This insightful article details how satellite communications played a crucial role in the lives of thousands of people affected by the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Terrestrial systems were so disrupted that even people whose homes survived had no telephone, cable TV, or Internet access.
Every community can learn from Hurricane Katrina. Despite the tragedy of this deadly hurricane, the community banned together with businesses to overcome the natural disaster response and work to restore peace and unity. The notable highlights include:
- U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs medical centers used Hughes satellite services to access patient records, order medications, and provide connections for veterans to connect with family members.
- The Florida Department of Health transferred important medical information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta via transportable Hughes DW terminals.
- PMorgan Chase Bank deployed Hughes DW dishes on their automatic teller machines at various locations within the hurricane- ravaged region to disburse Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to those in need.
- In New Orleans, the Coca Cola Bottling Co. contracted church camps to shelter homeless employees, and provided onsite internet cafés using Hughes broadband satellite services to connect people and to provide back office operations for the company.
Communities can learn from natural disaster response times and plans in other areas. Using previous experiences as models, communities can tailor plans ahead of time to meet their specific needs. Planning ahead is the key to responding effectively during times of crisis, bringing the community together and saving lives.