Global satellite provider supplies NGO with satcoms and volunteers to enable faster, more co-ordinated responses to natural disasters
Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response NGO
Inmarsat, a leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has announced that it is partnering with Team Rubicon UK, a military veteran-led disaster response NGO, to enhance its capabilities by providing satellite communications equipment and extra manpower in the form of volunteers.
Team Rubicon was founded by two US Marines in the wake of the Haitian earthquake in January 2010. Seeing the devastation of that natural disaster, the two defied government and aid organisation advice and flew out to Haiti to put their Marine skills to use in the response and recovery efforts. They quickly realised that military veterans had many skills that could be brought to bear on disaster situations, and subsequently founded Team Rubicon. The organisation now has approximately 45,000 members in the USA, and registered as a charity in the UK in June 2015, where it has recruited more than 1,500 members.
Stuart Lane, Director of Field Operations at Team Rubicon in the UK, commented on their work and how Inmarsat will enhance it: “We are developing a wide variety of skillsets, and so we can offer a range of emergency response solutions – from the early stages of disaster response, where a lot of the work is the immediate support of communities and assessment and prioritisation of tasks to save and protect lives, to the latter stages of reconstruction.
“A key part of disaster response and recovery is organisation and co-ordinating resources so that actions make the maximum impact. Communications are fundamental to establishing this – many people want to help in a disaster, but when they aren’t co-ordinated effectively, they can actually hinder emergency response efforts. As we have discovered in previous deployments, where we have sometimes had problems with connectivity in the field it has adversely affected our ability to establish reliable communications, and therefore to make a difference on the ground as a team.
“Inmarsat will help us to overcome this problem by providing satellite phones, Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), IsatData Pro (IDP) and Global Xpress technologies, which connect to their communications networks, providing a stable and secure connection. This enables us to co-ordinate our work internally and reach-back to UK for subject matter expertise and remote support; while tying in with other agencies, wherever we are in the world.”
Inmarsat employees will be able to train with Team Rubicon, but will also deploy to disaster zones to help with the use of Inmarsat equipment, but also with other jobs assisting affected communities
He noted that Inmarsat’s technology has proved “incredibly useful” in the field, improving Team Rubicon’s abilities to help co-ordinate relief efforts and to let the world know what is happening in disaster-afflicted areas. “We are delighted to be enhancing our relationship with the world’s leading mobile satellite communications provider,” he noted.
Under the partnership, Inmarsat employees will have the opportunity to train with Team Rubicon to become a Greyshirt, a trained Team Rubicon volunteer. This will lead to the deployment of Inmarsat staff to disaster zones to help, specifically with the use of Inmarsat equipment, but also generally with other important jobs, assisting affected communities.
On average, there is a significant disaster every two years, but at any given time there are countless disasters going on around the world.
“This partnership with Inmarsat will help us to act even more decisively to help rebuild countries and save lives,” continued Stuart Lane.
Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, military veteran and Team Rubicon Greyshirt, has led the initiative within Inmarsat. Commenting on the significance of the partnership for Inmarsat he remarked: “Inmarsat’s origins lie with the United Nations, as an NGO established by the International Maritime Organization to establish a satellite communications network for the maritime community and to therefore help people safely traverse the oceans. This commitment to helping people through technology lies at the heart of who we are, and we’re really excited to bring this capability to an organization that is doing fantastic work. Team Rubicon leverages the invaluable skillsets of military veterans to help people in disaster zones – an incredible service that we are delighted to support.”