UPDATE: Hurricane Maria - TSF supports island of Dominica

Hurricane Maria - TSF supports island of Dominica



The island of Dominica bore the full brunt of Hurricane Maria that hit with category five forces on 19th September.


Connectivity for coordination


Upon arrival in the capital, Roseau, Télécoms Sans Frontières installed its first satellite internet connection at the town stadium. This location brings together relief teams from France, Cuba and Venezuela, with the connection assisting them in the coordination of their aid operations.

After having set up its logistics base in the capital, Roseau, Télécoms Sans Frontières deployed a team to the town of Portsmouth, some 50km north of the capital. Portsmouth sustained considerable damage in the wake of Maria, leaving the majority of structures heavily damaged.


Community Wi-Fi services


DSC01379Dedicated to providing connectivity services for the population, TSF has set up a Wi-Fi zone via satellite internet in Portsmouth town centre at the offices of the amateur radio station - one of the few buildings with access to power. In its first week, 1,500 unique devices were registered onto the network.


Our team on-site has identified Portsmouth Hospital as a key beneficiary of connectivity services. Whilst the hospital remains functional, coordination and reception of vital medical goods is proving a challenge with communications still down across the island. Télécoms Sans Frontières has thus a point-to-point Wi-Fi bridge (Amateur Radio Station > Hospital) improving the coordintion of the unit with the central medical facility in the capital Roseau.

Some 30 kilometres east in Wesley, a second VSAT antenna has been installed to cover the communications needs of the town's ≈1,700 inhabitants. The east coast of Dominica bore the full brunt of Hurricane Maria, and the eastern towns remain out-of-coverage. In order to bridge this gap, TSF has put in place a point-to-point Wi-Fi bridge covering the town of Marigot, some 4km south of Wesley. In Marigot, the town's 2,676 inhabitants now also have the possibility to access social networks and cross-platform communications apps.


In the same vein, a third VSAT antenna has been put in place in Salybia to the benefit of the Carib Territory's population.


Telephone calls for communities 


Many families still remain cut off and do not have the opportunity to reach TSF’s Wi-Fi hotspots. As part of its mandate to help maintain family ties, Télécoms Sans Frontières has been scaling the north of the island to provide calls to people in Dominica's more remote villages (Caupchin, Cottage, Clifton and Penville). Going from door to door to meet families directly, our teams have provided personalised assistance to over 600 beneficiaries to date.


Ambulant Wi-Fi service


e126db99-0402-470a-8cb8-6b6e5d973bb4Faced with the scale of the disaster, our in-country team initiated a new service piloted for the first time on 05 October 2017 which allows people in remote villages to benefit from high speed internet access. Equipped with a 4x4 and an Explorer 3075 GX terminal, TSF is travelling from village to village to provide inhabitants with access to social media, messaging apps and news sites; an opportunity for many to contact their relatives and loved ones abroad and inform them of their situation. With access to electricity scarce, in parallel, our team is also providing free calls for those who have either lost their own telephones or have not been able to recharge them.


On the first day of operations, our team covered the villages of Vieille Case and Thibaud, seeing a total of 138 unique terminals connected to the network. Over the coming days, the team will be concentrating on the south east of the country, providing Wi-Fi in Rosalie, Grand Fond, La Plaine, Boetica and Delices.