Activities, News and Events

AIT students reach out to Nepal’s communication needs

While Nepal was grappling with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, students from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) were among the first to reach and provide emergency communication services. As a part of the team of Télécoms Sans Frontière (TSF), AIT students rushed to Nepal on 28 April 2015, and immediately began conducting a needs assessment before launching emergency operations.

Two AIT Master’s students — Serena Amatya and Niraj Bhujel of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) focussed on TSF operations, while another Doctoral student student, Md. Shahabuddin conducted field work on critical infrastructure. Both Serena and Shahab Uddin are affiliated with AIT’s Disaster Preparedness, Mitigation and Management (DPMM), while Niraj is studying in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The TSF team included the Head of Mission Florent Bervas, along with Alexander James Thomas Florent, Paul Margie, and Justin Waller of TSF.

Serena, who is now back at AIT, says: “Our first task was to conduct needs assessment at Kurintar, and Dhading areas.” The team realized that villages in the upper-hills were affected in the Dhading area, and a team of TSF-AIT began providing emergency communication services in this area. In Sindhupalchowk, they focused on providing help to UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC). The last place where they conducted a needs assessment was in Nuwakot area in Nepal.

Md. Shahab Uddin, who spent a month in Nepal, analyzed the critical infrastructure interdependencies and their dynamics. Ten aspects were analysed including hospitals, schools, fire brigade, police station, local administration, water supply, electricity, telecom, road network, and gas/fuel supplies. He narrated a local saying in Kirtipur which states that the entire area is lying on top of a single rock, and that is why it does not suffer extensive damage. “It is true that Kirtipur suffered lesser damage compared to other areas,” he adds.

AIT students have regularly provided emergency telecommunication services along with TSF, and they were also active during the Japan earthquake, Pakistan floods, and the Indonesian tsunami. During the Nepal operations, TSF teams provided 299,750 calling minutes to 7430 beneficiaries (1581 households).

AIT student Serena Amatya providing emergency communication services at Lamosanghu, Sindhupalchowk, Nepal. She was among the three students who went to Nepal following the earthquake.

 

Original article from AIT website.

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