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Communications between 'first responders' in Haiti to be strengthened - UN agency

16 February 2010 – A United States software business is set to provide a reliable and secure communications system to emergency response teams assisting in the Haitian relief effort under an agreement with the United Nations, the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced today.

As part of the new agreement with the ITU, the United States-based Collabria LLC will install a platform which allows Haitian ‘first responders’ to collaborate quickly across wired, wireless and private networks, as well as the Internet amidst the devastation left by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

The software combines text, voice, video, data and large file transfer capabilities into a single application for desktops, laptops, mobile phones and other IP-based devices, the ITU said in a news release.

In addition to providing the ITU with the software to strengthen ongoing emergency telecommunications efforts in Haiti, Collabria will also dispatch engineers to help ITU restore the country’s communications links.

“My sympathy is with the people of Haiti who are trying to re-build their lives after this terrible tragedy,” said ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid.

“Re-establishing communication links is an essential part of the relief effort and I am delighted that Collabria has come forward to join us in this effort,” added Mr. Al Morshid.

Speaking from Haiti, where ITU has been overseeing network restoration efforts, Cosmas Zavazava, ITU Chief, Emergency Telecommunications said harmonization of communication systems for law enforcement and humanitarian agencies in major emergencies remains one of the most daunting challenges, noting that Collabria’s software provides a common platform that will greatly enhance coordination.

Since the disaster struck more than a month ago, ITU has contributed 100 satellite terminals to Haiti to help re-establish basic communications links in the country, as well as setting up 100 wireless hotspot locations across the Caribbean nation and allocating a budget of over $1 million to strengthen disaster response in Haiti.

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