On 5th September 2017, Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, struck several Caribbean islands causing extreme destruction notably in Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy. 24 hours later, Télécoms Sans Frontières, partner of the Thales Foundation, was able to deploy an emergency response team to the Caribbean.
©Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) – TSF response in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma
Upon arrival in Saint Martin, three members of the Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) association managed to set up the first satellite connection to restore the network and means of communication. This installation facilitates coordination between the local authorities and different local and international humanitarian organisations. TSF is currently helping to restore communication networks for inhabitants to contact their loved ones. In Saint Martin, response teams are proposing door-to-door, personalised assistance in the form of a telephone call, while waiting for authorization to set up Wi-Fi zones. TSF support provides a quick, scalable solution that rapidly empowers people, without tying up valuable voice phone lines.
Since May 2016, Télécoms Sans Frontières is one of the five associations supported by Thales employees in France through the payroll giving scheme in partnership with MicroDON. Thanks to their ability to raise funds ahead of events, TSF is able to deploy its emergency teams in the wake of natural disasters and set up essential communication devices for the coordination of medical evacuations, rescue services and humanitarian aid delivery.
Almost 400 Thales employees in France are registered on the payroll giving scheme to help support TSF’s actions, thus contributing to the collected amount (the Group doubles this amount) of €17,000 over the first eight months of 2017. Upstream financial support enables the organisation to ensure its rapid response to disasters such as this one, which are becoming more and more frequent.
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