Since 23 December, an emergency.lu Rapid deployment kit is offering connectivity to the B-LiFE laboratory set up by a Belgian B-FAST team in N’zerekore, Guinea. B-LiFE operates on the emergency.lu and SATMED communication platform with SES satellite capacity, funded by the Luxembourg government. B-LiFE can be deployed rapidly to perform quick diagnostic tests of patients. Once installed in a crisis zone, the B-LiFE laboratory uses genetic analysis techniques to very precisely identify the presence of life-threatening, biological agents that cause the disease. The effectiveness of the response provided by the laboratory depends on the real-time communication provided by satellite.
This B-LiFE/B-FAST mission has been deployed to support an Ebola treatment center installed in N’Zerekore by the French Non-Government Organization ALIMA. The EU Copernicus Emergency Management Service has been activated to provide satellite images for the epidemiological data mapping. The European Commission (DG ECHO) and its Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) are also providing their support.
On 19 December, Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, signed the prolongation contract of the project emergency.lu with the private partners HITEC Luxembourg, SES TechCom and Luxembourg Air Ambulance. A new contract with the transport company Schenker Luxembourg was signed at the same occasion.
The initial contract had a validity of 4 years and expires on 31 December 2014. Given the growing needs for telecommunication services in humanitarian contexts around the world and the success of the first phase of the contract, the project has been extended for 6 more years, until end 2020.
The objective of the prolongation is to consolidate the achievements from the first phase, to reinforce existing partnerships (with WFP/ETC, UNHCR, UNICEF) and collaborations (IHP, BFAST, Switzerland), to enter into new partnerships (a Standby Partnership Agreement with IOM will be signed soon) and to improve the performance, reliability and cost-efficiency of the equipment and services.
The project emergency.lu is funded by Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation Fund. It represents a budget of 24 Million EUR for the years 2015 to 2020.