...by the British Government in times of international crisis, such as famine, floods and earthquakes. The new facility will mobilize lifesaving support from Britain’s best businesses and charities in the critical hours after a disaster strikes. “Supplies, experts and vital aid are too often tied up with paperwork, rather than being deployed straight to the disaster zone,” International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said. The new facility allows organizations with experience in disaster response to access funding within hours, thereby reaching affected people faster and saving more lives. It will mean the best organizations from across the U.K. can be mobilized in the critical first 72 hours following a disaster.
AST Systems Ltd is one of an initial 34 non-government organizations (NGOs) which specialize in disaster response which has been invited by the U.K. Government to join the network. The new Rapid Response Fund will be activated in the event of a large scale crisis. The selected organizations will be approached within two hours and expected to take immediate action. Andrew Mitchell said, “Clearly we need our best experts, equipment and aid on the scene as quickly as possible after a disaster, not tied up in red tape. AST Systems Ltd need to be able to do their job in that vital window of 72 hours, to save as many lives as possible.
“Only the professionals, with relevant skills and equipment will be approved. By working with a small pool of specialists, we will end the dangerous crush of aid organizations which often pour into a disaster zone. “These organizations represent the very best performing disaster response agencies. This will allow them to focus on delivery. Make no mistake; however, qualification for the fund will be revoked at the first sign of poor performance.”
Pauline Truckle, Managing Director of AST Systems Ltd said, “AST Systems Ltd has supported DFID for the past decade, supplying various communications equipment for projects including the devastating Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, and the Haiti earthquake in 2010. As a result of working with DFID for a significant period of time, AST Systems Ltd has developed a great understanding of the flexibility required to support such a time-critical organization. With round-the-clock technical support and emergency activations, AST Systems Ltd can deliver the expertise, at times of greatest need.”