Good connections

Nov 15, 2017

Emergency services in Donetsk Oblast install secure and reliable conference call system with support from UNDP and EU

MARIUPOL, Ukraine –  In a newly repaired conference room with large plasma screens hanging on the walls, Inna Ivaschenko, the head of the IT department of the State Emergency Service in Mariupol, starts a conference call.

“Kramatorsk, how do you hear me?” she asks.

“Kramatorsk is on the line. We hear you well,” answers an emergency service officer from Kramatorsk.        

Ivaschenko can not only hear but also see the officer on a screen, thanks to a recently installed conference call system, a government project supported by the United Nations Development Programme and European Union.

The industrial port city of Mariupol, where the emergency services of the conflict-torn Donbas region are based, is located within a 5-hour drive from Kramatorsk, the region's current capital.

Emergency service officers used to have to regularly travel overnight to meet on time, but that was before the conference call system was installed early this year.

“We had a forest fire problem this summer in the region. In the past, it took us half a day to organize a meeting of all the heads of the local emergency departments. And during the other half of the day they needed to go back,” said Andriy Danik, the deputy head of the State Emergency Service of Donetsk region. “But with this video conference, we organized this meeting in 15 minutes.”   

The new system was used for the first time in February during an escalation in the fighting around the city of Avdiivka, which was totally isolated because of shelling.

Thanks to the conference call equipment, the region’s governor, Pavlo Zhebrivsky, managed to make an urgent, secure communication with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.    

Danik said now the government services have 21 rooms with conference call equipment in the region, and two mobile conference sets are being installed in emergency vehicles.

Emergency service officers now hold region-wide conference calls three to four times per day.

“The regional administration, the education and medical departments and the social services are also using this system along with us,” Danik said.

 

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