Vodafone India, continuing with its endeavor to support the relief and rehabilitation work in Uttarakhand, has undertaken additional efforts to provide assistance to those who are affected by the unprecedented situation in Uttarakhand.
Among the several new initiatives undertaken are:
1. Ensuring un-interrupted communication through robust network coverage:
To sustain the network in areas of heavy destruction and ensuring uninterrupted coverage, following measures have been taken:
Deployment of Instant Network: Instant Network equipment or “network in a box”, a portable BTS, was airlifted and deployed at a relief camp set-up by the local administration in Mayali Village (between Tehri Garwal & Uttarkashi) located in Rudraprayag District towards Kedarnath Highway. This is the first time ever that such a network has been installed and used in the country. Since it is portable, it can be easily dismantled and reinstalled at another location, especially in times of crisis, depending on the on-ground situation. 4 charging stations were also transported to the area and hundreds of people in the relief camp and those stranded around it have benefitted as they are able to charge their phones and connect with their dear ones over a stable network.Partnering other network service providers at affected sites in the districts of Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Tehri and Uttarkashi to ensure availability of network coverage. Air-lifting diesel and arranging for additional batteries to run the affected sites for un-interrupted communication.
2. Relief Aid through Indian Red Cross:
Vodafone Foundation is making a donation of INR 78,75,486 (£85,684) for relief work to cover the provision of 2200 family packs (containing basic necessities like kitchen sets, clothing, mosquito nets etc.) to the areas worst affected.Vodafone Foundation has partnered with Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), which already has supporting infrastructure in place, for distribution of relief kits.
3. Fundraising campaign “Operation Care”:
Vodafone Foundation is launching ‘Operation Care’ to actively raise money for emergency supplies, both internally from Vodafone India employees as well as externally in association with SAMHITA, a local NGO. An online platform http://samhita.org/vfoperationcare/ has been set-up to enable fund raising.
4. Helpline numbers for tracing
Two Helpline Numbers have been opened in our Call Centres (9759001234 and 9759101234) to assist persons in locating missing relatives who were known to be present in Uttarakhand during this calamity and are not contactable. These helplines are accessible from anywhere in India and outside and are capable of providing the present or last known location of the subscriber in Uttarakhand with date and time. The helplines are being popularized through SMS blasts to our subscribers. This is as per directions of the Department of Telecommunication, Government of India.Vodafone India as a responsible corporate citizen, has mobilized its vast network of employees, customers, partners, vendors and supporters for relief work and support. As a value based organization, the company cares for people and believes that every life saved, every distress call connected is a reward. Vodafone India will continue to channelize its resources and efforts to the best of our ability, to provide help and assistance to the affected people in this hour of need.
In addition to above new initiatives, Vodafone India had already announced a slew of initiatives earlier:
5. Facility for making free calls:
19 Help Desks have been set up at locations which have been severely affected, using our distributors and service points, so that affected people can reach out to their near and dear ones & open channels of communication with the outside world. All those who need to make calls can visit these outlets and use the service for free.2 Helpline centers have also been set-up at the Jolly Grant and Sahasdhara Helipads. Free phone service is being provided to the affected people, who are brought to these helipads after evacuation. Also, mobile charging units have been set up at both these helipads. A4 size posters of Government Disaster Management Center (DMC) numbers have been pasted at all these helpline centers.Vodafone is providing talk-time credit to affected customers who are unable to top up credit due to the non-availability of recharge facilities in impacted locations. Chhota credit of Rs 10 is being given to 40,000 eligible Vodafone customers. The service is also being made available to about 80,000 Vodafone roaming customers.6. Supporting govt. efforts through information dissemination:
Vodafone India has sent SMS to approx. 20 lac subscribers in the affected areas informing them of the govt. published Disaster Management Numbers.The Disaster Management Center Numbers are being publicized through posters/ pinups at over 5000 retailers in the affected areas.Hoardings are being put (courtesy our Vendors) outdoors to publicize the Disaster Management Center Numbers. Further work is on to put 50,000 posters at public locations.
7. Contributions / Special Efforts by Vodafone employees:
The company is also collecting donations in kind from employees in the form of non-perishable food items, clothes, blankets, footwear etc. which could prove useful in such times of need.Drop boxes are being set up across our offices and the collected items will be transported to affected areas by us at our cost.