By John McCormick  |  Posted 2005-04-06 Print this article Print

How a U.N relief agency had technology on the ground within 48 hours to help rush food to the victims of Asia's tsunami.

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Overall, however, there have been relatively few hiccups in ICT's support of the initial tsunami relief efforts.

The operation is now moving into its next phase. As the situation begins to stabilize, the U.N. agency will start to reduce relief supplies in favor of rehabilitation activities, such as setting up projects in which communities receive food in exchange for helping to rebuild roads and public buildings. And ICT, which has been training locals to support its computer and communications equipment, will begin to recall some of its 50 or so staffers still deployed in the area.

Overall, the WFP estimates that in the final tally, ICT costs to support tsunami relief will come in at about $6 million.

But it will have been money well spent.

From the first food shipments of 185 tons on Dec. 28, the WFP has now delivered more than 47,000 tons of food. And, most important, there have been no reports of starvation.

It couldn't have been done without computers and communications. As Curran says: "Our operations depend a lot on technology."


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