IEEE’s Natural Disaster Relief Program Expanding to India, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico

The initiative provides affected areas with power, phone service, and the Internet

After five years of providing U.S. communities with power, phone service, and Internet access in areas of widespread outages due to floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, the IEEE MOVE (Mobile Outreach VEhicle) program is expanding to other countries.

IEEE volunteers are busy setting up the emergency-relief and community-outreach program in India, Jamaica, as well as in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.

The MOVE truck is equipped with satellite Internet access, IP phone service, and the ability to charge up to 100 cellphone batteries simultaneously. The vehicle has a generator as well as three solar panels that sit on the roof. It also has a mobile television—for tracking storms—and radios for communications.

The IEEE volunteers involved with the program often coordinate their efforts with the American Red Cross.

Because of the rough terrain and the nature of natural disasters in the new areas, a MOVE truck cannot be used there, IEEE MOVE founder Mary Ellen Randall says. Instead, portable communications and power equipment are being designed by IEEE volunteers to meet the needs of each area.

“The equipment will be compact so people can pick it up and put it in the back of a pickup truck or SUV,” says Randall, an IEEE Fellow. “We are developing multiple versions of the modular equipment that can be used, depending on the circumstance.” Randall is the founder of software developer Ascot Technologies in Cary, N.C., where she is president and CEO.

For more information on the international IEEE MOVE program, contact Mike Wilson, senior program manager at MOVE International at IEEE.