Electronic Bulletin Number 61 - July, 2009

Telecommunications for natural disaster prevention, response, and mitigation
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At 6:40 p.m. on August 15, 2007, an earthquake measuring 7.9º (modified Mercali) struck, with epicenter located on the coasts of Ica. It affected mainly the regions of Chincha, Cañete, Pisco, Ica, and several communities in the department of Huancavelica.

Besides the heavy human toll, the quake damaged several houses as well as public utilities such as transportation, energy, water, and telecommunications.

The damage affected the communication infrastructure and normal delivery of fixed telephone services and mobile telephone services in various parts of the country.



In the affected zone of Ica, damage to the fixed telephone external plant was reported, as a result of downed poles, disruption of fiber optic links, and fallen buildings and, among other problems, antennas for mobile public service fell and in some cases broke, and base station microwave links fell out of alignment.

In Lima, many users were cut off from communications.


On August 16, 2007, the Ministry held an emergency meeting with telecommunication companies, to take immediate steps to reestablish service and get updates on the situation of damaged and affected infrastructure. At that meeting, a decision was taken to:

  • Set up an emergency network for Authorities.
  • Reestablish service to the affected areas by setting up mobile antennas or VSATs, as well as banks of generators and/or new batteries.
  • Provide free telephone service in the affected areas.
  • Put up infrastructure in areas where service was affected and in areas that never had telephone service.

Immediate action


– Free telephones in the areas of Chincha, Ica, and Pisco.

– Operators activated free lines in their care centers.

– 100 mobile lines made available to residents of Ica, Pisco, and Chincha. That service was provided by MTC personnel through mobile terminals provided by companies.

– Free calls from the rural operators’ network.


– Installation of VSAT antennas.

– Army’s Pisco base furnished with telecommunications equipment.

– Increased satellite capacity for the National Aerospace Research and Development Commission (CONIDA).

  • Satellite telecommunication equipment provided by ITU

Under the Tampere Agreement on the provision of telecommunication resources for disaster mitigation and disaster relief operations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) presented the Ministry of Transport and Communications with 50 telecommunication sets:

– 12 Nera GAN Terminal sets, for voice communication, comprising: DECT Handset, antenna, cable, battery, feed.

– 38 RBGAN Terminal kits, for data transmission (Internet access)

In addition, to facilitate their use, guidelines were prepared for users.

  • Support from ham radio operators

As soon as the earthquake struck, a group of ham radio operators went with mobile units to Pisco, Ica, and Chincha, facilitating communications with the National Civil Defense System.

The report on the performance of the Peruvian ham radio operators, “Emergency Operation in Peru,” was published in INFO@CITEL, No. 39, September 2007.

Subsequent action

The Emergency Communication System was created. (DD.SS. NºS 030-2007-MTC, 30/09/2007 and Nº 043-2007-MTC, 30/12/2007).

The performance framework to be followed by businesses before, during and after an emergency takes place, was established. It comprises:

a) The Special Emergency Communication Network (RECSE)

b) Prevention Guidelines.

c) Guidelines for Action in Emergencies.

d) Guidelines for Action in Affected Areas.

In addition, a framework to promote amateur radio services was established.

The Communication System for High-Level State Authorities was implemented

Autonomous, less vulnerable network, independent of public networks.

MTC Project, implemented and operating for communication by High-Level Authorities.

I. Emergency Communications System

a) Special Emergency Communications Network

Provision was put in place requiring mobile and fixed telephone service operators to permanently reserve free network space for communications between and among high-level authorities, and this will be automatically activated when there is an emergency situation.

This Network is supported on public networks and is independent of the National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI) and the Ministry of Defense emergency and security networks.


b) Prevention Guidelines

Operators of fixed telephone service and mobile public service will implement and enable the 119 emergency number for Messaging (voice and/or data) as an alternative to telephone communication.

The agencies that provide care through the 105 (Police), 116 (Fire), 115 (Civil Defense), and 118 (Coast Guard) toll-free emergency numbers will size their access trunks appropriately.

Operators of fixed telephone lines and mobile public service must promote the use of the 119 emergency number for Messaging (voice and/or data), Internet, radio, television, and other media, and must also promote the widespread use of short message service (SMS) as an alternative to telephone communication in emergencies.

Amateur Radio Operators must perform emergency drills coordinated by INDECI.

c) Guidelines for Action in Emergencies

Time limit for calls, which will not be less than one minute or more than 2 minutes, and will be in effect for up to twelve (12) hours.

Free calls to emergency numbers: Calls to 105 (Police), 116 (Fire), and 119 (Emergency-Voice Messaging) free for users and without interconnection charges.

Support for carrier services in communications.

d) Guidelines for Action in Affected Areas

Operators will provide free service using wireless networks or portable stations via terminals or other communication-enabling means.

Operators will offer free calls in the affected areas for the duration of the emergency, which will be determined by the INDECI.

The Ministry will facilitate the issuance of licenses for spectrum use and modification of technical features, for which operators can then stabilize that situation.

e) Framework to promote amateur radio service

Exemption from the requirement to have their equipment certified.

Reduction of the amount charged for permits, renewal, and change of status for ham radio operators, from 1% to 0.1% of the per unit tax.

Reduction of the annual fee paid by amateur radio operators to use the radio spectrum. This is, the amount of fees paid for the three types of ham radio operators was standardized at 0.1% of the per unit tax.

II. Communication System for High-Level State Authorities

Features of the System

  • Mobile satellite service

  • Coverage throughout Peru

  • Active line, with capability to place and receive calls any time

  • Enables calls to be made and received between terminal devices belonging to the satellite platform used, and to make and receive calls to or from fixed and mobile telephones.

  • One hundred (100) devices for use by high-level authorities.

  • Has access to data services (Internet access, e-mail, etc.), using a portable computer.


Telecommunication is a vital means of helping with emergency response.

The earthquake of August 15, 2007 underscored the importance of being alert, careful, and ready to respond more efficiently to emergencies or disasters.

It is vital for the use of alternatives to telephone communication during emergencies, including SMS, 119 emergency messaging, and emails, to be promoted among the population. This will allow more users to be able to communicate with one another.

Collaboration between government and business operators is indispensable to efforts to deliver emergency relief.


Ministry of Communications


© Copyright 2009. Inter-American Telecommunication Commission
Organization of American States.
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