Vulnerability and access map

Emergency telecommunications and communicating with disaster-affected communities


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These are products to support sectoral responses for the emergency telecommunications cluster and communicating with disaster-affected people. Products focus on the availability and provision of emergency telecommunications as a tool for: (a) operational humanitarian response, and (b) communicating with disaster-affected communities. In the latter case they may include broadcast media such as community radio. They can be used to facilitate or maintain the telecommunications (radio and cellular phones) network infrastructure or to broadcast (usually through community radio) across the operational area. Inclusion data on the population and languages spoken by beneficiary communities is important to include where possible.

Strategic or operational?

Mainly operational.

Basemap, baseline or situational?

Baseline and situational.

When might it be produced?

May be produced early in a humanitarian response to support the establishment of telecommunications and broadcast networks as a common service, or when planning communications actions with affected communities.

Intended audience

All humanitarian actors and, where relevant, disaster-affected communities.

Influence on humanitarian decisions

The provision of effective telecommunications is usually essential for needs assessment and operational control by individual agencies, and for effective inter-agency coordination. Existing telecommunications networks may be compromised by the disaster, or saturated by demand. Maps showing existing and planned coverage of telecommunications infrastructure may be an important planning tool for emergency telecommunications cluster actors, and also for agencies planning communications with disaster-affected communities.

  • Effective modelling of radio reception in detail may not be practical, however simply mapping the locations of transmitters on topographic maps can be very useful for network planning.
  • Even if network coverage is not accurately known, reported reception in key locations (e.g. major towns) may still be usefully annotated on maps.
  • Topographic base mapping showing terrain, for identification of likely radio network coverage.
  • Population and settlements data.
  • Data on existing and planned network infrastructure and coverage including cellular networks, HF and VHF radio, broadcast radio stations.
  • For communications with disaster-affected communities activities, data on spatial distribution of languages may be very relevant.

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