During a meeting of the Security Council which was held on 10 March 2017, the United Nations humanitarian chief warned that twenty million people across Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria are at risk of starvation.
With changing weather patterns offering little hope of relief from this drought-stricken region, the situation is expected to worsen. In many areas, hostilities have damaged or destroyed infrastructure and ongoing conflict has displaced around 3.4 million people.
Aid agencies face tremendous challenges in distributing food and medicine across inhospitable terrain and the delivery of supplies has been further hindered by attacks on aid workers.
In disaster response situations such as these, two-way radio can prove to be an indispensable tool, providing instant voice and data communications that is not reliant on existing infrastructure and is also economical:
- Within half an hour, a mobile voice and data communications network can be established, covering approximately 50 kilometres. All that is required is a vehicle with a battery or solar panel, connected to a four-metre antenna.
- The communication network operates independently of any existing infrastructure and provides reliable, robust and secure communication - quickly and easily.
- With no call charges, two-radio offers a highly cost-effective means of keeping remote work teams in contact at the push of a button.
- Multiple communication channels allow different work groups to communicate without interruption or delay, improving co-ordination and collaboration which is imperative in time-critical situations.
And with digital radio, communication is not limited to voice. Numerous applications have been developed to offer aid organisations the choice of feature-rich data services that enhance their capabilities in demanding situations.
With integrated GPS, two-way radios can track vehicles and personnel, helping to improve the safety of workers operating in high-risk areas. The ability to pinpoint aid along the delivery route enables logistics personnel to estimate how long supplies will take to reach a distribution point so that the team on site can be prepared and ready on arrival.
Fleet management solutions can present important data regarding the status of a vehicle in the field, helping to provide advance alerts in the event of a mechanical failure or fault, while despatch consoles make it easier to co-ordinate multiple vehicles and manage users spread over a large area.
In clinics, task management applications can help work flow and improve productivity by flagging up actions and alerting supervisors once a task has been completed.
All these activities can be supported with push-to-talk communication across different networks and devices, making it easier and safer for humanitarians to tackle some of the enormous tasks they face.