Information technology (IT) has the potential to play a critical role in managing natural and human-made disasters. Damage to communications infrastructure, along with other communications problems exacerbated the difficulties in carrying out response and recovery efforts.
The mission of the Information Systems Operations Unit is to research, implement, and maintain high quality, secure technology solutions for PRCS. It also aims to develop and maintain a network of IT and Telecoms resources for disaster preparedness and/or response activities of the PRC besides assisting the National Society in capacity building. Moreover, it creates and deploys infrastructure standards within PRCS to support any situation before, during and after a disaster.
PRC is using the VHF & HF Radio Technology for the disasters and emergency. The IT department has already installed Radio Communications in all NHQ Ambulances and all the radio sets (30 x mobile and 30 VHF handy) are in good working condition. VHF Radio Handy Sets for the teams deployed in the emergency/disaster areas will be provided after getting approval from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Presently the VHF facility is functional in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar while HF facility is functional in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.
PRCS IT Department has enough IT stock lists which can be made available to the various assessment teams being deployed for assessment and response. The unit has also mobile internet devices which can be used in field for communication in addition to the Thuraya Satellite Phones for communication in remote areas with no GSM or Radio signals.
To facilitate the response operation, IT Department has established an internal mass SMS service (online service via Zong) which will be active at the NHQ control room with unlimited SMS capacity to any network. This has been used for internal information sharing and operations updates. The unit also shall establish a generic email address which will be disseminated as part of feedback mechanism.