Emergency responders, and search and rescue teams throughout Nova Scotia are now better equipped to handle any emergency, with new satellite phone equipment provided by the province. The Department of Transportation and Public Works is providing $300,000 worth of satellite telephone equipment to 39 municipal emergency measures co-ordinators and 24 ground search and rescue teams. Included in that amount is payment for 30 minutes of satellite time for each phone, each month. “The advantage of these phones is that they are not land based. They don’t rely on towers or land lines that can be compromised by bad weather or other emergencies,” said Minister of Transportation and Public Works Ron Russell. “These are the best things the government has ever come up with,” said Bill Gillis, municipal emergency measures co-ordinator, Inverness County. “They work everywhere.” Mr. Gillis and Clinton Atkinson, the communications officer for Yarmouth County Ground Search and Rescue, were two members of an evaluation team from the emergency response community who helped field test the units. “We’ve got areas in Yarmouth County where other phones and radios don’t work and these do,” said Mr. Atkinson. “With these on hand we’re leaders in emergency communication.” The satellite phones can operate in isolated areas because they communicate through a system of 44 satellites orbiting about 1,400 kilometres above the earth. “The volunteers were instrumental in helping the province choose the best technology,” said Mr. Russell. “This state-of-the-art system is a great one to have on hand. Let’s hope we don’t have to use it too often.”
“I am deeply saddened by this shocking news. I share the grief of our colleagues at Save the Children International and the families of those killed,” Mark Bowden said in a statement to the press.“Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places for the humanitarian community with death, kidnappings and attacks against humanitarians all too frequent an occurrence,” he added.Aid workers in Afghanistan provide emergency trauma care, run feeding programmes for malnourished children, assist people displaced from conflict and natural disasters, and support the most vulnerable wherever there is need. Attacks against aid workers lessen their ability to carry out these essential activities.“I call on all parties to ensure that those providing humanitarian assistance have safe access to people in need are can carry out their life-saving work unhindered,” the Humanitarian Coordinator said. In 2014, 57 aid workers were killed in Afghanistan, according to United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).