Companies across Ooredoo Footprint Back Humanitarian Efforts in Nepal, As Country Struggles Following Major Earthquake
Doha, Qatar: Ooredoo companies across the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia have launched a series of initiatives to support humanitarian efforts in Nepal, after the devastating earthquake that took place on 25 April 2015.
The Nepal earthquake has claimed thousands of casualties, with the death toll now rising to more than 7,000, and left a swath of damaged and demolished infrastructure across the nation.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo, said: “At this tragic time, our thoughts are with the people of Nepal and all those affected. We hope that in the fall-out of this disaster, the world comes together to help rebuild the country and ensure its people are safe. Ooredoo recognises the importance of mobile communication during difficult times like these, and our companies are doing their best to provide this for people in Nepal and for their concerned relatives overseas.”
After the news broke of the natural disaster, Ooredoo Maldives offered calls to Nepal for free for all its customers over a three-day period. In Qatar and Oman, Ooredoo also lowered the cost of calls to Nepal, enabling expatriates to stay in touch with friends and family back home in the country.
Access to mobile communications is playing a key part in Nepal’s aid efforts and, with the help of mobile technology, families are being reconnected and reaching out for help.
To ensure that Internet access is available for survivors and emergency aid services in Nepal, Indosat, part of Ooredoo Group, has mobilised a VSAT satellite that will travel to Nepal to provide an emergency Internet connection in the country.
The emergency Internet access facility will be used by the media, NGOs, and civilians in need, to report conditions on the ground and contact families. The Internet capacity currently provided is available up to 1 Mbps by using the C-band frequency, and can be increased as required.
Figures show there are 2.2 million Nepalese working outside their country, with many across Ooredoo Group’s footprint including more than 12,000 in Oman and 400,000 in Qatar.
As well as calling offers and Internet services for Nepal, Ooredoo is encouraging its employees to donate money towards several charities working in the country including the Qatar Red Crescent, which has issued an emergency appeal to raise QR 12 million to help Nepal earthquake victim’s healthcare, shelter, water, sanitation and to restore family links.
Ooredoo actively supports the GSMA’s Humanitarian Connectivity Charter, launched at the GSMA Mobile World Congress earlier this year, which demonstrates the commitment of the mobile industry to support customers and first responders before and during humanitarian emergencies.
Through the charter, mobile network operators will commit to a common set of principles and work towards the adoption of initiatives focused on humanitarian connectivity. The aim of this initiative is to create a more co-ordinated and predictable response to disasters. The charter is supported by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Emergency Telecommunications Cluster and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.