The country’s leading telecommunications company and a London-based foundation set up free charging and Wi-Fi services in Itogon, Benguet, which is still mourning the deaths of 89 people in a massive landslide.
Smart Communications and Vodafone Foundation set up charging and Wi-Fi equipment at the village hall of Ucab, at the site of retrieval operations and at shelters for survivors.
In a statement, Smart said the ultra portable Wi-Fi solution provided Wi-Fi connection to at least 1,500 users across an area of 10,000 square meters.
Vodafone also set up an instant charge station, which could power up 32 phones simultaneously.
Ainhoa Montero de Espinosa, of Vodafone who volunteered for the Itogon mission, said that aside from food and necessities, disaster survivors needed “connectivity to be able to inform their families that they are OK, to call, to not feel isolated.”
“They also need to charge their phones, especially if they fled their homes,” said Harm Kanters, a technical solution architect at VodafoneZiggo Netherlands, another volunteer.
In 2012 and 2013, Vodafone brought its ultra portable Wi-Fi and phone charging system to Davao Oriental and Eastern Samar provinces, which were devastated by Typhoons “Pablo” (Bopha) and “Yolanda” (Haiyan).
The system provided residents with cellular coverage within a 3- to 5-kilometer radius and enabled up to 80 calls and thousands of text messages sent at the same time.
Ramon R. Isberto, Smart public affairs chief, said with an average of 20 typhoons a year, the country could better deal with disasters through reliable communication systems.
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