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Humanitarian Response

As the world faces increasing conflicts, an unprecedented refugee crisis, natural disasters and other challenges, ICT can play a critical role in improving humanitarian response – including more effective distribution of aid to those in need. The number of people affected by humanitarian crises has almost doubled in the past decade, resulting from conflict or global challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation. More than 130 million people around the world need humanitarian assistance in order to survive.

Ericsson Response

Connecting Business Initiative

At the World Humanitarian Summit, we committed to the UN Secretary-General and OCHA´s Connecting Business Initiative . This multi-stakeholder initiative provides a mechanism for the private sector to engage with the UN system, national governments and civil society in a coordinated manner on crisis risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

Connectivity Charter

In 2015, we became signatories to the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter launched by mobile operator industry organization the GSMA. The Charter sets out to enhance coordination within and among mobile network operators before, during and after a disaster, and to scale and standardize the industry’s preparedness and response activities. The aim is to enable a more predictable response, and strengthen industry, government and the humanitarian sector partnerships.

World Economic Forum Global Council on the Future of Humanitarian Response.

Ericsson is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Council on the Future of Humanitarian Response which aims to take the lead on shaping the humanitarian agenda by deepening and identifying new models of public-private collaboration, scale solutions, and build a common understanding on key challenges and opportunities that will disrupt the humanitarian system.

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos, Switzerland, public and private-sector leaders discussed concrete ways to build new alliances for humanitarian response.

Ericsson Response

Ericsson Response is a global initiative that is helping to transform emergency response. Through the initiative, Ericsson works in partnership with United Nations (UN) agencies and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to respond to requests for telecommunications support in disaster situations and in a range of aid and development contexts.

Ericsson’s flagship volunteer program has been supporting disaster relief efforts for over 15 years . Since launching in 2000, the initiative has supported more than 40 relief efforts in more than 30 countries.

Today, Ericsson Response works with aid agency partners including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and others.

The program is staffed by employee volunteers with diverse technical skills and backgrounds, all driven by a desire to make a difference. In 2016, there were over 140 volunteers from 30 countries.

The Ericsson Response team sets up mobile networks for voice and data communication that enable aid agencies to work more efficiently at disaster sites, and also supports partners with ICT training and knowledge sharing.

Missions

In 2016, Ericsson Response deployed to Haiti after the devastating Hurricane Matthew. Under the ICT Humanitarian Response Working Group for Haiti, 19 sites were established, supporting over 900 humanitarian users and 30 agencies Following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal (video: Ericsson Response in Nepal), Ericsson Response provided the humanitarian community with shared internet connectivity and telecommunications services. Ericsson’s WIDER solution was used to connect some 1,430 users from over 250 humanitarian organizations in their efforts.

In 2015, Ericsson Response helped connect over 90 humanitarian sites, including community care centers and Ebola treatment units, in Sierra Leone and Guinea. This activity was carried out in collaboration with our partners WFP and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), a global network of organizations that work together to provide common communications services in humanitarian emergencies.

Ericsson Response also assisted when Tropical Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu in the Pacific region, causing widespread devastation in parts of the country. It also collaborated with ETC and WFP in South Sudan and Iraq to provide communications and expertise to support humanitarian efforts in refugee and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

One of the biggest efforts in the history of Ericsson Response was in November 2013, when super typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. Ericsson Response, as a member of ETC and in partnership WFP, responded to the emergency by deploying a total of 24 volunteers, and provided wireless internet connectivity to aid agencies on the ground. The volunteers set up wireless connectivity in five sites across the Philippines, allowing more than 6,400 users from the humanitarian community to better organize the relief operations.

Since 2012, Ericsson Response has worked with ETC members (WFP and emergency.lu) to provide vital communications services to relief workers in South Sudan (video: Ericsson Response in South Sudan). The combined response solution provides free, reliable and high-speed internet connectivity that supports life-saving work in remote areas.

During the large earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, a portable container-based GSM network, an ETC deployment hosted by OCHA, was done on request from the UN to provide several of its organizations, as well as other humanitarian organizations, with telecommunications and ICT capabilities. A total of 19 volunteers worked in shifts for six months to cover communication in an area of 40 square kilometers, including the capital Port-au-Prince. Aid workers on the ground averaged 3,000 calls daily using Ericsson Response’s containerized mobile communication system.

Ericsson Response - mission timeline

2000 Ericsson Response is established
2000 Extreme floods in Algeria and severe drought in Tajikistan
2001 Flooding in Hungary and earthquakes in Pakistan, Peru and El Salvador
2002 Rail disaster in Tanzania and food crisis in Lesotho. Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
2003 Earthquakes in Algeria and Iran. Hurricane in the Caribbean. Aid to Liberia
2004 Tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka
2005 Earthquakes in Pakistan
2006 ICT support to aid workers in South Sudan and to earthquake victims in Pakistan
2007 Connectivity for aid workers in Central African Republic and after earthquake in Peru
2008 Connectivity for Save the Children in South Sudan
2009 Assessment of ICT needs in the Philippines. ICT support for de-mining mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo
2010 Earthquake in Haiti
2011 Engagement in "One UN” initiative
2012 ICT support in South Sudan, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda
2013 Super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) in the Philippines. Continuation of South Sudan mission
2014 Ebola Response mission in West Africa. IDP camps in Iraq. Continuation of efforts in South Sudan and the Philippines
2015 Earthquake in Nepal. Cyclone in Vanuatu. Continuation of missions in Iraq, South Sudan and West Africa
2016 Hurricane Matthew in Haiti