Mobile operators have signed a charter that could turn mobile devices into tools of rapid financial response to natural disasters in Peru and other Latin American countries.
The Humanitarian Connectivity Charter, part of the We Care Peru initiative, obliges operators such as Bitel, Claro, Entel and Telefónica Movistar to coordinate in order to scale and standardise emergency procedures while boosting their collaboration with governments and the humanitarian sector.
“Mobile networks and the connectivity they provide can be vital for people affected by natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies,” said Sebastián Cabello, head of the Latin America region of global mobile operator network GSMA.
“As a mobile ecosystem our aim is to support communities in times of crisis and help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by fully leveraging mobile technology.”
People in Peru live with the risk of landslides due to heavy rain, which has pushed mobile operators to launch TELEFÓN” #UnaSolaFuerza, a campaign which can crowdsource immediate donations via text messages (SMS). This was used in March and April to send early warnings of rivers that are likely to flood and cause land to cascade, according to a statement by the GSMA.
“We have a range of actions and contingency plans in place for emergencies, and communication plans so customers can make good use of networks in these situations,” said Juan Rivadeneyra, director of regulatory affairs for Claro.
The initiative has also been launched in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, will plans to expand further across Latin America.
Nino Boggio, head of institutional relations at Entel said mobile operators have more than 30 million connections, making them “one of the most convenient options for helping victims in disasters and emergencies”.
The Humanitarian Connectivity Charter was launched in 2015 and currently has 115 signatory operators in more than 77 countries.