“There are tens of thousands of refugees along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border and they need food,” said Dalia Mansour, an IT officer based in Cairo. Dalia has been deployed to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, where she and her colleagues are tasked with getting WFP’s telecommunications nerve center up and running.
“We need to have IT and communication systems in place so that food distributions can be organised quickly and smoothly,” she says.
In emergency situations, efficient communication can mean the difference between tragedy and success. Radio, internet and satellite are all vital links in a chain of communications that allows humanitarian workers to respond quickly in the face of crisis.
As WFP does not currently have an office in Uzbekistan, Dalia’s first task will be to set up a base of operations for WFP personnel there. To do that, Dalia says she will need to figure out what kind of tools she has to work with.
“I’ll need to gauge what Tashkent offers in the way of satellite and radio communications to determine whether or not they meet our needs.” After that, she’ll have to decide what kind of equipment is needed for the new office and where to get it.
Trained for emergencies
Dalia is specially trained to work under the stress and strain of crisis situations. A graduate of the IT Emergency Management course sponsored by the Vodafone Foundation and UN Foundation, she knows exactly what kind of challenges await her once she touches down in Uzbekistan.
“It will be difficult, but I know what to expect. We need to establish this office so that we can feed the thousands of people who are affected by this conflict,” she said.