When the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks hit Nepal in April of this year, people took to social media and the internet to seek help, locate resources and reach out beyond the disaster zones. For relief workers, social networks and mobile communication became essential tools in locating and helping communities. With telecoms towers and internet networks damaged, restoring connections was essential to the work being done by humanitarian and aid workers in the cities and villages across Nepal.
Disaster Tech Lab is a volunteer organisation which restores WiFi and internet networks in communities where infrastructure has been damaged by natural disasters. This year, the organisation began using Globalstar’s technology to assist with their humanitarian operations, most recently in Kathmandu, providing an essential resource and peace of mind to local people and relief workers.
Working in the field however, the Disaster Tech Lab teams often face similar communications challenges - they spend long periods of time away from their families and often need to quickly communicate with co-workers and headquarters amidst difficult conditions.
At Globalstar we’ve been developing technology tailor-made for these scenarios.
Although we’re more used to seeing our satellite phones in the hands of businesses or government officials than being used in disaster zones, we know that communication is a top priority in an emergency situation. On hearing about Disaster Tech Lab’s work, we saw an opportunity to help those who help others and harness the power of our technology in a whole new way.
Our satellite phones will now be used by Disaster Tech Lab’s communications and IT specialists to coordinate activities, while our SPOT technology helps to track volunteers around the world. Whether it’s a manager checking in on their team or a volunteer contacting their family at home, this technology will ensure that they are able to plan better and be kept safe. Teams will be able to travel further afield, communicate more efficiently and most importantly, remain in contact with colleagues and family while in the field.
In the months following the earthquake, re-building communication networks will be crucial to Nepal’s recovery, allowing people to return to work, school and everyday life. Disaster Tech Lab will be an important part of this process, and it is important work that we're proud to be a part of.