TSF takes part in re-establishment of services to Tonga
Télécoms sans Frontières, the industry’s charity focused on disaster relief, is working with other agencies to help restore services to Tonga.
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano last weekend caused an enormous plume of ash, smoke and a tsunami that caused casualties and cut the islands’ two subsea cables.
One connects Tonga to Fiji and the world’s global networks, the other interlinks Tonga’s main islands.
Meanwhile, Subcom’s cable ship Reliance, which has been assigned to tackle repairs to the two cables, has moved in the past few hours to Port Moresby’s harbour. For the past few days it was anchored in the channel outside the harbour, but now appears to be moored in the dock to collect crew or supplies.
However Port Moresby is 4,000km from Tonga, so the ship will take some time to reach the damage sites once it starts out.
TSF’s representative for Asia-Pacific, Sébastien Latouille (pictured), said: “Given the logistic constraints, access for staff and equipment will be an issue for this response. However TSF is taking part in relief efforts to re-establish adequate communications that will enable sharing of damage assessments and the needs of the local population with the outside world.”
TSF pointed out in a message to its supporters across the industry that, as the eruption has cut the islands’ submarine cable, mainstream traditional communications are not usable to get a clear view of the damage caused.
TSF is cooperating with the local regional response and the United Nations Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) to re-establish communications to the islands as soon as possible.
The TSF team said it is closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with the ETC and regional partners to provide adequate telecoms assistance to the relief bodies and the affected populations in Tonga.