A rapid response service providing life-saving humanitarian assistance in disaster zones worldwide is set to continue, after a six-year contract extension was agreed.
Luxembourg Air Ambulance (LAA), the aircraft operator of the European Air Ambulance brand, is one of the founding partners of emergency.lu – a mobile, satellite-based telecommunications platform providing internet and phone connections to support humanitarian organisations in the field.
When a large-scale disaster strikes, the first 72 hours are critical – but the destruction of existing communication systems can have a huge impact on humanitarian efforts to save lives. The problem was raised by teams returning from Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, and led to the development of emergency.lu
Funded by the Luxembourg government and available at no cost to the international aid community, emergency.lu allows equipment and personnel to be deployed to affected areas within 12 hours.
A public-private partnership between the government, LAA, and Luxembourg companies SES Networks and HITEC Luxembourg, the system was developed in close collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), and to date has been deployed in nearly 20 countries including Haiti, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Nepal and Syria.
The first contract was signed in 2011, then extended in 2014 – and following the latest agreement, will now run until 2026.
Patrick Schomaker, EAA’s Director Sales and Marketing, said: “We are proud to continue our long collaboration as a partner within emergency.lu, offering rapid humanitarian support to people in disaster areas worldwide.
“Using our fleet of aircraft, we are able to rapidly dispatch telecommunication equipment to humanitarian teams working on the ground, so contributing to lifesaving efforts.”
Emergency.lu puts Luxembourg at the forefront of efforts to aid the international humanitarian community, and combines the telecommunications know-how of HITEC Luxembourg, the global satellite services of SES, and the rapid air deployment capabilities of LAA. As well as in disaster zones, it is also used to provide communication services in remote areas hit by ongoing crises.