Relief coordination underway in aftermath of Hurricane Maria
Geneva, Switzerland - ITU has deployed two VSAT terminals to Dominica, which was recently devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria. This follows the signing of a Cooperation Agreement between ITU and UltiSat to cooperate in disaster relief. The equipment will contribute to the ongoing reconstruction activities taking place on the island.

A VSAT terminal – or "very small aperture terminal" – is a two-way satellite ground station with a dish antenna that is smaller than 3.8 meters. The two terminals come with a free six-month satellite connectivity service, and were made available to ITU by UltiSat, a provider of global satellite communication networks.

Ultisat is providing all the logistics to set up the VSAT terminals to ensure bandwidth efficiency for Internet access, data transmission and voice using fixed or mobile phones.

"Maintaining reliable communication services is vital in the aftermath of any disaster," says Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "The emergency communication equipment sent by ITU will provide vital links to coordinate long-term relief efforts in Dominica and restore the livelihoods of those affected by Hurricane Maria."

"In the aftermath of natural disasters, UltiSat's partners are among the first on the scene. Providing reliable communications is crucial and the least we can do to assist our partners on the front lines of disaster recovery efforts," said Brum Cerzosimo, UltiSat Senior Director of Global Accounts. "We are honoured to be of service to support our partners' success in their critical mission."

ITU and UltiSat, Inc. signed an agreement in July 2017 with the aim of contributing to the work of ITU in the areas of emergency telecommunications and disaster response.

The VSAT terminals delivered to Dominica will also help to bridge the digital divide and provide communication access in the areas most devastated by Hurricane Maria.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Hurricane Maria caused widespread damage and destruction in Dominica, affecting over 65,000 people in the country.

Learn more about ITU's Emergency Telecommunications activities here.