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Skyline of central Cebu City

DOST launches Mobile Disaster Communications Service

CEBU, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology together with international and local partners launched and formally turned over the Moveable and Deployable ICT Resource Unit (MDRU) to the town of San Remigio, Cebu, one of the municipalities ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda.

Skyline of central Cebu City
Skyline of central Cebu City

The donation of the MDRU to the Philippines happened through the efforts of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan (MIC) and the Central Visayas Information Sharing Network Foundation (CVISNet).
Research and development (R&D) on the Movable Deployable ICT Resource Unit started in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 with the support of MIC, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) and other Japanese ICT organizations.
It is a unit that can be quickly deployed to restore communications in communities in the aftermath of a disaster. The unit is self-reliant running on its own power source and/or is able to harness other power sources such as power generators or local active power lines.
The MDRU donated by Japan comes in two configurations, the small version is the size of a .5m x .5m box that contains the necessary equipment and software necessary to provide basic voice and data communications within a small area for up to 500 concurrent users, while the attaché case version of the MDRU can do the same for a much smaller area. The MDRU can also act as a data center, it is built in with an Evacuee Management System, that allows relief workers, using no more that smartphones or tablets to track and tabulate those who have been displaced by a disaster.
According to Ioane Koroivuki Regional Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, International Telecommunication Union; “The ITU acknowledges that it is absolutely crucial that in times of emergencies that communications are restored in the shortest possible time, it also recognizes that having the right tools in place to enable this. The MDRU is one such tool that enables the establishment of an ICT network and emergency communications services in the fastest time possible”.
Secretary Mario G. Montejo of the DOST said that the MDRU is a model on how the International public and private partnership and cooperation in ICT can work to mitigate the effects of disasters. Likewise, ICT can also spur development particularly in the countryside. Through e-government, e-health, environment data through programs such as project NOAH and readily available Internet connectivity being developed through the ICT Office, our citizens can have the information they need not only to help

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.