UNDP:government and companies use new technologies to tackle disasters

UNDP and Turkish delegation to UN collaborate in hosting a seminar, called Innovation and Resilience in Corporate Response to Disaster in UN headquater in Newyork. The purpose of the seminar was to highlight some of the market experience in restruction after disasters and to showcase how government and private companies can cooperate to utilize the latest technologies in the process. In the seminar, new mode for innovative crisis response was also discussed.

The "Innovation and Resilience in Corporate Response to Disaster" event, which has been organized with the idea that the impact of natural disasters could be lessened through the opportunities presented by mobile technologies, was attended by Ms. Rebecca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary General and UNDP Associate Administrator; Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, Assistant Secretary General UNDP; Mr. Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP; Prof. Dr. Omer Dincer, former Ministry of Education; Mr. Yildiz Gunay, General Manager of the Turkish Education Foundation, and Mr. Sureyya Ciliv, Turkcell CEO.

Emphasizing the importance of readiness, decisiveness and speed during the crisis, as well as technological flexibility, Ciliv explained how Turkcell used technology and innovation to save lives in the critical 72 hours after the first Van earthquake. Commenting that Turkcell's network, to a large extent was up and running due to preparations made prior to the disaster, and to its technological design, Ciliv went on to say that "Our damaged base stations resumed normal operation within a couple of hours. Having realized that some victims trapped under debris were sending text messages to the 112 emergency lines instead of calling it, our engineers managed to turn these SMSs into emergency calls in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport Maritime Affairs and Communications in a short period time, thereby helping to save lives. Continuing that Van was further injured by a second earthquake, and that the city needed permanent solutions, Ciliv said that "Turkey's Money-Box was launched to this end. We not only donated TRY5 million, but also created the opportunity for other corporates and individuals to lend a helping hand through a transparent campaign, which could be simultaneously followed up online, and where they could observe concrete results. Through Turkey's trust in Turkcell and TEV, a 192 person capacity teachers' campus, and 132 person capacity dormitory for high school students were built, well above our initial target. Additionally, having addressed the unemployment problem in the region, we built a call center in Ercis, where 50% of employees are disabled. We are honored to be presented globally as an exemplary company, and to be named as a technology partner by the UNDP."

Appraising Turkcell's initiatives after the Van earthquake, UNDP Associate Administrator Ms. Rebecca Grynspan commented that "In countries prone to disaster or conflict, rapid information sharing on preventative measures can save lives and property. Mobile technology enables citizens to connect to each other and the authorities, spreading critical information in times of crisis."

"Turkey's Money-Box" education campaign received the "UN Elite Award" at the IPRA Golden Global Awards in November 2012