will go a long way in facilitating the relief efforts in the affected areas," Masambu was quoted as saying.

ITU is providing both Thuraya hand-held satellite phones and Inmarsat Global Area Network (GAN) terminals.

The Thuraya phones use both satellite and GSM networks and also provide accurate GPS positioning coordinates to aid relief and rescue.

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