New Zealand-based Spark (formerly Telecom New Zealand) has confirmed that it is partnering with international aid groups in order to help restore communications services to the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Pam. Spark’s chief technology officer David Havercroft commented: ‘Our primary focus is to re-establish internet communications. Currently the outer islands use microwave links to stay in contact and most of these are down so we are working to put a satellite-based solution in place to restore connectivity to the islands.’
The lethal cyclone – a category five storm – is said to be one of the worst natural disasters to have hit the country, with President Baldwin Lonsdale saying it has ‘wiped out’ all of the infrastructure development that has taken place in recent years. Meanwhile, in a statement on Sunday, Oxfam Australia said this was ‘likely to be one of the worst disasters ever seen in the Pacific’.