The British Red Cross has signed a three-year partnership agreement with BT to support its disaster relief work worldwide.
BT will provide £100,000 worth of IT and communications support each year, including emergency satellite telephones, IT equipment and GPS navigation systems for relief vehicles.
The partnership is aimed at increase deployment speed of the Red Cross’s emergency response units – an important factor in tackling the increasing number of disasters worldwide and meeting the need for faster access to information.
Last year alone, the British Red Cross responded to 16 worldwide disasters, including the Java earthquake, food crisis in Somalia, floods in Romania and the effects of bombardment in Lebanon.
The emergency response units aim to be in the field within 48 hours and to set up communications systems within an hour of a disaster unfolding.
British Red Cross chief executive Sir Nicholas Young said: “Our aim is to extend our capacity to help those in disaster struck areas, whether we are responding to natural or other humanitarian disasters.
“This partnership with BT will enable us to increase the speed and reach of our emergency response units in the field, making us better equipped to support the most vulnerable people in crisis across the globe.”
BT will also offer the Red Cross the skills and expertise of its staff, through specific volunteering activities with the charity’s IT and telecommunications emergency roster, and will also fund its training programme