BT partners with Red Cross to speed relief efforts

Disaster relief charity the British Red Cross has signed a three-year deal with BT which will see the telecom company support the charity with 300,000 of funding for vital communications equipment.

The three-year deal will see the telco supply essential emergency satellite telephones, IT equipment and GPS systems for relief vehicles across the world. BT said that the partnership between it and the charity would directly benefit communities across the globe that have been impacted by natural disasters, human conflict and other social, political and economic factors.

It also said support from BT would increase the speed of deployment of the Red Cross' Emergency Response Units (ERUs). BT will also donate the skills and expertise of its employees, through specific volunteering activities with the Red Cross IT and Telecommunications emergency roster and will fund its training programme.

Last year the charity responded to 16 disasters around the world, including earthquakes in Java, mudslides in the Philippines and the current crisis in the Middle East.

Franois Barrault, chief executive of BT Global Services, said that the disaster relief is often reactive and funds are raised only following a disaster. This, he said, was a problem.

"This is where BT can really make a difference," said Barrault. "By being proactive and funding a three-year programme, BT and the British Red Cross can ensure that the relevant equipment and skills are ready so that relief can be deployed anywhere in the world as quickly as possible."

Chief executive of the British Red Cross Sir Nicholas Young said that the partnership with BT would enable it "to increase the speed and reach of our emergency response units in the field, making us better equipped to support the most vulnerable people in crisis across the globe."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.