UNDP and Turkcell showcase lifesaving technology for disasters and crises

01 May 2013

UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan, Turkish Government representatives and other UN officials discussed disaster recovery measures and mobile communication continuity systems enacted by Turkcell in the aftermath of the devastating Van Province earthquake in October 2011.

New Horizons, May 2013 – Innovative mobile technology can help save lives when conflicts and disasters strike in emerging countries, according to experts at a high-level event held in New York in 4 April by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations.  

Recent disasters have demonstrated that the Government of Turkey and Turkcell –communications and technology company in Turkey– are helping to lead the way in this important area.

In the event, examples of how information technology –particularly mobile phones– has been used in the prevention, response and recovery from conflict and disasters around the world are showcased.

“In countries prone to disaster or conflict, rapid information sharing about preventative measures can save lives and property,” UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan said at the event.

“Mobile technology enables citizens to connect to each other and authorities, spreading critical information in times of crisis,” she added.

Life-saving SOS messages

At the panel discussion staged at UN headquarters, Ms Grynspan also praised Turkcell for its role in the transmission of life-saving SOS messages in the wake of recent earthquakes in Turkey as well as its contribution to post-disaster recovery and fundraising.

Süreyya Ciliv, CEO of Turkcell, said that “Our experience in the Van earthquake proved once more that readiness, decisiveness and speed, when met with the power of mobile technologies can save lives.”

“Money-box for Van”

Turkcell says it helped send more than 10,000 text messages requesting emergency assistance during the quake. In addition, with support from Turkey’s Ministry of Education and in association with Turkish Education Foundation, Turkcell created the “Money-Box for Van” fundraising initiative that raised millions of dollars to rebuild quake-resistant housing for teachers and student dormitories.  

 “I am confident that this event will give us ample opportunity to learn from Turkey’s and UNDP’s experience,” Ms Grynspan added. “I also hope that these examples will give us food for thought about what can be replicated elsewhere in the world.”


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