Motorola radios to the rescue

March/April 2000 IT infrastructure

Emergency workers from around the world have been pouring into flood-stricken Mozambique to rescue thousands of victims left stranded by a series of cyclones that have wreaked havoc in southern Africa over the past weeks.

South African organisation Safety And First Aid Management (SAFAM) took a team of ten volunteers comprising paramedics, divers and a doctor to Maputo on Thursday, 2 March to help rescue operations in some of the worst hit areas. Motorola Commercial, Government and Industrial Solutions Sector (CGISS) and its sole distributor Alcom, provided vital communications services to the SAFAM team through a donation of two-way radio equipment valued at R60 000.

'To make missions such as these possible, we rely heavily on sponsorships,' says Mike van Wyk, National Operations Manager and Disaster Co-ordinator for SAFAM. 'The response from organisations in South Africa was extremely poor, many companies felt their efforts should be focused on addressing situations in their home territory, rather than providing aid to neighbouring territories. What they fail to realise is that this disaster is not limited to Mozambique. Once the floods have subsided, outbreaks of deadly diseases such as cholera, malaria and typhoid fever, could spread quickly to South Africa,' he warns. 'We put this rescue operation together in 24 hours. Motorola and Alcom were one of four main sponsors who responded rapidly and provided much-needed support.'

Co-ordinating rescue operations

On arrival in Maputo, the SAFAM team worked closely with the United Nations and Mozambique Government to co-ordinate rescue operations. 'We were dropped by helicopter into the hot zones which is where the major crises are.

'Although we had identified various scenarios and action plans, we had no idea what to expect and had to react to situations as they arose,' explains van Wyk. The SAFAM team was the only rescue operation targeting the hot spots, with other emergency teams operating from Maputo.

Dr Paul Kapp, founder member of SAFAM was responsible for acute care and resuscitation of patients. 'This disaster has claimed thousands of victims,' he notes. 'We had to take it one step at a time and decide on the action to be taken once we were on site. This meant decisions had to be made quickly to prevent further loss of life.'

No communications infrastructure

According to van Wyk, there is no communications infrastructure in the remote areas, so the two-way radios donated by Motorola and Alcom were used by the divers and medics travelling on rubber dingys to provide feedback to the base camp. 'Without communication between our teams and the disaster co-ordinator, it would have been impossible to co-ordinate rescue operations. The radios were our lifeline,' he says.

'Motorola two-way radios are designed to operate in harsh environments and are tough enough to withstand rigorous use,' says Philip Hime, Marketing Manager at Alcom. 'In emergency situations, teams need to react rapidly and make decisions quickly. Two-way radio communication is instantaneous and allows teams to communicate simultaneously, saving valuable time and preventing messages from becoming distorted,' he explains.

'The SAFAM team has demonstrated remarkable dedication in their decision to put local business on hold and suffer potential financial loss in order to save lives. We are proud to be associated with them and to be able to contribute towards their rescue operation,' he concludes.

A second SAFAM team left for Mozambique on 9 March to relieve exhausted rescue workers.

For details contact Mike van Wyk, National Operations Manager & Disaster Co-ordinator SAFAM on tel: (011) 896 2342,

Dr Paul Kapp, Founder Member SAFAM on

tel:(011) 896 2342

Philip Hime, Marketing Manager of Alcom on

tel: (011) 807 5185.





Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Integrated facilities management solutions
Issue 2 2021 , IT infrastructure
Tsebo Facilities Solutions provides a smart remote monitoring solution that will increase efficiency and, most importantly, mitigate risk.

Read more...
Creating hyper-aware industrial facilities
Issue 2 2021 , IT infrastructure
Jacob Chacko expands on what a cognisant industrial site is and why edge technology and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are relevant to it as well as hyper-aware industrial facilities.

Read more...
Cisco and AMD improve performance, security and hybrid cloud operations
Issue 2 2021 , IT infrastructure
Cisco has announced?an expanded engagement with AMD?to help businesses?accelerate advanced digital experiences?and improve hybrid cloud operations

Read more...
GJD unveils new Network Bridge product
Issue 2 2021 , IT infrastructure
GJD has announced the launch of its new Network Bridge, designed to easily connect GJD IP devices with third-party video management software and network compatible products, including Avigilon and other proprietary CCTV systems.

Read more...
Backup servers with free Altaro software
Issue 2 2021 , IT infrastructure
Altaro Physical Server Backup enables you to easily restore a physical server on your network and access it on your existing virtual environment, as a virtual disk or fully functional virtual machine.

Read more...
Vehicle-to-office connectivity
Issue 2 2021 , IT infrastructure, Mining (Industry)
A large coal and heavy minerals mining company in South Africa is rolling out a mine-wide wireless digital connectivity networking solution that interconnects the various employees’ mobile devices to monitoring systems on vehicles, mining equipment and conveyor belts throughout the mine.

Read more...
Introducing Video Storage Solutions
Issue 1 2021 , Integrated Solutions, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, IT infrastructure
Video Storage Solutions (VSS) was formed with the single objective of providing system integrators who are part of the Milestone Community with verified video recording and storage appliances. VSS is distributed in South Africa by First Distribution.

Read more...
Used electronics present security concerns
Issue 1 2021 , IT infrastructure
Employers have a legal obligation to clean old IT devices professionally and ensure that all data is erased from them prior to decommissioning and disposal or redistribution.

Read more...
CAPEX vs OPEX
Issue 1 2021 , IT infrastructure
With the rapidly accelerating pace of digital transformation last year, many organisations were forced to invest in data storage infrastructure, however, these businesses often face the dilemma of whether to opt for a solution acquired as a capital expense or operating expense.

Read more...
How technology enables better healthcare
Issue 1 2021 , IT infrastructure
With the need for digital acceleration to support the healthcare landscape since the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, technology has played a critical role to improve the standards of patient healthcare and enable health workers.

Read more...