NetHope member organizations work in more than 180 countries around the globe and are often called upon to support disaster relief efforts in the remote regions of the developing world.
NetHope and its member organizations have been coordinating emergency response efforts since the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran. Over the years, NetHope developed an approach that meets the needs of emergency responders and is adaptable to fit the circumstances of each unique event.
On Jan. 12, 2010, NetHope’s Emergency Response Working Group (ERWG) was called into action — responding to the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that destroyed the region around Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince. At least 3 million Haitians were affected — left homeless, injured or deceased — and communications to the outside world were cut off. Relief efforts were further hampered by more than 50 aftershocks that measured over 4.5 in magnitude and continued during the following weeks.
Within four hours of the earthquake, the NetHope ERWG was identifying the communications and staffing requirements for the 22 NetHope member agencies (and their 3,500 employees) operating in Haiti. After the first day, it became clear that the most vital task was to restore Internet connectivity so that lifesaving communications could be established. Thanks to amazing support from NetHope’s nonprofit technology partner, Inveneo, and speedy (and generous) donations from leading technology companies, NetHope was able to start restoring communications within 72 hours of the earthquake. By Day 10, all agencies were fully supported, with more broadband capacity then they had before the earthquake.
In late July and early August 2010, NetHope’s ERWG responded to the enormous monsoon flooding affecting Pakistan. More than 22 million people were affected in a large area around the Indus River. The international community and NetHope member organizations were faced with one of the largest regional disasters in recent years.
The ERWG began working with the 15 NetHope member agencies operating in Pakistan to quickly identify the critical needs. NetHope provided laptops, software and video cameras, generously donated by leading technology companies, to support relief workers and other initial responders. Later-stage assistance included VSAT connectivity for some of the more remote locations.