When disasters strike, lines of communication need to remain open. Satellite communication plays a crucial role in providing reliable and secure connectivity when and where it matters the most, for first responders, government bodies and health organisations.
Effective, well-organised and prepared responses help mitigate the effects of disasters. Avanti Satellite systems provide a secure, resilient and cost-effective infrastructure in disaster situations, providing critical tools for emergency communications and situation assessment.
East African countries, such as Kenya, are prone to disasters, like droughts, floods or disease outbreaks. The recurrent nature of these disasters inherently affects the capacity of communities to recover, which lowers economic output and holds back development year on year. Working with the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC) and Red Cross Society in Kenya, Avanti and its partners implemented a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) capacity development programme to improve Kenyan capacity to effectively plan for and respond to disasters using satellite technology. The SatDRR project was implemented to enhance at a regional and local level the coordination, command and control of disaster response of first responders and local agencies.
High-speed, secure and resilient satellite network has been deployed utilising Avanti’s Ka band HYLAS 2 satellite. Fixed and mobile satellite equipment has been installed and operational staff has been trained on how to use it.
The satellite solution has been underpinned with extensive capacity building and knowledge transfer activities were completed at national and county level including training, workshops and upgrading the Emergency Operations Centre within NDOC. During the Covid – 19 pandemic, we have seen increased utilisation of the satellite infrastructure.
How it works
The overall network comprises of 15-20 sites and supporting peak rates of 12 Mbps down and 6 Mbps up at each terminal to be shared via LAN, WiFi.
The service provides:
- Fixed satellite links to strategic government and emergency service HQs
- Man Portable Satellite Comms with WiFi/4G Emergency Response Vehicles with COTP & WiFi/4G
- Rapid Deployment field kits for Operational HQs
- Deployable Community Comms modules for displaced persons/temporary camps
- Restoration of key communication bearers
The outcome of the project has been very positive. It has allowed to:
- Engage with Kenyan partners to understand their disaster management priorities identify solutions and embed capability through policy support, knowledge transfer, specialist training and field exercises.
- Build the capacity of Kenyan staff to prepare, deploy and utilise satellite services for DRR;
- Provide a pilot platform for local actors to deploy satellite communication and earth observation for DRR;
- Enhance co-ordination, command and control of disaster response at local, regional and national level.
By working alongside respected project partners, the SatDRR team are able to implement strategies into place that now allow Kenyan authorities to effectively plan and respond to disaster events. With critical communication tools enabled, authorities are able to make a clear situation assessment in real time and respond to all units of response via a highly secure and resilient satellite network.