TSF heads into Russia-Ukraine war zone
Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), the telecoms industry’s global aid organisation, has deployed a team to assess and support those on the ground, during the Russian-Ukraine crisis.
Speaking to Monique Lanne-Petit, director of TSF, she shared that as of today, the team is heading to the neighbouring country of Poland, "but tomorrow, it could be anywhere such as Moldova or Romania. The situation is very complex, and we need to negotiate with the local government, but the team will aim to head to the border to find out what is happening and how we can support."
As the team continues its crucial assessment work, Lanne-Petit hopes to have a better idea of not only how they can help but which telcos it can or will be partnering but she says "everything changes every day".
In a news release, the TSF confirmed that its deployment to region is in coordination with the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations on the ground, who will assess how best to use TSF’s expertise and solutions to support the some 368,000 refugees that have already left the country as well as the overall humanitarian efforts taking place.
Another further 160,000 Ukrainian citizens are expected to be displaced over the coming days and If the war continues, the United Nations predict up to 7 million Ukrainians to become displaced.
“TSF has been monitoring the situation since the beginning of the crisis, but its evolution remains extremely uncertain and can rapidly change at any time. The reception mechanism is being put in place in all the destination countries," said Jean-François Cazenave, president of TSF.
"From our experience in similar crises, being ready to respond from the very first days is paramount. Being already on the ground will provide us with all the necessary information to be able to respond in the most effective way to this unprecedented crisis.”
As the world’s first NGO focusing on emergency-response technologies, TSF solutions include things like humanitarian information display systems, emergency call centres, fixed satellite servicesand mobile satellite services.
In related news, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has come out in support of the growing number of initiatives by the European telecoms sector that aim to provide access to communications for Ukrainian citizens.
“Communication is a prime necessity in any context and even more so in the disruptive and unsettling environment of a conflict,” says Annemarie Sipkes, chair of BEREC.
“Therefore, we express our appreciation and support for the warm-hearted initiatives by the European telecommunications sector to make it possible for the Ukrainian people to connect with their loved ones and stay informed about their situation. BEREC is committed to assisting the sector in realising this in any way necessary.”
At the same time, Sipkes has responded to a request from the Ukrainian National Regulatory Authority (NCEC) to block Russian roamers and roaming services for Russian telecom providers in the EU. Sipkes has told NCEC chairman, Oleksandr Zhyvotovsky that the request was forwarded to the European Commission to be discussed at a political level.