With the objective of proper management of information and communication system in the earthquake-affected areas, the government of Nepal has activated the Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC). The cluster will work to keep communication services running and contain misinformation in the media.
The initiative came following a meeting at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT). The decision was taken under the coordination of the communication minister Rekha Sharma.
Minister Sharma, Secretary Krishna Bahadur Raut, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Nepal Telecom, Nepali Journalist Federation and other heads and representatives of telecommunication and media sectors attended the meeting.
The government has been at the rescue operations after a 6.4M earthquake shook the country on Friday at 11;47 PM. So far, 157 people have been found dead (via Ratopati) in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
The meeting decided to request the telecom service providers to ensure uninterrupted telephone and internet services in the earthquake-affected areas. Likewise, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) will be responsible for coordinating, monitoring, and managing resource mobilization as per the need.
Nepal’s two telecom operators Nepal Telecom and Ncell have already announced their earthquake relief packages. Check out:
- Ntc announces free voice, SMS, and SIM in earthquake-affected Jajarkot, Rukum
- Ncell announces Rs 50 lakh relief package for earthquake-hit districts: Also Provides Free voice, data, SMS worth Rs 40 lakh
Government Begins Emergency Telecommunication Cluster
Similarly, the meeting also decided that the service providers should appoint contact points. The contact persons will be responsible to maintain the service effective and stay in contact constantly.
Likewise, the cluster will also work on containing the spread of fake news and misinformation. Narendra KC, expert advisor to Minister, said that the government will issue a request to all the media and social media users to only transmit true, reliable and official news from the earthquake-affected areas.
Internet and communication services are the most essential services. NTA has given the internet a human rights status. In times of disasters, communication and connectivity remain of paramount importance. Service providers, to their credit, have expressed commitment to keep their services afloat. Let’s hope that maximum lives are saved and normalcy is restored sooner rather than later.
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