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Technology Keeps Tsunami Victims Connected in Time of Need

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Technology Keeps Tsunami Victims Connected in Time of Need

Intel Foundation relief efforts connect Japanese tsunami refugees with help, hope, and the outside world

As Intel Japan employees watched televised images of people frantically trying to contact friends and families on decimated cell phone and landline networks following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Tōhoku region in March 2011, an idea began to form. Laptops with WiMAX Internet connectivity could provide a lifeline for those searching for loved ones and wanting to communicate with the outside world.

The morning following the earthquake, an Intel team worked with WiMAX provider UQ Communications to find where signals were strongest, packed up a couple of cars with food, water, WiMAX LAN adapters, cables, power supplies, and as many computers as they could find, and headed into the tsunami-stricken zone. As thousands of people were fleeing in the opposite direction, they navigated the treacherous road and made their way to the Sendai NPO (Non-Profit Organization) community center, which was the nerve center of earthquake response in the region. They determined the greatest need for Internet connectivity was in refugee shelters.

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