Cyclone Mahasen, UNDAC support

Publication date: May 17, 2013
TSF deployed to Myanmar to provide support to the UNDAC teams following the typhoon Mahasen from 17th to 25th May 2013.

Cyclone Mahasen (also known as Viyaru) moved slowly through six countries in South and Southeast Asia. Coming from a low-pressure area in north-western Indonesia, where heavy rains caused significant damage, it intensified in the Bay of Bengal. Torrential downpour and landslides resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of huts and the death of 107 people.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that more than eight million people were threatened by the Cyclone in Bangladesh, Myanmar and north-eastern India. Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, already home to tens of thousands of displaced people.

As the power grid was inoperative and telecommunications networks seriously damaged, TSF deployed alongside its partner OCHA to evaluate their communication solutions in the area and to propose improvements to existing systems.

TSF arrived in Myanmar on 17th May 2013 and deployed in Rakhine State to assist the United Nations Disaster Coordination and Assessment Teams (UNDAC).

TSF first assessed the damage to the telecom infrastructure and provided technical support to the evaluation teams through their emergency satellite equipment.

In a second step, TSF carried out a study on the various telecom means available in case of emergency in the region of Sittwe and provided recommendations. The objective of this evaluation was to allow OCHA’s teams and local NGOs to have alternative communication solutions in case of interruption or saturation of telecom networks.

With this in mind, TSF trained OCHA's technical manager on emergency ICT solutions.