Given the scale of the disaster in Haiti, we thought it appropriate just to put here a brief update on our response.
We have been shocked by the earthquake disaster on Haiti.
In the last two days we have explored how we could best contribute to aid efforts in the aftermath of this natural disaster. Haiti has in total about 3.3 million mobile subscribers, 85% of whom use GSM. We have no employees in the country and are doing business with one of the operators, Comcel (Voilà brand), elsewhere in Latin America.
On Thursday 14 Jan, we were in touch with Comcel’s technical director, who was on his way to Haiti to investigate the damage to its network and to assess the need for technical help. We have offered our support. We are also in contact with the US government and synchronizing our actions with US operators, that are planning aid schemes. We are on stand-by.
It is encouraging to see that aid is flowing to Haiti. Initially, we have provided 50,000 EUR to the Red Cross and Red Crescent disaster relief fund. Once we know better what technical help we may bring to Haiti, we may take further action. Our preference in disasters is to help in what we know best – building communications capability.
Although not available for the disaster in Haiti, we are currently putting in place an emergency relief program where we can provide a rapidly deployable GSM network in disaster situations. The system is being developed and we expect to trial it with the Red Cross in Finland in May.
In the meanwhile, we have encouraged employees who may wish to personally contribute to aid efforts, to use Red Cross donation schemes for Haiti in their country.