ITU guidelines for emergency communication plans

Monday, 23 March, 2020

ITU guidelines for emergency communication plans

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched new guidelines for the development and implementation of National Emergency Telecommunication Plans.

The ITU is taking the step as to “help countries better manage disaster response activities at a time when the frequency, intensity and human and economic impact of disasters is on the rise worldwide”.

“The exceptional COVID-19 crisis we are going through right now shows how vital information and communication technology networks and services are, both to respond to the current pandemic and to address disaster management,” said ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao.

“Now more than ever, the implementation of comprehensive national emergency telecommunication plans can ensure there is effective and timely sharing of information across all levels of government, within affected communities and among humanitarian agencies to prioritise response efforts and to save lives.”

A national emergency telecommunication plan sets out a strategy to enable and ensure communication availability during the phases of:

  • disaster mitigation
  • preparedness
  • response and
  • recovery

by promoting coordination and engagement across all levels of government, humanitarian agencies, service providers and communities at risk.

“When disaster strikes there is no time to think about what to do and how to organise response. It is crucial that all stakeholders are prepared beforehand and ready to take action,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau.

“Mock exercises including tabletop, talk-through and walk-through exercises to full-scale drills help to ensure smooth emergency response among those involved in disaster management and communications.”

ITU has already assisted several countries in developing their national emergency telecommunication plans with the setting up of early warning and monitoring systems and the provision of emergency telecommunications equipment.

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